Saturday, April 30, 2016

FLASH: Huffington Post removed an article after posting it because it was critical of the Qatari regime

Did I not tell you that seems to be some deal between the Qatari regime and Huffington Post especially that the Arabic version of Huffington is a mere crude and vulgar propaganda outlet of the Qatari regime.  Here is the article that was removed.

Corrupt Iraqi politicians are fleeing the country in droves

Syrian regime TV correspondent

That woman should be shamed on an international scale. Taking selfies with dead corpses is a new low among the war journalism of Syrian conflict.

An arrest warrant for Lebanese Maronite priest while Lebanese government and church protects him

"Mansour Labaky se présente comme un défenseur de plus faibles et des opprimés. Oui mais voilà, à l'heure où l'Eglise française est secouée par plusieurs scandales de pédophiles, un mandat d'arrêt vient d'être émis à l'encontre de ce prêtre, qui a dirigé de 1991 à 1998 un orphelinat pour enfants libanais à Douvres-la-Délivrande dans le Calvados, révèle Normandie-actu, confirmant les poursuites annoncées par «La Croix».Aujourd'hui âgé de 76 ans, le prêtre d'origine libanaise fait l'objet d'une enquête ouverte par le parquet de Caen.
L'enquête a été confiée aux gendarmes de la section de recherches de Caen.

Une plainte pour viols et agressions sexuelles sur mineure de moins de 15 ans par personne ayant autorité a été déposée au tribunal de la ville. Deux autres victimes présumées ont dénoncé des faits similaires, sans se constituer encore partie civile. "

Reactionary kooky clerics of the world, unite

Christian and Muslim clerics unite for censorship in Jordan.

Human Rights Watch director calls on the US to let Al-Qa`idah in Syria prevail

Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth)
By fixating on Nusra presence, US invites devastating attacks on Aleppo w/o admitting it.

One Aleppo casualty count: record of the war criminals (on both sides)

244 civilians killed in 8 days of fighting in Aleppo, says SOHR. 140 killed by airstrikes, 8 by regime shelling, 96 by rebel shelling

UN: "monstrous disregard for civilian lives by all parties to the conflict" in Syria

"The United Nations human rights chief today said that the latest reports of civilian deaths and injuries in Syria, including bombings of marketplaces and medical facilities, reveal a “monstrous disregard for civilian lives by all parties to the conflict,” calling for urgent action by all relevant actors to resolve to help the people of Syria."

Not in US press: A Qatari regime newspaper admits that Free Syrian Army is shelling civilians in Aleppo

It says: Tens of dead and injured from Aleppo civilians were killed by gunfire from units of the Free Syrian Army and the "gas canisters", which are called "blind shells", for its inaccuracy, and it--despite killing and injuring tens of civilians--has not killed or injured one regime soldier".

"عشرات القتلى والجرحى من الحلبيين المدنيين سقطوا بنيران فصائل الجيش السوري الحر «جرات الغاز»، والتي تسمى «القذائف العمياء» لعدم دقة تصويبها، إذ أنها ورغم قتلها وجرحها لعشرات المدنيين لم تتمكن من قتل عنصر واحد من عناصر النظام أو إصابته.

Seven Dilemmas facing Muhammad bin Salman

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "Seven Dilemmas of Muhammad bin Salman: The Untamedness of the Second Generation".

Friday, April 29, 2016

Yarmouk Camp

The Zionists in the US decide when it is convenient to feign sympathy for the Yarmouk camp and when it is not convenient.

What about Aleppo?

What about Aleppo? What about Ghutah? What about Yarmuk? What about Damascus? What about Yemen? What about Somalia? What about Libya? What about Fallujah? What about Bahrain? What about Afghanistan? What about?

The award for the most fawning praise for Prince Muhammad bin Salman

The correspondent for the mouthpiece of Prince Khalid bin Sultan, Al-Hayat, in New York wins the award for the most fawning and pathetic praise of the prince. It begins by declaring that the vision of the Prince is just "astounding".  Kid you not.

Iranian laders

Iranian leaders are shocked that US government is not adhering to its commitments in the nuclear agreement.  IT seems that Iranian leaders are as naive or foolish as Arab leaders in believing American promises and declarations.  The US government violated back in the 1990s its agreement with North Korea, and they should have expected more violations for this agreement.  

Thursday, April 28, 2016

In Syria

Both sides in Syria kill children. Both sides are war criminals. Both sides don't deserve to be part of Syria's future.

As usual, Christian repression and censorship in the Middle East never ever gets coverage in the US press

It turns out that the ban on the musical group, Mashru` Layla, was engineered by none other than the Christian authorities because they thought the lyrics are offensive to Jesus.  This won't get a mention in US press because the censors are not Muslim.

Virginia state senator, Dick Black

This right-wing sectarian state senator from Virginia, Dick Black, is a big fan of the Syrian regime. He visits Syria and makes statement supportive of the Syrian regime. But Syrian regime media don't say that he is a state senator. They identify him as US Senator Dick Black.

How and why Israel kills Palestinians

For the last several months, both Washington Post and New York Times never report the tally of Palestinian casualties at the hands of Israeli occupiers without adding the same phrase: that those victims were killed either because they stabbed Israelis or because they were on the average of killing Israelis.  Just yesterday, Israeli occupying terrorists killed unarmed Palestinian at a checkpoint, and they did not even claim that they were stabbing or about to stab. How will the papers report those two casualties? How will they categorize them?

Grotesque Syrian regime propagandist

A Syrian regime TV propagandist took a selfie with her phone showing dead Syrian rebel corpses in the background.  No, I won't link to the picture.

Like i have been telling you, Syrian rebels have been bombing the shit out of Aleppo residents but not a word about that

Only when Syrian regime forces kills civilians it is news. Killing of civilians in the territories under the control of the regime does not warrant coverage.  

