Saturday, February 28, 2015

Israel Secretly Arrests Golani Druze, Accusing Him of Exposing Syrian Rebel-IDF Collaboration

"Israel’s Shin Bet rearrested Golani Druze Sedki al-Maket (age 48).  Until his release in 2012 (Hebrew), he’d been the longest serving Israeli security prisoner, having spent 27 years detained.  News of his arrest is under gag order by Israeli media. The gag is laughable since the arrest has been reported not only by Syrian media, but in a Hebrew Facebook post.

Though Israeli security services haven’t offered any reason for his arrest, it’s likely they’re angered because a week ago he followed Syrian rebels to a meeting inside Israeli-occupied territory.  The rebels met with IDF forces who’ve previously been shown to receive logistical and intelligence support from Israel in previous reports here and in Israel and foreign media.  Al Maket filmed a video  while the meeting was underway, in which he described what he saw and offered it to Syrian TV.  It was aired to the entire nation and likely monitored by Israeli security." (thanks Sami)

U.S. gives Afghans $100 for killing their relatives

"A child who died in a combat operation: $2,414. These are among the payments that the United States has made to ordinary Afghans over the course of American military operations in the country, according to databases covering thousands of such transactions obtained by The Intercept under the Freedom of Information Act." "Some family members received as little as $100 for the death of a relative."

Zionist thuggery

"Two Jewish Defence League UK thugs were today found guilty of assault after they attacked a panel at a Palestine literary festival in September." "Simons said today: “This was fascist, Zionist thuggery … they’re driven, they’re messianic, it’s their own strange jihad. A prison sentence, if they get one, will be like a badge in scouts or girl guides. If I didn’t help the prosecution, when they do it next time there wouldn’t be a record – and there probably will be a next time.” " (thanks Amir)

What US-Israeli rift?

"The dispute has taken on rancorous partisan tones with over two dozen Democratic lawmakers vowing to boycott the speech. They charge that Netanyahu's goal is to undermine the president's diplomacy with Iran, and that Republican House Speaker John Boehner invited the Israeli leader to defy and humiliate the White House.

Yet all those objecting to the speech, whether in the United States, or Netanyahu's rivals at home where he faces an election next month, protest that their concern is to guarantee US-Israeli relations on whose strength the very future of Israel is said to hang.

But what all this sound and fury misses is that for the Palestinians there is no meaningful Obama-Netanyahu rift. Indeed US-Israeli relations have never been stronger, nor more damaging to the prospects for peace and justice and for the very survival of the Palestinian people.

Just look at the recent record. Last December, the Palestinian Authority put forward a tepid resolution in the UN Security Council that did little more than repeat long-standing US policy on the outlines of a two-state solution. Obama's UN ambassador Samantha Power marshaled all her resources to defeat it.

She claimed that the resolution was "deeply imbalanced" and took "no account of Israel's legitimate security concerns."

The next day, after disappointed Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas signed the treaty acceding to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Obama's State Department declared itself "deeply troubled," accusing Palestinians of an "escalatory step" that "badly damages the atmosphere with the very people with whom they ultimately need to make peace."

Power said the Palestinian move "really poses a profound threat to Israel."

These words are perverse. Israel's 51-day long attack on Gaza that left more than 2,200 people dead didn't "damage the atmosphere" as far as the Obama administration was concerned, but any Palestinian effort to use international bodies in pursuit of justice and accountability is tantamount to an act of war.

I challenge Ms. Power to go and repeat her words to any of the 100,000 Palestinians in Gaza still living in the damp and freezing rubble of their homes, to the surviving parents of more than 500 children killed in the Israeli attack, or to the thousands who will live with lifelong injuries."

Friday, February 27, 2015

Islam and Savagery

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "Islam and Savagery: Features of Western Propaganda Battles".

Leonard Nimoy on the Arab-Israeli conflict

Here is the stance of Leonard Nimoy on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

PS In no way do I endorse his stance, of course.

What is happening in Saudi Arabia?

This is a very informative interview (a first) with Mujtahid.

