Monday, November 30, 2015

How Coca-Cola has tricked everyone into drinking so much of it

"Over the past 60-plus years, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have invested unfathomable amounts of money to ensure that people crave their core products. And that investment has often come in forms far more devious than most would imagine, Nestle argues. Sure, the soda industry has paid for its fair share of television commercials, bulletin board ads, and marketing campaigns. But it has also worked (i.e. paid) to block unfavorable legislation, influence policy, maintain its popularity among poor people, young people, and minorities, undermining public health."

Those who steal Palestinian lands can easily steal its grapes

"“As usual in Israel, they declare that falafel, tehina, tabouleh, hummus and now jandali grapes are an Israeli product,” Amer Kardosh, Cremisan’s export director, sniped in an email. “I would like to inform you that these types of grapes are totally Palestinian grapes grown on Palestinian vineyards.”"

When civilians are killed by U.S. drones, western media reports "no civilian casualties"

"In January 2014, both men were hit by an American missile and lost two young daughters. One nomad lost his leg and their livestock was mostly annihilated." "The nomads and their children and cattle were in the area when the missiles struck. No civilian casualties were reported by Western media or the US government."

What NATO has done to Libya

From Amir: ""In Libya, where a NATO bombing campaign helped overthrow Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi four years ago, there is no functional government." "The fighters and guards in Surt all bowed to a Saudi administrator, or “wali,” who had been sent by the Islamic State to preside over the city. (A former Surt City Council member now in exile in Misurata said the Islamic State periodically rotates in new administrators, who typically are from the Persian Gulf.)"

 NYT in 2011U.S. Tactics in Libya May Be a Model for Other Efforts

UK Foreign Secretary accepted a $3000 watch from Saudi sheikh

"The Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond accepted a watch worth almost £2,000 from a Saudi sheikh despite a ban on ministers taking gifts worth more than £140." "The watch was given to Mr Hammond by Sheikh Marei Mubarak Mahfouz bin Mahfouz after an event in the minister’s constituency of Runnymede and Weybridge this summer." "Last week the former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Ashdown said British foreign policy was being influenced by “the closeness between the Conservative Party and rich Arab Gulf individuals”."

UN "reconstruction" mechanism entrenches & institutionalizes the blockade of Gaza

"In the whole period since Israel’s lethal and devastating summer 2014 attack on Gaza, the UN has provided assistance to just one family to rebuild its totally destroyed home." "As The Electronic Intifada revealed in October 2014, the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism involves a complicated system of surveillance and Israeli pre-approval that gives the occupation authorities even more intrusive control over the devastated lives of Palestinians in Gaza."

A Mossad Iranian terrorist group started this rumor and then it was picked up by Qatari and Saudi media, into Western media

From Basim: "The report by the Persian-language opposition AsrIran website, referenced by Al-Arabiya, reported that Suleimani was seriously injured along with two other personnel in an anti-tank rocket attack 12 days ago, during battles in the northern Syrian city. The AsrIran website is considered close to the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an umbrella organization of five Iranian opposition groups based in Paris."

The head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor of the war, also said the general was hurt. He was "lightly injured three days ago in the Al-Eis area in the south of Aleppo province," Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP. For several days, reports have been circulating on social media claiming the powerful commander was wounded or even killed in Syria, where Iran backs President Bashar al-Assad against an uprising that began in March 2011. In response, a spokesman for the Revolutionary Guards, Rameza Sharif, said Tuesday that Soleimani was "in perfect health and full of energy."

The true views of Fatima Mernissi

If you really want to know the real views of Mernissi on Islam and feminism you need to read the one book she wrote under a pseudonym Women in the Muslim Unconscious, by Fatna A. Sabbah. 1984.

PS Her identify was revealed in a book review--not by me.

ISIS and Nusrah Front

I had a dream: that I was frustratingly trying to explain to students why Western governments are all galvanized and united against the dangers of ISIS but not against the dangers of Nusrah Front (the damn official branch of Al-Qa`idah).

ISIS tea

Fatima Mernissi and the Veil

I once asked Fatima Mernissi: why do you have the word "veil" in titles of your books. She told me: don't blame me.  French publishers like to insert the word "harem" in the titles of my books and US publishers like to insert the word "veil" in the title.  Sure enough, her book in French "Le Harem Politique" was published in the US as "The Veil and the Male Elite".

Fatima Mernissi died

News of the death of Fatima Mernissi.

Feminism in the US

CNN aired a documentary on the Seventies.  As part of the series, feminism in the US was covered and footage from US TV news from that era was aired.  It is rather stunning--but not really--how sarcastic and condescending and insulting US media coverage was of the women's movement at the time.  And the men in suit saw no irony of their gendered coverage of women in the US.  It was quite disgusting.  And the series never made an attempt to deconstruct the nature of the coverage of the time.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

American and other mercenaries in the service of Gulf regimes

"The Emirates had a brigade of 1,800 soldiers from Latin America which provided 450 troops now arriving in Yemen. It seems there are also going to be hundreds of other foreign mercenaries — Sudanese and Eritrean soldiers — brought into Yemen. These can be viewed as a second generation of foreign mercenaries hired by the countries of the Arabian Peninsula. In the first generation, still powerful, in 1975 Saudi Arabia brought in Vinnell Corporation, an American defense contractor, to train the “Saudi Arabian National Guard.” "The little-known Vinnell is now owned by Northrop Grumman."