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

An Israeli occupation soldiers snuck into Lebanon with a Canadian passport and this is what he concluded after a few days in the country

"And they all seemed to loathe Jews."

Those poor Israeli occupation soldiers: they had to occupy a dangerous country

The New York Times is a place where you are made to sympathize with the occupiers and not with the occupied: "Lebanon was a dangerous place to be." Those poor Israeli terrorists. Why didn't the Lebanese people make the country safe for the occupiers, why?

How an intention of a 12 year old Palestinian girl is described in the New York Times

The headline:"Israel Frees Palestinian Girl, 12, Who Tried to Stab Guard"
the story: "While eagerly eating her first ice cream cone in months, Dima said she intended to kill the security guard on Feb. 9". Why not say that this girl also intended to drop a nuclear weapon while you are at it.

How the New York Times makes anti-Zionism anti-Semitism

"For her supporters, her election is a victory for diversity and radical politics. But Jewish students’ groups are alarmed, citing her criticism of the influence of “Zionist-led media,” her description of her Birmingham University as “something of a Zionist outpost” because of its active Jewish organizations and her talk at a meeting that was advertised with a poster featuring Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah.  Within a few hours of her victory, students at Cambridge called for a referendum on whether their union should quit the national body, describing her election as “a horrifying message to Jewish students.”"  Look how they basically allege that her description of Birmingham University as due to the activities of "Jewish organizations".  This is like saying that one's complaints about radical militant Jihadi cells is a complain about the activities of Muslim organizations.  Also, look at the last sentence: they make it sound that the entire study body at Cambridge protested and not a few.  

Meet a new Zionist ploy: it claims that because it is difficult to know the difference, anti-Zionism should be conflated with anti-Semitism

"The difficulty is defining the line between anti-Semitism and principled support for Palestine, opposition to Israeli settlements in occupied territory and “anti-Zionism.”"  Difficulty?  More difficult than telling the difference between Zionism and racism? Hardly.

How does Ben Hubbard of the NYTimes read Arab public opinion? Simple

"Many Saudi citizens, and especially the 70 percent of the population that is under the age of 30, have celebrated the prince’s rise and took to social media to thank him for laying out an optimistic vision." Is Hubbard aware that criticizing the Prince would lead one to jail and a very long sentence and a fine? Is this how he reads Saudi public opinion? By reading those views which are permitted by the royal family?

Only 17 senators dared to reject the substantial call for increase in aid to the occupation state of Israel

Here is the list.

Sisi's dilemma

"Such a move is particularly problematic in the Egyptian case. Since the overthrow of the monarchy in 1952, successive governments have made Egyptian control of its national territory a central part of the country’s story and mission. This emphasis on  sovereignty over national territory was one of then-President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s justifications for nationalizing the Suez Canal Co. in July 1956. Then, after the devastating June 1967 war, while Egyptians reeled under the impact of the defeat, Nasser’s driving policy message was to “erase the remnants of the aggression,” meaning restoring Egyptian sovereignty over the Sinai, which Israel occupied as a result of the war. In the same vein, Anwar Sadat sold his controversial peace treaty with Israel in 1979 on the grounds that it would result in Israeli withdrawal from Egyptian territory, a promise that was finally completed on April 25, 1982.*
As a result, Sissi — who has repeatedly likened himself to Nasser — cannot both promote a nationalism that has deep roots in the identity cultivated over decades among Egyptians through a range of educational, governmental and media sources and violate one of the most basic pillars of that same patriotic national identity with impunity. Some of the slogans in the numerous protests that have taken place since the announcement of this agreement make clear these bases of the popular rejection of the agreement: “Land is honor” (al-ard ‘ard) and a variation on the January 2011 classic “Bread, freedom, social justice” to (the equally rhyming in Arabic) “Bread, freedom, these islands are Egyptian.”"
*It should be noted that Egypt never regained Sinai from Israel. Israel continues to exercise full sovereignty over Sinai and Egyptian regime has to request permission from Israel to even move soldiers around.  It is up to Israel to decide which kind of weapons and forces to deploy in Sinai.

Reuters discovered a fifth jurisprudential school of Sunni Islam

"For the Al Saud dynasty, which has always ruled in alliance with the powerful clergy of the kingdom's semi-official Wahhabi school of Sunni Islam ..." (thanks Basim)

The Poem for Which Dareen Tabour’s Under Isareli House Arrest: ‘Resist, My People, Resist Them’

"One of the most prominent cases is of the poet Dareen Tatour, who was arrested last October, charged in November, and spent several months in prison before being placed under house arrest — with no access to the internet — in January. She is currently confined to a Tel Aviv apartment and had her first court hearing this month, charged for Facebook postings and a poem posted to YouTube.
According to Nadim Nashef of Al-Shabaka, “The Palestinian Prisoners Club, a non-governmental organization dealing with prisoners’ rights, estimates that more than 150 arrests took place between October and February 2016 based on Facebook posts expressing opinions on the uprising.”"

Prince Abdul-Aziz bin Fahd has devoted his life--as you all know--"to serving God", as he keeps saying on twitter

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Pro-Israel billionaires who screen & police U.S. politicians

"Saban, who made his fortune in the media and entertainment industry, has spent millions of dollars influencing the foreign policy establishment, including by sponsoring the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy and funding the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). He is also one of the largest donors to Hillary Clinton’s Super PACs. In a 2010 interview with the New Yorker, he described himself as a “one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel.” Last year, he briefly teamed up with GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson to sponsor an effort to counter university boycotts and divestment from Israel’s occupation. “When it comes to Israel, we are absolutely on the same page,” he said of Adelson."