AUB and Malcolm X

"When Malcolm traveled from Saudi Arabia to Lebanon, Malik tried to arrange for Malcolm to speak at the American University of Beirut, where Malik was teaching. After the university's President refused, calling Malcolm an "enemy of America" and "anti-American," Malcolm spoke instead at the Sudanese Cultural Center in Beirut. " (thanks Basim)

A writer in Jordan is being tried for publishing what "clashes with principles of freedom, human rights, and values of the nation"--I am not making this up

ونشر ما يتعارض مع مبادئ الحرية وحقوق الإنسان وقيم الأمة""

Need not apply: women in Hijab

"Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. proposed a hypothetical that he said “is going to sound like a joke, but, you know, it’s not.”  He envisioned four job applicants: “The first is a Sikh man wearing a turban, the second is a Hasidic man wearing a hat, the third is a Muslim woman wearing a hijab, the fourth is a Catholic nun in a habit.”  Alito continued, “Now, do you think . . . that those people have to say, ‘we just want to tell you, we’re dressed this way for a religious reason. We’re not just trying to make a fashion statement.’”  In Elauf’s case, the interviewer and a supervisor conferred and agreed they thought Elauf wore the hijab for religious reasons. They then concluded she could not meet the company’s “Look Policy,” which promotes an East Coast collegiate preppy style that prohibits caps and the color black."

Huckabee in Israel

"Huckabee has been a regular visitor to Israel for 42 years, he says. Some years, he comes three or four times. He can’t remember how many trips exactly. Lots."

This is the work of Rafiq Hariri

"Along with its power grid, nearly all of the country’s infrastructure was clobbered during the civil war and has been only partially rebuilt. Repairing it is not easy in a society where corruption is rife."  Of course, the magazine would not blame Hariri who was in charge of all reconstruction and repair plan.  His name doesn't even appear in the article.

And how do you know that, Mr. Fahmi? What is your evidence?

"Georges Fahmi, an Egyptian scholar, detects a conservative mood among Muslims: “What is shocking is how many people support IS’s actions even if they would not do them themselves.”"

FBI plots

"But how serious of a threat can all of this be, at least domestically, if the FBI continually has to resort to manufacturing its own plots by trolling the Internet in search of young drifters and/or the mentally ill whom they target, recruit and then manipulate into joining?"

U.S. position on overthrow of Yemeni president vs. Ukrainian president

"QUESTION: Frankly, I had another subject. On Yemen, how come if this president when he left his capital is still technically president in his country?

MS. PSAKI: That’s --

QUESTION: How come the Ukrainian president was not in the same position?

MS. PSAKI: That’s the Yemeni constitution and what the Yemeni constitution says, so I encourage you to take a look at the Yemeni constitution if you’re interested.

QUESTION: And the Ukrainian constitution said the same thing.

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think --"

Rebuilding Gaza will take more than 100 years if Israel keeps blockade

"At current rates it could take more than 100 years to complete essential building of homes, schools and health facilities in Gaza unless the Israeli blockade is lifted," "Gaza needs more than 800,000 truckloads of construction materials to build homes, schools, health facilities and other infrastructure required after repeated conflicts and years of blockade, according to aid agencies on the ground." (thanks Amir)

Discovering Gaza

(thanks Talal)

60 Billion for the former Yemeni dictator: what audacity

Western and Saudi media are now talking about a personal fortune of $60 billion for the former Yemeni dictator, `Ali `Abdullah Salih.  I am sure that the number is exaggerated just as Western media exaggerated the size of Qadhdhafi's fortune and just as they exaggerated the number of civilian casualties prior to NATO intervention.  (They actually counted the foreign reserves of the Libyan Central Bank as the personal fortune of Qadhdhafi).  But they don't mention that whatever fortune Salih had amassed it was from US and Gulf financial assistance and bribes.

C'est caduc

It should be noted that the reference to the PLO charter by Arafat as "caduc" was at the suggestion of Rouleau.

Eric Rouleau and the anti-Semitism of the House of Saud

Obituaries of Rouleau should mention that the Saudi regime banned Rouleau from entering the Kingdom back in 1974 during a visit of the French foreign minister because Rouleau was Jewish.  Of course, the Saudi royal family exempted Henry Kissinger from its ban, and almost offered him the Ka`bah as a gift.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Of course Mother Teresa was motivated by desire to convert the Indian people to Christianity--as if there is doubt

"The head of a prominent Hindu organization came under criticism Tuesday for remarks he made about Mother Teresa, in which he said that the Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s service to the poor in India had been motivated by a desire to convert them to Christianity."

Why don't Westerners speak out? Why don't Priests issue Fatwas against this? Where is the Christian outrage?

