Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The bad terrorists and the good terrorists who are supported by West

"Nobody here sees much difference between Isis, Jabhat al-Nusra or Ahrar al-Sham and other al-Qaeda clones. Nobody supposes that there are “moderate” Islamists of any strength with whom there can be negotiations. This view was comically borne out last week when a small force of supposed moderates sent by the US army to Aleppo promptly handed over their weapons to Nusra."

Aljazeera and Snowden

To Aljazeera Arabic: no, Edward Snowden never said that he has documents to show that Bin Laden is alive. Stop peddling stupid internet rumors.  The Russian magazine you cite does not even exist.

Lebanese communists against ISIS

"LCP says it is also in the process of setting up similar armed groups in other border areas that are vulnerable to infiltration from Syria in coordination with the Lebanese army and Hezbollah." "The communist party is not the first group to volunteer its men to take up arms and support the military and Hezbollah in the area. In 2014, a Christian armed group was created in Ras Baalbek to patrol the village and its surrounding area. Elsewhere in eastern and southern Lebanon, the Resistance Brigades, a Hezbollah-backed group, serves a similar function."

UK deal to back Saudi Arabia for UN Human Rights Council exposed

"The documents indicate Britain initiated the backroom talks by asking Saudi Arabia for its support ahead of the November 2013 UNHRC elections. The Saudi regime has beheaded more people this year than Islamic State and has an appalling record of killing or lashing people who speak out, are homosexual or commit adultery. Britain and Saudi Arabia were elected to the UNHRC, which has 47 member states." "Mr Neuer said being a UNHRC member would help Saudi Arabia escape scrutiny of its rights violations. “No one ever has even tried to hold Saudi Arabia to account with a resolution, special session, commission of inquiry or suspension of their membership,” he said. “The US, EU and other democracies give the Saudis a free pass.” "

killing at least 70 civilians

"Warplanes with the Saudi Arabia-led military coalition bombed a wedding party on Yemen’s Red Sea coast on Monday, killing at least 70 civilians, according to two local officials and a relative of one of the victims." "The killings added to criticism of the Saudi-led coalition for carrying out what human rights advocates and aid workers said was a military campaign that increasingly failed to distinguish between military targets and civilians."

Neil MacFarquhar in Moscow

Having covered the Arab world without knowing Arabic, Mr. MacFarquhar is now covering Russia without knowing Russian.  Look at this gem: "The forces of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria were reportedly so depleted by the end of the summer that Damascus sent a senior envoy to Moscow to warn that the government was weighing a retreat from the capital to the coastal heartland of the Alawite minority that constitutes much of the elite."  The source of this story is Arabic tabloids owned by Saudi princes. Kid you not.

Look how opportunistic China is, according to New York Times

Is this newspaper becoming more stupid by the day?  "China has been criticized for using its development aid, particularly in Africa, for its own strategic objectives and economic needs".  As opposed to US aid?  The US does not dispense aid for its own "strategic and economic needs"? How altruistic imperialism is in its own eyes.

Muslims can't be citizens

"In a 1913 decision called Ex Parte Mohreiz, the court denied a Lebanese Christian immigrant citizenship because they associated his "dark walnut skin" with "Mohammedanism".
And in 1942, a Muslim immigrant from Yemen was denied citizenship because, writing about "Arabs" the court noted: "it cannot be expected that as a class they would readily intermarry with our population and be assimilated  into our civilization."
In this case, the court conflated "Arab" with "Muslim" identity. The courts too believed that such an identity was "inconsistent with the Constitution", and said so in public rulings." (thanks Narrima)

Carnegie Endowment

Carnegie Endowment is to peace what Obama is to peace.

New York Times cites an objective observer of US-Russian relations

"said Andrew S. Weiss, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace."  Wait. The man used to work for Obama.  Should you not tell your readers right away?

cult of Queen Rania of Jordan

From Shadi: ""At a critical time in the Middle East, Queen Rania of Jordan is facing the challenges of fundamentalism, the refugee crisis and rights for women and children with a rare combination of grace and guts"

Ummm.. those who are victims of Rania's personality cult, should ask themselves if they also love Asma Al-Asad for the same reasons? Overlooking the fact both are married to tyrants, cult followers overlook a country's tyranny for lip service in the name of Arab women empowerment. It wasn't too long ago when the international media fell in love with Asma. "

Nobel peace laureate is the world's biggest arms dealer

"A newly released report reveals Obama is the greatest arms exporter since the Second World War." "The Congressional Research Service found that since October 2010 alone, President Obama has agreed to sell $90.4bn in arms to the Gulf kingdom. “That President Obama would so enthusiastically endorse arming such a brutal authoritarian government is unsurprising, since the United States is by far the leading arms dealer (with 47 percent of the world total) to what an annual State Department report classifies as the world’s “least democratically governed states,” notes Micah Zenko, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Obama has done little to promote democracy or bring an end to terror. When children in Gaza pick up unexploded ordinance, they see “Made in Bethesda, Maryland, USA.” "

The vicious war on Yemen: US has bloody hands there

"Since there are no monarchies in Islam and Saudi Arabia itself is not mentioned in the Qur’an, legitimacy is a fundamental issue for the Saudis and the Hajj disasters have been extremely damaging." "Many Saudis are sickened by the sight of the Arab world’s richest country pummelling its poorest, and as the cost in lives and treasure grows, criticism is mounting that Prince Mohammed bin Salman– whose unofficial nickname is “Reckless” – rushed in without a proper military strategy or an exit plan. “This is a war against the Yemeni nation and against Yemen becoming independent,” said Sgt Maj Dakheel bin Naser Al Qahtani, a former head of air force operations at King Abdulaziz airbase, Dhahran, who defected from the Saudi armed forces last year."

anti-Islam bigotry

"Do these people know what it means to outlaw Muslim worship? Do they teach history in the North Carolina schools? Do they know what would happen if we closed mosques, arrested worshipers and prayer leaders, imposed religious tests for public office? Are these overwrought questions, or do the ugly answers in this poll portend something seriously wrong: an outbreak of a deadly fever this country has seen many times before?" (thanks Amir)

Russian intervention in Syria

I think that those, like me, who fiercely oppose Western military intervention in the Middle East should also oppose Russian military intervention in the region.  Furthermore, the slogans of Putin about fighting ISIS does not sway me: I have seen before methods and style of Russian wars on "Islamists" in Chechnya and they don't impress at all.