UK could be prosecuted for war crimes in Yemen

"Britain is at risk of being prosecuted for war crimes because of growing evidence that missiles sold to Saudi Arabia have been used against civilian targets in Yemen’s brutal civil war, Foreign Office lawyers and diplomats have warned." "Most of Saudi’s weapons are supplied by the United States. With help from the UK, the US is also offering logistical support, airborne refuelling, with a specialist Pentagon-approved team providing intelligence on targeting."

Boko Haram and Saudi regime

From a reader: ""A Boko Haram suicide bomber has killed at least 21 people after blowing himself up among crowds at a Shia Muslim procession outside the city of Kano, Nigeria." "Boko Haram, whose name translates to "Western education is forbidden" recently overtook Isis as the world's deadliest terror organisation. The terror group has pledged allegiance to Isis."

"Boko Haram appears to have a “diplomatic” presence in Saudi Arabia, in addition to other militant connections." "Boko Haram also has a deeper history of involvement in Saudi Arabia: Muhammad Yusuf found refuge in Saudi Arabia to escape a Nigerian security forces crackdown in 2004; Boko Haram has reportedly received funding with the help of AQIM from organizations in the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia; and Boko Haram’s spokesman claimed that Boko Haram leaders met with al-Qa`ida in Saudi Arabia during the lesser hajj (umra) in August 2011.[27] More recently, the leader of a Boko Haram cell that was responsible for the November 25, 2012, attack on a church inside a military barracks in Jaji, Kaduna, was in Saudi Arabia during the months prior to the attack."

How ISIS sells Syria's oil to Turkey, then Israel

"IS sells Iraqi and Syrian oil for a very low price to Kurdish and Turkish smuggling networks and mafias, who label it and sell it on as barrels from the Kurdistan Regional Government. It is then most frequently transported from Turkey to Israel, via knowing or unknowing middlemen, according to al-Araby's investigation."

ISIS and its inspiration

Who are the Arab people? Ask the Guardian

Notice that all those who are interviewed to speak on behalf of Arab people are advocates of Gulf regimes.  

HRW on Palestine

a word from its director.  As if there is no Israeli discrimination in Areas A and B and in 1948 Palestine.

Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth)
West Bank's huge "Area C" is where Israel's discrimination against Palestinians prevails.

Pro-GCC regime propaganda in Newsweek

Unbelievable article.  This Lebanese pro-Gulf regimes writer talks about the sons of royals as if they are really fighting in Yemen and as if the mercenary armies are not the ones who are actually doing the fighting and the dying.

How does she want to liberate the women of Iraq?

"she raised her concerns about gender equality with American and British diplomats, she recalled being told to take it up with tribal leaders."  And who is a better guardian of Arab women than American and British diplomats.

Who is Hugh Naylor's expert on Iran?

"an Iran expert at the ­Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies.". Go no further.  This is like going to the anti-Semitic Institute for Historical Review for expert opinion on Israel matters.

Moshe Dayan no rape

From James: "Moshe Dayan on Zionism as Rape (and blaming Bedouins for it)
“‘The situation between us is like the complex relationship between a Bedouin man and the young girl he has taken against her wishes,’ Dayan told the Palestinian poet Fadwa Tukan. ‘But when their children are born, they will see the man as their father and the woman as their mother. The initial act will mean nothing to them. You Palestinians, as a nation, do not want us today, but we will change your attitude by imposing our presence upon you” In Tom Segev, 1967: Israel, the War, and the Year That Transformed the Middle East (New York: Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Company, 2005), quoting from Shlomo Gazit, Sudden Trapped: 30 Years of Israeli Policy in the Territories (in Hebrew) (Tel Aviv: Zmora-Bitan, 1999), p. 218."

Does the US Huffington Post know that the Arabic Huffington Post is a crude and vulgar outlet of Qatari regime propaganda?

Yesterday, the headline was: "A solidarity campaign with Turkey" in the face of Russian sanctions. 

The Saudi royal idiots don't know (or even care) that a US president can't keep the gifts

"Saudi king showered Obamas with $1.3 million in gifts in 2014"

US Economic Aid in Egypt

I highly recommend Dina Jadallah's US Economic Aid in Egypt: Democratization and Reform in the Middle East.  I think that it offers a radical alternative to the study of US foreign policy in the Middle East region.

Anti-ISIS coalition

Kim Ghattas on "radical Islam"

Ghattas, a March 14 Lebanese journalist who has written a hagiography of Hillary Clinton, found a solution to the ISIS problem: "Hassan believes that the best way to delegitimize the organization is to actually call it by its chosen name, “The Islamic State,” and describe its state as a caliphate."  Wow. Why didn't people come up with that idea before? I am sure that it would end its rule.  And Ghattas says that it should be no problem if we allow the Republican rightist bigots to dominate the terminology about Jihadi terrorist groups because--according to her--Arabs refer to ISIS and the likes as "Islam mutatarrif."  Of course, this is not true. But hey: she has consulted with other March 14 people, including a fellow at the Rafiq Hariri Center, and they agreed with her. Case closed.  I would like her make that argument about referring to Israeli criminals and terrorists with references to Judaism.  Would she dare?  Would she dare talk about "radical Judaism"?  Of course, I am opposed to blaming Judaism for crimes of individual Jews, or blaming Islam for crimes of individual Muslims.

