Thursday, July 20, 2017

How did the Economist document its statement that Hizbullah is involved in drug smuggling? I will tell you. (Research standards of Institute of Middle East Studies at GWU)

Of course, the journalism of the Economist, especially on the Middle East, has been steadily deteriorating over the years.  Its correspondent in Beirut is now indistinguishable form other Western correspondents in Beirut (which was not the case a decade or more ago).  Look at this article which blames the drug smuggling of Captagon to Hizbullah: "But an investigation by the Institute for Middle East Studies at George Washington University concluded in 2015 that the only faction systematically involved in producing the drug was Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed Lebanese militia." Investigation, here is the paper cry the GWU's Institute of Middle East Studies.  There is no investigating whatsoever, and the paper merely cites previously published material, which in turn did not "inevestigate" the matter and did not cite one credible source.  Here is what the Institute of Middle East Studies cite: "Elizabeth Picard’s chapter on the political economy of Lebanon during and post-civil war provide a relatively clear and concise background on the relationship between Hezbollah and the Lebanese government, as well as a description of Hezbollah’s record of involvement with the drug economy.57 A joint article by Boaz Ganor and Miri Wernli takes this history and brings it to the present issue of Captagon, connecting Hezbollah’s activities in the Bekaa Valley with production of the drug in the region following the 2006 war with Israel."  Picard does not in turn one source of her chapter the book edited by Steve Hydemann, War, Institutions, and Social Change in the Middle East.  She cites the pro-Saudi newspaper, Al-Hayat, and rumors.  And I never understand why and how do scholars "investigate" financing of terrorism or matters of drug trade and such.  These are issue for lousy journalism and lousy journalism are better suited for this type of writing.    And Picard, whose previous work on Lebanon I have respected, talks about some weird association of Hizbullah being involved with a `Alawite party in Tripoli in drug, when that party was closer to Amal Movemnet.But what about the second source cited by the Institute?  What about The article by Ganor and Wernli? Here is what the article says about it: "While no direct connection between Hezbollah and Captagon within Syria has been uncovered, there is enough correlated evidence to say there is a high probability that Hezbollah is one of the major Captagon producers and traffickers. Although Hezbollah likely is the major producer and distributor in the area, there is significant evidence suggesting that other actors in the region are producing smaller quantities.  Hezbollah has a long history of actively participating in the production and sale of illicit drugs. Hezbollah’s home state, Lebanon, has been both a transit point for drugs moving from the eastern to western markets, as well as a source location for hashish and opium.47...This, combined with their prolific involvement in the country’s civil war, suggests a correlation between this past activity and the current production out of Syria. Additionally, Hezbollah has an established global network and experience in managing the logistics necessary to maintain not only its fighting forces, but its fundraising and humanitarian efforts. Hezbollah’s experience and resources make it the ideal organization to set up and manage the operations necessary for a Captagon enterprise to be successful."  With this we now can know something not only about documentation by the journalism of the Economist but also about the research standards of the George Washington University's Institute of Middle East Studies.   Also, what is striking about this genre of writing about the topic of Hizbullah and drugs is that NONE OF THOSE SOURCES EVER MENTION that Nasrallah personally made speeches against the proliferation of drugs in Shi`ite areas and against Captagon.  Furthermore, those article politically conveniently leave out a major fact about the topic: that many of the drug dealers of the Biqa` Valley are in fact politically aligned with Amal and not with Hizbullah. But what the hell: Saudi and Israeli propaganda want to drag Hizbullah into it.  Having said all that: I am not denying or asserting but merely stating that I have not seen evidence, and I encountered before how lousy Israeli propaganda used to make unfounded allegation that Arafat and the PLO were involved in drugs in Lebanon (when it was the Syrian regime and its intelligence and army who were involved).  For a sobering treatment of this issue, read the (journalistic) book by Jonathan V Marshall, The Lebanese Connection: Corruption, Civil War, and the International Drug Traffic, " published by Stanford UP.