A study in American journalism: see this headline of the New York Times and the article

"Russia Buildup Seen as Fanning Flames in Syria".  So you see the headline and you see it talks about "seen" as in perceived.  You read the article and it only cites US officials (former and current) and one Zionist at WINEP.  Would something like that pass in journalism school's introductory class?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

So what about Bashshar?

So am I the only one left who does not want Bashshar to stay as leader in Syria? It seems all are changing their position in this regard.  I find that quite ironic.

Anwar Sadat and his son: change the educational system of the country to suit the son's standards

If this was not about the regime of Anwar Sadat, it would have been a front page story in Western media.

Saudi King congratulates

This is an actual headline in a Saudi newspaper: The Saudi king congratulations the Crown prince on the "success of the Hajj".

Is that the best put down lines? An Iranian anchorperson responds to a swipe by a Kuwaiti guest

So the Iranian anchor was having a conversation with a Kuwaiti guest about the tragedy of the Hajj. The Kuwaiti guest said: "....and whatsup or twitter--I don't know if you have that in Iran".  The Iranian anchor said: "we do...we [also] have the nuclear".

Only in Lebanon: a Lebanese military expert "disables" a Molotov cocktail--I am not making this up

Flash: the huge arsenal for ISIS that Saudi regime has uncovered

Front page of An-Nahar (the right-wing pro GCC sectarian racist paper of Lebanon).

Art Gallery

"Bahrain's PR offensive enlists Israeli help"

"A campaign to polish up Bahrain's tarnished image in the United States is reported to have enlisted help from the Israeli propaganda outfit, MEMRI.
A 200-strong delegation from the pro-government Bahrain Federation of Expatriate Associations (BFEA) is currently in the US promoting "This is Bahrain", a campaign "to change negative media perception of the situation in Bahrain", according to the Middle East news website,
The report says the delegation had a meeting with MEMRI (short for Middle East Media Research Institute) on September 23 and quotes BFEA's secretary-general, Betsy Mathieson, as saying:
"Bahrain suffered unfairly from negative media reports and 'This is Bahrain' looks forward to working closely with the Middle East Media Research Institute, which does an outstanding job on many fronts."
A separate report on the Gulf Digital News website says BFEA has signed a memorandum of understanding with MEMRI but Albawaba's report has since removed a reference to this, saying it was a mistake and no memorandum of understanding has been signed. However, both reports agree that BFEA and MEMRI will be working together to improve perceptions of Bahrain.
It is unclear whether BFEA is aware of MEMRI's Israeli connection. Albawaba describes MEMRI as an "independent, non-partisan research institute" – which it is not.
MEMRI was set up in 1998 by Yigal Carmon, a former colonel in Israeli military intelligence, and Meyrav Wurmser, an Israeli-born American, ostensibly to "bridge the language gap between the Middle East and the West". An early version of its website also said it aimed to emphasise "the continuing relevance of Zionism to the Jewish people and to the state of Israel" but this was later deleted (though preserved in an internet archive).
Wurmser was an adviser to Dick Cheney when he was US vice-president and was closely involved with the group pushing for war with Iraq, which eventually happened in 2003."

New York Times corrects Putin about the war in Syria

"even though Mr. Assad’s forces are for the most part fighting rebel groups dedicated to his ouster, not the Islamic State militants".  Excuse me, but those "rebel groups dedicated to his ouster": who are they and what is their ideology? Let me guess. Feminists, secularists, democrats, and Sufis, am I right?

House of Saud investigates

""It's a lie that Satan's representative, Khamenei, mourns the Mina incident victims," Saudi prince Khaled Al Saud tweeted, referring to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. "His dirty hands are stained with the blood of the children of Syria and the Sunnis of Iraq," the prince told his nearly quarter of a million followers.
Jamal Khashoggi, head of a Saudi news channel owned by a prince, said investigators were looking at the actions of a large number of Iranian pilgrims who "happened to be in the wrong place in the wrong time". "I think Saudi Arabia will speak very loudly on the issue when the result of the investigations come out. No statement has been made officially, but now it seems that the Iranians will be blamed because they took their hajjis in the wrong direction at the wrong time. That was very irresponsible," he said." (thanks Basim)

A WINEP person goes on a "research trip" to Bahrain

"During an independent research trip to Bahrain this summer, I was given exclusive access to weapons seized from one Bahraini dhow intercepted on July 15, 2015, ironically, a day after the announcement of the nuclear agreement with Iran. The ship had sailed out to international waters where it was met by a boat from Iran. Weapons were then passed to the Bahraini boat. The cargo included around 100lbs of C4, detonators, and Kalashnikov type rifles with their serial numbers sanded off. 
Iran is not concealing their vision for the region. Only two days after the seizure, the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei announced, “The Iranian nation will not stop supporting the oppressed nation of Palestine, Yemen, [or] Bahrain”." (thanks Frank)

Monday, September 28, 2015

How Middle East immigrants are viewed in the US

"Immigrants from the Middle East fared worse in public opinion, with just 20% saying their effect on the country has been mostly positive, and 39% saying their impact has been mostly negative."

