Sunday, January 31, 2016

The political bent of Human Rights Watch

Basim sent me this of two days of headlines from HRW:
Rights group says Yemen rebels blocking aid to besieged city

HRW accuses Yemen rebels of confiscating aid

Attacks on Iraq's Sunnis could constitute war crimes: rights group

Iran Sending Thousands of Afghans to Fight in Syria

Huffington Post Arabic Qatari regime gets more sophisticated

Here in this feature, they say that Putin looks like a dog. That is the level of sophisticated of this Qatari regime website.

Having liberated the women of Afghanistan through cheering the Bush and Obama wars, the New York Times wants to liberate women of India

How patronizing this tone is.  I wish that the New York Times devotes space to victims of male violence here in the US: 23 women are killed by husbands or boyfriends PER WEEK here in the US.

Lebanese University Law school and racism against Syrian people

This official examination of the Law School of Lebanese University contains a racist question about Syrians in which they are stereotyped as criminals.

Let me explain Syrian negotiations in Geneva for you

The man to the left is leading the opposition delegation which promises to lead Syria away from the dictatorship of the man to the right.  Kid you not.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

On Human Rights Watch and Israel

From comrade Eyal: "I don't follow Kenneth Roth, but his comment you quoted annoyed me for a
different reason than yours:

What about the the deeply discriminatory regime in the 1948 territories? _That's_ where you have "deeply discrimatory regime". The West Bank is under _military_occupation_, with shooting at civilians, road blocks, confiscations of land, destruction of houses and agricultural areas etc.  etc. Describing the problem in that situation as a "discriminatory" aspect of the regime, be it deep or shallow, is itself a white-washing of reality."

Hair helmets from the 1960s

Have there been medical studies of the harmful effects on women of those hair salon's helmets from the 1960s?

The US-Saudi war on Yemen

It is not noticeable how Western governments, correspondents, media, human rights and relief organizations have gingerly and kindly treated the Saudi/US war crimes in Yemen?

US-UK-Saudi coalition bombings has forced pregnant women to give birth in caves

"People won’t drive to the hospital at night – they are scared that their headlights will give them away in the dark and they’ll be bombed. And patients don’t want to stay overnight in the building as they know that all too often hospitals are targets. The medical staff don’t want to stay either. This is the third time we’ve had a hospital or clinic where we work attacked in Yemen, but altogether 130 health facilities have come under attack since the conflict began last March." "People are more afraid than ever. Since the attack, there have been no deliveries in the maternity room – pregnant women are giving birth in caves rather than risk coming to the hospital."

French racism

"But perhaps what is the most troubling aspect of French racism is its double standard.  While opposing the hijab is so normalised even game show host openly criticise it, discussing the Jewish skull cap or kippah is an absolute no-no.  Anti-Semitism is understandably unacceptable, the problem is anti-Arab, anti-black racism however is perfectly normalised with pundits regularly making remarks that would simply be unthinkable for Jews."

US-trained military officials face prosecution for atrocities

"According to declassified US military documents from the National Security Archive at George Washington University, 12 of the 18 former military leaders facing charges in Guatemala were trained at the School of the Americas in Georgia."

Human Rights Watch director is worried about Israel's image

He would never talk like this about repression by Iran or Syria or Cuba: that he is worried about their image problem.

Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth)
Hard for Israel to build image when it maintains deeply discriminatory regime on West Bank. 

The Saudi-led, US-blessed coalition is waging a military campaign that treats civilians and civilian structures as legitimate military targets

"The Saudi-led coalition is waging a military campaign that treats civilians and civilian structures as legitimate military targets; in May, for example, it declared that the entire Sadaa governorate was a military zone. Coalition fighter jets and artillery have repeatedly hit homes, roads, bridges, schools, gas stations, markets, medical sites, ambulances, supply trucks and displacement camps, killing upwards of 2,800 civilians, according to the United Nations, and wounding many more." "But the U.N. Security Council, through Resolution 2216—authored by Jordan, co-sponsored by the U.S., the U.K., and France, and passed last April—provided diplomatic cover for what we’re seeing today." "In effect, it provided a license to bomb at will and enforce a widespread blockade of goods entering the country."

Palestinian journalist imprisoned by Israel

"Mohammad al-Qiq is on the verge of death. The 32-year-old Palestinian journalist was imprisoned by Israel without charge or trial. In protest of his extralegal administrative detention, al-Qiq has refused food for more than two months. This week marks more than 65 days on hunger strike."

Sudanese women before the Wahhabi era

I saw this on Arab social media.

Racial terrorism and racial inequality in the U.S.

"The US government should consider paying reparations to the African-American descendants of slaves, a United Nation working group says." "The group also recommended establishing a national human rights commission and publicly acknowledge the trans-Atlantic slave trade was a crime against humanity. Chairwoman Professor Mireille Fanon-Mendes France said the committee were "extremely concerned about the human rights situation of African-Americans". She said: "The colonial history, the legacy of enslavement, racial subordination and segregation, racial terrorism and racial inequality in the U.S. remains a serious challenge as there has been no real commitment to reparations and to truth and reconciliation for people of African descent." "

William Quandt and his new book

One of the signs of the decline and disappearance of Arabists in the US government and punditry in Washington, DC is the new book by William Quandt about Camp David: I could not believe that the cover page has the headline "Forward by Mark Indyk".  Why would a knowledgeable real expert of the Middle East--politics aside--like William Quandt needs the blessings of an Israel lobbyist.  I am sure that Quandt knows that Indyk was first recruited by the Clinton administration for his closeness to the Zionist establishment and not for his knowledge of the region.  But it is a sign of the times: one of the last remaining Arabists seeking legitimacy from an Israeli lobbyist.