"Czech Gunman Kills 8 People and Then Himself at Restaurant -"

"American political commentary is never prone to hyperbole"

From Basim:  "MATTHEWS: Are they heading to Cordoba?
GRAEME WOOD, "THE ATLANTIC": They would love to.
MATTHEWS: I think they might. They`re going all the way to Spain, but I guess we can stop them before they get there, I hope."

A reader sent me this asking: why does he accept Israeli propaganda claims?

"'...the Iron Dome achieved a 90% "kill rate" against Hamas rockets.'" (thanks Regan)

Like ISIS: Israeli attacks on mosques and churches

From a reader: ""Mosques and churches have been vandalized in recent years, in so-called "price tag" attacks by suspected Jewish ultra-nationalists, who describe them as the price they will impose for any limits to Israeli settlement in occupied territory and Jewish religious supremacy over the Holy Land. The graffiti on the seminary included the slogan "Zion will be redeemed" and an insult against Jesus and his mother Mary."

 "A Palestinian mosque was set alight in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday and graffiti in Hebrew at the scene suggested the attack was carried out by a far-right Israeli group, officials said."

Israeli war crimes against children - in pictures

"Sharif al-Namlah, three, plays in the bath at his home in Rafa, Gaza. The lower part of his left leg was blown off when Israeli rockets hit the family." (thanks Amir)

The FBI yet again uncovers a dangerous terrorist plot hatched by an FBI informant

"The case against the three men relies in part on a confidential informant paid by the government, court documents show. Defense lawyers have criticized the government’s use of informers in similar cases, saying they may lure targets into making extreme plans or statements. In some cases, the threat has turned out to be overstated."

Arab ambassadors invited to Netanyahu's speech before Congress

"Netanyahu's ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, has tried, without success, to recruit Arab ambassadors to come to his boss’s speech, e-mailing them personally to plead for their attendance."

Journalism standards of the New York Times

A long story about a "document" with this caveat: "The authenticity of the document could not be independently verified. The newspaper did not publish any pictures of the memo or provide any proof that the policy described in it had actually been adopted."  Why publish the story then, damn it?

This is a trend: Austria redesigns Islam for Muslims in Austria

"Parliament on Wednesday passed a law that seeks to regulate how Islam is administered, singling out Austria’s Muslim minority for treatment not applied to any other religious group. The law bans foreign funding for Islamic organizations and requires any group claiming to represent Austrian Muslims to use a standardized German translation of the Quran. It met with little opposition from the overwhelmingly Roman Catholic population and was grudgingly accepted by Austria’s main Muslim organization.  But it upset Turkey’s state religious establishment. Austria’s half a million Muslims make up about 6 percent of the population and are overwhelmingly the families of Turkish migrant workers."

In defense of Ibn Taymiyyah

A defense of Ibn Taymiyyah in a Saudi newspaper. (thanks Mariam)

Eric Rouleau is dead

Eric Rouleau is dead.  This is a unique foreign correspondent who belonged to a group of distinguished foreign correspondents that we don't see today.  How sad. The Western media coverage of the Middle East has become an anthology of recycled cliches; they all repeat what everyone else is saying. What is the difference between Anne Barnard of the Times or Liz Sly of the Post in their coverage of Syria. They talk (or skype) with the same people, and share the same sources and repeat the same cliches.  Eric Rouleau (like Arnold Hottinger or David Hirst or Peter Mansfield or even Patrick Seale--before he fell in love with House of Asad AND House of Saud) was an independent foreign correspondent who charted his own course of coverage.  His knowledge and insights far exceeded those of academic specalists of the Middle East.  Just read this classic article by him in New Left Review from 1967 ("The Syrian Enigma: What Is the Baath?") to decide about his qualify.  He was fluent in Arabic (but he didn't know Hebrew, contrary to some articles about him) and conducted interviews in Arabic. He struck up friendships with Nasser, Haykal, Arafat, Kamal Jumblat and other Middle East political figures.  Politically speaking, Rouleau can be criticized: when he served as French ambassador in Tunisia (in the administration of Mitterrand) he pretty much covered up the human rights violations and corruption of the Bin Ali regime--like a typical Western ambassador.  He also pressured PLO and Arab Left leaders over the years to establish contacts and undertake dialogue with Israeli "leftist" parties.  But how much the quality of Western media journalism has changed: from Eric Rouleau to Thomas Friedman or Georges Malbrunot, for that matter.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

When a sentence starts in US media with "as a Muslim I...", I know that someone is about to offend Muslims

"But, as liberal Muslim feminist journalists who reject the vision of the Islamic State, we can say that the Islamic State, al Qaeda and the alphabet soup of Islamic militant groups, like HUM (Harkut-ul Mujahideen) and LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba), rely very much on the scholarship of “religious leaders,” from Ibn Tamiyyah in the 14th century to Sayyid Qutb in the 20th century, who very much have credibility and authority among too many Muslims as “religious leaders.” "  If she knows about Islam I would have asked her about the status of Ibn Taymiyyah without the Saudi regime and its money.

