Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ashraf Ghani: the tributes continue

What is amazing about those tributes in the US press about Ashraf Ghani is that the man has been in office for WEEKS ONLY, damn it. Is that not too soon to make a verdict one way or another? I know that he is serious about reform and for that he chose Abdul-Karim Dustum as his first vice-president, but come on.  But in the article they tell a story about his promptness which was denied by the person involved and yet was used to his credit.  Also that the article lists among his achievements the signing of the treaty with the US.

The new Egypt

"Just months after they were appointed, 138 new prosecutors were removed from office in September 2013 following a ruling from the judiciary’s governing body that said only those born to parents with undergraduate degrees could join the state prosecution.

“We have nothing against the job of garbage collectors, but their sons belong in other fields than the judiciary, because it’s a sensitive job,” said Justice Ahmed Abdelrahman.

A year on, after failing to overturn the decision in the courts, they have asked for the intervention of the president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, whose parents did not attend university." (thanks Don)

Israeli soldiers kidnapped 278 Palestinians in September

"The Ahrar Center for Detainees Studies and Human Rights has issued its monthly report on Israeli arrests in West Bank and Gaza Strip during September. The report said that 278 Palestinians have been arrested and one was killed by Israeli soldiers."

Canada is shocked

"It is always stunning when a country that has brought violence and military force to numerous countries acts shocked and bewildered when someone brings a tiny faction of that violence back to that country." (thanks Amir)

Give it to Liz Sly: no matter what, she along still believes in the existence of "moderate" Syrian rebels

"Moderate Syrian rebels and activists living in Turkey say they often recognize men whom they suspect of belonging to the extremist group on the streets or in cafes frequented by Syrians."  She then says: "A popular Syrian fighter and former farmer who had earned renown for his persistence in confronting the Islamic State, Abu Issa had been fighting in Kobane before traveling to Sanliurfa a week before the incident to rest and consult with fellow rebels, according to Abu Shujaat."  And do you notice her tributes to Syrian rebels are all based on the accounts and claims of, you guessed it, Syrian rebels, and all of the claims are never ever verified by her. Why bother?

There is no Gulf royal sponsorship that does not impress David Ignatius Al Saud

"This tiny international organization, whose Arabic name means “guidance,” wants to be the softer face of the battle against such terror groups as the Islamic State. A brochure explains that if traditional counterterrorism efforts are perceived as soldiers with automatic weapons, Hedayah instead wants an image of kids sitting around a blackboard in a rural school. "

Greeted him like a returning king

"Streams of young Muslim men greeted him like a returning king.

As-salamu alaykum.

Wa alaikum assalaam."  This is normal greeting and there is nothing royal about it.  I am really sick and tired of this lazy and ignorant reporting.

Iraqi regime executions

"Iraqi authorities have executed at least 60 people this year, a U.N. report said Sunday, expressing concern that “irreversible mis­carriages of justice” were taking place in some death-penalty ­cases."

Liz Sly: her anthology of farcical propagananda

"The executioners, speaking in Tunisian, Egyptian and Saudi accents, taunted those not yet dead by swinging severed heads in front of their faces and telling them, “It’s your turn next.”" What a coincidence. Her Syrian rebels contact never ever admit that there are Syrians among those ISIS fighters. They always seem to have non-Syrian accents because the Syrian rebels are, of course, all moderates.

What gets covered in US media and what does not get covered

From Robert: "this DID get covered in US media.

Of course it had nothing to do with this:

Israel and the King of Jordan

"The Israeli ambassador to Jordan, Daniel Nevo, has said that "Israel couldn't dream of a better neighbour than Jordan," noting that the strategic relationship between the two countries is continuously developing...
...Nevo noted that such criticisms [of Israeli policy] are only made in the context of the Jordanian regime's attempt to contain public anger over what is occurring in Jerusalem and what happened in the Gaza Strip during the latest Israeli attack on Palestinians in Gaza, as well as an attempt to overcome the pressures put on Amman from other Arab and Islamic parties.
Nevo was also quoted as saying that all of the statements issued by Jordanian officials criticising Israel's policies have not prevented the continuous development of their bilateral relations, whether the exchange of intelligence, security coordination, trading, or economic cooperation between the two countries." (thanks Regan)

US chief Middle East ally fights Twitter

Religion and opium

If religion is the opium of the people, then Wahhabiyyah is the crack cocaine of the people.