Syriza's U-turn on Israel is now complete

"During a visit to Israel in July, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias even said that Greeks needed to "learn to love Israel" and disgracefully called Israel part of a "line of stability" in the region – something that will some as news to the friends and relatives of those 551 Palestinian children murdered by Israeli during its summer 2014 war against the civilian population of the Gaza Strip.
This was a climb-down by the Syriza-led government on previously decent Syriza policy, much as it has made fundamental reversals of policy in domestic economic matters.
But Syriza as a leftist movement put some distance between itself and its government's contacts with Israel: Defence Minister Panos Kammenos was from the Independent Greeks (a right-wing coalition partner) and Kotzias is an independent.
Or it did put such distance until this week. As of now, the Syriza U-turn on Israel is complete."  I always tell people: never pin your hopes on a Western leftist party. They will sure disappoint you.

Will we screen them? White Americans are the biggest terror threat in the United States

"According to the New America Foundation, white Americans are the biggest terror threat in the United States — bigger even than Muslim extremists. The Washington-based research organization did a review of “terror” attacks on US soil since Sept. 11, 2001, and found that most of them were carried out by radical anti-government groups or white supremacists. Surprised? You might be. Almost twice as many people have died in attacks by right-wing groups in America than have died in attacks by Muslim extremists. Of the 26 attacks since 9/11 that New America defined as terror, 19 were carried out by non-Muslims. Scared? You should be."

How Western governments forgave the Sudanese dictator because he allowed himself to be bought off by Saudi regime

"The International Criminal Court wants to try Bashir for his alleged war crimes, so Sudan’s participation in the US-sponsored coalition has raised eyebrows among human rights activists in the West." "Unquestionably, the Obama administration faces a dilemma. It has been led into a de facto military partnership with a regime it has punished by means of economic sanctions and an arms embargo for its human rights abuses, including genocide and state-sponsored terrorism." "The price Sudan pays for this financial lifeline is participation in Yemen’s escalating civil war." (thanks Amir)

The futility of those international polls

Look at those results for example.  Look at the Middle East section and compare Lebanon's answers to other Arab countries. It is clear that they did not understand the question (or it was not translated to them) as the headline states.  I think that they are answering a different question: of whether they have those democratic rights in their present-day countries now.  

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The future of college education in Lebanon and the Arab world

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "The Future of College Education in Lebanon and the Arab world".

What do you say about a state that was founded on theft and occupation?

"13 Delicacies That Aren’t Israeli".  Circulate, damn it.

It is Palestine, damn it, not "Israel".

Oraib Toukhly Sukkar
April 7, 2014Edited
My dad received his U.S. passport in the mail, with place of birth stating "Israel". He placed the passport back in the envelope, returned it to the passport agency with a sticky note saying: "I was born in the state of Palestine, the city of Jerusalem in 1941, there was no Israel then, the state of Israel occupied my home land in 1948. Kindly reinstate my correct identity." 2 weeks later, passport corrected, Palestine reinstated, no questions asked.
My ultimate respect to the system and hats off to baba !!

Friday, November 27, 2015

ISIS is more popular in states allied with the US, Israel & Saudi Arabia

"Isis is almost universally detested across the Middle East, Asia and Africa, even in Muslim-majority countries, a new poll has shown." "In Lebanon, where Isis’ recent bombing in Beirut killed 43 people, 99 per cent of respondents said they had a “very unfavourable” opinion of the group, while 94 per cent of Israelis and 89 per cent of Jordanians felt the same." (thanks Amir)

Israel's favorite French Imam offers condolences to Charlie

"L'imam Charlghoumi rend hommage à "Charles" (Charlie Hebdo)" (thanks Jerome)

It is official: the reason why US bombed the hell out of a hospital in Kunduz is that US Special Forces "were fatigued"

"He said another contributing factor was that the Special Forces members in Kunduz had been fighting continuously for days and were fatigued."  This is true and makes sense.  I heard that when troops are fatigued they bomb the hell out of hospitals.  

Jodi Rudoren discovers "Israeli food": she is impressed

How could the correspondent of the paper not know that this dish is an old Lebanese-Syrian dish which my home city of Tyre specialized in long before the Zionist entity was even formed?  "He offers a finely chopped salad, excellent thin fries and a dish called msabbaha, where chickpeas swim in tahini."  But those who claim that Palestine was a "land without a people" can easily claim that Musabbaha was invented by an Israeli chef.

Committee for the "Development of Conscience" in Egypt

Tyrant Sisi just formed a Committee for the Development of Conscience".

Jordanian royal convoy--kid you not

Behind ISIS lines: what Western correspondents in Beirut would not report

There was an operation by Hizbollah commandos behind ISIS enemy lines to kill the mastermind of the bombing in Burj Barajnah.  No Western media reported on this,  Natürlich.

Have you ever wondered how the Jordanian royal convoy is prepared?

I have wondered for years but this "liberal" Jordanian newspaper, Al-Ghad, provides the crucial answers. (thanks L.)

This achievement is destined to immortalize Lebanon

Lebanese flags made from garlic, parsley, and onions.  Never underestimate the scientific achievements of the Lebanese people.

