Wednesday, September 20, 2017

About the humiliation of the Israeli occupation army in South Lebanon in 2006

From the deputy assistant secretary of defense in the Obama administration: "especially since the 34-day war in the summer of 2006 in which it defeated Israel". (thanks Basim)

In Lebanon, you can get a menicure while a foreign domestic worker holds you hookah pipe

A protest at AUB this morning against Samir Khalaf who insulted a student for wearing the Hijab

ADC Convention

How much the ADC has changed since I came to US in 1983.  It was an expression of the progressive and fiercely pro-Palestinian sentiments of Arab-Americans.  I read that ADC will be given the Hala Salam Maksoud award to Phalange-sympathizer, May Rihani.  Why not give an award to Bashir Gemayyel while you are at it?  Hala Salam was a progressive fiercely pro-Palestinian leader.  Her name should not be associated with Lebanese nationalist Phalange-sympathizers.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Another version of the picture

Outcry at the American University of Beirut: a professor insults a student for wearing a hijab

The story is here as recounted by the student.

A Sisi meeting

Human Rights all around

No, opposition to Jihadism or Ikhwan or Wahhabiyyah is NOT Islamophobia

While it is true that many progressive and mostly liberals support dictatorial rules in Syria or Egypt or Tunisia or Jordan or Gulf regime out of a desire to crush Islamists and Ikhwan, but opposition to Jihadism or Ikhwan or Wahhabiyyah is NOT in itself Islamophobia, just as opposition to Zionism is not in itself anti-Semitism.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Jamal Khashoggi speaks out in the washington Post

1) He never ever said a word about arrests and repression in Saudi Arabia.
2) He only spoke out now because repression is affecting him and his friends.
3) He basically is only speaking out because those who were banned or arrested are people who support the regime.  In other words, Mr. Khashoggi does not mind repression, arrests, and beheading of opponents of the regime. He only gets upset when people like him--long standing supporters and propagandists of the regime--are banned.
4) When was Saudi Arabia ever not repressive and cruel?
5) He says tat the Crown Prince is popular: how do you measure that when criticisms of the man is illegal and can get you long prison sentences? And who does he talk to? Does he talk to anyone who is not like him a supporter of the regime?

Look how many US lawmakers visited Israel sponsored by AIPAC

A week after Liz Sly posted a false report that Israel only once violated Lebanese airspace since 2006

Liz Sly was promoted a week after posting a false report that Israel violated Lebanese airspace only once since 2006 (when the real number is over 7000 by 2012).  Real journalism warrants real rewards in the US, especially when Zionism is concerned.

NYTimes opened up its pages for the Saudi regime to justify its repression

Can you imagine the New York Times providing free space for the Iranian or Syrian regime to justify their repression, the way the Times provided free space for Saudi regime to justify its repression?  

Why the US allowed ISIS convoy to proceed

So when Hizbullah expelled ISIS terrorists from the Lebanese borders, Western correspondents in Beirut were up in arms (taking their cues from propagandists of the Saudi regime camp in the Middle East--as they always do).  Yet, when the US allowed the ISIS convoy to proceed, they simply provided justifications.

Guess who is back? And guess who Hizbullah commanders and fighters chose to confide their secrets to?

This is what a seasoned Western correspondents in the Middle East told me about his/her theory regarding all those Western correspondents in Beirut who claim that Hizbullah fighters and commanders confide in them although they all have a record of hostility to Hizbullah and sympathy for Israel.  He/she believes that those correspondents rely on fixers--as we all know and on local translators and drivers and bodyguards and cooks and groomers and butlers--and those fixers for a fee would produce "Hizbullah commanders" who in reality are local thugs and who are willing to play the role for a fee.  I remembers when I worked with NBC News back in the 1980s how local "fixers" in Beirut would also claim that they have tapes with American hostages in Lebanon and would sell them before screening to NBC office in Beirut only to find out that the tapes were blank.  The same here.  Also, why do Hizbullah commanders and fighters sound so markedly different in tone and bravado than real Hizbullah commanders and fighters in the rare occasions when they talk to reporters in Lebanon IN ARABIC?    Notice this claim by Israeli terrorist commanders how it went unchecked and refuted in the same article: "Israel adopted a policy of specifically targeting Hezbollah and trying to avoid the Lebanese army as well as the country’s infrastructure and citizens."  Of course, Israeli terrorist state did target Lebanese Army even at their headquarters in Yarze.  And notice how the Israeli occupation state casually threatens to destroy Lebanon: "Lebanon will be destroyed in a few days.”"

