Thursday, September 18, 2014

On radio shortly: talking about ISIS and Saudi Arabia and US wars

I will be on the radio shortly with Patrick Cockburn and John Mearsheimer.

Hani Fahs is dead: Shi`ite Wahhabism

Lebanese Shi`ite cleric, Hani Fahs, is dead.  He is of course being praised in Hariri and Saudi media because he was an employee of those media.  I have said before that there is no man who switched political positions in a lifetime than this man and `Adil-`Abdul-Mahdi of Iraq (but I maintain that the latter genuinely changed positions from Fato to Maoist to Islamist etc).  Hani Fahs was first a follower of the As`ad reactionary family, and then became a supporter of Fath, and then became a supporter of Musa As-Sadr, and then became a follower of Khuymani and worked in Iran in the early years of the revolution, and then became close to Hizbullah, and then became close, again, to Amal Movement, and after 2005 became close to, or loyal to, Hariri family and Saudi regime.  That in Lebanon is being praised because the ultimate destination was the House of Saud.  I had written an article about him two years ago. 

Anne Barnard is back covering Syria from Beirut: the propaganda pitch is even higher about "moderate terrorists"

"Insurgents of all stripes, except for the Islamic State group, say the Syrian government appears to be stepping up its attacks on them ahead of the threatened American air campaign. Pro-government and antigovernment analysts say Mr. Assad has an interest in eliminating the more moderate rebels, to make sure his forces are the only ones left to benefit on the ground from any weakening of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS." The first version of this article, if I am not mistaken as I remember it from yesterday, claimed that ISIS has said that the Syrian regime has not stepped it attacks on it.  Now the new version by Barnard claims that insurgents "of all stripes" claimed that the Syrian regime stepped up attacks, leaving the impression (less strident than the previous propaganda version) that ISIS has actually said that the regime has stepped it attacks.  Now ISIS has not said anything on the matter, and I doubt that if asked, ISIS would say that, no, the regime has not stepped it attacks on it, as Barnard reports from her Ahrar Sham fighters (Saudi and American controlled).  Of course, those Saudi-American-run are going to claim to Barnard (who always report what FSA or those new favored rebels have to say without any questions or qualifications or investigation or verification) are going to claim that the regime is in cahoots with ISIS in order to receive yet more cash and arms.  Now, if Barnard knows Arabic she does not) only recently the same Syrian rebel media and oil and gas Arab media were reporting that the regime did step up attacks on ISIS but then accused the regime of killing Sunnis.  Oh, wait: as I reread the passage further, I realize that Barnard did not change the text as I read it further.  Here she says that sentence: "But Islamic State activists in Homs said on Wednesday that there had been no recent government airstrikes against the group". When did ISIS say that? You are telling me that ISIS made a statement in which it said: that the Syrian regime is not attacking us? are you kidding here, Ms. Barnard? Do you really believe everything that those rebels tell you? What did ISIS also say: that yes, we in ISIS are in cahoots with the regime?  How credible is this reportage?  But who cares as Ms. Barnard tells us that this rebel groups is--surprise, surprise--is yet another MODERATE group: "The Faith in God Brigade in Talbiseh is probably one of the most moderate forces left on the battlefield".  A moderate group with a name like Faith In God?  Why not add: this is a secular group named Faith in God?  Add more to the credibility of the article while you are at it.  Wait: I was wrong. Ms. Barnard does actually marshals evidence that this group is in fact moderate: "Before the war, Mr. Abu Nouh, 29, was an Internet technician. In the early days of the uprising, he wore his hair long, kept a poster of the heavy metal band Iron Maiden in his house, and watched American movies like “Fight Club” with civilian activists and asked them to bring him vodka from Damascus along with medical supplies and computer equipment." Long hair and vodka? If that is not a sign of Arab moderation nothing is.  And since the beginning of the Syrian uprising, I always identify when a Syrian rebel is lying: when the claim that they are independently funded from "Syrian exiles". Here is an example yet again: "The brigade in Talbiseh has refused to join with more extreme groups like the Islamic State or the Nusra Front, the Syrian affiliate of Al Qaeda, Mr. Abu Nouh said. He said the brigade raised money mainly from Syrian émigrés in Persian Gulf states who have local relatives."  I bet. Was the TOW missiles also bought by Syrian emigres as well?  By the end of the article, Ms. Barnard seems to change her mind about the moderation of this group:  "And while they are more moderate than the Islamic State, the brigade’s Sunni fighters nonetheless express sectarian hatred toward the minority Alawite sect that forms Mr. Assad’s base. Mr. Abu Nouh shrugged at the news that 18 civilians were wounded in pro-government neighborhoods on Wednesday, saying, “They are Alawites.”" Did you mean to say, Ms. Barnard, that those are moderate terrorists? 