PS The sources for Picard and all the rest on this is clear: the propaganda apparatus of Hariri family in Lebanon and the Saudi regime media. They have been claiming this along with Israeli and Zionist media. 

PPS Notice that the Economist missed the biggest element of the Captagon story: that a Saudi prince was caught at Beirut Airport while smuggling the largest ever shipment of Captagon into Saudi Arabia.  

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

And now for a sobering analysis from Istanbul in...the Washington Times

"“They want to convert all of Syria to Shiism".  That pretty much sums up the situation. Thanks for listening.  

US State Department report on terrorism: its section on Hizbullah

So the report (in chapter 2, the section on Lebanon) calls Hizbullah the biggest terrorist threat in Lebanon and is listed as the first terrorist threat to Israel (in the section on the Israeli occupation state), and yet: look what it lists as terrorist incidents in Lebanon in the last year:
"2016 Terrorist Incidents: Lebanon suffered from a number of terrorist incidents in 2016, ranging in type and alleged perpetrator. Five of the most significant events are listed below:
  • On January 8, Syrian militants affiliated with ISIS conducted a drive-by shooting at the house of an ISF Information Branch officer near the town of Aarsal. The killing was reportedly in retaliation for the officer’s undercover work against ISIS in Aarsal.
  • On April 12, unknown militants assassinated a senior Fatah official with a bomb outside Ain el-Helweh, Lebanon’s largest and most volatile Palestinian camp.
  • On June 12, a bomb exploded outside a Blom Bank location in downtown Beirut, damaging the bank’s structure, but causing no injuries. The bomb was widely considered to be a message from Hizballah to the banking sector over implementation of Central Bank circulars focused on Hizballah.
  • On June 27, a series of eight suicide bombings killed five people and wounded at least 28 others in the Christian village of al Qaa in the Bekaa valley. It is unknown who perpetrated the bombings.
  • On August 31, a bomb outside Zahle killed one person and injured several others in the Bekaa Valley. The bombing was thought to be targeting Shia participants traveling to an Ashura celebration event in Southern Lebanon."
PS And not that the bulk of terrorism is by groups opposed to Hizbullah.

NYT's Ben Hubbard's propaganda work for Muhammad bin Salman

He has determined (based on anecdotal evidence in an article in the Times about cellphones) that Muhammad bin Salman is wildly popular: "His programs, including increasing entertainment opportunitiesinside the hyperconservative kingdom, have won him fans among the two-thirds of Saudis who are younger than 30."  He does not qualify his statement by saying that not being a fan will get you a jail sentence in the kingdom.

U.S. President wanted to chop-off Syrian demonstrators' heads

" “We need to cut their heads off, ” then-President George Bush said of violent anti-western protests in Syria in 2006, former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni said last month in Washington."

U.S. kills 12 Iraqi & Syrian civilians daily

"Airwars researchers estimate that at least 2,300 civilians likely died from Coalition strikes overseen by the Obama White House—roughly 80 each month in Iraq and Syria. As of July 13, more than 2,200 additional civilians appear to have been killed by Coalition raids since Trump was inaugurated—upwards of 360 per month, or 12 or more civilians killed for every single day of his administration.” "

Playing in Israel is whitewashing Apartheid

" “As the lights go out in Gaza and Palestinian cancer patients die because they are denied travel permits by Israel, while a Palestinian poet in Israel lives under house arrest for a poem she wrote on Facebook, while a young circus performer from the West Bank languishes in administrative detention without charge or trial – Thom Yorke speaks loftily about ‘crossing borders’ and ‘freedom of expression,’” Leigh said, adding, “One has to ask, freedom for whom exactly?” " (thanks Amir)

The sect of Al-Jazeera journalists is apparently relevant

"Mehi Hasan, a Shia, told the ABC terrorists killed fewer people than traffic accidents or domestic violence." (thanks Basim)