Sunday, September 17, 2017

AUB President agrees with Kim Ghattas: colonial times were the best times in the Middle East

Dr. Fadlo Khuri (@DrFadloKhuri)
Reflective, poignant article by @BBCKimGhattas on Lebanon and Beirut, enduring, but endangered communal…

The lies and fabrications of the Israeli lobby

AIPAC says: "In addition to extortive taxes and fees levied against the hundreds of thousands of Lebanese Shia under its jurisdiction".  A blatant lie. As if Hizbullah is not the people of South Lebanon--or some of them anyway.  The extended members of the AbuKhalil family in Tyre and Qulaylah village live in areas where Hizbullah is dominant and they don't pay a penny to Hizbullah.

Is Huffington Post renting out space on its website? I am serious.

I know that the Arabic version of Huffington Post was sold to the Qatari regime which made it into the sleaziest most misogynistic Arabic site there is.  But now the US Huffington Post is putting out stupid propaganda in praise of wealthy Arab.  It is hilarious that they called Lebanese billionaire, Fouad Makhzoumi "a beloved public figure".  That would crack up most Lebanese if they hear it.

When the US almost invaded Lebanon in 1969

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "When the US almost invaded Lebanon in 1969: a new document".

PS I am grateful to James Stoker for alerting me to this document that he found in the archives.

Friday, September 15, 2017

King Salman mingles freely around his people in Mecca--but surrounded by a whole army

Homophobia in Israel

"But after the lawmaker, Yigal Guetta, revealed in the radio interview that he had attended the wedding of a gay nephew, his chatty appeal to a broader audience of potential Shas voters appeared to backfire. Rabbis and party activists revolted and demanded that he resign. Under pressure from the critics, Mr. Guetta, 51, told Aryeh Deri, the party leader, this week that he was resigning, and Mr. Deri agreed."

The Saudi "reformer": Jamal Khashoggi argues that protests are legitimate in Syria and Libya but not in Saudi Arabia

He agrees with the Saudi regime senior clerics that protests should be banned in Saudi Arabia and says that: "The Kingdom is a successful model among failed republics.  Revolutions there could not be stopped.  The Kingdom needs reforms and not revolutions".

Replying to 
سأعتبر انك جاد وأجيبك، لأن المملكة نموذج ناجح بين جمهوريات فاشلة ، الثورات هناك ما كان لأحد ان يوقفها ، المملكة تحتاج إصلاحات لا ثورات

Ben Hubbard does what he does best: promote the propaganda interests of the Saudi regime

"While many of the proposed changes are popular with Saudis and hailed as necessary for the kingdom’s future".  How did he know that they are popular when expression of disagreement with those "changes" would land you in jail? Did he conduct a survey?

Israel has the worst child poverty rate: a disgrace unto the nations

Child poverty rate.

Israel: 28.5%
Mexico: 26%
Spain: 21.7%
US: 20.5%
Italy: 17.3%
Japan: 15.7%
France: 10.8%
UK: 9.5%
Germany: 8.1%


Senior Clerics in Saudi Arabia rules against protests in Saudi Arabia (but they support it in Syria, Libya, and Iran)

This has been mocked: how Saudi clerics rule against protests in Saudi Arabia but rules in its favor in countries not aligned with Saudi regime.

Criticisms of Hizbullah's political role in Al-Akhbar

Al-Akhbar's publisher, Ibrahim Al-Amin, published a scathing critique of Hizbullah and its corrupt role in Lebanese domestic politics.  He takes on the party for its reluctance to engage in social justice struggle. But the party is not a progressive party so it is not surprising--to me.