Ahmad Matar's poem against the House of Saud

Ahmad Matar is a very popular kind-of-underground poet who uses the style of Nizar Qabbani to comment on Arab political matters.  I don't appreciate his poetry and it could be because I am purist in Arabic poetry.  I find his style to be too easy and too unsophisticated and intended for mass audience with little attention to beauty.

Only in America

Whenever I hear the American cliche: "only in America" I immediately translate as: in every other country in the world.  They even say it when they win the lottery: I have to tell them. Some people win the lottery in Lebanon too.  The rag-to-riches story is an exception of every country and the promotion of it is intended to give hope where hope is only helpful to the ruling classes.

Saudi Arabia's version of Islam

"Complicit Saudi Islam played a critical role in the subsequent geopolitical competition with the Soviet Union in the 1950s and 1960s. The United States knowingly used the retrograde Wahhabi Islam of the Saudis as a counterweight to progressive Arab nationalisms. These nationalisms had shown themselves willing to open doors to the Soviets in exchange for support for their projects of independent national development. By doing so, they threatened to challenge American hegemony over the Middle East and its precious oil resources."

Saudi Arabia has withdrawn tens of billions of dollars from global asset managers

"Saudi Arabia has withdrawn tens of billions of dollars from global asset managers as the oil-rich kingdom seeks to cut its widening deficit and reduce exposure to volatile equities markets amid the sustained slump in oil prices. The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency’s foreign reserves have slumped by nearly $73bn since oil prices started to decline last year as the kingdom keeps spending to sustain the economy and fund its military campaign in Yemen.  The central bank is also turning to domestic banks to finance a bond programme to offset the rapid decline in reserves.
This month, several managers were hit by a new wave of redemptions, which came on top of an initial round of withdrawals this year, people aware of the matter said. 
“It was our Black Monday,” said one fund manager, referring to the large number of assets withdrawn by Saudi Arabia last week."

Israel yet again assists Al-Qai`dah

"Israel's army confirmed it had targeted two Syrian army posts, but said it used artillery fire, not air strikes, in response to "errant" rockets from inside Syria landing on its territory. Fighting between government forces and rebels in the Quneitra area of the Syrian Golan Heights has intensified in recent days. It was the first Israeli fire on southern Syria in more than a month. Israel has attacked Syrian armed forces and arch-foe Lebanese Hezbollah, a Damascus ally, during the four-year-old civil war in its hostile neighbour."

a CD they produced which describes how Arabs can be burned alive

"Investigators found a CD they produced which describes how Arabs can be burned alive: break the windows of a home, throw flammable material into the rooms and set fire to the exits. “This way Arabs are burned to death,” the instructions assure."

France: Muslim and Jewish pupils were told to wear red discs around their necks

"A French school is under investigation after Muslim and Jewish pupils were told to wear red discs around their necks at lunchtime." "The school has since stopped the practice after parents protested and compared the discs to the yellow stars which Germany’s Nazi government forced Jewish people to wear during the Third Reich."

U.S. pushing Saudis to be more assertive is causing problem

"The scale of the country’s problems – both militarily and financially – led to the grandson of the country’s founder writing that change at the top may be necessary to protect al-Saud’s future as rulers." (thanks Amir)

Those matriculating [in Israeli schools] in the language can rarely hold a conversation in Arabic

"'Those matriculating [in Israeli schools] in the language can rarely hold a conversation in Arabic. And almost none of the hundreds of teachers introducing Jewish children to Israel’s second language are native speakers, even though one in five of the population belong to the country’s Palestinian minority.
The reason, says Yonatan Mendel, a researcher at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem, is that the teaching of Arabic in Israel’s Jewish schools is determined almost exclusively by the needs of the Israeli army.
Mendel’s recent research shows that officers from a military intelligence unit called Telem design much of the Arabic language curriculum. “Its involvement is what might be termed an ‘open secret’ in Israel,” he told MEE.
“The military are part and parcel of the education system. The goal of Arabic teaching is to educate the children to be useful components in the military system, to train them to become intelligence officers.”'"

Arabs in Israeli textbooks

From Regan: "'Nurit Peled-Elhanan, a professor of education at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, said her studies of Israeli textbooks showed depictions of Arabs and Palestinians were “racist both verbally and visually”.
“They are necessary to legitimise a Jewish state, the history of massacres of Arabs, discrimination against Palestinian citizens and a lack of human rights in the occupation territories,” she told MEE.
“The aim is to create good soldiers, those who are prepared to torture and kill and still think they are doing the best for the nation.”
Separate studies of maps in textbooks have shown three-quarters do not indicate the Green Line separating Israel from the occupied Palestinian territories, suggesting the whole area accords with the right’s idea of Greater Israel.'"

Saudi regime kills civilians in Yemen and this is the headline of the New York Times, one of many Zionist publications protecting House of Saud

"Saudi Officials Deny Killing Civilians in Yemen"

Nicholas Blanford, the least credible foreign correspondent in the entire Middle East region, talks yet again to his Hizbollah sources

"The deal, which will be overseen by the United Nations, includes the Sunni-populated town of Zabadani, 17 miles northwest of Damascus and adjacent to the border with Lebanon. It was unclear whether the deal also permits the departure of combatants from Foua and Kefraya.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Meet this guy: he wants to change Islam for you, and is willing to accept suggestions

This trend will continue: token Muslims in the West who will claim to be able to change Islam just as you want to.  And for a hefty fee, they will lead all Muslims to join their new version of Islam.  And the stampe of the Danish conservative party will help too.

PS This former Palestinian refers to Israeli wars on Arabs by the official names of the Israeli military operations.  You approve, I am sure.

Excuse me but how is the internet a force of peace? ISIS also recruits throught the internet?

It is neither a force of peace nor a force of war.  It depends how it is used.  Obviously, the ruling classes have a huge advantage in the use of internet.  "Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, promoted access to the Internet as “an enabler of human rights” and a “force for peace” on Saturday, as he announced that his company would help the United Nations bring Internet connections to refugee camps".