Meet Bruce Ridel: an analyst by day and a medical doctor by night

"“The weight of the evidence I have seen is that he was more injured in the assassination attempt than was admitted and that he then got onto a pain killer routine that was very addictive,” said Bruce Riedel, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer and director of the Intelligence Project at the Brookings Institution. “I think that problem got progressively worse.”"  I started to notice this guy back in the 1990s, when in an interview with Middle East Quarterly he said that the Arab people are not bothered by the US-impoised sanctioned on Iraq.  I said to myself: this is a clueless analyst and you need to pay attention to him.  Here, he is using his medical training to offer a medical opinion on a purely medical case: on whether Bin Nayif was or is addicted to painkillers.  When he says he has "seen" the evidence, what does that mean? Was he made to watch as Bin Nayif popped pills? Or was he offered a video in which Bin Nayif was seen buying a large amount of drugs?  DC Punditry is now worse on many levels (professional and ethical) than US journalism.  At least Reuters in the report on the succession today was reserved and said that it could not judge whether bin Nayif was addicted or not.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Saudi version of Islamic reform: `Adnan Al-`Ar`ur

By the way, this clerical kook is Saudi regime's answer to ISIS.  He once called for "mincing" Alawites.

Monday, July 17, 2017

George Will, the conservative, is saying what American liberals are not saying: the slow-motion US invasion of Syria

"Hundreds of Marines are manningfire bases in northern Syria. This intervention resembles a slow-motion invasion."

Is the Israeli occupation army a defense army?

Let Moshe Dayan vomit the answer (from an article he wrote back in April 1967):
"...although the Israeli Army's official title is "the Israeli Defense Forces," it is not a defensive force...the most visual manifestation of the new approach...is the lack of fortifications and fences along the borders...simply put, the Israeli Defense Forces are an aggressive offensive-minded fighting force.  The Israeli military implements this approach in its thinking, planning, and Modus Operandi.  [The offensive values] run in [the military's] DNA and [are] inscribed in the marrow of its bones."  Cited in the lousy book, Laron, Guy, The Six-Day of War: the Breaking of the Middle East, Yale UP, p. 275).

While Western governments condemn statements that Israel fabricate about Arab leaders, it ignores Israeli threats against Arabs

"'If there is a war, we will annihilate Lebanon's infrastructure'.  Former Defense Minister Ya'alon says Iran runs Lebanon, promises Israel will destroy Lebanon completely if war breaks out." Can you imagine if this horrific threat was made by an Arab against Israel?

When are Western Zionist media sympathetic to Palestinians as victims?

Western Zionist media are only sympathetic to Palestinians as victims in two cases: 1) if the Palestinians happen to be collaborators with Israeli occupation and terrorism; 2) if the Palestinians happen to be killed by other Palestinians.  When Palestinians are killed by Israelis (which is the norm and not the exception), Zionist media could care less.

David Ignatius: firmly placed between Saudi, UAE, and Jordanian interests

"Is there a role for political Islam in the modern world? Qatar says yes. The UAE counters that Islamist agitators are the enemy of tolerance and modernity." He talks about UAE and Saudi Arabia as if they are enlighten secular republics and as if they are models of tolerance themselves. Also, notice his reference to "reform" in Saudi Arabia.  Only he can see it.

Israeli universities in China

I asked an Arab colleague/comrade who is an expert on China to comment on this story. He wrote: "There is an interesting side story here not on the radar: alot of Chinese are coming to realize that Israeli innovation claims have been exaggerated and that the technological gap between the two sides is not as big as the Israelis make it seem. I suspect in a decade or so even this Israeli "selling point" as a start-up nation will be moot for the Chinese. I heard this repeated in different contexts in Beijing during my last visit - intentionally and inadvertently. Additionally, Israel cant escape from the specter of its conjoinment with the United States, and given the trajectory of Sino-American relations (and to a lesser extent, Sino-Indian relations) are taking, they wont be able to build up the influence they seek.   There is, weirdly enough, an undercurrent of anti-semitism at play (which bounces off the equally weird philo-semitism you see among some elites) in China. "

We are back to the tale of "moderate Syrian rebels"

"Moderate rebel groups make up the bulk of the militants operating in the Syria-Lebanon border region with around 800 fighters linked to the Free Syrian Army camped out in the mountainous region." (thanks Basim)

Tim Arango

I recommend that Tim Arango be made Iraqi TV critic. Sure, he does not know any Arabic but he comments on contents of Iraqi TV stations.