Your freinds in Riyadh

From Michael: "" American policymakers continue to see Saudi Arabia as indispensable not because it has shown itself willing to change or develop a more inclusive and tolerant political order, but because it does not."

It is over: violent Islamic extremism is now officially dead

The US government came up with one of those brilliant schemes that only the US government can come up with: a center to fight extremism.  To host the center, the sons of Zayid in the UAE offered to host it given their democratic and enlightenment credentials. But what is curious is that the center does not identify the names of its board members or even the executive director.  It is all hush hush.

At least Hummus is not anti-Semitic

From Karim: "Your blog post yesterday on the possibly ‘divine’ explanation for the Israeli invention of hummus reminded me of this blog post from last year at The Guardian.
I had meant to pass it on to you at the time but never got around to it. Look at this paragraph (emphasis added):
The history of hummus can be traced back to at least the 13th century, when the first known recipes for it were recorded by Egyptian Arabs. But it is likely to date back much further. Chickpeas have been around for thousands of years in the Middle East, says Israeli-born chef Yotam Ottolenghi. Some scholars even claim an Old Testament passage indicates that Jews ate hummus in Biblical times.
So there you have it, it’s in the Old Testament!"

PS But where in the Old Testament, he didnt say.

Isareli Defense Minister

"Defense Minister Ya'alon: Middle East borders bound to change".  You bet they will change, and the most exciting change is that Israel will no more be there.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

suspected of being Arab in NYC

Hummus and Israel

It occurred to me that Israel only recently started to claim that Hummus is an Israeli dish. In the Israeli media and (stolen) "culture", there were no references about the Hummus craze until relatively recently the 1980s.  Yet, I grew up with Hummus (and "ful", fava beans) stores all over the cities and towns of the Lebanon.  So how is that explained? Is there a divine explanation for this one too?

Saudi media cheer Al-Qa`idah in Yemen

The Saudi government is so humiliated with the advance and success of the (reactionary) movement of the Huthis that its media have been cheering the Al-Qa`idah threats in Yemen against the Huthis. Often times they are referred to as "tribes of Yemen".

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

AJ Meyer advised Saudi planning minister H. Nazer to "keep [foreign workers] in ghettos

 Embedded image permalink

"In 1980, Harvard economist AJ Meyer advised Saudi planning minister H. Nazer to "keep [foreign workers] in ghettos." (thanks Abdallah)

Israel is more obsessed with Hollywood than Lebanon

Israel, having lost the "cool" embrace of Hollywood that it had enjoyed back in the 1950s and 1960s, now is willing to settle for silly claims of popularity of Israeli directors that no one has heard of.

To please the US, the UN is willing to violate internaitonal law

"The United Nations would offer humanitarian assistance for proposed "safe zones" inside Syria even if they were created without a Security Council resolution, the U.N.'s top humanitarian official Valerie Amos said on Monday." "So far Turkey's call has received at best a lukewarm response. The United States has said it is not a priority while Iran and the Syrian government have warned against the move, saying it would break international law."

a "suspicious" car accident near the Turkey-Syria

"Media worker Kadri Bagdu, 46, was shot dead on 14 October while distributing the Kurdish dailies Azadiya Welat and Ozgur Gundem in the south-eastern province of Adana. He was shot five times by two individuals on a motorcycle while distributing the newspapers free of charge on the street in district of Seyhan." "Press TV reported its correspondent in Turkey, Serena Shim, was killed in a "suspicious" car accident near the Turkey-Syria border on 20 October."