Racism of Megan Kelly

" “The neighbors said they saw men going in and out of the garage,” she countered. “They saw packages being delivered. They saw Muslims, and they did not think that was enough to call the cops. Do you?” It was a jaw-dropping moment of pure, unadulterated racism. Kelly’s argument was that behaviors that would never raise an eyebrow if performed by white Christians — receiving packages, having friends over to your house — become suspicious and reason enough to call 911 if being performed by people you suspect are Muslims." "Not that any of this should be a surprise. Kelly has a long and ugly history of saying racist things that manage to be even more stupid than they are offensive." (thanks Amir)

From the statement of "moderate" Muslim (and other) clerics in Marrakesh

I never understand the difference between "moderate" and "extremist" clerics of any religion.  Religion breeds extremism.  Here is from the final section of the statement of "moderate" Muslim clerics/kooks and it stated: "the conference called upon the representatives of the various religions, sects and schisms to fight off the forms of contempt of religion and insults to sanctities".  Clerics of other religions were there, and they are all as bad as the rest.

The reactionary president of Tunisia

The reactionary president of Tunisia (a graduate of the dictatorships of Bjouquiba and Bin Ali) says that "we resist the far left because it is more vicious than extremist Islam".

Correction: It is official: the lady of the Syrian "revolution" in Kafar Nubul (which never shows women) is veiled

I have been alerted that they were presenting the Iranian influence in the image of the veiled woman. But the invisibleness of women from Kafar Nubl has been quite clear.

anti-clerics sentiments among Arabs

I have predicted in Arabic on social media that the day will come soon when Arabs will chase and drag Muslim clerics from their beards and turban in the streets of Arab cities.  Arabs need some inspiration from the anti-clerical element of the Mexican revolution but that revolution has been rarely studied or covered in Arabic.

this is what the West means by "moderate Islam"

"'Tsunami of money' from Saudi Arabia funding 24,000 madrassas in Pakistan"  

Arab Public Opinion (4)

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "Identity and Foreign Policy: A Look at the "Arab Index" for 2015".

PS This is the last in a series.

Syrian officials

Syrian officials are corrupt murderers until they defect: and then they become pure, democratic, and modern.  

When Italy's Prime Minister ordered the covering up of nude statues in Florence for Muhammad Bin Zayid, there wasn't one expression of outrage

"PM covers nude statue to spare Sheikh's blushes".

Friday, January 29, 2016


If Putin is a "one horse country", according to Ben Carson, I am a two-horse continent.


Bernie Sanders is perceived as a socialist when his entire agenda is directed toward the middle class.

They say that Muslims are intolerant of atheism? Sen. Bernie Sanders does not dare admit that he is an atheist:

Is apostasy illegal in the US?  Look at this convoluted and dishonest answer he gives: "“I think everyone believes in God in their own ways, “ said Sanders, who polls show is neck-and-neck with Hillary Clinton in Iowa and opening a large lead in New Hampshire. “To me, it means that all of us are connected, all of life is connected, and that we are all tied together.”"  Oh, no. Not EVERYONE believes in God, Bernie.

Bernie Sanders on Gaza

His responses to Gaza.

Sen. Sanders thinks that King of Jordan is a "hero" and supports Saudi military intervention

Sanders on Saudi intervention.

US is fervently promoting moderate Islam

The guy next to McCain is a hard core militant feminist, from what I hear--just like McCain.


I really believe that some Republican candidates think that ISIS "caliphate" is a person or a creature. They seem to imply that all what is necessary to defeat ISIS is to go there and "kill the caliphate".

Hashish and dancing in a mosque

Bombing Shi`ite mosques in Saudi Arabia

I have not seen one article in the Western press drawing a link between the blatant sectarian rhetoric in all Saudi royal and princely media and the bombing of Shi`ite mosques in the kingdom.

What is the biggest mistake committed by Iyad Allawi and other Iraqi politicians?

Allawi says that the "big mistake that we committed" was the approval of the American occupation of Iraq.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Infographic: 7 ways the PA helps Israeli occupation

"The Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority works closely with the Israeli occupation. Earlier this month, for instance, Israeli officials praised the PA for “cracking down” on opposition and resistance to Israel’s occupation in the West Bank. The PA’s leader, Mahmoud Abbas, has previously called this so-called security coordination a “sacred” duty."

Executions & invasions are seen as human rights progress by UK minister

"A government minister has urged Saudi Arabia to do a “better job” of trumpeting its human rights successes during an official visit to the country, less than a month after it carried out the mass execution of 47 people." "Leading human rights organisations described Mr Ellwood’s remarks as “astonishing”, pointing out that Saudi Arabia was currently presiding over a surge in executions and engaging in a brutal military campaign in Yemen that may be breaking international laws."