Israel Frees Palestinian Girl, 12, who tried to wipe Israel off the map--according to the New York Times

"We often say that the New York Times is in the hasbara business, explaining away Israeli human rights abuses. And today we’ve got them redhanded. Bear with me a minute. The Times has an article about a girl released from Israeli detention after more than two months. “Israel Frees Palestinian Girl, 12, Who Tried to Stab Guard” is the headline;" "Wait did she try or did she intend? What’s the evidence?"

Don’t call us “Arab lovers,” says head of Israel’s “peace camp”

"If it wasn’t abundantly clear that there is no practical difference between Israel’s Zionist “right” and “left,” Herzog boasted at the Ashkelon meeting of his plan for hafrada – the Hebrew word for separation that can reasonably be translated as apartheid. This was the plan Herzog campaigned on during last year’s Israeli election, and it reveals that the vision of Israel’s so-called peace camp amounts to nothing more than permanent occupation of the West Bank and a bantustan for Palestinians."

Since 2014, U.S.-led coalition has killed more than 1,000 civilians in Iraq & Syria

"According to the not-for-profit monitoring organization Airwars, headed by investigative journalist Chris Woods, the U.S.-led coalition has likely killed more than 1,000 civilians and wounded at least 858, with the nearly 42,000 bombs and missiles it has unleashed. The U.S. military is directly responsible for the vast majority of coalition bombings, indicating that most of these civilian killings are on the Pentagon's hands." (thanks Amir)

Riyadh and its friends are blocking resolutions and killing human rights investigations

"Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-majority Persian Gulf allies don’t hold a single seat on the U.N. Security Council. But you’d hardly know it: Over the past year, they have wielded their diplomatic clout like a major power, shaping the 15-nation council’s diplomatic strategy for Yemen and effectively suppressing U.N. scrutiny of excesses in their 13-month air war against the country’s Shiite rebels."

If this was in Iran, it would be on the front pages of US newspapers: A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced a human rights activist to nine years in prison

"A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced a human rights activist to nine years in prison. Amnesty International condemned the sentencing of Issa al-Hamid as part of the "Saudi Arabian authorities’ ruthless quest to eradicate any last vestige of dissent." Obama visited Saudi Arabia for a fourth time last week."

How the Saudi King operates

"Foreign leaders visiting King Salman of Saudi Arabia have noticed that there is a large flower display positioned just in front of where the 80-year-old monarch sits. On closer investigation, the visitors realised that the purpose of the flowers is to conceal a computer which acts as a teleprompter, enabling the King to appear capable of carrying on a coherent conversation about important issues.

One visiting US delegation meeting with King Salman recently observed a different method of convincing visitors – or at least television viewers watching the encounter – that he can deal with the escalating crises facing Saudi Arabia. The king did not look at the group but at a giant television screen hanging from the ceiling of the room on which was appearing prompts." (thanks Basim)

this is hilarious; the bureau chief of a mouthpiece of a Saudi prince writes a fawning tribute to another Saudi prince

Bureau chief of the mouthpiece of Khalid bin Sultan, Al-Hayat, writes a fawning tribute to Prince Muhammad bin Salman for the website Al-Arabiyyah, the news station of the latter prince.  It is too cute to be true.

The body of Theodore Herzl

After the founding of the occupation state of Israel, the Zionists there moved the body of Herzl from Europe to Palestine. But why to Palestine? Shouldn't his body be moved to "Argentina or Palestine", per his own vision in Der Judenstaat? 

Jordanian regime repression: the least covered repression in the entire Middle East

When Jon Stewart and Bernie Sanders, when Hillary and Ted Cruz all sing the praises of the King of Jordan you know that the Zionism of the regime and its long standing services to the state of Israel makes the regime the most desirable and most praised in the US among all Arab regimes.  They treat the foolish Jordanian king in the US like he is some liberal benevolent constitutional king.  This despot today banned a musical performance by a famous Lebanese group because he said the lyrics clashed with the "traditions and values" of the archaic kingdom. Kid you not.

Lebanese Communist Party has a new secretary-general

Hanna Gharib is in my opinion the best choice for leadership of the LCP in its entire history--although the party was never my kind of interpretation of Marxism.  George Hawi led the party for decades and made it beholden to USSR and Yasser Arafat and ensured that the party represents the most vulgar version of Soviet Marxism.  Khalid Hdadah, the former leader is a very nice guy but he did not know what he wanted to do with the party and I asked once: why are you so ashamed of Marx?  HE insisted on leading the party without asserting an independent agenda and squandered many opportunities to promote the party's role away from the sectarian blocs.  Hanna Gharib was a leader of the teachers of public universities and proved his great leadership abilities, and his perseverance and doggedness.  HE was such a force that the two sectarian coalitions of Lebanon (that includes Hizbullah and Hariri movement) conspired to remove him from the union leadership.  Ghraib brings with him a new generation of young leaders but unless they reengage with Marxism the struggle will be futile, in my opinion.  

bombing residential areas in Aleppo

It seems that Turkish-sponsored Syrian rebel groups are bombing the hell out of Armenian section of Aleppo.  Western correspondents in Beirut will describe the indiscriminate bombing as bombing of "government-controlled areas".

Dear Bassam Haddad honored

"recognized by Fairfax County in its inaugural Arab American Heritage month for his contributions to our community, GMU, and the County."  So proud of him.