What US bombs did to Kobani

The US ambassador in Lebanon (Richard Jones): from 1996

Can you imagine a Lebanese ambassador in US sitting like this with the assistant of the deputy assistant of the secretary of the assistant secretary of State? If that happened, the ambassador would wind up in Guantanamo.

Thursday, November 26, 2015


He earned all his medals on the battlefield

He changes outfits just like Saddam (remember that he was best friends with Udayy Saddam Husayn).

US-EU-Saudi war on Yemeni people

"American planes began taking off in support of the campaign on April 5, less than two weeks after the bombs started falling in Yemen in late March. As of Nov. 13, U.S. tankers have flown 471 refueling sorties to top off the tanks of coalition warplanes 2,443 times, according to numbers provided by the Defense Department. The American flights have totaled approximately 3,926 flying hours while delivering over 17 million lbs. of fuel. The mostly American-made fighter planes guided by Arab pilots are also primarily dropping American-made munitions, bolstered recently by the $1.29 billion in weaponry Washington agreed to sell Saudi Arabia. The sale includes 22,000 bombs, featuring 1,000 laser guided bombs, and over 5,000 “kits” that can transform older bombs into GPS-guided bombs."

Canada bombs Iraqi dairy plant killing 10 workers

"Canada's military is facing fresh allegations its bombs may have killed civilians in northern Iraq, CBC News has learned. According to local Iraqi media reports, 10 civilian workers were allegedly killed and as many as 20 others injured after an airstrike by Canadian warplanes last week in Mosul." "The allegations follow a recent fifth estate investigation that raised questions about how diligently the Canadian military and coalition forces are investigating civilian casualty reports in Iraq and Syria."

cheering Sep. 11? "What struck Maria were the expressions on the [Israeli] men's faces. "They were like happy, you know"

"Millions saw the horrific images of the World Trade Center attacks, and those who saw them won't forget them. But a New Jersey homemaker saw something that morning that prompted an investigation into five young Israelis and their possible connection to Israeli intelligence." "The men were taking video or photos of themselves with the World Trade Center burning in the background, she said. What struck Maria were the expressions on the men's faces. "They were like happy, you know … They didn't look shocked to me. I thought it was very strange," she said."

Case of Gaza family killed in their sleep taken to ICC

" “On 20 August 2014 at 4:45am, Israel attacked our home in Deir al-Balah whilst my family was fast asleep. My son and two stepsons were killed in the attack, as well as my nine-months pregnant daughter-in-law and her three children,” al-Louh says in a statement from Al-Haq, whose director Shawan Jabarin handed the file to Bensouda in The Hague." "Palestinian human rights defenders and Israel’s victims hope that the evidence they handed Bensouda today will leave the court no excuse not to pursue justice for Israel’s victims in Gaza."

Saudi Salafist preachers of Belgium

"a WikiLeaks cable revealed that a staff member of the Saudi embassy in Belgium was expelled years ago over his active role in spreading the extreme so-called Takfiri dogma."

Turkish opinion of Saudi Arabia

Historical irony: "German Jewish Leader Fears Anti-Semitic Syrian Refugees"

"President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany Josef Schuster fears the fact that many of the refugees seeking asylum in Germany come from countries hostile to Israel might bolster anti-Semitic views among the Arab community, EJP reported.
Speaking to Welt am Sonntag, Schuster said that when he shared his trepidation in a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her staff, it resulted in an awkward silence, following which Merkel responded: “We must address that.”
According to Schuster, many German Jews share his fears, “and I share this feeling and therefore see a need to integrate the refugees in our community of values as soon as possible.”" Imagine if during the Cold War an Arab were to express fears that Jewish refugees from the Soviet Union may hold anti-Arab views.  Imagine the uproar.


From Mick: "There is only one nation that would pronounce Humeimim Airfield Khmeimim...and it isn't an Arab one. At least they didn't say they used Khezbollah as a source.
"Russia has carried out more than 4,000 airstrikes since the beginning of its intervention in Syria, using a force of modern and modified Soviet-era aircraft. Russia has at least 32 fixed-wing aircraft and 16 helicopters at the Khmeimim air base near Latakia, an Assad stronghold on the Mediterranean Sea just 30 miles from the Turkish border."

What US bombings have done to Kobane

"They have been fighting alongside other rebel groups, including the al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra and more moderate brigades"--kid you not

"Around a dozen Turkmen militias have formed, some directly supported by the Turkish government. It is one of these, Alwiya al-Ashar, that is reportedly holding one of Russia's downed pilots. They have been fighting alongside other rebel groups, including the al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra and more moderate brigades, in Latakia province which runs to the sea along the Turkish border in the north-west." "Alwiya al-Ashar is linked to a Turkish and CIA-backed logistics supply programme that funnels a near-constant stream of small arms, ammunition, and cash for salaries to rebel groups across northern Syria." Don't you like the sentence "more moderate groups" than Jabhat An-Nusrah? Does it not imply that Al-Qa`idah is a moderate group but that there are other groups that are more moderate.