Endless NATO humanitarian bombings

"Just as there was no al Qaeda or ISIS to attack in Iraq until the U.S. bombed its government, there was no ISIS in Libya until NATO bombed it. Now the U.S. is about to seize on the effects of its own bombing campaign in Libya to justify an entirely new bombing campaign in that same country."

When starvation in Syria does not bother Western correspondents in Beirut

""The cities of Fou'aa and Karaya were also cut off from aid but the people there were victims of the U.S. backed "moderate rebels." The inhabitants of these cities were also reduced to eating leaves. They too fainted from hunger. But their suffering didn't make Assad look bad or America look good so the story went straight down the memory hole. Madaya is surrounded by the Syrian army and also by Ahrar Al-Sham, an al-Qaeda linked group and among those so-called "moderates" supported by the United States in its regime change effort." (thanks Amir)

AUB and the colonial mission

From a comrade: "I was thinking yesterday about AUB and Cecil Rhodes. Rhodes sought to create a ruling AngloSaxon elite through his Rhodes scholars program (It is the one scholarship I strictly forbade my daughter to apply to regardless of her qualifications). In the same vein, AUB sought to create a US friendly Arab elite. The Israeli project and the political upheavals that followed its creation forestalled such an outcome. After the 1990s, there was no need for AUB to create such an elite as the Arab regimes (Gulf, Egypt) and their allied political classes directly connected with the West. So what role for AUB in the new millennium? I would think that it will be selling itself more as a know-how center and less as an elite forming one. The professional schools will play an even more important role in that regard, given that both Syria and Iraq have been devastated by wars. The Cancer Center at AUBMC is crowded mainly with Iraqi and Syrian patients, then the Lebanese. The choice of future presidents of AUB is to be taken within those considerations. He is less likely be a scholar of Islam or a philosopher, and more likely be a physician, an engineer or a business man (less likely woman). The current new President is a decent translational clinical scientist, and a safe choice as the son of a previous Dean of the Medical school (father) and a mathematics faculty member (mother). He will not rock the boat, and he will stabilize the institution. It will not have the excitement of AUB of the 1950s and 60s, but then that institution is gone and will not come back. Can AUB compete say with Bilgi University in Istanbul? Can AUB produce a 21st century Arab elite? You know the answer. But taken in another context, the question is, if AUB were to truly reinvent itself, what form would it take? Which of the potential AUBs is the one that would make a long term difference? That I do not know. "

There is AIPAC and now there is SAPAC for Saudi regime

I am not making this up. Saudi regime has just established an official lobby called Saudi American Public Affairs Committee.  I won't be surprised if it will be headquartered in AIPAC's building.  

Those Al-Qa`idah fighters are treated as moderates in Western media

Look at this long convoy of Al-Qa`idah terrorists in Syria. 

Chomsky on Saudi Arabia

"The other factor in the development of ISIS is Saudi Arabia which is an extremist, fundamentalist, Islamic state, the most extreme in the world and far more than Iran. Furthermore, it’s a missionary state. They have plenty of resources because of the oil, so they put huge resources into trying to expand their extremist Wahhabi and Salafi doctrine by direct funding of Jihadist groups not excluding ISIS, but also by funding koranic schools." (thanks Mirvat)

If you want to read one article about Palestine, read this article by Walid Khalidi

"The Hebrew Reconquista of Palestine: From the 1947 United Nations Partition Resolution to the First Zionist Congress of 1897".

nude statues

Nude statues only bother those who are sexually attracted to them.

Prince Mish`al of Saudi Arabia celebrates snow

Prince Mish`al with a bowl of snow which fell in "his" Northern province.  The prince is noted for his scientific bent.

PS I won't be surprised if this picture earn the Prince the Nobel Prize in physics, or at least the Prince Claus prize from Germany.

PPS I don't believe in judging people on appearance, but doesn't this prince look particularly mentally sharp?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Beef consumption around the world, ranked

1Hong Kong582,000
5United States11,172,000
11New Zealand108,000
17Costa Rica79,000

Walid Khalidi on the conquest of Palestine

"Every Jewish immigrant who entered Palestine between 1917 and 1948, incrementally eroding the country’s majoritarian demography, did so against the wishes of the Palestinians, for the most part with the help of British bayonets. This was acknowledged by the Zionist leaders themselves: Weizmann told U.S. president Franklin Roosevelt in 1944 that it had been impossible to submit the Zionist project to the Palestinians for their consent, because it would have been refused. [2] At about the same time, David Ben-Gurion, the paramount leader of the Yishuv, challenged the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, who was then having moral qualms about Zionism, by stating that “not even” Buber had immigrated to Palestine with Palestinian consent. [3] "

Judging and reporting: Italian naked statues

"Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says Iran didn’t make any specific requests for Rome museum officials to cover up naked statues".

Not in US media: repression in UAE

"A man is on trial at the Federal Supreme Court for a poem he allegedly shared on Whatsapp that ridiculed the UAE and its martyrs."  Ruling dynasties have martyrs? Is that a reference to those royals who die in Western brothels and casinos?

Liz Sly lies and fabricates YET AGAIN

"Russia has labeled all those fighting Assad as “terrorists,”".   This is such a blatant lie. Lavrov and Putin both said that they don't consider all Syrian rebels to be terrorists.  Lavrov even offered help to Free Syrian Army although he mocked its "phantom structure''--and it is possible that the scoff offended Ms. Sly who acts and writes like a propagandists of the Free Syrian Army.