South Africa Supreme Court

After a months long court battle BDS South Africa (BDS-SA) won a “precedent-setting” freedom of expression court case last Thursday, September 11. In October 2012 BDS-SA along with the Palestine Solidarity Alliance (PSA) purchased advertisements on billboards across South Africa. Not unlike what occurred when the Boston transit authority pulled Ads Against Apartheid’s “One Word” subway ads with no warning, South Africa’s Con­ti­nen­tal Out­door Media removed two BDS South Africa ads prior to their contractual expiration date without giving any notice to BDS-SA or the PSA." (thanks Peter)

No change to Gaza blockade since ceasefire

"There have been no changes to restrictions on Gaza's crossings since a ceasefire agreement went into effect at the end of August, a Palestinian official said Wednesday."

Sabra and Shatila

"Israel has appointed itself to be judge, jury and executioner, without world supervision, investigation, transparency.. It's a constant drip, a slow painful massacre that the world continues to ignore. Israel's bloody history repeats itself and this will continue until the world demands otherwise." (thanks Amir)

Sen McCain can reinvent the Syrian rebel

"Sen. McCain: We Can Make The Syria Rebels Strong And Resilient". He added that he can also make them feminist, secular, and progressive.  (thanks Michele)

"Core beliefs of an Israeli TV pundit on 'Arab affairs'?"

From Eyal in 1948 Palestine: "As you may know, Israeli TV correspondents and commentators are - with few exceptions - not Arab, do not speak Arabic and are not accompanied by translators when covering issues such as Palestinian society within Israel, Israeli-Arab-state or other regional political interactions etc.
The exception to this is an important role in Israeli TV news: The 'Commentator/Interpreter for Arab affairs'. This man (and of course it is a man), brimming with self-confidence and assurance, will explain to you the curious and puzzled viewer why these strange and remote people, the Arabs, act the way they do, and what strange ideas they have in their exotic heads.

Without going into the many questionable and sometimes ridiculous claims they make, let us consider one of them, Mr. Zvi Yehezq'eli, who works for Israeli Channel 10 news. He is known, among other things, for the "shocking" documentary about the Muslim danger to Europe:

Well, here's a copy of a video clip from a discussion Mr. Yehezq'eli was having regarding his process of becoming more religious. He has this to say (video is in Hebrew):

The key quote is: "Within my inner self, I know it... every Jew knows this in his innermost self, that there must be something by which he is 'a light unto the nations' and better than his neighbor'; he knows that he [the Jew] is on the side of being the 'king's son', while he [the non-Jew] is on the side of being the 'slave-woman's son'"

Now, I don't think this particular outlook is shared by Ehud Ya'ari (of Channel 2 news, formerly of the State's Channel 1 news), or Oded Granot (State Channel 1), but that would probably not be for want of racism - rather for want of religiosity."

This is someone Americans can admire: an intellect that they can identify with

"In May, Ms. Alonso said in an interview with the Voice of America, “I wish that the United States would invade with bullets to remove all those wretched communists from Venezuela.”"  Very sophisticated mind. I won't be surprised if she win the Nobel Prize in Thought.

Samantha Power explains imperialist privilege and hubris

"The American ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, on Tuesday struck a testy note when asked whether there was a legal basis for airstrikes on Syria.

“We believe we have a basis for action,” she said, declining to describe what they were, because, as she said, it would depend on the action taken and under what circumstances. “In the event that action is taken, believe me, we will have plenty of time to engage on it.”"

The New York Times justifies and sugar coats the murder of Syrian children

"The victims, some of them infants, apparently all died Tuesday, mostly concentrated in the cities of Jarjanaz and Sinjar in Idlib Province, an area controlled by forces opposed to President Bashar al-Assad. These opposition forces have sought to function as an interim government and provide basic health care, including inoculations and vaccinations to children, given the collapse of Syria’s public health care system since the civil war began more than three years ago."  Well, they failed in those tasks, HAVE NOT THEY?

Netanyahu claims that Sunnis adopted him

"Netanyahu claimed the shared threat from the radical Sunni IS and Iranian-led radical Shiite groups has prompted Sunni states in the region to “reevaluate their relationship with Israel.”
“They understand that Israel is not their enemy but their ally in the fight against this common enemy. And I believe this presents an opportunity for cooperation and perhaps an opportunity for peace,” Netanyahu said." (thanks Narrima)

a brilliant Lebanese doctor in the News: An-Nahar will soon brag about him

" Michigan doctor faces life in prison after he admitted to intentionally misdiagnosing patients with cancer and recommending unnecessary chemotherapy to dying patients.