Ankara has played a significant role in allowing Isis and other jihadists to flourish in Syria and the region

"The shift in focus is a significant drawback for Erdogan. Years of support for, and investment in, Islamic fundamentalist groups like Jabhat al-Nusra (Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria) and Ahrar al-Sham are about to go to waste. Ankara has played a significant role in allowing Isis and other jihadists to flourish in Syria and the region. Turkey has acquiesced to jihadist groups entering Syria via Turkey as well as their use of Turkey as a transit point for smuggling arms and funds into Syria." "In other words, Turkey has no interest in the peaceful settlement to the conflict in Syria that world powers are negotiating. As it gets desperate, Turkey will attempt to bring focus back on the Assad regime and reverse the losses it has made both in Syria and geopolitically."

Turkey and ISIS

"Turkish borders have been the primary thoroughfare for fighters of all kinds to enter Syria. Its military bases have been used to distribute weapons and to train rebel fighters." "Turkey’s international airports have also been busy. Many, if not most, of the estimated 15,000-20,000 foreign fighters to have joined Islamic State (Isis) have first flown into Istanbul or Adana, or arrived by ferry along its Mediterranean coast."

Al Khalifa of Bahrain defines terrorism as taking photos of protesters

"Bahrain this week jailed a freelance photographer for 10 years and stripped him of his nationality after convicting him of terrorism," "Sayed Ahmed Al Mousawi was accused of giving mobile phone SIM cards to demonstrators and taking photographs of anti-government protests," "The Sunni Muslim-led island kingdom, which hosts the U.S. Fifth Fleet in the Gulf, has experienced sporadic unrest since mass protests in 2011 led by majority Shi'ites demanding reforms and a bigger role in government."

Israel not worried about ISIS

"Yadlin and coauthor Carmit Valensi said ISIS is far away and not a direct military strategic threat: Analysis of the threats against Israel reveals that the Islamic State – currently far from Israel’s borders and with limited military capabilities – does not represent a direct military strategic threat at this time. By contrast, Hizbollah – armed with advanced operational capabilities and long range missiles and rockets that reach the entirety of Israel – can be strengthened by the Russian move, should Russian arms trickle into its arsenals or be intentionally supplied to the organization."

Nicholas Branford (author of a crude hagiography of Rafiq Hariri) has a new source on Middle East affairs

"resident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East". (thanks Michele)

One French Muslim Imam who is loved by Israel: Israeli-approved Islam

I read this silly piece by this guy in an Israeli newspaper and I asked my source on French matters, "Ibn Rushd" in Paris.  He wrote: " yes, he's a major-league moron, who is Israel's favorite imam. 
He was originally a salafi imam in Tunisia, started working for ben ali's inetlligence.
Then he moved to France, and even though his French language skills are terrible, he became the imam of drancy.
He was approached by CRIF, taken to Israel on several trips, given a pro-israel handler who wrote his books and speeches.
They took him on every single talk show on TV, introduced him as a hero fighting for the reformation of islam and standing up to the barbarian antisemites.
But it's a good thing actually. He's so stupid and so widely discredited in his own community that the manufacturing of Chalghoumi ended up hurting CRIF.
Chalghoumi is now the butt of every joke in town, with lots of parody accounts on twitter mocking him for not speaking french, loving israel and pretending to be an intellectual and the Martin Luther of Islam".

Baklava fears on US planes

"Two men were temporarily blocked from boarding a Southwest flight in Chicago last week when a passenger became nervous after overhearing them speak in Arabic. Maher Khalil and Anas Ayyad were carrying a small box of Baklava when the passenger at the gate became suspicious. After their small box of sweets was inspected, the discrimination continued on board the plane. The two men claimed they opened the box and began sharing the baklava with other passengers." (thanks Basim)

"marital rape" in India (there should be only reference to rape without qualifiers)

Of course, marital rape (which was legal in the US until a few years ago (1993)) is barely reported in the US as well: "Since marital rape is not a crime, exact statistics are hard to come by. The limited data that is available, however, provides a horrifying glimpse into the enormity of the problem. 
Last year, the United Nations Population Fund and the International Center for Research on Women surveyed more than 9,200 men across seven Indian states. One-third of them admitted to having forced a sexual act on their wives, while 60 percent said they’d used some form of violence to assert dominance over their partners. 
Another 2014 report, by researcher Aashish Gupta of the Rice Institute, found that women are 40 times more likely to be sexually assaulted by their husband than a stranger. Gupta concluded that fewer than 1 percent of sexual assaults within marriage are reported to police.
Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch, told HuffPost that marital rape is one of the most underreported crimes, "often because women will regard this as an unpleasant part of their marital duties.""

Thomas Friedman praises the impact on youth employment in the kingdom: Saudi Arabia advertises for eight new executioners as beheading rate soars

"Saudi Arabia is advertising for eight new executioners, recruiting extra staff to carry out an increasing number of death sentences, usually done by public beheading.
No special qualifications are needed for the jobs whose main role is “executing a judgment of death” but also involve performing amputations on those convicted of lesser offences, the advert, posted on the civil service jobs portal, said."

