Thursday, August 28, 2014

US allies in the war on ISIS

" The countries likely to be enlisted include Australia, Britain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, officials said."  Yeah. Nothing can defeat the ideology and message of ISIS like the secular feminist ideology of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and UAE. 

It is official: the New York Times now refers to Al-Qa`idah terrorist group as "less extreme"

"who was being held by a less extreme militant group, the Nusra Front."

Free Syrian Army is also in the business of beheading but it is moderate US-sponsored beheading

"The rebels who killed him were fighting for the Free Syrian Army, a rival group backed by the United States, and they went on to behead six ISIS fighters"

the use of Palestinian human shields...BY ISRAEL

"Israel has repeatedly used defenseless civilians to shield themselves from potential guerrilla attacks, brutally abusing young men like Mahmoud Abu Said during their invasion of Gaza. The practice is not only a war crime that violates international human rights law,"

Lousy Oxfam

"While offering the Israeli occupation tips on when and how to kill Palestinians whose land it is occupying, Oxfam advises that Palestinians should be denied any means to self-defense and resistance." (thanks Amir)

Racism in the Sisi press in Egypt

(It says: Gangs of Black Horror in Cairo: Most of the crimes against activists and journalists are from South Sudan, and African adolescents committed 115 deeds".) (thanks "Ibn Rushd")

death versus murder on Fox News

A dear colleague from Pakistan sent me this: "Dear As’ad: Last night (26 August) at 10 PM Fox Radio news bulletin reported on Ceasefire agreement between Hamas & Israel with the following statement: “The ceasefire ends that war in which more than 2,000 Palestinians died and 70 Israelis were killed.”
What does that mean -- 2,000 Palestinian died of natural death ?"

Saudi-Qatari rivalry

From a reader: "Has there been a more disgusting, murderous manifestation of the Saudi-Qatari rivalry -- at the cost of thousand of innocent lives -- than the creation of ISIS and Jabhat an-Nusrah respectively? I can't think of one. "

American media intelligently discuss Iraq

"MATTHEWS:  This has nothing to do with the Sunni and the Shia and what the hell`s going over in Iraq, or  Mesopotamia or whatever they`re calling it now, if it is a country." (thanks Basim)

Water bucket challenge

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Majorities and minorities

There is something disturbing about the discourse of minorities and majorities in the Middle East especially regarding to ISIS. The rhetoric implies that the majority is living in bliss and only the minorities are suffering.  ISIS has killed more Sunnis than Shi`ites and Christians combined.

O, Western man: there is ISIS inside us

This is the message that has been instructed to all Arab propagandists of Hariri and Saudi princes in English: rather than blaming Wahhabi Saudi ideology and the policies and doctrine of the Saudi regime and the funding of fanatics worldwide, make sure that you diffuse the blame by blaming "all of us" the "monster within" the "faults in us" "Arab body politic" and anything else that you can think of provided that you leave the Saudi regime--the mother/father of ISIS's ideology--alone.  Got it?

Guess who is ready to fight ISIS? None other than the Free Syrian Army?

"A spokesman for the rebel coalition, Oubai Shahbandar, said,  “The Free Syrian Army commanders on the ground fighting ISIS in northern Syria have declared their readiness to coordinate with the U.S. in striking ISIS.”" I bet that they are ready to receive more cash and weapons. How many years will elapse before the US admits the obvious: that there is really no such thing as the Free Syrian Army and there is no Feminist woman in Damascus leading the "revolution" in Syria.

Israeli officials are always garrulous in the Times except when they are embarrassed

"Israeli officials declined to comment." I bet they did not because they look like fools.

Goldstone's credibility and the NYT

"Mr. Goldstone later backtracked from that conclusion, damaging the credibility of the report." What? In fact, by backtracking on his own report, he merely damaged his OWN CREDIBILITY not that report's.

Persistent American racism

""It took the shooting of 18-year-old Brown on August 9, a young man who was unarmed, before anyone took an interest in the everyday reality of the city's African-American population and their demoralizing harassment by the police. It also took this tragedy before people began to ask an important question: Why does a city whose population of 21,000 is two-thirds African American have a police force that is 95 percent white?""

New York Times and casualties of the Gaza war

"I had just this morning sent off perhaps my fifth email to New York Times reporters and editors asking if they should not address their inappropriate use of this comparison over a one month period, when I was shocked to find that they had returned to the comparison again today! In an article posted online this afternoon summarizing the aftermath of the fighting, Jodi Rudoren wrote again, suggesting near parity, "But many analysts and others criticized Mr. Netanyahu’s leadership of the campaign, in which the Israeli military said it struck 5,263 targets in Gaza, while 4,564 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel.”