When Russia bombs ISIS it is accused of bombing civilians, and when it is not bombing ISIS it is accused of bombing moderate Syrian rebels

So what do you want Russia to do exactly? It is condemned when it bombs ISIS and it is condemned when it bombs what US calls "moderate rebels" (a euphemism for rebels funded and armed by US, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar).  And why don't those standards apply to US bombing in Syria? For some reason, every raid by US jets accurately hits armed people of ISIS. What is the secret to this US success? And why can't Russian bombs ever hit ISIS targets even when it tries.  Look at this item in the Washington Post: "At least 29 civilians were killed Saturday in airstrikes targeting areas under the control of Islamic State militants in eastern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Those deaths bring to at least 73 the number of civilians killed since Friday in airstrikes in the province, according to the Britain-based monitoring group.
Jets that were believed to be Russian struck the area of Khsham on the eastern outskirts of the province of Deir al-Zour. The Islamic State controls most of Deir al-Zour and has besieged regime-held areas in the province for more than a year."  My favorite part of the dispatch is the reference to "Britain-based monitoring group" when we are talking about Qatari-funded and EU funded Syrian opposition group.  Call that objectivity.  This is like Arab oil and gas media; they sometimes accuse Syrian regime of not fighting ISIS and other times they accuse Syrian regime of killing civilians when it bombs ISIS. 

More American success in Libya

"The immediate aftermath of the NATO bombing of Libya was a time of highgloating. Just as Iraq War advocates pointed to the capture and killing of Saddam Hussein as proof that their war was a success, Libya war advocates pointed to the capture and brutal killing of Muammar el-Qaddafi as proof of their vindication. War advocates such as Anne-Marie Slaughter and Nicholas Kristof were writing columns celebrating their prescience and mocking war opponents as discredited, and the New York Times published a front-page article declaring: “U.S. Tactics in Libya May be a Model for Other Efforts.” It was widely expected that Hillary Clinton, one of the leading advocates for and architects of the bombing campaign, would be regarded as a Foreign Policy Visionary for the grand Libya success: “We came, we saw, he died,” Clinton sociopathically boasted about the mob rape and murder of Qaddafi while guffawing on 60 Minutes.  Since then, Libya — so predictably — has all but completely collapsed, spending years now drowning in instability, anarchy, fractured militia rule, sectarian conflict, and violent extremism. The execution of Saddam Hussein was no vindication of that war nor a sign of improved lives for Iraqis, and the same was true for the mob killing of Qaddafi. As I wrote the day after Qaddafi fled Tripoli and Democratic Party loyalists were prancing around in war victory dances: “I’m genuinely astounded at the pervasive willingness to view what has happened in Libya as some sort of grand triumph even though virtually none of the information needed to make that assessment is known yet, including: how many civilians have died, how much more bloodshed will there be, what will be needed to stabilize that country, and, most of all, what type of regime will replace Qaddafi? … When foreign powers use military force to help remove a tyrannical regime that has ruled for decades, all sorts of chaos, violence, instability, and suffering — along with a slew of unpredictable outcomes — are inevitable.”"

The crazy Transparency International Annual ranking of countries

I have told you before: all those Western ranking of countries are as absurd and unreliable as admission policies in Saudi universities.  We know that Saudi regime pays off Western governments, think tanks, universities, media, and probably human rights organizations and civil organizations. Look at this ranking of countries from less corrupt to more corrupt: Qatar fared better than France, and Saudi Arabia fared better than Greece, South Africa, Italy, India, and Brazil--and even Tunisia.  Just one look at this list to know that Western civil organizations are not less susceptible to oil wealth than Western governments.

Iranian prisoners released in the US

If you look at the case, all but one were individuals convicted (rightly or wrongly) of exporting technology to Iran.  Yet, not one of those who were guilty of exporting technology and chemicals for Israeli MWDs were ever charged by the US. Hell, some of them are key officials in Israel.

So the US is willing to spy on and entrap any US citizen when ordered by the Israeli government to do so

"FBI agents had been investigating Hamzeh since September after a source reported that he was planning to conduct an attack on Israelis in the West Bank, according to the complaint."

When will Christianity be reformed? Why can't bishops issue fatwas in favor of women?

When will women be allowed in key positions in Vatican? Are you aware that the only positions that nuns occupy in the Vatican are basically cleaning the clothes of the Pope and senior cardinals?  Was the Pope offended when the Iranian president brought a woman interpreter with him?

Violating protocols for US officials

When an assistant to a department secretary visits the Middle East, heads of states and kings meet with him.  Here is the Saudi King meeting with the head of US Central Command. This is like Obama receiving at the White House the military commander of Riyadh region.  Wait: for Saudi officials, US president would prostrate. Never mind.

Iranian president and covering up Italian statues

The Italian government should be ashamed for covering up the nude statues in honor of the Iranian president.  This is the fault of the Italian government for catering to the silly puritanical standards of a theocratic regime.  If anything, the religious sensibilities of clerics should always be challenged and provoked.  