Michael Stipe: losing his...moral compass

"In a post on Instagram, which doesn't actually mention Israel by name, Stipe wrote: "I stand with Radiohead and their decision to perform. Let's hope a dialogue continues, helping to bring the occupation to an end and lead to a peaceful solution. Sincerely, Michael Stipe."

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Avi Shlaim's apologia for Oslo accords

Avi Shlaim, a huge fan of King Husayn (and also of Rabin, of course), betrays more than a tinge of colonial racism in this line: "a modest experiment in Palestinian self-government".  So the Palestinians are not a mature people and thus it is required that they go through an experimental period of self-government? Also, notice that he believes that Palestinian "violence" was a "contributing factor" to the collapse of Oslo, but says not a word about Israeli terrorism.  And this is considered Zionist revisionism.  If this is Zionist historiographer revisionism please bring me back classical Zionist historiography: at least it makes no pretenses.  His only criticisms of Oslo is that bad faith of Netanyahu--one person in Israel.

PS The article is from 2013, and it was terrible then as it is terrible now.

These kinds of reforms make Jordan a favorite for the West


MENA RightsCable (@RightsCable)
Jordan Blocks Access to “Namdi.Net” Democracy and Rights Petition Website rightscable.com/2017/07/15/jor… pic.twitter.com/K0PbSQ38N1

Charles Lister comes clean: Netanyahu speaks for him on Syria


Charles Lister (@Charles_Lister)
Entirely predictable.

#Israel realizing that #Moscow lacks the leverage/will to secure a neutral ceasefire.

When will US realize this too? twitter.com/barakravid/sta…

This should be the slogans of US correspondents in Arabic

I don't need to know Arabic because the Israeli objective website, MEMRI translates Arabic media for me.

The fall of Mosul and American self-congratulations

What is amazing is that despite the sacrifices of many Iraqis--Sunnis and Shi`ites, Kurds and Arabs, Christians and Muslims--in the fight against ISIS, the US media and politicians are engaged in self-congratulations convinced that the difference in the fight against ISIS was not made by the tens of thousands of Iraqi fighters but by the 5000 US soldiers in Iraq.  Notice that the role of Russian bombing in Syria aghast the economic infrastructure of ISIS (which really started the process of the demise of ISIS) is always obscured.  Personally, I am not a fan of the way the fight against ISIS in Mosul or in Syria has been managed.  Both US and Russia have been careless in respecting the lives of civilians.

Tim Arango does not know any Arabic but it does not stop him from commenting on contents of Iraqi TV stations

"Turn on the television and channel after channel broadcasts programs sympathetic to Iran."  And how were you able to understand the channel broadcasts in Arabic, Mr. Arango?  Also, there is a big flaw in the premise of the article: that Iranian influence in Iraq is a matter of conspiracy and devious machinations.  He (and most Western journalists) can't understand that many Iraqi Shi`ites (if not most) genuinely identify with Iran for political--and even religious--reasons.  This is the way also in Lebanon, whether you--Western journalists--like it or not.  

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Tim Arango finally found the reason why George W. Bush invaded Iraq

"it saw Iraq as a potential cornerstone of a democratic and Western-facing Middle East".

Stop the presses: Tim Arango says that Hizbullah threatens nuclear-armed Israel

You read this and think: poor Israel.  "Hezbollah, the military and political force that dominates Lebanon and threatens Israel."