The continued use of this comparison, despite concerns raised about them, is to me inexplicable and suggests a complete lack of accountability to the truth. On July 16th, Sarah Leah Whitson of Human Rights Watch raised concerns about the comparison with relevant New York Times staff, but The Times continued using it daily, with no changes. Sunjeev Bery of Amnesty USA tweeted concerns about these New York Times statistics on July 30th. On August 2nd on Mondoweiss, I noted a very rough comparison, suggesting that, as of July 16th, Israel may have fired 5.49 times as much ordnance at Gaza as Palestinians fired at Israel, and this was likely an underestimate of the disparity. Sunjeev Bery repeated his concerns about this Times interactive in more detail on the Huffington Post on August 8th , and his article was later posted again by Amnesty USA.

In the meantime, statistics reported over the last few weeks have proven beyond any doubt the absurdity of this comparison, but Times reporters seem not to be paying attention to them. What in the world do “5,263 targets in Gaza” have to do with 59,973 Israeli strikes, 7000 shells fired into Shija’iya in 24 hours, 1000 shells fired at Rafah in 3 hours, and 32,000 total artillery shells fired? " (thanks Patrick)

What is your major?


Dumb Mossad propaganda

""Hamas... dismissed the document as a forgery intended to justify Israeli attacks that have killed hundreds of children, women and other non-combatants.
...The Israeli army said the training manual was found in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun at the end of July, when troops were operating inside the enclave. The full manual is 102 pages long, the army said, but it released just one page of it.
...It is marked at the bottom with "Izz-el-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Training and Guidance Branch, Engineering Corps". The al-Qassam Brigades are the military wing of Hamas, the Islamist group that has controlled Gaza since 2007. Unlike other Hamas documents, the page bears no Hamas logo.
...An Israeli army spokesman would provide no further details about the document, only to say that the army was "extremely confident it is a Hamas training manual".
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said: "This is a fabricated paper and neither Hamas nor Qassam has anything to do with it."
He added: "Israel circulating this is aimed at justifying the mass killings of Palestinian civilians and massacres committed by the occupation army."""

Saudi regime and ISIS

“The ideology of the Saudi regime is that of ISIS even if the foreign policies differ,” California State University-Stanislaus Professor Asad AbuKhalil tells The Progressive." (thanks Amitabh)

CNN president direct all reporters to file favorable reports about Israel

*After the attacks of 9/11, Amanpour defied then-CNN president Walter Isaacson’s attempt “to get all the reporters in the Middle East to skew their stories more favorably to Israel.” Instead she aired a critical report about the Israeli destruction of an Arab village, without including the Israeli government’s point of view. “Christiane had the power to push a piece through,” says a CNN insider."

UN and war crimes in Syria

How is it that the UN can 1) quickly determine whether war crimes are committed or not in a place when it takes it years to decide if Israel committed war crimes or not; 2) how come the UN always conveniently find quick evidence of war crimes in Syria but only by groups (regime and ISIS which are not on good terms with the US).  So Nusrah and FSA, which have done more sectarian kidnappings of Lebanese are blameless here?

Syrian Observatory observes the skies

From Martin: I read the following in a recent article about US surveillance flights in syrian airspace:

"The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported that “non-Syrian spy planes” carried out surveillance flights on Monday."

Just how was this infamously credible and respected independent outfit able to ascertain that? They must have some really good binoculars..."

US government and ISIS

"Now the Obama administration and American political class is celebrating the one-year anniversary of the failed "Bomb Assad!" campaign by starting a new campaign to bomb those fighting against Assad – the very same side the U.S. has been arming over the last two years." "It switched sides virtually on a dime, and the standard Pentagon courtiers of the U.S. media and war-cheering foreign policy elites are dutifully following suit, mindlessly depicting ISIS as an unprecedented combination of military might and well-armed and well-funded savagery (where did they get those arms and funds?)." (thanks Amir)

US government on Libya

"We believe outside interference in Libya exacerbates current divisions and undermines Libya’s democratic transition." (thanks David)

Meet the commander-in-chief of the Lebanese Army

"Jean Kahwaji: I can say that Lebanon was rescued from a catastrophe in Arsal.

TAAN: How so?

JK: There was a dangerous plan for Lebanon. If it had succeeded, the country would have collapsed. The terrorist groups were aiming to make Lebanon another Iraq or another Syria by provoking a sectarian war between Sunnis and Shi'a, but the army struck these groups with an iron fist. I would not be exaggerating when I say we destroyed them and changed the changed the course of history. " (thanks Basim)

If you want an example of a jumbled head, read this article about Lebanon's history

"The Israelis invaded in order to crush the Palestinian Liberation Organization, with Syria's blessing, and at one point the United States intervened, partly to block the Israelis. " (thanks Michele)

Ambassador Ford is still looking for moderate Syrian rebels--he will find them in no time

From comrade Laure: "Look at this joke, he is still looking for moderate opposition groups..
"We need moderate armed opposition leaders in Syria to capitalize on this weariness by moving politically, not just militarily."
Oh, and this:
"But toppling wasn't our goal before and shouldn't be now. We should aim to help the Syrian opposition inflict enough pain on the regime so that, despite al-Assad, the regime finally agrees to negotiate a new government whose first task will be to fight the Islamic State and eventually expel it from Syria.""