Yusuf Qaradawi repents

I have written before about Yusuf Al-Qaradawi (the kooky Ikhwan tool of the Qatari regime): when many in the West were promoting him as a moderate voice, I wrote that he is a religious fanatic.  He has just announced that Saudi Wahhabi clerics were right all along and that he was wrong in calling for rapprochement between Sunnis and Shi`ites, and elaborated on the evil of Shi`ites, and faulted the inclusion of Shi`ites among Muslims. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Who poses the most danger to "Arab national security"?

According to Arab Index 2015:
Israel: 45%
US: 22%
Iran: 10%
Arab countries: 5% (p. 308).  This only goes to show the gap between the opinion of the public and the opinion of the royal princes and kings which Western governments like to assume that they are representative of their people.

Arab rejection of the recognition of the Israeli occupation state

The Arab Index for 2015 shows stable results in the wide Arab recognition of the state of Israel.  Even in Egypt, 74% oppose recognition of Israel, while 86% of people in Saudi Arabia reject recognition of Israel, and 87% in Iraq, and 91% in Tunisia, and 94% in Kuwait, and 91% in Mauritania, and 84% in Morocco, and 91% in Algeria, and 90% in Jordan and 82% in Lebanon.  This shows you that peace with Israel can only be forced on the Arab people, and not opted by popular preference. (p. 298 of the Arab Index).

Hearing aids have really shrunk over the decades

And I think you needed to yell through them for the person to hear you.

Which foreign policies do Arab people favor?

According to the Arab Index for 2015 (and I have many critical comments about it in series of articles for Al-Akhbar), these are the results of describing the policies as either "favorable" or "somewhat favorable":
Turkey (59%), China (51%), France (45%), Russia (34%), Iran (28%), and US (27%).  Yet, US continues to impose itself as the arbiter and mediator in Arab affairs.  

Turkey-Israeli alliance

A brief commentary.  (thanks Sam)

"Controversial" means racist: "Denmark approves controversial refugee bill allowing police to seize asylum seekers' cash and valuables"

"The Danish parliament has approved a controversial law allowing authorities to seize refugees’ cash and valuables, and delay them being reunited with their families.
Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen called the proposals the “most misunderstood bill in Denmark's history” in the wake of international criticism.
His minority government had been widely expected to win today’s vote with the backing of the opposition Social Democrats and anti-immigration Danish People's Party".

Western media and lamentations about the "Arab spring"

This is stunning about Western media commemoration of the "Arab spring": they seem to engage in all sort of theorization and generalizations and explanations about "what went wrong" but oddly they leave out the most important element regarding the "Arab spring": that Western governments and Israel proved that they will defend the Saudi-led Arab regional order with all the might of NATO.

Saudi and Iranian regimes

The Saudi and Iranian regimes are in conflict but they share religious self-righteousness.  That makes it easy for both of them to execute.  Amnesty International has a report which referred to a practice in Iran: whereby underage defendants are executed but only after they reach the age of 18, and Amnesty said that it sounds those who are executed as adults after being convicted as juvenile as juveniles.  I agree with that, but Amnesty did not mention that the Saudi regime does that same.  It is very clear that Western human rights organizations, namely Amnesty and HRW reserve particularly scrutiny to regimes which are not allies of the US.  So beware.  All regimes that resort to religious self-righesuness (Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Israel) should be brought down. That should be a matter of urgency.  

I know no movement which exploited children politically like it

I have not known any "revolution" or any political movement which engaged in grotesque exploitation of children for political purposes and parading children holding political signs before the cameras like the Syrian "revolution"--the revolution is headquartered in Riyadh, and that is all you need to know to understand this "revolution".   Please leave children out of your political conflicts and agendas.  

Monday, January 25, 2016

US is NOT the preferred destination of Arab immigrants

I don't have time to go into details about the new comprehensive Arab Index for 2015 (which is the most comprehensive Arab public survey, and I have been writing a critique of it over four parts for Al-Akhbar) but I want to mention that the US is NOT the favored destination for Arab immigrants: Most (38% prefer European countries), while 17% prefer Gulf countries, while 13% prefer the US.

collective harassment

From Daniel: ""collective harassment" is a peculiar racist trope; it speaks of a "collective [unreasoned] mind" as opposed to, you know, rational individidualist types who I guess prefer to more nobly rape one by one. See also: "wilding", and "wolf pack" attributed to black youth in NYC."

Intellectual features of an elementary school graduate: King Salman

This is an article in the mouthpiece of King Salman, Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat, about "the intellectual features" of King Salman. The writer says that Salman inherited his "intellectual capabilities" from his illiterate father.

The religious kooks of Iran

"Iran bans use of the word ‘wine’ and foreign animal names in books".  How will those religious kooks manage that? What will they do with classical Persian poetry?  This is as insane as erasing references to wine from classical Arabic poetry.  Cultural wars are the last refuge of religious kooks in power.

It is worth it, don't you think?