Thomas Friedman in Saudi Arabia

Typical of this guy, after three days in a country, he develops an opinion of life and politics in that country.  But make no mistake about it: his visit to Saudi Arabia was part of a propaganda blitz launched by the royal family.  Furthermore, for those who expressed surprise that Friedman would be invited to the kingdom when he in the past has voiced mild criticisms of the kingdom, the answer is this: the Saudi regime is extremely intolerant of any criticisms except from Zionists, especially American Zionists who get routinely invited to the kingdom.  Let us start:
"I won’t pretend to have penetrated the mosques of bearded young men, steeped in Salafist/Wahhabi Islam".  OK. In that case, stop talking and pontificating. If you admit that there is a language barrier and that you can't meet anyone who is not presented to you by the royal family, stop pretending that you have some insights into Saudi society.
And then he tells you that there is something stirring in the kingdom. His source?  "But I also ran into something I didn’t know: Something is stirring in this society. This is not your grandfather’s Saudi Arabia. “Actually, it’s not even my father’s Saudi Arabia anymore — it is not even my generation’s Saudi Arabia anymore,” the country’s 52-year-old foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, said to me."  He then gives you another evidence that things are changing in the kingdom: "It invited me to give a lecture on how big technological forces are affecting the workplace. I didn’t know what to expect, but more than 500 people showed up".  SO let me understand this: the fact that some 500 people were forced to attend your silly lecture is an indication that change is coming to Saudi Arabia?  So if you go to Raqqa and give a lecture, and ISIS arranges for 500 people to attend your talk, you conclude from this that change is finally coming to Raqqa and the generation of Baghdadi's sons is different from the generation of Baghdadi?  What logic.   Wait. This is not it: he has another indication that change is coming to Saudi regime: "But the reception to my talk (I was not paid) was warm".  So the fact that students did not hurl shoes at you during the talk (although I am sure they had the desire to do so) proves that change is coming to the kingdom?  And then he says this: "There was blowback on Twitter as to why a columnist who’s been critical of Saudi Arabia’s export of Salafist ideology should be given any platform.".  Don't lie: many of the criticisms by Saudis on social media also dealt with your Zionism and support for US wars. Why not mention that? Why imply that only Salafis were opposed to you?  As for the rest of the article? It is not worth commenting on. He simply vomited the statements by Mohammad bin Salman without much criticisms and commentary or even refutation. He even produced Saudi talking points on Yemen.  

Somalians say Saudi obsession with smoking Hookah destroying forests

"Somalia has blamed Saudi Arabia for contributing to the decline of 90 percent of the forests that once covered that country." (thanks Nicholas)

Bernie vs. the campesinos

From James: "“So when dozens of antiwar activists blocked the entrance to the local General Electric plant because it was manufacturing Gatling guns to fight the socialists in Central America, the protesters expected the mayor’s full support. Instead, he lined up with union officials and watched as the police made arrests, saying later that in blocking the plant, the activists were keeping workers from their jobs. It was a classic example of how Mr. Sanders governed — as a pragmatist. He tended to talk globally but act locally, in this case choosing the real and immediate socialist principle of protecting workers over blocking the making of weapons to fight leftists abroad.”

Let’s be clear: the GE Gatling guns weren’t “fighting the socialists” in Central America: they were being used by the Salvadoran and Guatemalan facists to massacre campesinos. And Bernie’s motive wasn’t “protecting workers,” it was getting re-elected. I lived in Burlington at the time, and it was a sickening spectacle."

sexist standards of Lebanese airlines (MEA)

From Al-Akhbar. (thanks Nader)

Max Rodenbeck on Hirsi Ali

This critical review is full of insights.  You rarely read such an informed review of Muslim matters in mainstream US press.

Muslims in US: a pattern of bigotry

"The incident is one of a growing number that have put American Muslims on the defensive since the attacks Nov. 13 in France. Bullets were fired at a mosque in Connecticut. Feces were smeared on an Islamic house of worship in Texas. A fake bomb was left at another in northern Virginia."

Gulf royal families have been telling for your years: Israel is not their enemy. Their people are their enemy

"The bottom line is that Israel is not Arabs’ enemy and Arab countries have to individually get rid of the Arab nation’s complex and make their own individual decisions independently. " (thanks Roger)

US air bombing and civilians

"However, the larger concern with this mindset is the assured growth of collateral damage and civilian casualties that will accompany significantly loosened ROEs. Last month, Lt. Gen. Bob Otto, the U.S. Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, observed that the coalition was “challenged in finding enough targets that the airplanes can hit that meet the rules of engagement.” However, he added an important caveat: “If you inadvertently — legally — kill innocent men, women, and children, then there’s a backlash from that. And so we might kill three and create 10 terrorists.”
There was a revealing indicator made public last week of just how challenging it is for pilots to prevent civilian harm while conducting “dynamic targeting” strikes — meaning against unplanned and unanticipated targets in a compressed timeline — despite all the checks and balances in place. Late on Friday, Centcom issued a press release that summarized the findings and recommendations of an investigation into an attack of an Islamic State checkpoint on March 13, near Hatra, Iraq, which “likely resulted in the deaths of four non-combatants” even though “all reasonable measures were taken to avoid unintended deaths of or injuries to non-combatants by reviewing the targets thoroughly prior to engagement.” This was only the second time, in 16 months of bombing, that the command has acknowledged civilian harm; the other being in May when Centcom published an investigation of a November 2014 strike against the so-called Khorasan Group that “likely led to the deaths of two non-combatant children.” In other words, everybody within the command structure, including the pilot of the A-10, did what they were trained to do, and four civilians were still unintentionally killed at an Iraqi checkpoint....The report ultimately reaches the critical conclusion, “The NCV [Non-Combat Victims] = 0 objective was not met,” (bold included in original), but then fully redacts the details of the “three execution errors leading to this objective not being met.” The reader can only wonder what those errors were or what corrective steps were implemented to ensure that they were not made again. Interestingly, the identity of the sender of the April 2 email was never determined, and there was no further communication from her. Thus, no financial compensation was ever offered for her destroyed Kia Sorrento nor was any given to the families of the four civilians killed. Who knows if any of the Iraqis impacted by the civilian casualties became more sympathetic to the Islamic State or felt alienated by coalition airstrikes?"