ISIS and the Syrian "revolution"

Of all the theories and the explanation about ISIS none are admitting the obvious: that it is the product of the Syrian "revolution" and its romanticization.  There would not have been thousands of people flocking from the West to join the cause if ISIS if the West didn't glamorize the Syrian "revolution" and invented the notion that a moderate Syrian command is leading the fight against Asad.  A person on Twitter reminded me how the Syrian "rebels" (the so-called moderates among them) used to brag about the power of ISIS and they raised the slogan داعش_عرأس_الأسد (Stepping on Asad's head--it is a pun in Arabic).

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Patrick Cockburn: explaining ISIS

If you want to read a good reliable book on the rise of ISIS I highly recommend the newly released "The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising" by Patrick Cockburn.  Read it. NOW.

Talking points about Palestine

The activists at Ikhras came up with those useful talking points about Palestine.

Who can defeat you, o people of Palestine

Who can defeat those people, who? Those are the reason why Israel and the Zionist project are doomed.  Zionists had many good fortune but to have the Palestinians as their enemy is their biggest misfortune of them all. 

Sanaa Hamri removed her name from the statement about Gaza

From a reader: "I saw it on this list from the group who organized the letter yesterday or the day before. It is now gone:"

Women and global economy

"The global economy is not working for working women. Women contribute 66 percent of the world’s work and produce 50 percent of the food. Yet they earn 10 percent of income and own 1 percent of property.  Millions of women live in poverty—they account for 70 percent of the world’s poor. Women also are highly likely to experience violence at home or at the workplace: Up to seven in 10 women globally will be beaten, raped abused or mutilated in their lifetimes."

BBC on Gaza

From comrade Laure: "Assuming that all the 700 men killed are fighters, how does that make killing 250 women and 450 children not discriminate?  BBC is so obsessed with the civilian Gaza toll and making the argument for Israel that they have already written 3 articles to cast doubt on the statistics and were still talking about it on the Radio today.

"Of those killed, the UN estimate that 70% were civilians and of those thought to be civilians, approximately 250 were women, 450 were children and 700 were men. (...) Now the fact that among the Palestinian civilian casualties there are nearly three times as many men as women has been in the spotlight. Indeed an article on the BBC News website said “if the Israeli attacks have been “indiscriminate”, as the UN Human Rights Council says, it is hard to work out why they have killed so many more civilian men than women”."


This is a long article about AIPAC: it is revealing but news of the end of AIPAC are rather premature.

When Western governments try to produce acceptable versions of Islam

These attempts are so dumb and the US tried to do that after Sep. 11. They don't realize that those Western government-approved Imams have no connection to their communities and they sound so programmed that they can never dream of ever having influence.

Palestinian human shields--for Israeli terrorists

"Over the next several days, he was moved among homes and made to walk ahead of groups of soldiers looking for tunnels. Food was scant, and his bathroom breaks were limited and monitored, he said; at one point he wrote a note in Arabic, saying, “In case I die or get arrested, please send my greetings to my family,” according to D.C.I.-Palestine’s report."

Have you ever heard of "Sunni Assyrian"?

"For a thousand years, Sunni Assyrian Arabs from the northwest have fought for exclusive control of that area, against countervailing pressure from Shia Persians from the southeast and their Arab co-religionists. " (thanks Ansar)

If you were in their shoes

"Do congressional leaders ever stop to wonder what they would do if they were born Palestinian, had their homes and private property stolen from them, and were forced to live without freedom under an illegal Israeli occupation for 47 years? Do they know what it means to be on the receiving end of Israel's barbaric "mow the lawn" euphemism?"

Those who were assigned to liberate Muslim women in Afghanistan

"Calvert says that an estimated 26,000 rapes and sexual assaults took place in the armed forces last year,"

"Were KGB or Stasi this bad"

"The search tool was designed to be the largest system for internally sharing secret surveillance records in the United States, capable of handling two to five billion new records every day, including more than 30 different kinds of metadata on emails, phone calls, faxes, internet chats, and text messages, as well as location information collected from cellphones." (thanks Amir)

The US government on outside intervention in Libya

"“We believe outside interference in Libya exacerbates current divisions and undermines Libya’s democratic transition,” said the statement issued by the US State Department. " (thanks Krim)

The New York Times informs readers about who Israel targets in Gaza

"Israeli forces continued on Sunday to strike Palestinians suspected of being militants ".  So hospitals, schools, mosques, children, women, high rises and shops are all suspected of being militants, I guess.

The New York Times now lists children among the victims of the war on Gaza

"More than 2,000 Palestinians have been killed in the fighting that is stretching into a seventh week, most of them civilians, according to monitoring groups. On the Israeli side, 64 soldiers and four civilians have been killed, including a 4-year-old boy from a small community near the border who was killed by mortar fire. He was first Israeli child to be killed in the current conflict, and he was buried Sunday."  The obvious question, of course, is why the one Israeli child is worth mentioning but not the 500 Palestinian children??