Have you noticed that when a pro-US potentate issues orders of executions it is presented as heroic?

This is a most crude propaganda piece about the Jordanian monarchy that I have seen. It only lacked the signature of the press office of the king.  And do you notice that all pieces that are based on uncited interviews with the king show him as resolute and firm when this guy is not seen as firm and resolute by anyone: not in DC nor in Jordan.  The man is a joke but will continue to be taken seriously because Israel lobbies for him as it lobbied for his father (and just as the Zionist movement lobbied for his great grandfather).  The article all but implied that the King is so firm that he brandished his gun in official meetings in DC.  Look at this silly passage:  "The king foresaw that Western governments would protest the executions as acts of vengeance, even though both inmates had been sentenced long ago as part of normal court proceedings. But he would not be deterred. As far as he was concerned, the appointment with the hangman already had been delayed too long, he told aides.
“I don’t want to hear a word from anyone,” Abdullah said."  Wow. he issues orders of excuctions of men and women and does not care. Wow. How moderate of him. How wise.  Why can't we have more of this model in the region? Well, we do in fact and the West is workign hard to replicate this mdoel of governance in Syria and Iran--two countries that defy the US model of moderation in the region. 

ttruth? truth? you can't handle the truth

"Sixteen of the armed MD-530 scout helicopters were rushed here this year to great fanfare, and a dozen more are to join them. But Colonel Qalandari was not impressed. “This plane is a total mess,” he said. “To be honest, I don’t know why we have this plane here.”
An Afghan public affairs officer tried to shush the colonel as he spoke to a journalist at the Afghan Air Force base at Kabul airport. A United States Air Force public affairs officer looked on aghast.
But Colonel Qalandari kept on: “I will tell the truth. This is my country, and these are my men, and they deserve the truth.”"

Here is more info on the mighty Afghan air force that the US is building:
"Built by McDonnell Douglas, the two-seat helicopter has a 33-year history, serving as a Special Operations scout helicopter, and in the United States as a traffic and weather news helicopter, or for power line work."

Is throwing rocks heroic? Well, it depends who is throwing at whom

"National Public Radio featured a story about a controversy over the Stonewall riots of 1969 that helped liberate America. Who threw the first brick? the headline asks. Throwing the brick was a heroic act." "Well, it’s one thing to throw a brick against oppression 36 years ago in New York and another to throw a stone against oppression in Palestine. This morning on National Public Radio, Emily Harris filed a report on the latest rules allowing Israel to shoot youths throwing stones." "The double standard is an expression of PEP. Progressive Except Palestine. From Bernie Sanders to NPR to the Berkeley human welfare commission, our progressives celebrate American civil rights advances while accepting the persecution of millions in Palestine on the basis of their ethnicity."

The biggest surveillance system in the world

"The mass surveillance operation — code-named KARMA POLICE — was launched by British spies about seven years ago without any public debate or scrutiny. It was just one part of a giant global Internet spying apparatus built by the United Kingdom’s electronic eavesdropping agency, Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ." "As of 2012, GCHQ was storing about 50 billion metadata records about online communications and Web browsing activity every day, with plans in place to boost capacity to 100 billion daily by the end of that year. The agency, under cover of secrecy, was working to create what it said would soon be the biggest government surveillance system anywhere in the world." (thanks Amir)

ISIS foreign fighters and Western media

So I read in the Times that some 30,000 foreign fighters have joined ISIS since 2011.  What is missing from such a grim assessment is that Western media themselves especially in the first two to three years of the Syrian conflict have been complicit in the recruitment and incitement on behalf of the cause of ISIS and that of Nusrah front. Who can froget those articles about those heroic Americans and Canadians who left everything here in order to join "the free Syrian" freedom fighters? Who can forget the appalling insistence that the Syrian rebels are democratic and secular and feminist? Who can forget the coverage in the Post and the Times which stubbornly refused to concede that those highly priased Syrian rebels are none other than Jihadi fighters and that the only "secular" fighters are basically the criminal elements who are organized by the Saudi and Qatari and Turkish regimes? Who was asked to accont for the false reporting when the cause of fighting the Syrian regime by anyone and for any motive was put higher than any other considerstaion, including the safety of Western countries, not to mention the safety of the Syrian people who never really count for much unless they are fodder for Western propganda.  To this day, Western media still invoke a false dichotomy between "the Syrian rebels" and ISIS thereby prepetating a myth about some heroic fighters in Syria.  Nusrah Front (the official branch of Al-Qa`idah) and Ahrar Sham (another Jihadi variant) continue to receive laudable coverage in Western media.  Western governments and media recruited on behalf of Ben Laden and his fellow travlers during the Afghan mujahidin days and have been recruiting on behalf of Baghdadi and Julani and others.  Yet, they can only accept this frame of discussion: why are Muslims so fanatic? What is wrong with Arab culture?

If Newton was a Saudi

The caption says: "It must be Iran".  

PS At the risk of ruining a joke, I don't want this to be taken as an offensive generalization about all Saudis but about the mentality promoted in the culture by the lousy royal family. 

Don't read this book: it may hurt you

"Have you ever gotten in trouble for reading a book? 
A high school history teacher thought Dostoyevsky was a Communist and tore up “The Idiot” with his bare hands".

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Elias Muhanna on Tariq Mitri: are we talking about the same man, here?

"Mitri had persuaded General Security to overturn bans on several plays and films, and had developed a reputation as an advocate for artistic freedom."  Are you kidding, Elias?  This man was appointed as a tool of Fu'ad Sanyurah, who in turn was a tool of Hariri family, which is a tool of the House of Saud.  But Mitri only spoke for freedom of expression for art that is offensive to Iran, and wanted to suppress opinions which are offensive to the clergy and to the Saudi regional alliance. This is the man who wanted to impose a code of press censorship on all media but the media boycotted it and it was shelved.  More importantly, this is the man who AS CULTURE MINISTER sued his critics, including me.  And in this article, he also seems to lie to Elias.  