US-Saudi-UAE coalition send mercenaries to slaughter Yemenis

"The arrival in Yemen of 450 Latin American troops — among them are also Panamanian, Salvadoran and Chilean soldiers — adds to the chaotic stew of government armies, armed tribes, terrorist networks and Yemeni militias currently at war in the country." "They join hundreds of Sudanese soldiers whom Saudi Arabia has recruited to fight there as part of the coalition. In addition, a recent United Nations report cited claims that some 400 Eritrean troops might be embedded with the Emirati soldiers in Yemen — something that, if true, could violate a United Nations resolution restricting Eritrean military activities. The United States has also been participating in the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen, providing logistical support, including airborne refueling, to the nations conducting the airstrikes. The Pentagon has sent a team to Saudi Arabia to provide targeting intelligence to the coalition militaries that is regularly used for the airstrikes." (thanks Amir)

Bernie Sanders as mayor of Burlington, Vermont

"At the same time, critics on the left said he compromised too much with business interests and did not go far enough in pursuing socialist ideals. Over the span of his mayoralty, the number of families living in poverty grew — to 798 in 1990 from 563 in 1980, an increase of 42 percent....Mr. Sanders also formed alliances of convenience, including one with Antonio Pomerleau, a wealthy developer whom Mr. Sanders had criticized during his first campaign for mayor."

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Evolution of a terrorist

A reader sent me this. It says: from left to right:
"Ikhwani (Muslim Brotherhood member), Wahhabi, Salafi, Takfiri, terrorist."

Please don't distract him...

he is on his way to liberate Palestine.

This is how the Washington Post unabashedly and propagandistically celebrated the victory of the right in Argentina

(The headline was later changed).

Very unfunny performance

This is quite unfunny.  And American TV shows are hardly the best work of humanity.  And the notion that ISIS loses if a crowd in Beverly Hills laughs is outright silly.  You judge.

This Arabic graffiti says it all

It says: "take off your shoes. Its soil is full of our blood".

Syrian rebels shooting at Russian helicopter

Many Western journalists and pundits were jubilantly posting videos of "Syrian rebels" shooting at Russian pilots and helicopter without mentioning that those were fighters from Nusrah Front.

sad states of the Arab world

It is a sad states when some Arabs threaten other Arabs with Putin, while other Arabs threaten other Arabs with Erdogan.  Self-determination was never farther from the hands of the Syrian people.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

UCLA fights BDS

From a reader from UCLA: ""Milan Chatterjee, having presided over the drafting of a 'neutrality clause' that prescribes the UCLA Graduate Student Association's stance on Israel/Palestine issues, did not wait until the GSA had voted on such a clause, before communicating to the organizer of a diversity event that GSA funding was contingent on the event's exclusion of BDS activity. This episode is indicative of the insidiousness and duplicity practiced by those who abuse their positions of power to stifle or deny graduate students in a public university their first amendment right to free expression.""

"Burning of Christian churches in Israel justified, far-Right Israeli Jewish leader says"

"However, Shin Bet - Israel's domestic intelligence agency - recently concluded that there are no legal grounds for similarly outlawing Lehava, despite a request from Mr Ya'alon to consider doing so. 
Two of the group's members were recently jailed for setting fire to Jerusalem's Jewish-Arab Max Rayne Hand in Hand school last November. Hebrew graffiti reading "Kahane was right" was sprayed on a wall of the school. 
Mr Gopstein was arrested along with 20 other Lehava members for suspected incitement to violence last last year but has so far not been charged."

New York Times and bigotry

Before the New York Times rebukes Donald Trump for his blatant racism and ignorance, it should rebuke itself for its long history of offense and racism against Arabs and Muslims.  Its coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict is akin to Nazi coverage of WWII.

bogus polling of Muslims

"The Sun has splashed with the headline: “One in five Brit Muslims’ sympathy for jihadis”, but does the claim stack up?
A look at the polling data behind Monday’s headline calls into question how the newspaper has interpreted the figures."

internet hooliganism: The Female ISIS Suicide Bomber in the Bathtub Was Exactly None of Those Things

"The problem is that the woman that the Post confidently declared to be the “Paris suicide bomber” doesn’t appear to be her at all. That woman, pictured above, came forward today to say she is not Hasna Ait Boulahcen and has no connection to the group of people who carried out the Paris attacks. Instead, she says, her name is Nabila Bakkatha, she is from Morocco, and in an interview with CNN she alleges that the Daily Mail got duped into publishing her photo by an opportunistic ex-friend with a grudge.
“The photograph was taken by my friend, who sold it to a French journalist after the Paris attacks in revenge,” she tells CNN."

Monday, November 23, 2015

Little boy who gave $20 to vandalized mosque receives a special surprise

"A little boy in south Texas did something pretty great last week, and the news spread quickly across the world, via social media. Seven-year-old Jack Swenson took $20 from his piggy bank and decided to give it to a community mosque that had been grossly defaced during a Muslim hate crime.