Muhammad bin Salman interview

A dissident Saudi student in the US told me yesterday: this interview was unprecedented.  We never ever had a major top Saudi prince give such a free wheeling interview like this.  It never happened before.  He is right--and the student is opposed to Saudi rule.  Muhammad bin Salman came across as more knowledgeable and articulate than the average Saudi prince. But then again: one heard that King Salman raised his children like King Faisal: less indulgences and more emphasis on education.  Compare that to King Fahd's child rearing practices where his children grew up around casino tables. As for substance: it is quite ridiculous and unspecific.  Saudi reformers were expecting real changes in social life: like permission of female drivers and movie theaters.  That did not enter the picture and the Prince later explained that Saudi society is not ready.  But the plan as it is is fraught with contradiction: how can you speak about accountability in a government run by a royal family? How can you speak about transparency when skimming the budget for royal benefit is part of Saudi governance? How can you speak about an economy based on tourism while adhering to Wahhabi social and religious standards? and to speak of 2020 as the year when revenue from oil becomes unimportant is a pipe dream.  

Can you imagine the Western human rights organizations' reactions if this was Russia? US officially condone killing of Syrian civilians

"The Pentagon has approved airstrikes that risk more civilian casualties in order to destroy Islamic State targets".

The President of AUB speaks: he now wants freedom of expression for students

Fadlo Khuri, the new president of AUB, didn't wait long before proving that he would not be a good president of AUB. Not only in reversing previous appointments at the school, and not only in the succumbing to American political pressures from US politicians (he in fact admitted that he received phone calls from two US senators protesting the appointment of Steven Salaita--imagine the uproar of a president of a US university were to receive phone calls of protest from US senators regarding an academic appointment) but he has now offered a pearl of wisdom of what happened at AUB yesterday.  Some supporters of right-wing fascist militia, Lebanese Forces, wanted to celebrate the ill-cited Bashir Gemayyel. Naturally, that brought in intense protests from inside and outside the campus, largely from the secular SSNP.  And armed goons of Nadim Gemayel (son of Bashir) showed up on campus and beat up a student.  And this is what Fadlo wrote in his letter to the campus today: "AUB supports the freedom of expression of all students, and commits to provide an atmosphere that encourages and celebrates diverse political and cultural perspective".  You want to give me the "Freedom of expression" thing now? Are you serious? When you continue to deprive the students of AUB from the rights to political expression? When the student government at AUB is weaker than it was back in 1970? When students are deprived of basic political rights? Also, Mr. Fadlo: in the US, no one is allowed to celebrate Usama Bin Laden or other terrorists on US college campuses.  No one in the US is allowed to celebrate the terrorists of ISIS.  Do you understand? The freedom of expression here is limited and curtailed in those instances, just as Germany does not allow celebration of Hitler on German college campuses. Bashir Gemayel is the local Hitler and Bin Laden combined for many Lebanese. Do you get it now? 

Monday, April 25, 2016

This is the official picture of the vision of Muhammad bin Salman

The vision of Prince Muhammad bin Salman

I have been watching the interview with Muhammad bin Salman on his TV station, Al-Arabiyyah. Basically, his vision is premised on taking back the Saudi economy to the times of 7th century Arabia where revenue would be based on dates and pilgrimage.  

"How the 'Arab Youth Survey' was skewed"

"One problem with the survey is that while ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller's account of its findings is strong on presentation, with lots of colourful infographics, there are issues with the underlying data and methodology that it doesn't address. This raises doubts as to whether the survey accurately reflects the views of "Arab youth" as a whole.
In its description of the methodology, ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller says the polling firm conducted 3,500 face-to-face interviews with Arabs aged 18 to 24, divided equally between male and female. It continues: "Respondents, exclusively nationals of each of the surveyed countries, were selected to provide an accurate reflection of each nation’s geographic and socio-economic make-up. The gender split of the survey is 50:50 male to female. The margin of error of the survey is +/-1.65 per cent."

So far, so good. But there are a couple of problems. One is that the interviews were conducted in large cities, though not just capital cities. ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller boasts about this, saying it "provides a more accurate national picture than findings based solely on the responses of those living in capital cities". That may be true, but it also means the survey only reflects the opinions of urban youth – excluding those in rural areas and smaller towns whose views are not necessarily the same.
A more serious problem, however, is the geographical spread of interviewees across the region..."

misogyny in Israel does not receive any Western media coverage--for some obvious reason

"A bid by a Jewish women's group to challenge tradition at Jerusalem's Western Wall with a blessing usually conducted by men was curtailed Sunday after a decision by Israel's attorney general.
The plan was the latest by the Women of the Wall group to push for equal prayer rights at the site, the holiest location where Jews are currently allowed to pray.
Around 50 women gathered on the plaza leading to the wall amid Passover celebrations to pray, though without carrying out the full blessing.
They prayed under heavy police guard as ultra-Orthodox Jewish men and boys in dark suits looked on and harangued them.
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit's decision on Thursday prohibited the first-ever "women's priestly blessing" at the wall because it did not conform to local custom."
From Aron: "While it has singled out the royal family in its public and written discourse, in tangible operational terms, the Islamic State has concentrated its efforts on attacking and killing Shi`a in Eastern Province. As its campaign continues to escalate, the Islamic State may eventually leverage the sizeable pool of Saudi volunteers who have traveled to major jihadist battlefields such as Iraq and Syria. Just as important, Saudi foreign fighters have distinguished themselves on the battlefield in positions of leadership as well as a wellspring of suicide bombers.[29] While reliable estimates of the numbers of Saudis who may have returned to the kingdom are difficult to pinpoint, there is a wide body of evidence to suggest that Saudis are among the most widely represented foreign fighter cohorts in Syria and Iraq.[t] The potential return of battle-hardened and tactically proficient fighters to the kingdom from warzones such as Syria and Iraq, regardless of their prior organizational affiliations, enhances the Islamic State’s potential recruiting pool. The return of Saudi volunteers who traveled to Iraq to join the insurgency against the United States were integral to al-Qa`ida in the Arabian Peninsula’s 2003-2006 campaign against the kingdom.[30] Saudi Arabia will likely be confronted with a similar challenge down the line."