If Iranian construction workers in Iraq are killed, you can blame Tim Arango of the New York Times

He irresponsibly refers to tens of thousands of Iranian construction workers in Iraq as "spies": "Iranian construction workers — many of whom are viewed as Iranian spies by Iraqi officials".  Can you imagine the uproar if someone were to say that "Americans in UAE are thought to be spies" or that "Israelis in Europe are thought to be spies"? Can you imagine the uproar?  What evidence is there to make that case? Just because some Iraqi politicians on Saudi regime payrolls said this? This is so dangerous because the pro-US March 14 Movement in Lebanon said the same about Syrian workers in Lebanon back in 2005, and that led to hundreds of cases of workers being lynched and stabbed and attacked throughout the country.  

The lies of Tim Arango's article on Iraq: so why was Hoshyar Zebari fired as Finance Minister?

Hoshyar Zebari tells Tim Arango that he was fired as Finance Minister because Iran wanted to get rid of him because he is close to the US.  In fact, the liar Zebari never ever accused Iran in Arabic being behind his ouster.  Tim Arango, who knows about the Arab world and has studied the Arab world as much as I know and studied Belgium politics, believes whatever he is told, provided those who are speaking are pro-Saudi Arab politicians.  In all Arab media, including this Saudi regime medium, all told details about the massive corruption, and mansions (notice he mentions his mansion in the article), and his bodyguards and travel using public money.  The corruption of Zebari occupied Iraqi media before he was fired.  Tim Arango makes no mention of that anywhere in his lousy article.

PS Also, if Iran wanted to get rid of him, how come it never did when he was foreign minister?

Tim Arango covering Iranian hegemony in Iraq for the New York Times: let the ignorance and propaganda begin

Several things about the article:
1) Tim Arango does not know Arabic, and has never studied the Middle East in his life.  He has a degree in "American studies".   Yet, Mr. Arango tells you in the article what Iraqi TV stations are saying in Arabic.  Let me guess: his degree in American studies required him to take courses in Arabic.
2) Tim Arango has no journalistic background in the Middle East: he started his career covering Wall Street.
3) Tim Arango only interviews pro-Saudi and pro-US politicians for the article and is willing to believe anything he is told.
4) Tim Arango does not shy away from reporting rumors if they fit into his propaganda take. More examples of his reporting above this.

Michigan official stands by call for killing of all Muslims

"Sieting had shared a post in November titled “Kill Them All — Every Last One,” which branded Muslims “dangerously destructive to society” and argued “there is simply no place for them in our world.” The post — apparently cribbed from the blog “NC Renegade” and since removed — went on to liken Islam to a “flesh-eating bacteria” and call for “nukes” to be used on the 10 largest majority-Muslim cities." (thanks Amir)

Guy Laron's book on the 1967 war: my second part critical review of the book

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "Was the 1967 Defeat a Destiny?  Zionist Historiography and Schadenfreude (2)".

A new phenomenon in Arab social media

This is unprecedented.  Usamah Fawzi has become the star of Arab social media.  Fawzi is the publisher and editor of Houston's based, Arab Times, which is a scandal political tabloid which has been publishing for years.  It is widely read in the US and mostly in the Arab world because it publishes details of scandals (some real and some less real) about the Arab world especially its rulers.  The political orientations of the fellow are not very clear: he is opposed to Arab regimes and is bitterly opposed to Arafat; he attacks the rulers of Jordan but he is soft on the King and his father.  He seems closer to the Syrian regime than its opponents and is very opposed to the sons of Zayid (he worked and lived for years in the UAE).  Two weeks ago, he started a youtube channel and posts several videos (sometimes per day) on various aspects of Arab politics and even society.  I was astonished how successful it has become and how popular.  Within days, some Arab intelligence services (he suspects the Saudis) produced this guy to refute what Fawzi says.  But the guy is so boring and has nothing to offer, and yet lists tens of thousands of views, which strains reason.  Fawzi, on the other hand, while crude and vulgar at times, can be a good story teller and is amusing even if the stories are not necessarily credible (his post about Tall Az-Za`tar for example is not accurate as he places Arab Deterrent Forces in the camp when they came to Lebanon months after the fall of the camp).  It is clear that Arab intelligence services are very unhappy about this and will try to silence him--probably in the name of "fighting terrorism".  He is always impeccably dressed in the videos and wears a different hat.  He is most informed about the UAE and Jordan, but less informed about other places.