It is the largest conventional bomb in existence

"Originally designed to create an instant clearing in the jungle, it has been used in Afghanistan as an anti-personnel weapon and as an intimidation weapon because of its very large lethal radius (variously reported as 300-900 feet) combined with flash and sound visible at long distances. It is the largest conventional bomb in existence but is less than one thousandth the power of the Hiroshima nuclear bomb."

U.S. sells more weapons to ISIS and Al-Qa`idah sponsors

"Hellfire Systems LLC, Orlando, Florida, was awarded a $144,044,911 modification (P00143) to foreign military sales contract W31P4Q-11-C-0242 (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Australia) to exercise option for FY 14 Hellfire II Missile production requirement consisting of 2,060 Hellfire II tactical missiles in containers, Air-to Ground (AGM) missiles model AGM-114R, AGM-114R-3, AGM-114P-4A, ATM-114Q-6 and AGM-114R-5."

Secret interrogation facility in Chicago

"The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site." "At least one man was found unresponsive in a Homan Square “interview room” and later pronounced dead." (thanks Amir)

SO basically Cuba and other countries are better off with socialist economy

"As Cuba opens the door wider to private enterprise, the gap between the haves and have-nots, and between whites and blacks, that the revolution sought to diminish is growing more evident."

Look at the lousy mild language that HRW reserves for Israel about its racist repression of blacks

"Dispatches: Israel Fails African Asylum Seekers ".  Fails? Like it succeeds in other areas? Fails? Like you are disappointed because you are not used to such racism and repression by Israel?

Showing and shampooing

(thanks Julie)

Nadim Houry as satellite analyst

""The majority appear to be barrel bomb attacks," Human Rights Watch deputy Middle East and North Africa director Nadim Houry told a news conference. Human Rights Watch said it examined satellite imagery and had identified at least 450 major damage sites in 10 towns and villages held by rebels in the Daraa and more than 1,000 in Aleppo between Feb. 22, 2014 and Jan 15, 2015. " (thanks Basim)

Adjunct professors

Adjunct professors go on strike across the US today.  They are the proletariat of academia.  I wish to express solidarity.

Zionist hoodlums and their tactics

I wrote a piece for Al-Akhbar about how the US can best combat radicalism.  It contained those two items:
"3) Declare war on the ideology of Wahhabiyyah, which is the ideology of all terrorist Jihadist groups.

4) End its arming and/or funding of radical repressive regimes in the Middle East and North Africa.

5) Declare war on the radical ideology and practices of Zionism, and the various forms of terrorism that it has spawned over the decades."  So what does David Frum (Bush' speechwriter and the man who brags that he coined the phrase about the "axis of evil") do? He wrote this in response: "
David FrumVerified account ‏@davidfrum

Spoiler alert: # 5 is “kill Jews” RT @ggreenwald: How the US Can Really Combat Radicalism: 12 steps by @asadabukhalil …"  And I wrote this to him in response: "asad abukhalil ‏@asadabukhalil

@davidfrum @ggreenwald You are such a demagogue: I also said "declare war on Wahhabiyyah". Does that mean that I called for killing Muslims?"

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

It makes sense that the "mother/father of world revolutions" would train Syrian "revolutionaries

""About 400 US military experts will train 5,400 fighters in programs lasting 8-12 months in camps in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. The Turkey leg of the program will take place in Kirsehir, where 2,000 Syrian opposition elements will be trained."" (thanks Amir)

Man to be beheaded in Saudi Arabia after ripping up a Koran and hitting it with his shoe

A man who posted a video online of himself ripping up a Koran and beating the shredded holy book with a shoe is to be beheaded in Saudi Arabia for renouncing his Muslim faith.  The unnamed prisoner, in his 20s, was given the death sentence by the country’s Sharia courts for the offence of apostasy – abandoning Islam – the Saudi Gazette reported."

How the US Can Really Combat Radicalism

My latest blog post for Al-Akhbar English: "How the US Can Really Combat Radicalism".