Obama's wars target "civilian infrastructure"

"KK: In the book you quote a former intelligence official as saying that the White House rejected 35 target sets provided by the Joint Chiefs as being insufficiently painful to the Assad regime. (You note that the original targets included military sites only—nothing by way of civilian infrastructure.) Later the White House proposed a target list that included civilian infrastructure."

Sharp rise in the number of Palestinian children in Israeli prisons

"The number of Palestinian minors being held in Israeli prisons has soared following the wave of violence that started last October. Figures submitted by the Israel Prison Service show that the number of Palestinian minors imprisoned for security-related offenses rose from 170 last September to 438 in February."

EU-Turkish war on Syrian Refugees

"The alleged shooting is the latest in a series of reported attacks on Syrian refugees by border forces in Turkey, which is to receive millions of Euros as part of a deal with the EU aiming to slow boat crossings to Greece." "Far from pressuring Turkey to improve the protection it offers Syrian refugees, the EU is in fact incentivising the opposite." "

Trudeau's Liberals explicitly endorse Saudi Arabia's war crimes in Yemen

"The document, signed by Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion, is a gem of hair-splitting, parsing, wilful blindness and justification for selling billions worth of fighting vehicles and weaponry to Saudi Arabia, one of the most oppressive regimes on Earth." "Among other things, Dion explicitly endorses Saudi Arabia's ruinous military campaign in Yemen, the victims of which, according to the United Nations, are overwhelmingly civilian." (thanks Amir)

According to the BBC, Saudi Arabia has a parliament--not even the people of Saudi Arabia knew

"In addition to criticism of the MP, and calls for her to be dismissed from parliament". (thanks Madawi)

Syrian rebel mortars fall on a church service near Hama: not seen by Anne Barnard and Liz Sly

From Brad: "Brief video of the church of Sts Peter and Paul in Suqaylabiyya, an Eastern Orthodox Christian town outside of Hama. Palm Sunday service in session yesterday morning while "rebel" mortars fall (the scant reports say Ahrar al-Sham and others are active in the area). Thankfully damage and casualties were minimal (there were conflicting reports)."

"Mild" protests against the Free Syrian Army: what US media will NOT cover because this will run counter to their propaganda narrative

Dima Al-Wawi, 12, the youngest Palestinian political prisoner, returns to her town, victorious

Dima Al-Wawi, 12: was arrested by Israel and accused of trying to destroy the Jewish state. Please circulate widely.

Never forgive, and never forget.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Nicholas Branford insults the people of Tyre

From Basim: "Filming them quietly from a table on the stage is Kassem Istanbouli, a Lebanese actor and theater manager. A proponent of cultural life across southern Lebanon, he is seeking to encourage an interest in the arts among Tyre’s youth as an alternative to the drudgery of daily life and the potential lure of the militant Shiite Hezbollah organization. “Any city that does not have cinema, theater, or art is a city of death,” says Mr. Istanbouli. “Cinema is life, and the arts is beauty.” “We are trying to build a culture of life against the culture of death,” he says."


PS: I found this article condescending in tone and content. And is this true? Amal is roundly known to be a group of thugs, at least among Shiites in Beirut I know. Do Tyre's residents feel differently? I doubt it: 

"The mainly Shiite residents – there are sizeable Christian and Sunni communities – tend to be easygoing and prefer Amal’s more moderate politics to Hezbollah’s, which follows Iran’s system of theocratic rule."  

Saturday, April 23, 2016

A student movement is growing at AUB for Steven Salaita

My talk on Syria at "revolutionary university" in Berkeley

Samar Yazbak

So the culture critic of Al-Hayat (mouthpiece of Khalid bin Sultan) reviewed the new book by Samar Yazbak and dared to say that it was not great.  That is not acceptable. You see: among March 14 of Lebanon and Syria, every writer, poet, novelist, columnist, journalist, sculptress, dancer, singer, or musician who supports the Saudi-Hariri camp, is supposed to be very talented.  So when this writer (who I don't like and who consistently support Saudi regime policies and who writes on matters he knows nothing about--like when he rebuked Arabs for not reading the autobiography of Solzhenitsyn--when the man never wrote an autobiography) dared to express less of an admiration of the novel of Samar Yazbak (whose every word is translated into foreign European languages because she has the right politics and not because of talent), there was a huge storm in all the Qatari regime and Saudi regime media and their supporters on social media.

The sharpest exchange between Obama and Saudi King

"The sharpest exchange, the official said, came when Mr. Obama criticized the kingdom’s human rights record".  It was so sharp. Can't you tell from the picture above?

“Defining political issue of our time”:

"NYU grad student union overwhelmingly votes to boycott Israel over violations of Palestinian human rights"

Did you know that there are comedians in Germany?

The unknown Egyptian man

From Sam: "As you said multiple times on your blog, if Regeni had been a token Arab, then there would be no story and international outcry. Well, just look at this story from Reuters : 

An Egyptian man was picked up at the same time. Three sources gave his name but Reuters was unable to verify the man's identity. His connection to Regeni, if any, is unclear.
Reuters was unable to obtain information on the whereabouts of the Egyptian.

Who will ever speak/investigate about that unknown Egyptian? "

How sad: "Many here regard the opposition with complete disdain or as paid agents of foreign powers"

"Assad still retains the support of a significant segment of society, some begrudgingly and only because the alternative, if there is one, is seen as worse. Many here regard the opposition with complete disdain or as paid agents of foreign powers." (thanks Basim)

Obama arrives in Riyadh

Saudi-Israeli love fest

Ba`thist regimes and elections

This has to be studied and analyzed: what is the deal with Ba`thist regimes' obsession and fascination with empty but regular elections? They pull your nails out and they electrocute your genitals and then remind you: don't forget to vote. The elections are next week.