Dr. Farid Fata pleaded guilty Tuesday to 13 counts of health care fraud, two counts of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks, reported the Detroit Free Press." (thanks Nader)

"Israeli Supreme Court upholds law allowing housing discrimination against Palestinians"

"Yesterday, Israel’s Supreme Court dismissed a petition by Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel effectually facilitating the Judaization of more Palestinian owned land inside Israel. According to Adalah, the court’s decision holding up Israel’s Admissions Committees Law, “entrenches racial segregation; 434 small communities in Israel, or 43% of all residential areas, will be allowed to close their doors to Palestinian Arab citizens of the state.” Much of the land in question was originally confiscated from Palestinian refugees, and the court’s decision will result in the continued concentration and containment of the Palestinian population in Israel."

vaccination of poison

The crimes, all the crimes, of the Syrian rebels, go unpunished by Western government and uncovered by Western media.  Syrian rebels have vaccinated the children of Syria with poison and killed scores (we don't know the exact number) and the Western media which covered the story left the rebels blameless.

Muhammad bin Nayif and his dirty tricks

Saudi intelligence hacked the account of courageous comrade, Madawi Al-Rasheed.  This is something that have gotten the attention of Western media if the Iranian regime were to do it against a dissident. 


How can you not support Scottish independence when you see the rabid Western propaganda frenzy against the cause?  I am in favor of larger (internationalist) identity and solidarity but the reactionary stance of the UK, and the particularly unique progressive component of the Scottish political culture makes me a supporter of separation.  Of course, the strong support for Palestine in Scotland influences my stance as well. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Libya is the place

I strongly believe that those who can looking for a quick fortune can find it in Libya: bank robbery has never been easier and Libyans are discovering that. It is as easy as robbing a bank in 9th century America. 

Syrian children

If the regime, and not the "rebels", were the one who gave children spoiled vaccines and killed them, there would have been an international uproar and there would have been accusations of genocide and the UNSC would have convened in a special session.  Western sympathies are more fake: their disregard and insensitivity are genuine.

Ahmad Al-Khalidi making sense in the Times

Ahmad Khalidi: "In many ways, the current struggle among the Arab gulf kingdoms (Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates) and the various iterations of violent jihadism is a family fight, a struggle for power and legitimacy within Wahhabist, salafist and other interpretations of Islam. So by insisting on a Sunni coalition, the West will only appear to be joining a gulf-led war on the Shiites of Iraq, Syria and Iran. (It bears noting that neither Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Shiite movement based in Lebanon, nor Iran has declared a global war on the West and non-Muslims, unlike Saudi-inspired salafists and their jihadist brethren.)"  You rarely read this in the Times.

Moderate rebels ask Israel to impose No-Fly Zone over Syria

"Israel, the commander said, should impose a no-fly area over the buffer zone and allow the moderate opposition fighters to continue eastward, toward Damascus."

NSA helps Israel in terrorizing the Palestinians

"Mr. Snowden stressed that the transfer of intercepts to Israel contained the communications — email as well as phone calls — of countless Arab- and Palestinian-Americans whose relatives in Israel and the Palestinian territories could become targets based on the communications. "I think that's amazing," he told me. "It's one of the biggest abuses we’ve seen." "

UN-Rebel negligence kills Syrian children

"At least 34 children have died in rebel-held Syria after being injected with contaminated measles vaccines," "Parents accused opposition health authorities of failing to store the vaccines properly, and of supplying out-of-date medication. But opposition officials denied accusations of negligence, saying that the vaccines came from Unicef and WHO, via the Turkish government," (thanks Amir)

On the ease of killing Arabs

"MATTHEWS: One thing we`ve learned the past 14 years and that is how to escalate the American fighting in the Islamic world. We know how to kill Arabs on international television. What we haven`t figured out is how to bring this fight from a boil down to a simmer, to take the rage of the Islamist, Islamism down to the usual, regional set of resentments we`ve been living with for a very long time.

WILKERSON: Simple answer, Ed. Is if we can`t, it can`t be done. Let me just tell you that the hype about this group is phenomenal. I frankly find it difficult to believe, great powers like the United States taking council of their fears is the first step to destruction. These people are Arabs for the most part, just like the Iraqis, just like  the Syrians, they are beatable. Moshe Dayan once said, when someone ask him a question about the 1967 war and why Israel won it so easily, he said in frustration, "Well, it helps to be fighting Arabs."

SCHULTZ: Yeah." (thanks Basim)

Meet the non-Islamist actors in the Middle East

Thus spoke the Zionist:  "non-Islamist actors such as Egypt and the Gulf monarchies are America's natural partners in the region because they favor stability and the free flow of oil and gas while opposing terrorism." (thanks Narrima)

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

" 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