"Businessman buys photograph of a potato for €1m"

There is Orthodox Judaism and Sunni Judaism

"Outlining the fast-developing relationship between Israel and other Sunni states in the region, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Turkey, the official went beyond earlier comments by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and expressed Israel’s dismay at U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. “We have the chance now to make a coalition with Saudi Arabia, North African states, the Gulf States, and Turkey,” Ayoob Kara, Israel’s deputy minister for regional cooperation, told"

The Saudi-Israeli-ISIS axis

"The Sudanese “opening” to Israel is part of a larger quiet revolution in the Arab world. Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold told the Institute of National Securities Studies (INSS) conference on January 18 that Israel has contacts with “almost every Arab state.” Rather than being isolated, Israel is being incorporated into the Saudi Sunni-Arab orbit. Part of this includes the opening of a mission in Abu Dhabi and increasing contacts in the Gulf States." "When Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon was speaking at INSS he made an offhand comment that he “prefers IS to Iran.” "

Israeli PM: Saudi Arabia is an ally

"Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated that Riyadh now view Israel “as an ally rather than as an enemy.” He believes this is because of a “great shift taking place” on Arab reluctance to support the Palestinian issue."

The US just wants to dominate the world--but not more than that


CIA story about the leak of Iran-Contra story

This is not true.  Ash-Shira` was not funded by the Syrian regime (Syrian regime does not "fund" media or even politicians (only Walid Jumblat used to get a stipend of $50,000 per month from Syrian intelligence according to pro-Syrian regime politician, Wi'am Wahhabi in a recent interview): they basically allow their clients to steal and embezzle. That is their form of funding.  Ash-Shira` started with Libyan regime seed money: the publisher was an information leader in a militia run and funded by the Libyan regime during the war years (the Arab Socialist Union).  The magazine later obtained funding from other sources including Iranian intelligence, before settling on Gulf regimes funding (largely now Prince Al-Walid but others as well).  It was disaffected Iranian intelligence elements which leaked the story of Iran-Contra to Ash-Shira`.

Oh, the West is outraged: they can't stand plots and assassinations

"Putin ‘Probably’ Approved Litvinenko Poisoning, U.K. Inquiry Says".  And Netanyahu CERTAINLY approved the poisoning of Arafat.

So the Tunisian labor union which won the Nobel Prize is standing against popular protests

Now we know why it deserved the Nobel prize. They are now accusing protests of conspiracies and supporting their repression.

Syria solidarity committees

Regarding a post (written by comrade Asa) about Syrian solidarity committees from a few days ago, I received this response:
"We saw your post about the irony of two groups both called "syria solidarity movement' but on opposite sides of the issue.

We hope you will help to clarify a couple things for your readers: is the original SSM and we are seeking legal action to stop the other group's use of the name. 

Our group has active members in Canada, USA, Palestine, UK, and France.  When we expose lies, distortions and slander, and when we try to be a voice that is otherwise suppressed, we are often accused of being pro-Assad. We do not consider ourselves "pro-Assad", which you can see from our mission statement.   We consider ourselves pro-Syrian, anti-interventionist and anti-imperialist, which we believe is similar to your viewpoint. 
The other group is not just 'anti-Assad'.  They are sectarian and pro-imperialist.

We hope the confusion with two opposite groups with same name will be resolved soon.

Thanks for bringing this to readers attention
SSM - International "

What has Saudi wealth done to Arab culture?

Watch this video: do you see this pathetic man in suit and tie following Prince Sultan bin Salman? Do you see that pathetic smile on his face? He is a Lebanese poet/novelist by the name of Ahmad Ali Az-Zayn.  This is a mere sample of poets, writers, academics, and journalists who have prostrated themselves to Saudi princes to become mere members of Saudi entourage.

U.S. devoted to bolstering tyrants

"Nothing seems to strike deeper unease into the authors of change-oriented, definitely-not-conservative foreign policy as mentioning the fact that much of their Mideast effort is devoted to bolstering and legitimizing an anti-democratic monarchy that executes and tortures people for having the wrong religious views, that conducts awful and disruptive wars, that imposes the world’s most assertive form of official sex discrimination and that often seems to be on the wrong side of our war against a certain terrorist army." "It is an old, very dirty trade-off: We give the House of Saud weapons and political legitimacy; in exchange, they give us petroleum, military support and some measure of pro-Western authoritarian stability in parts of the region." (thanks Amir)

Prince Muqrin

Prince Muqrin, having been sacked from the post of Crown Prince, now has plenty of time to spend time with the sand.

Jadaliyyah interview with Joseph Massad in Arabic

Interview in Arabic here.

Da`wah Party: history of an anti-leftist reactionary sectarian party

This is a brief history of the Da`wah Party and its Lebanese branch which merged with other groups to form Hizbullah.

Young Arab-Muslim attitudes towards religion and religious leadership - graphic

"A total of 5,374 Muslims from the UAE, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were interviewed for the study conducted by the Tabah Foundation, which gathers information on young people’s perceptions of religion and surrounding issues."  Notice among other aspects that Muftis of countries don't get the support for much of the populations.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Worst of regimes

Iran regime is lousy but its reformers are the worst elements in it, just as the reformers and Western government-approved dissidents were the worst part of the Soviet Union.  You can always adhere to this formula: US always picks the worst regime in a conflict of two or more, and the US always picks an opposition movement worse than a particular regime, if it does not support that lousy regime.  The US never supports an alternative to a regime unless it is by far worse.  Apply to any case or to any region of the world.

Sen. Sanders

Sen. Sanders is a lousy representative of a lousy message in a leftist disguise.

A dining table in the Gulf: waste and squander

Impact of the Iranian revolution

I was talking to a friend today about that.  The impact of the Iranian Revolution has been devastating for the cause of leftists and secularists in the Arab world.  I remember how sweeping the impact was: and how much it intensified the already huge Saudi religious propagation in our parts of the world. I saw first hand how entire areas of South Lebanon went from being a bastion of leftism and secular Arab nationalism to religious politics.  It changed everything, as my friend comrade Aziz of Jordan always argued.  