How the US wants to win Arab "hearts and minds": by a salutation to Zionism

This has been mocked by Arabs.  The new (even more Zionist) management of the failed project of Al-Hurra TV (the Arabic US propaganda TV) wants to win Arab hearts and minds, so it commissioned an Arabic article to salute Zionism.  Kid you not.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Kim Ghattas: her ignorance of Middle East history and her utter racism and sectarianism

"But after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, World War II, and decolonization, cosmopolitanism clashed with nationalism across the Arab world. The expulsions of minorities, who were often associated with the colonizing powers, led to increasing cultural and social homogenization."  Who expelled minorities? Which minorities? You certainly are not talking about the explosion of Palestinians from their homeland.  Zionists claimed for decades that Egyptian Jews were expelled from Egypt while recently they are now condeding that such explosion never actually took place.  And what is Ghattas claiming? That the Middle East was a great tolerant place until the Arab Jews and foreigners left the region and then it became backward?  But look at her internalized racism: she basically says that when the European and Jews left everything went down hill.  If only colonialism can come back, o Ms. Ghattas.  You would be most happy.  She says: "Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser kicking out thousands of French, Greeks, Italians, and Jews, putting an end to the golden age of Alexandria."  And look at her racism against Syrian refugees: "many worry about the long-term impact of the influx in recent years of around a million mostly Sunni, mostly conservative Syrian refugees on the fabric of society."  So she is saying that if only those refugees are Christians then they would have been civilized.  And she claims that Iran is settling Shi`ites in Syria.  This fabrication is just that: a fabrication and has never been proven.  I thought I could never find anything more distasteful than her hagiography of Hillary Clinton. This is even worse.

Qatari regime: how to please Trump

"The Qatar Investment Authority has deployed more than half of the $45 billion earmarked for the United States since 2015 and most of its future investments will go to the infrastructure sector, its chief executive said on Wednesday."

U.S. sent weapons to Syria through Ramstein military base

"The US military has been using its massive air base in western Germany to arm rebel groups in Syria without Berlin's permission, according to a report from German newspaperSüddeutsche Zeitung published on Wednesday."

Arrests in Saudi Arabia

The lies by the government of Saudi Arabia regarding the arrests are staggering.  The detainees are sometimes accused of terrorism and sometimes of "extremism", making it clear that none are really accused of terrorism as they range in ideological orientations.  And the regime claimed in their media that they were arrested for "intelligence links" but claims in the same charge that they were interrogated before and released after a warning.  So you are telling me that the Saudi regime knew of their outside links to intelligence services (either Qatar or Iran, is being implied) and the government did not punish them? they need to work on their lies.

Israel sponsors Evangelical media summit

"According to Maltz, the Israeli government -- which is sponsoring the gathering of broadcasters and journalists, and paying for the participant's accommodations – is "hoping to explain the country and its often controversial policies to this new target audience." While many issues will be discussed at the first-of-its-kind Summit, it is possible that high up on the list is solidifying opposition to those promoting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel." (thanks Amir)

"In Vaccines we Trust? The Effects of Anti-vaccine Propaganda on Immunization: Evidence from Pakistan"

"In July 2011, the Pakistani public unexpectedly learnt that the CIA had conducted a fake vaccination campaign as part of the operations to capture Osama Bin Laden. This episode was extensively used by Taliban groups to discredit the health system and vaccination campaigns. We implement a Difference-in-Differences strategy to document the effect of the disclosure of this information on demand for health services. We use survey data to compare vaccination rates before and after the disclosure of this information, across regions with different levels of electoral support for Islamist groups. Our results suggest that the disclosure of information on the fake vaccination campaign had a substantial negative effect on immunization rates: a one standard deviation increase in support for Islamist groups lead to a 9 to 13% decline in immunization rates over the sample mean. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that the disclosure of the vaccination ruse eroded the degree of trust in medical services, and consequently, lead parents to actively refuse the use of formal medicine and vaccines, in particular." 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

From the profile of the Saudi ambassador in the New York Times: no wonder Saudi regime media are circulating it

"The prince’s allies say his youth is a strength. Captain Mohammad al-Ajmi, an officer in the Saudi air force who said he flew dozens of missions in Yemen and Syria with Prince Khalid, said in an interview that his friend was unassuming and energetic. He has seen the prince quit only once. “He doesn’t know how to ski,” Captain Ajmi, 29, said. “That’s the only thing he gave up on.”"  This is what I call investigative journalism.