Sinan Antoon on Iraqi poetry

The leader

mini Jihadis through Turkey

"The Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), an al Qaeda-affiliated Uighur jihadist group that is operating in Syria, recently released a video that includes photos of children with weapons and jihadist garb accompanied by an Uighur-language nasheed [A cappella Islamic music]. The children were described as “little jihadists” on the TIP’s official Twitter feed." (thanks Amir)

Where do Syrian refugees go?

"Lawrence Mala Ali, an engineer who recently arrived in Norway, laughs when asked why he didn’t go to an Arab country: “Which one? The Arab Gulf won’t accept us. Jordan offers us Zaatari camp. Lebanon is the capital of humiliation,” he says."

This is what this non-expert of the Middle East wants to do with Syria

"American as well as Saudi, Turkish, British, Jordanian and other Arab forces would act in support, not only from the air but also eventually with special forces and trainers on the ground. This military concept has much in common with the path suggested this week in congressional testimony by retired Army general David Petraeus." "The goal might be a confederal Syria, with several highly autonomous zones"

U.S. forces have invaded 135 countries this year alone

"American special operations forces have been deployed to 135 different countries in 2015 alone, according to reports."

Zionists want to outlaw criticism of horrific massacre in Gaza as "anti-Semitic"

"How does speech about Israel become “anti-Semitic”?" "The ironies of this definition are overwhelming. First, it warns against advocating a “double standard for Israel” – at exactly the same time that it promulgates a standard that applies only to Israel. Would the State Department ever formally condemn what it regards as excessive or one-sided criticism of any other government, such as Russia or Iran? Why isn’t the State Department also accusing people of bigotry who create “double standards” for Iran by obsessing over the anti-gay behavior of Iran while ignoring the same or worse abuses in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uganda? The State Department is purporting to regulate the discourse surrounding just one country – Israel – while at the same time condemning “double standards.” "

Meet the leader of world's Shi`ites--according to House of Saud

Yesterday, Saudi king greeted this Lebanese kooky cleric, Muhammad `Ali Husayni.  I know, I know. You have never heard of him but he was one of several that Saudi embassy in Beirut has tried to prop up since 2005 as an alternative to Nasrallah. This kook once sent me an email threatening to kill me because I mocked him.  Kid you not.

House of Saud solves the Hajj problem

Dr. Khalid al-Saud, a member of the royal family, wrote on Twitter that “the time has come to think — in a serious way — about banning ‘Iranians’ from coming to Mecca, for the safety of the pilgrims.” (thanks Basim)

How to save the Hajj

I have a deal: let the House of Saud manage the Hilton Hotel in Mecca, and let the Muslims manage the hajj itself.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Nasrallah's speech

He gave the best assessment of US role in the region (which runs contrary to most analysis of the US role in the region): he said that the US does not control or determine all events and developments in the region, but it also not uninvolved in all events and developments.  

Porn Traffic

Islam and fatalism: back to the old cliche

Oh, please. Let us not go back to one of the oldest Orientalist cliches about Islam and fatalism.  To all those who are ignorant as this writer, I highly recommend the book by British Orientalist, W.M. Watt Free Will and Predestination in Early Islam. It is still a classic study of the subject and hows the various debate in Islam on the matter and that the texts of Islam are far from being unified about the matter. As for the cultural references like "God is willing" this is the silliest evidence of the assumption.  Netanyahu and other Israeli ministers also use that expression in Hebrew regularly.  

When the New York Times dares to speak about Russian intolerance towards Muslims

I will say this: I defy any Western capital to dare open a grand mosque like the one in Moscow. Neither the government nor the public would allow it. Can you imagine such a project passing Congress?  Or the media?  This is without of course considering the plight of Muslims in Russia to be exemplary. But the West is in no position to speak.  Most Muslims in US cities and towns pray in small room in shopping plazas, for potato sake.

Eyewitness disputes death of woman at Israeli checkpoint – video

"A Palestinian witness on Wednesday disputed the Israeli army’s account of a fatal shooting in the West Bank the previous day, an incident in which the military said a Palestinian woman was shot as she attempted to stab a soldier at a checkpoint. The woman, 18-year-old Hadeel al-Hashlamon, was taken to an Israeli hospital in critical condition on Tuesday and later died of her wounds".

US-produced Syrian rebels in Syria: whatever happened to them?

"Earlier in the conflict, Abu Zayed was a member of another US-backed rebel group known as Hazm, which was crushed late last year by the Nusra Front in a battle in Idlib province, in northern Syria.
The US-trained rebels face significant challenges – from minuscule numbers in a war that has a myriad of competing armies, to social media postings that have described them as “dogs of America” and a media campaign that has tainted the group’s name even before they returned to Syria. Other rebels have derided them for agreeing to focus their fight on Isis, away from the Syrian president, Bashar Assad, whom they consider the main target of their rebellion.
The head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdurrahman, said the US-trained rebels are so few and so ill-equipped that they have not shown to be relevant.
“So far, they have made no impact on the ground,” he said. “If they [Americans] want to train some, they must first train them on human rights issues and democracy before military training.”"

Uzbek attacks on besieged Shia villages of Al-Fu'ah & Kafriya

"Despite his apparent fear of dying, Uzbek national Jafar al-Tayyar is told to drive an armoured vehicle packed with explosives into the besieged villages of Fua and Kafriyeh." "Tayyar's suicide mission was part of a wider attack last Friday, during which more than 200 rockets and seven separate suicide bombs driven against the defences of Fua, according to The Times. The main force behind the assault were Al Qaeda's Syrian affiliate Nusra Front, who are also known by the name Jabhat al-Nusra." "The video comes as a group of U.S.-trained rebels that recently returned to Syria said they are investigating reports that one of its members has defected and handed over his weapons Nusra, The reports first circulated on social media after the group of about 70 rebels returned to Syria last week. They were armed and trained by the U.S. in Turkey."