Ambassador Robert Ford cares about human rights

Regarding Ambassador Robert Ford: he now cares about human rights, despite having worked for the Bush administration, he found his intellectual home with Gulf regimes, particularly the Saudi regime.  In fact, his preferred elements of the Saudi opposition are those handpicked by the House of Saud.

Robert Ford (@fordrs58)
Obama team doesn't really care much about human rights. Cold realists. They do care alot about threats to the…

Lebanese film ‘What About Tomorrow?’ Crushes box office records In Lebanon

"A new Lebanese film, What About Tomorrow?, which is made up of grainy footage of a 38-year-old play by legendary singer-writer Ziad Rahbani, is crushing box office records in the country. The film opened on Thursday January 21 and has already garnered 28,000 admissions in its first day. To put that into context, that’s more than Star Wars: The Force Awakens did in its entire opening weekend. The film is now anticipated to become the highest grossing Lebanese film of all time. A lot of tickets sold were part of a new phenomenon in Lebanon where people buy out whole screens and invite their friends and family for a private showing on the day of release. 12,000 tickets were sold in pre-sales alone, an un-heard of number for a film in the country."

Chinese role in the Arab world

Unprecedented.  The speech by Chinese president before the Arab League was quite a paradox: that China will provide $55 billion (loans and grants) to the Arab world while insisting that China does not want anything in return.  

Crackdown in Tunisia

There is a crackdown on freedoms in Tunisia to the glee of Western governments and Arab oil and gas governments--all of whom are the benefactors of the ruling party of Tunisia.  Western government quickly turned the political transformation in Tunisia into a return to the authoritarian rule of past years with few cosmetic changes.  Substantially, there are no changes in foreign and economic policies.  

Saturday, January 23, 2016

West forgives Omar al-Bashir's war crimes as he joins Israeli-allied Moderate Arabs

"Al-Bashir, who is subject to an international arrest warrant by the Hague for war crimes, said in November 2012 that normalization with Israel is a "red line." "The surprising dialogue that has arisen surrounding Israel-Sudan relations is likely due to the dramatic developments in the Middle East over the last few months." "Sudan was one of the first countries to join the war against the Houthi rebels in Yemen," "It is not inconceivable that Sudan's actions are a means of winning financial rewards from Saudi Arabia and that it is interested in normalizing ties with Israel in order to improve its financial situation."

US-supported ethnic cleansing

"Peshmerga forces from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Kurdish militias in northern Iraq have bulldozed, blown up and burned down thousands of homes in an apparent effort to uproot Arab communities in revenge for their perceived support for the so-called Islamic State (IS), said Amnesty International in a new report published today."

U.S. occupies Syrian government airbase

"The airfield near the city of Rmeilan, which will become the first US-controlled airbase in Syria, was previously controlled by the US-backed Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG)." "Rmeilan airport was previously used for agricultural purposes by the Syrian government," he said."

Canada’s exports of military goods to countries outside the United States rose 89 per cent

"Between 2006 and 2013, the last year for which numbers are available, Canada’s exports of military goods to countries outside the United States rose 89 per cent. However, that number is likely to hit a new high once figures for 2014 become available and a controversial $15 billion General Dynamics armoured vehicle sale to Saudi Arabia is added to the totals." (thanks Amir)

Riyad Hijab

So basically, the Syrian opposition fought and struggled in order that Bashshar Al-Asad's hand-picked, Prime minister, Riyad Hijab, speaks for them. What a victory.  

Syrian solidarity groups

From comrade Asa: "sn't it funny (not "ha ha" funny): there are two groups that call themselves the "Syria Solidarity Movement" -- one in the UK and one in the US.

The UK one is pro-rebel, and pro-western bombs ("no-fly zone," which they've recently re-branded as a "no-bomb zone," I kid you not). This is their lousy site

Their activists go around social media slandering anyone who raises questions about the rebels and the "no-fly zone" as pro-Assad. They get an unreasonably favourable coverage in the lousy UK mainstream media. At the end of last year they were used as another vector of attack in
the media's war against Jeremy Corbyn and his association with the Stop the War Coalition (which has a sensible position on Syria). Their activists tried to hijack and shut-down a STW meeting in parliament, demanding that their (pro-war) voices be part of an anti-war panel. OK.
Then, the lousy BBC of course reported this as the STW "not allowing Syrians to speak at a meeting about Syria". Totally cynical and disgusting misreporting.

The US one I am not as familiar with but seems pretty pro-Assad:

And both of these groups claim to care about the Syrian people!"

Western anti-Arab bigots are now pretending that there is a special ritual of Arab sexual harassment

There is sexual harassment around the world, and 23 women are killed by men in the US (one of the highest records in the world) and yet there is an attempt to now pretend that there is a peculiar Arab cultural phenomenon known as "collective harassment".  In the realty, the term is a mere translation of a Western term (which is rather relatively new).  Harassment is harassment and rape is rape, stop with your attempt at cultural generalizations.