Palestine Legal calls on UCLA to address escalating intimidation against SJP

From Dan: "More on UCLA... At the following link there is a brief explanation of how Palestinian rights advocates have been systematically discriminated against at UCLA, and at the end of that explanation there is a link to the five and half page letter sent to university officials by an attorney for SJP. That letter provides details of the discrimination, slander, intimidation and harassment directed against those who speak up for Palestinian rights at UCLA."

The American "reactionary mind"

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "The Rise of Donald Trump: The American "Reactionary Mind*".

*The Reactionary Mind is a reference to the title of the book by Corey Robin.

Friday, April 22, 2016

A Guid to retrieve your children from a foreign country

Instead of the crazy Australian scenario of hired goons and violent kidnapping, I recommend that the mother travel to the country accompanied by news media from her own home country, and speak to the local media in the country and appeal to public opinion. This would be far more helpful and effective. Shame the lousy father in his local media.  It would do the job.

Bloomberg News brought to you by...

Saudi princes 

Prince (not House of Saud guy)

I was planning to write a moving tribute about Prince but then I remembered that I don't know anything about him or his music.

It is only legitimate to quote Robert Fisk if you plan to mock him

"The young Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubair –  brilliant former Washington ambassador, a man with a silken, dangerously eloquent tongue – has no hesitation in denouncing Western weakness." (thanks Basim)

How to be a Liberal-Salafite in the service of the House of Saud

They asked a veteran propagandist for Saudi princes, `Utham Al-`Amir, about how he describes himself as "liberal-Salafite" and he said: "I don't see a clash in coexisting with liberalism and salfaiyyah".  Kid you not.

And yet ISIS is still standing

"The USS Harry S. Truman is celebrating the work of its crew after setting the record for ordnance dropped on ISIS. The Truman launched over 1,118 ordinance pieces against terrorist targets over the past five months, surpassing the 1,085 dropped by the USS Theodore Roosevelt's pilots in 2015." (thanks Fred)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Can you imagine the hue and cry if the tables were turned? "“Death to the Arabs” rally draws thousands in Tel Aviv"

"In Tel Aviv’s Yitzhak Rabin Square on Tuesday evening, thousands of Israelis rallied in support of Elor Azarya, the soldier filmed executing a gravely wounded Palestinian last month.  Rally-goers shouted anti-Arab slogans and attacked persons perceived as being leftists or journalists.  Hours earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a call for leniency for the soldier."  

Mona Eltahawy's Headscarves and Hymens

Don't laugh at me but I have been reading her book, "Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution".  Is this a joke? Or is this a new genre of anti-feminist essentialism fake feminism which Western culture welcomes? She reminds me of the anti-feminist Lebanese Joumana Haddad.  I think Western culture welcomes such manifestation because they internalize the racism and bigotry and non-scholarly generalizations about all Arabs and about all Muslims.  And the documentation of the book is hilarious: she mentions in passing some feminist names but then is obsessed with Newsweek and various shallow journalism of the West. This is her audience and her sources.  And she loves to titillate Western readers with stories about "what Arab men are doing to us".  Her generalization about Arabs and their peculiar culture are based on ranking by the World Bank. I kid you not (p. 2--of an electronic edition).  She tells you that Newsweek committed an error in hailing King Abdullah of SA as a reformer and adds that it "ought to know better".  Yes, because Newsweek has a history of first-rate journalistic coverage of the world.  She tells you that clerics of Saudi Arabia are obsessed with women, as if reactionary clerics of Judaism and Christianity are not obsessed with women.  But don't think that she didn't work hard in researching her book. For example, when she talks about Islamism, she knows what she is talking about and she even uses the official definition of Islamism as offered by...AP.  I am not making this up. (p.4).  She tells you that Arab "men can't control themselves", thus implying that all Arab men are rapists and sexual harassers and predators.  Her questions reminds me of when a boy or a girl stumbles on feminism at age 11 or 12.  As in: why are there double standards, etc.  And she implies that in Arab culture women are not expected to have sexual drives, when the entire Islamic and Arab system of gender restriction is based recognition and even exaggeration of the sexual desires of women. But here she is extrapolating Western Christian standards on Arab culture.  She tells you that the regime that NATO installed in Libya was very sexist but instead of faulting NATO she faults...Arab men.  She tells you that Egypt is a "classist society". What can't Arabs enjoy living in the classless societies of the West, why?  But wait: she makes a case that if you disagree with her: you are either a Western right-wing bigot or you are a Western liberal who refuse to condemn misogyny.  So you are stuck: you have to agree with her or else.  

Do Anne Barnard and Liz Sly and other Western correspondents have some explanations to do? Apologies?

Every article by those Western correspondents in Beirut rely on youtube videos by Syrian opposition. Now that the Post uncovered that a DC-based PR firm (hired by Saudi regime) controlled the Twitter and Youtube accounts of the Syrian National Coalition, does this not warrant an explanation and apology to readers by those correspondents?  

Free riders

So today, Obama praised the free riders and pledged to continue to sell them weapons.

Gulf potentates are mad at Obama

They were so furious at Obama for his interview in the Atlantic that they all gathered in Riyadh and prostrated before him.

This just in: Saudi regime's tool, Ahmad Jarba of the Syrian national coalition inaugurates his own rebel force

It is called "Elite Forces". Kid you not.  

The Washington Post did not know about PR firm running social media account of Syrian opposition

It had no idea.