Restroom sign in Jummayzah, Beirut at Rod's Burgers

The Zabadani deal: how the Syrian rebels fight their wars

So there is a truce agreement coming up in Zabadani.  What are at the terms? The teams are that 500 Syrian rebels will be allowed to leave Zabadani in return of the release of 10,000 CIVILIANS from Fu`a and Kafrayyah who has been held hostage under bombs by Syrian rebels.

PS And none of the Western correspondents crowded in Beirut bothered to write about the tragic plight of the two villages.

Al Jazeera instructs staff to refrain from calling al-Nusra Front al-Qaeda

"In May, Al Jazeera Arabic released an interview with Abu Mohammed al-Jolani, the leader of al-Nusra, which came in for criticism in some quarters for being too lenient on the militant leader. "It's all part of a normalisation process that al-Qaeda in Syria has been seeking to do for some time now," said Charlie Winter, an analyst at the Quilliam Foundation. "It wants to appear more palatable to the West ... It was kind of like an infomercial for 'al-Nusra, the moderates'.” "

This guy is considered in the US as a "seasoned" US government Middle East expert: warning, his analysis is very sophisticated

"‘Dear Vlad, Tell Assad and His Crew to Get Lost, Then We Can Talk’".  I wonder where he studied the Middle East to develop such keen insights.

According to New York Times, US is obligated to protect Israel and all Gulf regimes

"America has a responsibility to help ensure the security of Israel and the gulf allies".

This is the real Obama doctrine: his gifts to Israel

"Since 2009, the United States has provided Israel with more than $20 billion in military aid, as well as more than $3 billion for missile defense systems and $1.9 billion in precision-guided munitions."

GCC regimes are imposing a savage war on Yemen: guess which side of the Yemen war the New York Times describes as "brutal"?

"The Houthis, who are allied with security forces loyal to Ali Abdullah Saleh, Mr. Hadi’s predecessor as president, have mounted a brutal offensive".  Notice that the word is not applied to the Saudi-GCC side.

Gen. Petraeus wants U.S. Air Force protect 'moderate' rebels who have joined al-Qaeda

"I would support the establishment of enclaves in Syria protected by coalition air power where a moderate Sunni force could be supported and where additional forces could be trained, internally displaced persons could find refuge and the Syrian opposition could organize," said David Petraeus in testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday."

U.S. nuclear 'upgrades' in Europe & Middle East

"Upgrades of six US air bases set to stock modernized B61 nuclear bombs are continuing in Turkey and Europe, according to US and German researchers. They claim Turkey's Incirlik base stocks at least 50 such US weapons." (thanks Amir)

Israeli dirty hands and arms in Africa

"Acting as a weapons conduit to murderous regimes is hardly a new phenomenon for Israel. Under the leadership of Yitzhak Rabin, then prime minister, and Shimon Peres, then foreign minister, Israel supplied the Hutu-dominated Rwandan government forces as well as the rebel army led by Paul Kagame with bullets, rifles and grenades as genocide was underway in that country during the 1990s. In addition to arming the killers, Israel trained the Rwandan military and paramilitary forces in the years leading up to the bloodbath. After touring the killing fields, an Israeli arms dealer reportedly lauded himself as a humanitarian for helping the victims die quickly with bullets instead of machetes. “I’m actually a doctor,” he remarked."

Just imagine the world reaction if he were a Syrian and not a Saudi: another sex crime by a Saudi prince

"A Saudi Arabian prince has been arrested in Los Angeles for allegedly forcing a worker at a Beverly Hills mansion to perform a sex act on him.
Los Angeles police said Majed Abdulaziz al-Saud, 28, was arrested on Wednesday and released the following day after posting a $300,000 (£197,000) bond . 
He is scheduled to appear in court on October 19 to face a charge of "forced oral copulation".
Al-Saud does not have diplomatic immunity, police said. 
The Los Angeles Times reported a neighbour had spotted a bloodied woman calling for help and trying to climb over a wall surrounding the $37m (£24.3m) estate.
The Saudi Arabian embassy is yet to comment on the case."

Written days before the Mecca tragedy

"Despite these multibillion-dollar efforts, essential services in Mecca remain dangerously inadequate. The Ajyad Emergency Hospital adjacent to the Grand Mosque has only 52 beds. The slightly larger Al Noor Hospital is four miles away. Neither has a dedicated blood bank. Similarly, according to the Islamic Heritage Research Foundation’s Alawi, during a recent fire at a construction site, Mecca’s fire department had to call for assistance from the city of Taif, over an hour away, when its engines couldn’t handle the blaze. With 2.5 million people descending on the holy city, these facilities are shockingly insufficient." (thanks Basim)

A Canadian leftist party and Palestine

From Gregory: "I thought you might find this interesting.  Canada’s NDP party, which was once known as socialist, is trying to shed that image and instead occupy the mushy, inoffensive, unprincipled centre in the current federal election.  Here’s yet another example, where a Winnipeg candidate has been forced to quit the race.  Another NDP candidate, in Nova Scotia, was also forced out after saying that Israelis are engaged in ethnic cleansing in Palestine, which anyone who has been following the situation over the last century knows to be true.