PS He also believes that the Jordanian monarchy should stay.

Friday, July 14, 2017

This is classic: Son of King Fahd threatens Netanyahu

He says: "I ask God to let me loose on you Netanyahu (he uses the spelling of his name which many Arabs use, which split the name of Netanyahu to add the word "rotten" to it), Amen".

Every so-called dissident championed by Western governments and media is typically a lousy human being: Liu Xiaobo

"If Liu's politics were well-known, most people would not favour him for a prize, because he is a champion of war, not peace. He has endorsed the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, and he applauded the Vietnam and Korean wars retrospectively in a 2001 essay. All these conflicts have entailed massive violations of human rights. Yet in his article Lessons from the Cold War, Liu argues that "The free world led by the US fought almost all regimes that trampled on human rights … The major wars that the US became involved in are all ethically defensible." During the 2004 US presidential election, Liu warmly praised George Bush for his war effort against Iraq and condemned Democratic party candidate John Kerry for not sufficiently supporting the US's wars:
[T]he outstanding achievement made by Bush in anti-terrorism absolutely cannot be erased by Kerry's slandering … However much risk must be endured in striking down Saddam Hussein, know that no action would lead to a greater risk. This has been proven by the second world war and September 11! No matter what, the war against Saddam Hussein is just! The decision by President Bush is right!
Liu has also one-sidedly praised Israel's stance in the Middle East conflict. He places the blame for the Israel/Palestine conflict on Palestinians, who he regards as "often the provocateurs".
Liu has also advocated the total westernisation of China. In a 1988 interview he stated that "to choose westernisation is to choose to be human". He also faulted a television documentary, He Shang, or River Elegy, for not thoroughly criticising Chinese culture and not advocating westernisation enthusiastically enough: "If I were to make this I would show just how wimpy, spineless and fucked-up [weisuo, ruanruo, caodan] the Chinese really are". Liu considered it most unfortunate that his monolingualism bound him in a dialogue with something "very benighted [yumei] and philistine [yongsu]," the Chinese cultural sphere. Harvard researcher Lin Tongqi noted that an early 1990s book by Liu contains "pungent attacks on the Chinese national character". In a well-known statement of 1988, Liu said:"

Thursday, July 13, 2017

This is insane: imagine if such a measure is passed regarding Judaism or Christianity?

"The House is set to vote Friday on a controversial GOP proposal identifying “Islamic religious doctrines, concepts or schools of thought” that could be used by terrorist groups — something opponents say is unconstitutional and will lead to the targeting of Muslims. The amendment, drafted by conservative Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), also calls for the Pentagon to identify Islamic leaders who preach peaceful beliefs versus those who espouse extremist views." (thanks Michele)

Zionists fabricated a saying ("throwing Jews into the sea") and attributed to Ahmad Shuqayri but...

In reality, he never said. But here is a fact: The official order issued by Israeli Air Force Commander in 1967, Motti Hod, to his men: "...Fly, soar at the enemy, destroy him and scatter him throughout the dessert"--cited in Michael Oren, Six Days of War, p. 170)

Nobel Prizes for Peace--my potato

There were Soviet and Chinese dissidents who won the Nobel Prizes for Peace even though some supported US and other Western wars.  Take Noam Chomsky: he devoted his life to oppose US and Western wars around the world.  Do you think he will ever receive the Nobel Prize for peace?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Judging Israel

Israel can kill, massacre, and mistreat Arabs (Christians, Muslims, and atheists) throughout the region and that would never cause any opposition in the US.  But only when Israeli rabbinical decisions affect American Jews, alarm is raised.  