PS Ms. Shim holds American citizenship but no word from the US government about her.

U.S. ally steps up beheadings

"A sudden surge in public executions in Saudi Arabia in the last two months has coincided with a U.S.-led bombing campaign against Islamic State. This has led to inevitable comparisons in Western media between Islamic State's beheadings and those practiced in Saudi Arabia." "In the most extreme version of the Saudi death penalty, known by the Arabic word for "crucifixion" and reserved for crimes that outrage Saudi society, the corpse is publicly hanged in a harness from a metal gibbet as a warning to others."

Israeli soldiers terrorize disabled child

"In the video footage, filmed by B'Tselem volunteer Samih Da'na from his window, soldiers are seen holding the boy, handcuffing him, blindfolding him and closing him in the jeep, despite cries by Palestinian residents that the boy is mentally disabled. The footage also shows settlers from Kiryat Arba, watching the incident from behind the settlement's fence. Some are seen calling out encouragement to the soldiers, including several racist remarks." (thanks Amir)

PS Will they make an opera about this case?

Not in US media

"A young Palestinian girl who was struck by an Israeli settler vehicle earlier Sunday has succumbed to her wounds, medics told Ma'an. Einas Khalil, five, died after being hit by a car driven by an Israeli settler near the central West Bank town of Sinjil, medical sources at Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah said. Residents of Sinjil accused the settler of deliberately hitting the girls." (thanks Basim)

US dropping arms to ISIS? A mistake, no??

Can they synchronize their lies about Syria, please?

A plea to the Syrian exile opposition and the Saudi-Qatari-controlled armed rebels: please synchronize your lies because they are not making sense anymore. Here, this Saudi royal news site (Al-Arabiyyah, of King Fahd's brother-in-law) claims that 60,000 `Alawites have been killed in the war in Syria. But I thought that the Alawite minority regime killed all the victims in Syria. Does that mean that the Alawite minority regime has been largely killing Alawite? But you say daily that it is launching a war of extermination against Sunnis? Which is which?

A man who can't tell the truth

Even in Israel, Peres is known as a liar.  He cant talk about an issue without lying. He makes Nasser sounds like King Khusayn here.  I wish I have the time to enumerate the lies contained in this interview.

UAE arrested and deported @iyad_elbaghdadi possibly for voicing his opinions

"The very next day, he was summoned to an immigration office in the UAE, arrested, and told that he would be immediately deported from the country. “The morning I was arrested,” Baghdadi says, “I woke up still crying over losing him…I didn’t get to mourn him like everyone else.”"

Cluster bomb in the service of Western freedoms

" The Ukrainian Army appears to have fired cluster munitions on several occasions into the heart of Donetsk, unleashing a weapon banned in much of the world into a rebel-held city with a peacetime population of more than one million, according to physical evidence and interviews with witnesses and victims." Now that would not cause an uproar, for sure.

Ms. Gall is in Tunisia

She is a correspondent for the Times in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  But she hopped into a plane and went to Tunisia (and thus became an expert) and is reporting that the people there want a dictatorship.

PS Ms. Gall, as you remember, reported that Hamid Karzai won his last election in an honest election, before reversing herself days later.

The New York Times remembers Ali Mazrui

Oh, he is also declared to be anti-Semitic.  "In editing “The Africans” for American television, Professor Mazrui deleted his description of Karl Marx as “the last of the great Jewish prophets” because producers feared it might be taken as anti-Semitic."

Audacious Gulf policies and military adventures: the case of the UAE

My latest blog post for Al-Akhbar English: "Audacious Gulf policies and military adventures: the case of the UAE".

Monday, October 20, 2014

Israel is so desperate for American celebrities

....that they think that Paul Anka is cool.  If only they can get Barry Manilow the nation would be in celebration.

Sadiq Jalal Al-Azm: when he thinks he is providing intelligent propaganda to the US/Israel

"'Russia-Iran-Hezbollah axis could arise allying itself with ISIL'"  And this from the same man who has been providing apologetic about the takfiri groups for two years straight.