Crackdown in Saudi Arabia

Unlike what some in the media are writing on social media, this crackdown is not directed against dissidents.  Many of those arrested are loyal propagandists for the Saudi regime.  They are being punished not for what they say but for what they are not saying: they are being punished for not being vocal against Qatar and against the Muslim Brotherhood. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

When Two Saudi regime writers battle it out

Nasir Salih As-Sirami (above) is commenting on the latest tweet by Jamal Khashoggi who wrote: "You arrest `Isam Az-Zamil!! `Isam was here in DC serving his country accompanying an official delegation.  Those are the best of the sons of my country. What is happening?"   So As-Sirami says: "Don't worry, brother Jamal.  Enjoy America and your spacious home which was bought to you by Saudi Arabia as an advisor to its embassy then.  And don't forget the London home too."  

What is happening in Saudi Arabia: arresting `Isam Az-Zamil

The arrest of `Isam Az-Zamil today adds to a climate of fear and nervousness in the kingdom.  The new regime seems to be insecure and showing it.  MbS has not left the kingdom since he was appointed Crown Prince, and that is telling (unless it was him who secretly visited Israel, as was reported.  Az-Zamil was an economic analyst who was close to the regime.  The arrests seem to target those who were accused of Islamist Ikhwan sympathies or Qatar sympathies or Turkish sympathies.  I can't see how this reign will last when it is floundering before it has started.  I told you: you can bank on MbS to do more damage to the rule of House of Saudi than all their opponents throughout contemporary history.

It seems that Nasrallah convinced Iran to commit to fight for the protection of the Syrian regime--not the other way round

In this private account of a speech given by Hasan Nasrallah, it seems that it was Nasrallah who had to convince Iran--not the other way round--to fight in Syria to protect the Syrian regime.

Al-Akhbar covers North Korea...from North Korea

Al-Akhbar reporter, Sabah Ayyoub, was able to visit North Korea for a sport event and she wrote three articles on it.  They are quite different from what you read in Western media, and even the pictures she took are different.  

This reminds me when Israel courted Lebanese "hearts and minds" to keep PLO away: they got Hizbullah instead

"Israel is courting Syrian ‘hearts and minds’ to keep Hezbollah away".  

PS The article is typical propaganda piece which should be billed as paid PR ad for the government of Israel.  It talks about humanitarian aid without mentioning Israel support for Jihadi terrorist groups, like Al-Qa`idah.  This reminds me of US media propaganda piece about US humanitarian work in Lebanon, when Israel was arming and financing the right-wing death squad militias of the Phalanges and their ilk.

Yet, Western correspondents in Beirut never bother to write about this

"A former U.S. official said Hezbollah and Iranian-backed Shi‘ite militias in Iraq have been “very helpful” in recapturing vast swaths of the caliphate that Islamic State declared in Syria and Iran in 2014."

Monday, September 11, 2017

Jamal Khashggi

It seems that Khashoggi, despite many years of loyalty and fealty to various Saudi princes, will be next on the arrest list, judging from his public disagreements on Twitter with recent arrests.

PS Hilarious. Minutes after I wrote this, I read that Al-Hayat, mouthpiece of Prince Khalid bin Sultan, just ordered a ban on the writings of Khashoggi.

Islamism and Liberalism in Saudi Arabia

This is the dilemma of the Saudi regime: it has cultivated an Islamist trend in the kingdom.  But the regime can deliver on islamism.  In recent years, the regime has cultivated a fake liberal trend (only to combat Islamist trends in the kingdom) but the regime is incapable of delivering on any liberal promise.  So the regime will have to go back to Islamism for its legitimacy.  

U.S. after Saudi money

"The Trump Administration is “desperate for Saudi money, especially infrastructure investments in the Rust Belt,” the former official told me. An influx of Saudi dollars could generate jobs and thus redound to Trump’s political benefit. As a cynical douceur, the Saudis, derided by Trump during his campaign as “people that kill women and treat women horribly,” joined the United Arab Emirates in pledging $100 million for a women’s-empowerment initiative spearheaded by Ivanka Trump."

Evangelical leader: Trump is anointed by God

"White was also asked about comments she made on the “Jim Bakker Show” about Trump being anointed by God." "White is one of a few dozen evangelical leaders who meet regularly — and informally — as an advisory board to Trump. White goes to Washington at least every couple weeks to visit with him."