My article on Ghassan Kanafani

My article on Ghassan Kanafani in Electronic Intifada.

Trump in the Oval Office: the Secular West

I never missed Enver Hoxa like today.  

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The veil

I said it on social media in Arabic yesterday and I will say it here in English: the veil is not a problem for those who wear it but for those who oppose it.

Jack Shaheen is dead

In 1974, Jack Shaheen saw his little kids watching Saturday morning TV and talking about "Bad Arabs" on TV.  Shaheen was furious.  This triggered a new career for him.  He started a life devoted to the study of images of Arabs and Muslims in US TV and film.  His first book, the TV Arab, was published back in the mid-1980s, and he was very involved in the Arab-American community and its organizations (before they were bought off and transformed into arms lobbies by Gulf regimes in the wake of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait).  His mother used to work (outside of Pittsburg) as a cashier in a movie theatre, and he developed a love for film at an early age.  He wrote a lot and lectured a lot about the images of Arabs and Muslims in US TV and film.  He had tremendous energy and what struck me about him the most early on was his kindness, decency, and warmth.  He is truly one of the nicest people you meet.  He always spoke about his wife, Bernice, and how much support she gave him in his career. His film library is now deposited at NYU Middle East Center.  Shaheen was a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause and always detected and deconstructed Zionist themes in film.  After Sep. 11, he found the series "24" to be most damaging for the images of Arabs and Muslims. Condolences to his family and friends.

If it was confirmed that Russia actually killed Baghdadi, will the US offer congratulations?

Can you imagine the celebratory atmosphere and self-congratulations that would have prevailed had Baghdadi been killed by US bombs? Yet, because it seems--and I don't know for sure--that Russian bombs actually killed Baghdadi, there is barely a mention of that or celebration in US media.  

Monday, July 10, 2017

The speech by Hadyar Abadi

He was keen to thank Sisistani but did not thanks US or Iran, and did not thank Hashd by name but referred to them obliquely.  

Richard Engel, who was wrong about everything he ever said about Syria, is back pontificating about Russia

Hey - how can you say Putin is "winning every round of the long game against the US" if you don’t know what the long game is?

Newsweek issues a correction about Sulome Anderson's piece on Hizbullah: Learn journalism from a US magazine

I think the correction requires another correction: "Correction: A previous version of this story mistakenly stated that Hassan Nasrallah threatened retaliatory strikes against America in a speech. It was Hezbollah media that made such a threat. A previous version of this story also offered an incorrect casualty range for Hezbollah during the 2006 war. The group provided no official estimate of its casualties. But Lebanon’s Higher Relief Council estimated that 68 Hezbollah fighters died during the conflict. Israel claimed it killed 500-600. A previous version of this story originally quoted a Hezbollah commander about the group’s Borkan-1 missiles. He was likely referring to the Burkan Dwarf Missile. A previous version of this story referred to a member of Hezbollah as a lieutenant; the group does not have that rank and the term was meant as an approximation. Lastly, a previous version of this story quoted a Hezbollah fighter mistakenly saying that someone who went to war for the group in Syria when he was 18-years-old would now be 25; he would now be 22 or 23. " As you remember, I immediately mentioned here that Nasrallah never made such threats. But look at the correction: it cites Annahar Net which cites "Hizbullah media".  Hizbullah media? Is this like a news entity or a media conglomerate?   This reminds me of Lebanese pro-Saudi media which when they see something they don't like on Facebook, they refer to anyone with a possible Shi`ite name (like Abbas) as "Hizbullah media".