Jonasson is a minister in the Unitarian Universalist church, a liberal religious organization that draws on Christian, Jewish, Hindu and other beliefs and also includes agnostics and atheists.
Three years ago, Jonasson posted a religious article on social media, and accused the Haredim — an Orthodox branch of Judaism — of mistreating women by segregating the sexes, enforcing strict dress codes and more. He wrote "much like the Taliban and other extremists, the Haredim offer a toxic caricature of faith at odds with the spirit of the religious tradition they profess to represent."
The comments surfaced this week on The True North Times, a web site that has promised to expose controversial comments by nine politicians in nine days.
The Times said Jonasson compared Jews to the Taliban, but Jonasson said that is an extreme distortion of his comments — that he was only targeting one ultra-orthodox group."

Opposition to Syrian "revolution"

In answer to query by a friend I was thinking: I have opposed all US wars and Israeli wars since I came to the US back in 1983. But it has never been more isolating for me politically than in taking a position on Syria which opposes both the Syrian regime and the Syrian rebels. It is easier to oppose Israel than to oppose Syrian rebels, for some reason.  There are academics who oppose Israel (to various degrees) but opposition to Syrian rebels have been deemed to be beyond the pale.  For some reason, opposition to Syrian rebels is treated like one treats bigotry and anti-Semitism.  There are academics and ordinary Syrians in the US who are afraid to speak out against Syrian rebels.  To be sure, you can oppose ISIS but not the others. Even Nusrah (the official branch of Al-Qa`ida, for postato's sake) is treated with respect and reverence.  There is also more unified party line in the mainstream and not-so-mainstream media on the Syrian question. This is something that warrants a study or journalistic investigation.  

Saudi regime propaganda: how it works

So Saudi regime propaganda has been giving various fabricated figures for the numbers of Syrian refugees in the kingdom (which is actually zero): they range from half a million to 2.5 million claimed by the Saudi government. So Voice of America in a report said that the Saudi government claims that it has allowed 2.5 million refugees in. So Saudi regime media later posted news stories with this headline: Voice of America confirms that Saudi government allowed 2.5 million Syrian refugees in the kingdom.

More GCC propaganda in the Huffington Post

This fellow wants you to know that the media have been wrong in disbelieving Saudi regime lies. But this is my favorite evidence of his:
"However, Al-Arabiya, a news outlet based in the UAE, has noted that "Saudi authorities granted Syrians the right of residency and work, and provided them with education and health services for free."" Hilarious. Al-Arabiya is a news outlet based in the UAE.  SO it is now owned by the brother-in-law of King Fahd. So it is an objective source.

Israeli government will allow police to open fire at Arabs even if their lives are not threatened and to punish rock throwing with 20 years in jail: here is the New York Times summary

"Israel Acts to Combat Violence in Jerusalem".  Civil libertarian around the world are expressing concerns over those tyrannical draconian measures and yet the New York Times presents the matter like this.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

"Obama Isn't The First U.S. President Accused Of Being Secretly Muslim"

"One Federalist called Jefferson the “great arch priest of Jacobinism and infidelity.” The Connecticut Courant suggested he might be a secret Jew or Muslim. It complained that no one seemed to know “whether Mr. Jefferson believes in the heathen mythology or in the alcoran (Quran); whether he is a Jew or a Christian; whether he believes in one God, or in many; or in none at all.”
There was talk at the founding of turning the United States into an officially Protestant nation, and during debates over the Constitution, some in the states raised the specter of a Catholic, “infidel,” or “Turk” (an epithet for “Muslim”) holding office. But the founders wisely decided on a godless Constitution with no religious tests for national office."

The US government is officially in favor of beheading and crucifixion in Saudi Arabia

"QUESTION: Change topic? Saudi Arabia.
MR TONER: Saudi Arabia.
QUESTION: Yesterday, Saudi Arabia was named to head the Human Rights Council, and today I think they announced they are about to behead a 21-year-old Shia activist named Muhammed al-Nimr. Are you aware of that?
MR TONER: I’m not aware of the trial that you – or the verdict – death sentence.
QUESTION: Well, apparently, he was arrested when was 17-years-old and kept in juvenile detention, then moved on. And now, he’s been scheduled to be executed.
MR TONER: Right. I mean, we’ve talked about our concerns about some of the capital punishment cases in Saudi Arabia in our Human Rights Report, but I don’t have any more to add to it.
QUESTION: So you --
QUESTION: Well, how about a reaction to them heading the council?
MR TONER: Again, I don’t have any comment, don’t have any reaction to it. I mean, frankly, it’s – we would welcome it. We’re close allies. If we --
QUESTION: Do you think that they’re an appropriate choice given – I mean, how many pages is – does Saudi Arabia get in the Human Rights Report annually?
MR TONER: I can’t give that off the top of my head, Matt.
QUESTION: I can’t either, but let’s just say that there’s a lot to write about Saudi Arabia and human rights in that report. I’m just wondering if you that it’s appropriate for them to have a leadership position.
MR TONER: We have a strong dialogue, obviously a partnership with Saudi Arabia that spans, obviously, many issues. We talk about human rights concerns with them. As to this leadership role, we hope that it’s an occasion for them to look at human rights around the world but also within their own borders.
QUESTION: But you said that you welcome them in this position. Is it based on improved record? I mean, can you show or point to anything where there is a sort of stark improvement in their human rights record?
MR TONER: I mean, we have an ongoing discussion with them about all these human rights issues, like we do with every country. We make our concerns clear when we do have concerns, but that dialogue continues. But I don’t have anything to point to in terms of progress.
QUESTION: Would you welcome as a – would you welcome a decision to commute the sentence of this young man?
MR TONER: Again, I’m not aware of the case, so it’s hard for me to comment on it other than that we believe that any kind of verdict like that should come at the end of a legal process that is just and in accordance with international legal standards."

This is how this Zionist publication refers to Muslims

"Update 5:17 PM: Mecca Stampede Kills 717 Stone-Throwing Muslims".  Can you imagine the justifiable uproar if some Muslim publication were to refer to Jewish worshippers as "wailing Jews"?  