PR firm Qorvis ran the Twitter account for the Syrian Opposition Coalition

"The Saudi government and its affiliates have spent millions of dollars on U.S. law, lobby and public relations firms to raise the country’s visibility in the United States and before the United Nations at a crucial time.
And some of Washington’s premier law and lobby firms — including Podesta Group, BGR Government Affairs, DLA Piper and Pillsbury Winthrop — have been tasked with the job, according to a review of Justice Department filings. Five lobby and PR firms were hired in 2015 alone, signaling a stepped-up focus on ties with Washington.
The firms have been coordinating meetings between Saudi officials and business leaders and U.S. media, and promoting foreign investment in the Saudi economy. Some have even been tasked with coming up with content for the embassy’s official Twitter and YouTube accounts.
The Saudi government, embassy and government-owned entities have been contracting with U.S. consulting firms for more than 30 years. The work ranges from years-long agreements for legislative advice to one-time PR outreach efforts during “VIP visits” of Saudi leaders to Washington and New York.
For 12 days last June, for example, consultants at the PR firm Edelman handled the visit of Abdulaziz Al-Harbi, CEO of International Trust Construction, during the executive’s trip to New York, setting up meetings with business, government and media leaders and earning $10,000 for their efforts.
In 2014, consultants at the PR firm Qorvis developed content for the Saudi Arabia embassy’s YouTube and Twitter pages, and ran the Twitter account for the Syrian Opposition Coalition."

Arms dealers give the most money to Clinton

"Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton has collected more than any other candidate in the 2016 race from employees tied to the 50 largest contractors with the U.S. Department of Defense — at least $454,994 in campaign funds over a 14-month period ending in February."

The US coup in Honduras

"Hillary Clinton may have foreign policy experience, but it is experience comprised of disaster after disaster." "In 2009, the Honduran military overthrew the democratically elected government of President Manuel Zelaya. The populist left-wing leader was woken up in the middle of the night, kidnapped and whisked away from his own country." "Clinton, a committed hawk and firm believer in U.S. empire, played a uniquely hands-on role in the coup, just as she did in the equally disastrous war in Libya."

When you read that Obama raised human rights issues with Gulf tyrants

It really does not mean except this: that during conversation Obama said: and take care of women in Saudi Arabia, now let us all have dinner.  Wow. That must have been tense, as the New York Times reported today.

US is happy with Saudi tyranny and war crimes

"Obama’s visit this week will be taking place in the shadow of an ongoing U.S.-supplied, Saudi-led campaign in Yemen, where Saudi airstrikes have killed thousands of civilians." “The reality is the U.S. foreign policy establishment, including the State Department and Pentagon, are happy with the Saudi relationship,” said Stephen McInerney, executive director of the Project on Middle East Democracy." (thanks Amir)

UCLA officials denounce David Horowitz posters as intimidation

"UCLA officials accused conservative writer David Horowitz Tuesday of using intimidation tactics after he posted flyers around campus Friday that named students and faculty members as supporters of terrorism against Israel.
Jerry Kang, vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion, sent an email to students Tuesday denouncing Horowitz’s action. Horowitz, who is based in Los Angeles but unaffiliated with UCLA, alleged student members of the Muslim Student Association and Students for Justice in Palestine supported violence that targeted Jewish individuals.
In his email, Kang said Horowitz implicated the listed students and faculty members as terrorists and murderers. He added he thinks Horowitz caused severe psychological harm by listing names and releasing personal information that makes students and faculty members more vulnerable to threats.
“This serious escalation amounts to a focused, personalized intimidation that threatens specific members of our Bruin community,” Kang said in the email."

Banning Niqab because there are three of them in Latvia

"Villagers stare. Ms. Legzdina is one of a tiny handful of women — generally estimated at three — to wear the niqab in this Baltic nation, whose population of less than two million people includes about 1,000 practicing Muslims, according to government estimates."

Anne Barnard analyzes the breakdown of cease-fire in Syria

"The breakdown of political negotiations could also be awkward for Saudi Arabia". Awkward? When the negotiation team members are mere tools of Saudi regime and when all Arab media are admitting that the negotiation team has been controlled by Muhammad bin Salman from day one?

What was the crime of Roussef? Well, she spent money to alleviate poverty. That is a big crime for Western powers and banks

No one is accusing her of personal corruption but she dared to fight poverty:  "Experts say Ms. Rousseff’s administration effectively borrowed some $11 billion from state banks, an amount equal to almost 1 percent of the economy, to fund popular social programs that have been a hallmark of the Workers Party’s 13 years in power. These programs included payments to Brazil’s poorest residents, credits to small farmers and the financing of homeownership for low-income families."

street protests in Syria

After the Syrian ceasefire, someone posted on youtube footage of tens of youth protesting against the regime in areas of the undemocratic rebels. Western media were jubilant and they immediately published articles about how the peaceful protests against the regime returned to Syria: they wanted to validate their silly and bogus theories about the nature and origins of the Syrian conflict.  Well, that it did not happen, and the rebels in fact banned demonstrations.  

Here the New York Times provides justifications for the Israeli murder of a Palestinian boy

"The murder took place at a particularly traumatic period in Israel’s recent history".  Can you imagine if this sentence is allowed by the editor in an article about the Palestinian murder of an Israeli boy??  Traumatic period? The entire history of the Palestinian people has been made traumatic by Zionism.

anti-communist massacres of Indonesia

Of course, there will be no investigations.  The US won't allow investigations because they will surely show US complicity.

The poll of Arab Youth who love UAE repressive regime: what David Ignatius does not tell you

This poll was conducted by a firm which is hired by the UAE regime and all poll which are commissioned by UAE regime bring results which are favorable to UAE polygamous rulers and their policies. Also, it says here that youth were asked about their views of "traditional values".  This has no meaning in Arabic.  See how polls can't be translated and they can be meaningless when they are translated verbatim in their terms?  Also, please spare us the patronizing tone of the article.

Somebody needs to help me out here: where and when did the Obama administration support democracy in the Middle East?