Electronic Intifada yet again exposes Zionist lies

"A student who tried to attend a talk held at King’s College London (KCL) for the former head of Israel’s secret police has told The Electronic Intifada that she was assaulted by a pro-Israel King’s student.
Ami Ayalon once led the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal spy agency, which has a long record of torturing and murdering Palestinians, including civilians.
Despite media coverage claiming Tuesday’s talk was disrupted by “violent” pro-Palestinian protesters, students speaking to The Electronic Intifada have given a very different account."

Israeli cuisine

""All the Israeli food scene is modern. It’s only been around since 1948."  No way. You are telling me that glorious Israeli cuisine was not around before 1948? So the slicing of cucumbers over Arab dishes and marketing them as Israeli cuisine did not start until 1948? What do you know. (thanks Khan)

hailing polygamy

The Media of Saudi princes are jubilant: they are citing some kooky British study which allegedly shows that polygamy prolongs one's life.  

You can tell the depth of a US-trained scholar when he begins his article like this:

"The impressive major Saudi foreign policy initiatives and military action over the past year speaks volumes about King Salman’s acumen to lead the Kingdom down a new path to be a leader on a regional and global scale in its own right."

What a flimsy story this is

This story has the credibility of the story of the Iranian-American car salesman who was recruited by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to hire a Mexican drug lord to assassissante the Saudi ambassador in DC while consuming Kung Pau Chicken.  I mean, why would the Iranian diplomat say what he said--assuming it was true?  And only this American and Russian heard it?

Candy and Dandy

What kind of candy or chocolate is this?  And doesn't the Saudi King seem to have been a recent recipient of plastic surgery?

You know when the Guardian is NOT what it used to be on the Middle East when they asked a writer in An-Nahar to speak on behalf of Revolution

What a different Guardian it has become.  The paper selected a writer in the right-wing sectarian Christian and racist newspaper, An-Nahar (known lately only for its sleazy website) to speak on behalf of the Arab revolution.  Kid you not.  The writer in question has the philosophical depth, intellectual sophistication and progressiveness of Sarah Palin.  

Religion and Religiosity in the Arab World

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "Religion and Religiosity: A Look at "The Arab Index" for 2015" Part III".  

Friday, January 22, 2016

How to terrorize citizens in the Saudi kingdom of horrors

See the text of the new law about "internet information crimes".

I am still not over it

Still weeping about the German NGO which decided to suspend its operation in Egypt. How can we live as Arabs?

Please: stop the presses, wake up the children and release the pigs from the barn: Israel invents a dish

Israel state of occupation has invented yet another dish.  What is the new dish?  "Roasted whole cauliflower is having a moment. This dish has a very modest ingredient list, but is impressive to serve, and is increasingly becoming a star on the menus of influential chefs around the world. Most recently, the New York Times brought the recipe to home cooks; after its publication last week, the story was one of the most e-mailed on the major newspaper’s website."  Yes, before an Israeli chef invented this, no Arabs have ever placed a whole cauliflower or eggplant on fire. It never occurred to any of them.  The funny part is the the Israeli media use the promotion of "the dish" by New York Times as evidence of the originality of the dish.  If an Israeli were to slice a potato, the New York Times would write a front-page story about how for the first time ever, a potato has been sliced originally in Israel.  This is a state without history or culture trying desperately and feverishly to steal culture from Arabs in the same speed that it has stolen lands from Arabs.

Zionism is always racism

"Only 20% of Jewish Israelis see Arab citizens as ‘equals’"

You can learn a lot from the media of Saudi princes

This is from Arabiyya (the news station of Prince Muhammad bin Salman): "The anti-Assad opposition might or might not attend."  Are you sure?

France’s much vaunted secularism is not the neutral space it claims to be

"At the start of this year, the school in the little French town of Sargé-lès-le-Mans instituted a “pork or nothing” policy. Muslim and Jewish kids have either to eat pork or go hungry. Apparently this move is necessary to “save secularism”, according to National Front leader Marine le Pen. “We will accept no religious requirements in the school lunch menus,” she said. “There is no reason for religion to enter the public sphere.”....But there is a huge difference between targeting grand bishops in Rome and a beleaguered, economically fragile Muslim community that has received a great many knocks at the hands of the French state and its colonial past. Rabelaisian derision aimed at the House of Saud or Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is one thing. But aimed at the disaffected banlieues it is bullying and goading. You have to be suspicious that French secularism is not the neutral thing it purports to be when racists such as Le Pen start defending it so enthusiastically. And yet there is nothing the leaders of al-Qaida want more than the French state to be seen to declare war on its religious citizens once again. They know that many young, disaffected Arab immigrants on the sink estates outside Paris are itching for a fight. The French government must not give it to them. And that means re-thinking their precious laïcité."

Gandhi the Imperialist

"Nothing could be more misleading. Gandhi’s concern for the African majority—“the Kaffirs,” in his phrase—was negligible. During his South African years (1893-1914), argue Ashwin Desai and Goolam Vahed in “The South African Gandhi,” he was far from an “anti-racist, anti-colonial fighter on African soil.” He had found his way to South Africa mainly by the accident of being offered a better job there than he could find in Bombay. He regarded himself as a British subject. He aimed at limited integration of Indians into white society. Their new status would secure Indian rights but would also acknowledge white supremacy. In essence, he wanted to stabilize the Indian community within the stratified system that later became known as apartheid."