Thursday, April 28, 2016

In Syria

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

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

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

Virginia state senator, Dick Black

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

How and why Israel kills Palestinians

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

Grotesque Syrian regime propagandist

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

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

"And they all seemed to loathe Jews."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is the list.

Sisi's dilemma

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

Reuters discovered a fifth jurisprudential school of Sunni Islam

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

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

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

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


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How the Saudi King operates

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

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

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

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

The body of Theodore Herzl

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

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

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

Lebanese Communist Party has a new secretary-general

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

bombing residential areas in Aleppo

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

Dear Bassam Haddad honored

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

Muhammad bin Salman interview

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, April 25, 2016

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


The vision of Prince Muhammad bin Salman

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

"How the 'Arab Youth Survey' was skewed"


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

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

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

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

Obama's wars target "civilian infrastructure"

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

Sharp rise in the number of Palestinian children in Israeli prisons

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

EU-Turkish war on Syrian Refugees

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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