"The Obama administration saw this extraordinary moment of popular mobilization as an opportunity to finally bring democracy to a politically stagnant region."  When and where did that happen, Marc? In Egypt, where the US supported Omar Sulayman (head of intelligence apparatus as an alternative to Mubarak after it could no more support Mubarak, or in Yemen where it blocked democratic transition to install a GCC puppet, or in Syria where it contacted the Syrian opposition to GCC countries, or in Bahrain where it supported a crackdown? Or in Jordan where it stands by the King no matter what? Where and when ddi the Obama administration support "bringing democracy to a politically stagnant region"? It did as much as Bush or Truman did--which is nothing really.  

"Poll: Most Russians Prefer Return of Soviet Union and Socialism"

Do you blame them: "A recent poll revealed that most Russians would like to see the return of the Soviet Union and socialism."

Is anti-Zionism anti-Semitism? This Zionist thinks he stumbled on a clever proof

He says: "Zionism is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people. It holds that Jews, like any other people, have the right to national self-determination. Denying that right to Jews, and only to Jews, can’t be called anything other than anti-Semitism."  Well, yes. If one is to deny self-determination to Jews, it would be anti-Semitic.  But anti-Zionism is not denial of self-determination to Jews (and not all Jews are Zionists and not all Zionists vote with their feet relocate to the holy land), but is the notion that self-determination for Zionist Jews should not take place get the expense of another people.  So anti-Zionists like me are opposed to the notion that the creation of a Jewish state should take place atop an existing nation.  That is the crux of the issue. Of course, there is another layer: secularists like myself would object to the creation of any religious-identity state: be it Islamic or Jewish or Christian.  What Zionists deliberately don't want to understand is this: Palestinian and Arab opposition to Zionism is about the choice of the destination (an existing homeland) and about racist practices of the Zionist entity, and its occupation and war crimes.  If Zionism is a movement by Indonesian Muslim or by Tibetan Buddhists, we would be as fiercely opposed to it as now.  Stop with these verbal games hoping to score polemical points which only make your arguments more stupid.  So the opposition to Zionism would be indeed anti-Semitism if one is to accept the occupation of Palestine by Catholics and not by Jews. That would be anti-Semitic. But we are opposed to the occupation of Palestine BY ANYONE. Get it?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Did I not tell you? Middle East regimes are savage and cruel--but notagainst white people

"An Australian woman and television crew charged with kidnapping her children from their father in Beirut were set to be released on Wednesday, a judge said, after an out-of-court settlement was reached between the sides."  If this woman was from Bangladesh  she would have been harassed and sentenced to life.  (thanks Basim)

US-Saudi relations: an interview with Swiss Public Radio

"Strategische Freundschaft» zwischen Washington und Riad" (You have to scroll down for the story).

They won

On that dangerous Hizbullah spy operation in UAE: read all about it

""He married her as a ploy to obtain sensitive information from her workplace to hand over to the organisation," the witness said.
The 54-year-old woman, who is also one of the defendants, reportedly gave her husband unpublished information about the UAE's energy sector.
The witness also said that Hizballah paid nearly seven million Dirhams ($1.9 million) to one of the defendants, while others received gifts such as mobile phones and tablet computers."  Don't laugh at this. It is widely known that Hizbullah owns oil wells in the southern suburbs of Beirut and has keen interest in energy matters.  Furthermore, it is funny that one agent would receive $1.9 million while the others received gifts and Arabic sweets.  But then again, remember that UAE has a Minister of Happiness, so smile.

Here, Obama can be seen rebuking the Saudi King for repression of women and for spreading a fanatical Jihadi ideology: it was tense, I am sure

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Australian violent kidnapping attempt (of children) in Lebanon II

I have been angry at the audacity of privileged Australians who went to Lebanon in order to kidnap little children from their fathers. The hired Australian goons also hit the grandmother and the maid (the hitting of the maid didn't make it into Western media accounts, naturally).  Look, it seems that the children are victims of their parents: both parents seem to have been cruel to their children.  A relative of the father tells me that he indeed is guilty of depriving the children of their mothers, and he admitted that he broke into the email account of his ex-wife.  That is the kind of father.  All that however does not excuse the cruel decision of the mother who, using her race privilege and nationality privilege, thought that she could just storm into Lebanon and kidnap her children.  Of course, they will be released from jail because they are not Africans or Asian.  We know the legal standards of a country like Lebanon.   I don't like the father but he has a point here:  ""If the tables were turned, if I were to show up in Australia trying to kidnap someone ... I would have probably been shot on the spot, called a terrorist," he said.  The 32-year-old father also said he wasn't willing to drop charges against Faulkner because he believes it would also lead to the release of the news team who filmed the operation, and those who carried it out."

The ruins of US diplomatic convoys: when the US ambassador in Lebanon toured the ancient ruins of Tyre

"Touring Tyre on foot can be tiring, to be sure. But whether US Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly was too tired or too busy to get out of her car to survey these marvelous vestiges of antiquity, nothing excuses her regrettable decision to drive a convoy of vehicles over this ancient site, damaging a stone wall in the process."

The deadly convoys of US diplomats around the world

Whenever US diplomats move in their convoys in Lebanon, it is always near-misses.  They are accidents about to happen.  It is the mentality that the safety of the US diplomat is far more important than the lives of the natives.  They often shoot in the air as the cars moves through narrow streets.  I have always argued that American (ostensible) humanitarianism and care are as deadly as US bombs: "As the convoy barreled through a village in northern Cameroon on Monday, a 7-year-old boy darted to the road, excited to see the chain of white S.U.V.s carrying Samantha Power, the first cabinet-level American official to visit the country since 1991.  Distracted by a thundering noise, the boy glanced up at the helicopter providing security from above. Suddenly, he was struck dead — killed by the same convoy that had brought officials to showcase American efforts to help protect West Africa’s women and children.  After hitting the boy, one S.U.V. carrying State Department employees pulled to the side of the road. The rest of the motorcade continued on its way."