Twenty dollars might not seem a lot to some, but to Jack Swanson, it was a life’s savings.  And to Faisal Naem, a board member from the Islamic Center of Pflugerville, Jack’s gift was comparable to “$20 million” to the Muslim community."

Syrian National Coalition leader refers to Al-Qa`ida fighters in Syria as "honorable revolutionaries"

""I call on the honourable Syrian revolutionaries in this group (Al-Qa`ida branch in Syria) to return to the broad umbrella of the Syrian revolution a nd spare the country further destruction," Khoja said." (thanks Fred)

The only Islam that US officials like is the Islam of Arab Gulf potentates

Towns named Lebanon in the US

"In 1955, the government of Lebanon decided to extend the hand of friendship to its namesakes and invited the mayors of all the U.S. cities named Lebanon to visit Beirut.

There, the American mayors were presented with cedar trees to bring back home. Today, these trees still stand in the town squares of these towns in America called Lebanon.

Most of the “Lebanons” are apparently named for the biblical reference of the cedars of Lebanon, particularly if they are located near a cedar forest. The verse, from the Old Testament, Ezra 3:7, says, “So they gave money to the masons and the carpenters, and food, drink, and oil to the Sido’nians and the Tyrians to bring cedar trees from Lebanon.”" (thanks Brooke)

The US and the creation of ISIS

"At every point along the way, the Bush administration made choices that exacerbated sectarian tensions in Iraq and set the country on the path to break-up. The assertion by some observers that the country is riven by age-old hatreds, is ahistorical and incorrect. In previous decades, political passions centered on anti-colonialism or big landlordism and socialism. The vacuum of power created by the U.S. dissolution of the secular Baath Party encouraged Iraqi politicians to play on sectarian passions in unprecedented ways. Provoking a violent insurgency was likewise fateful. Once an insurgency comes into being, it typically does not subside for 10 to 15 years.
But Americans have difficulty recognizing their own culpability in the rise of the Islamic State for two reasons. First, the public (and the press) seldom understood or credited Iraqi social forces with the ability to act independently, focusing instead on the U.S. military’s campaigns. Second, Iraq became a football in partisan bickering, with dispassionate analysis abandoned for unsubstantiated blame games."

How many times does the US Congress have to issue yet another resolutions of sanctions against Hizbollah?

Really.  Or is that a ritual required by the Zionist lobby to show fealty and obedience?

2 years in prison and 200 lashes for socializing with Shi`ites in Saudi Arabia

The appeals court changed the conviction from "socializing with Shi`ites" to "socializing with trouble-makers".

Censorship of certain opinions in the U.S.

"The claim that CNN journalists must be “objective” and are not permitted to express opinions is an absolute joke. CNN journalists constantly express opinions without being sanctioned. Labott’s crime wasn’t that she expressed an opinion. It’s that she expressed the wrong opinion: After Paris, defending Muslims, even refugees, is strictly forbidden."

Syrian "fighters" in Israeli hospitals

From Frank: "An FYI. This is unreal. Liz Sly and Anne Barnard will probably skip this one.

"Sharri Markson, a senior journalist at News Corp’s the Australian, has said security forces in Israel were “heavy-handed” when they briefly detained her during a press tour after she collected personal details of wounded Syrian fighters being secretly treated in a hospital.
Sources said the chief executive of the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies, Vic Alhadeff, stepped in to defuse the tense situation when Markson was questioned about breaking the hospital’s strict rules on protecting the identity of the 500 patients, some of whom are fighting in the Syrian war.""

Israel also illegally procured a wide variety of high tech nuclear equipment from abroad

" "Israel has a wide range of delivery vehicles for its nuclear weapons. With French assistance in the 1960s, Israel developed the nuclear-capable Jericho ballistic missile. It has developed several improved missiles since then on its own, as well as nuclear-capable cruise missiles. It also has aircraft that can deliver nuclear weapons. It may have the capability to launch nuclear-tipped cruise missiles from its submarines." According to the report, Israel also illegally procured a wide variety of high tech nuclear equipment from abroad, that can be used both for civilian and military purposes."

Vela Incident: Israeli nuclear test in 1979

"Despite the US government’s silence on the issue, circumstantial evidence that Israel detonated a nuclear explosive device off the coast of South Africa on September 22, 1979, with the assistance of South Africa, keeps building. Such a test means that Israel and South Africa are in violation of the Limited Test Ban Treaty." "Continuing to hide Israel’s testing violation is a direct counter to the US claim that it stands for the rule of law and implies that the United States cannot be counted on to defend treaties if they are violated by Israel. This failure fosters cynicism about the seriousness of the United States and its allies on the restraining of nuclear weapons. In the wake of the Iran agreement, it underscores concerns that the United States has double standards on arms control when Israel is involved."

Bahrain royal reforms impress the West

"Britain’s close Gulf ally Bahrain has been torturing detainees during interrogation, a leading human rights watchdog says, undermining UK government claims that the island state has reformed its security forces and improved accountability." "Accounts of the mistreatment of prisoners will bolster claims by Bahraini opposition figures that Britain is turning a blind eye to unacceptable practices, three weeks after the foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, inaugurated a controversial new British naval base near the capital, Manama." (thanks Amir)