"Mundane racism in Haifa"

From Eyal in 1948 Palestine:
"(No crisis, no massacre or beating or anything dramatic, just a bit of mundane everyday racism.)


As you probably know, the largest segments of Israeli population which are exempted from military service are the Palestinian Arabs (not including the Druze) and the ultra-orthodox Jews (the 'Haredim').

Last week I visited my home town of Haifa for the annual film festival there. I was walking along the main street next to where my screenings were held, and there were two businesses looking for employees. The first was a corner kiosk, and the other was a 'Sandwich bar'. So, they both required that candidates be "post military service". Now, this is not uncommon in Israel, and is basically illegal: An employer cannot ask you about your military service, and the courts have upheld that requiring any sort of military service background is discriminatory.
That has not made the practice go away:

"Help wanted: Post military service; energetic and hard-working; with experience in sales; preference for those with computer and editing software know-how"

While the Israeli military is involved in arms sales, I'm guessing that's not the kind of sales experience the kiosk was after.

Now, one could argue that what they really meant is someone over 21 - since military service is officially mandatory, it's a half-passable excuse (if you're willing to excuse ignoring the ~35% of the population which doesn't get drafted at all). The other place makes things clearer:

"Employees wanted for the Carmel Sandwich Bar; post/pre military service only; for details please leave your contact information."

So, post/pre military service. Here we don't have the age excuse, or any kind of experience which one could claim is related to military service.
That is, almost explicitly, you need to be from the kind of people who get drafted into the military. The only remaining question is whether their racism is more anti-Arab or anti-Haredi, or both.

Sometimes even being a low-pay wage-slave is considered too much of a privilege for you."

"Despite years of diplomacy and a CIA operation"

"Despite years of diplomacy and a CIA operation to vet and train moderate rebels, the U.S. finds itself without a credible partner on the ground in Syria"

US Navy: protecting freedoms around the world

"Bahrain, where the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet is based, quelled the 2011 protests" (thanks Amir)

Walid Phares: his true story and role in the Lebanese Forces militia

American right-wing Lebanese, Walid Phares, was a Middle East adviser to Mitt Romney.  At that time, some media pointed out to his past role in the leadership of the Lebanese militia, Lebanese Forces.  He has been maintaining that the person with that name in the Lebanese Forces is not his, and that the name are similar.  Of course, I have said repeatedly that this claim of his is a flat-out lie.  I was looking into my archives yesterday, and stumbled upon this Zionist publication from 1992, in which he tells his life story.  By the way, not the notion that he was kidnapped by the Lebanese Phalanges militia because he called openly for an alliance with Israel is another flat-out lie because the Phalanges were also aligned with Israel. But I guess that in speaking to the Zionist publication he felt the need to appear as a brave Zionist in Lebanon.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

George Cloony after attending too many Lebanese dinner and lunch invitations
Lebanese are circulating this picture of George Clooney ostensibly after attending too many Lebanese feasts.

A protester in Hong Kong was beaten: New York Times outraged

This paper is more outraged about the beating of one protester than about the hundreds of Palestinian children slaughtered by the Israeli terrorist army.

How the Israeli state inflates the number of Jews in its census

"Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics does not record as emigrants anyone who returns to visit within a year." What a bogus measure. 

Teaching of Hebrew at US universities

There can't be any academic or scholarly purpose for the justification of teaching Hebrew at many US universities and colleges. I just don't get the reason for teaching a language that is spoken by less than 7 million around the world, while the languages spoken by hundreds of millions (Urdu, for example, or Punjabi or Dari ) are rarely taught at the same universities. The reason why Hebrew is being taught is purely a silly "counter-balance" to the teaching of Arabic--a language spoken by some 350 million people. College administrators are too afraid in the poisoned climate of the US to offer Arabic without Hebrew anymore.