What is new? Saudi regime blames the blacks

Saudi-owned al-Arabiya TV reported that the head of the central Hajj committee, Prince Khaled al-Faisal, had blamed the stampede on "some pilgrims with African nationalities". (thanks Basim)

War crimes in Yemen

Make no mistake about it: GCC war crimes in Yemen and US and EU war crimes.

The Economist owes its readers an apology

Just this last issue of the Economist, there is a propaganda piece praising the great efforts by House of Saudi to protect pilgrims.  

Hajj tragedy: another crime by House of Saud

Here is what my colleague, Gwenn Okruhlik, wrote on Facebook this morning (I cite with her permission):  "The hajj tragedy is not about excessive heat or excessive emotions or the logistical challenges of managing so many pilgrims. It is about the unbridled capitalist expansion of the mosque beyond its capacity and the destruction of historical Mecca. In its essence, hajj is about equality across class, gender, nationality, color. We are all equal before God. Two thin white towels and cheap flip flops. No make up, no jewelry, no briefcase. Just equality before God. Now, it is five star hotels vis a vis tents. Hajj was homogenized in 1979. And the birthplace of the prophet, his first school, his mosque - all turned into parking lots...Some of my richest interviews are from old men in the Hejaz. Who weep openly when remembering Mecca in the day. When the Grand Mosque was a home for curiosity, questions, tolerance among mathabs and sects. They used to used to share lunch in Mecca and argue about life and beliefs and then break bread."

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Arab regimes and Syrian refugees

Insult festival against the Saudi King in Tyre, Lebanon

This was held tonight in Tyre, Lebanon. The protesters shared those pictures and permitted me to post.

Israelis shot teen, left her to bleed

"Instead of being given immediate medical treatment, the video shows her being pulled roughly out of the frame of the camera, her scarf coming off as her head drags on the ground. Israeli settlers and soldiers can be seen standing around, and in some cases smiling and laughing in the background. Wattan TV reported that the young woman was left to bleed for more than 30 minutes."

Pedophile priests from U.S. & E.U. relocated to poor countries

"The Catholic Church has allowed priests accused of sexually abusing children in the United States and Europe to relocate to poor parishes in South America, a yearlong GlobalPost investigation has found."

Don't be scared: it is a clock and NOT a bomb

"A conservative think tank (those exist?) is now saying that what Mohamed built was half of a bomb. By half, they mean the clock portion—which basically means that all clocks, according to their logic, are halfway to being bombs." (thanks Amir)

President of the US

Personally, I am against any person of any faith holding the post of president of the US.  Of course, I don't mind atheists--but not Bernie Sanders.

Hate and Jordanian regime

This is what they teach at Jordan University.  


I should have paid attention.  From Leila: "I don’t know if you know this, but on Monday the website that you linked to that decried Saudi Arabia’s appointment to the head of the UN Human Rights Council is a pro-Israel “rights organization” called UN Watch, and one of its main purposes is to monitor the UN for “anti-Israel bias.” UN Watch was active against the Goldstone report, they regularly criticize the UN for supporting — even “encouraging” — Hamas, and they have even criticized the ever-compliant Ken Roth of HRW for being too soft in his criticism of the Palestinians. Of course, UN Watch's condemnation is right on Saudi Arabia, but the organization has a deeper agenda."

The poem by Dubai ruler

Yesterday, the paper that published the poem by Dubai ruler denied that he had written it. OK.

Did I not tell you that obituaries of Ali Salem would fill Western newspapers?

"Salem's book "A Drive to Israel" sold more than 60,000 copies, a best-seller by Egyptian standards. But he was shunned in Egypt for the visit and fellow writers labeled him a sellout or collaborator."  Wait a minute. Who told you the book sold 60,000 copies? That was a mere figure claimed by Salem himself. And like most of the things he said, it was a fabrication. No one has exact figures of sales in the Arab world like that.  He must have made that claim at a talk at WINEP.  2) You forgot to add that he was a huge supporter of Saudi princes and wrote their praises in the mouthpiece of King Salman, Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat. 3) and most importantly, you needed to add that he insulted Jews (to his last days) in Arabic while he insulted Arabs when he spoke at WINEP.  But then again: it won't be the first time that American Zionists would welcome an anti-Semite to their midst.

Saudi Arabia and UN human rights council

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Sectarian cover story hides US-Israeli-Saudi hegemony

"Even when Israel attacked Gaza a year ago, seeking to destroy Hamas, a Sunni Islamic version of the Brotherhood, Saudi Arabia made no secret of the startling fact that it gave Tel Aviv a green light. What emerges, then, is not a regional politics based on sectarian priorities, but rather a pathological preoccupation with regime stability in the Saudi monarchy, with anxieties arising whenever political tendencies emerge in the region that elude its control, and are perceived as threatening. The people of Yemen are paying a huge price for this brand of Saudi paranoid security politics. Yet much of the world is lulled to sleep, not taking the trouble to peer below this sectarian cover story." (thanks Amir)

The four or five Syrian rebels trained by the US

Any news about the 4 or 5 Syrian rebels who were trained by the Pentagon? I hear that they are making advances on all fronts.  Is that true? Is it possible that after they reclaim Syria they may make their way toward Iraq?  Is it possible that they can dominate the whole Arab world?

Pope and atheists

The Pope said that it is possible for atheists to enter heaven. The question: could they expel all believers from heaven?

When the mouthpiece of Saudi prince covers the Pope's visit to Cuba

On the front page of Al-Hayat, the mouthpiece of Prince Khalid bin Sultan bin Bribes, the correspondent in Havana laments that the Pope did not speak about repression in Cuba. I am not making this up.

Tomorrow in my home city of Tyre

At 6:30PM in Tyre in Abu Dib roundabout young Lebanese are gathering to stone and burn portraits of the Saudi King.  (Dress: casual).