When I read this I thought: maybe it would be better if you don't defend yourself against criticisms sometimes

"Anderson also tells us U.S. airstrikes prompted “Hassan Nasrallah, the group’s leader, to warn of retaliatory strikes if America continues to infringe upon the territory it holds in the country.” This is completely incorrect…Nasrallah never warned of any “retaliatory strikes” against the U.S. The citation she uses comes from the Lebanese website NaharNet from June 7th (Nasrallah had spoken on the 25th of May, 14 days prior to the airstrike and cited article, and on the 24th of June, 17 days after the cited article Anderson is basing her claim on) which in turn copied the story from AP, claiming “Hizbullah-Linked Media Threaten Strikes on U.S. in Syria over ‘Red Lines’
This is one of three minor points I concede have merit. Like the others, it was simple human error — I confused two links, that of Nasrallah’s speech and the one describing Hezbollah media threatening retaliatory strikes. A correction has already been issued.
Anderson then informs us that one of the Hezbollah commanders she interviewed bears the rank of “Lieutenant”. There is no lieutenant ranking in Hezbollah. Hezbollah is not a conventional army, and these ranks with their military significances do not exist among its troops.
In my original draft, I clarified that this man had the approximate rank of lieutenant. Hezbollah does not have that rank, as I well know, but this man was just below a commander and acted as his right-hand man, so I used that term — with the clarification that Hezbollah has no such rank. That did not make it into the final version.
In the same paragraph, Anderson tells us “Hezbollah’s casualties ranged from 49 to 300” during the 2006 July War. The first number comes from a cited BBC article on the 25th of July, only 13 days into the war. How is Anderson using an article written 20 days before the end of the war to give a total estimate of Hezbollah’s causalities? More ridiculously, the article doesn’t even mention the number 49 once, instead, the article says, “Hezbollah said 27 of its fighters had been killed as of Monday”. The second number, 300, uses this link as a citation, which takes you to a 404 error page on The Australian.
This was another error with links that somehow made it through edits. It has been fixed and a correction issued.
Anderson quotes an alleged fighter saying: “Especially after the experience we’ve gained in Syria. A boy who was 18 years old and went to fight in Syria — now, he is 25.” Hezbollah went to Syria in 2013, unless Anderson and her editors believe Hezbollah fighters age quicker than your average human being, this fighter should be 22 now.
As Kourani notes, I was quoting someone. I couldn’t change the quote, even if the math didn’t add up. I think the gist of what he was saying came across regardless.The ‘commander’ continues: “We were keeping our Borkan-1 missiles as a secret weapon to use against the Israelis, but then we had to use them in Syria, and now the Israelis know we have them”…The Burkan-1, with a range of more than 800 km, was not designed by Hezbollah, nor has it been used in Syria by any groups, to date…What Hezbollah developed and uses in Syria is the Burkan Dwarf Missile (known as the Burkan), first used in Qusayr and Qalamoun battles, which the Syrian Arab Army now uses too.
This was the last error that made it past edits. It has been corrected."

How is one "almost fluent" in a language?

This reminds me of the title of an Egyptian movie from the 1970s: "A virgin, but..."  "I don’t read Arabic, but speak conversational Levantine Arabic almost fluently"...

Another Gulf crisis?

A Saudi regime columnist, Khalid Ad-Dakhil, criticizes UAE and Egypt for their preference of Bashshar Al-Asad.

The US is building a $1 billion fortress outside of Beirut

The New York Times launches its own propaganda war against ISIS

How stupid. How dumb and how fake.  The "Syrian"* in the video clearly does not understand a word he is reading and it is so obvious that he didn't write one word he read in the video.  Stop the insanity, please.  Of course, being a dumb US propaganda campaign, it received the approval of the director of Human Rights Watch.

*I did not mean to question whether he is Syrian but to suggest that the New York Times propaganda apparatus is exploiting his Syrianness for its own silly political reasons.  

There is no need for a court or an investigation: Close down the Hariri Israeli International Court

US Secretary of Defense announced today that Hizbullah killed Rafiq Hariri. Please save the Lebanese people money and close down that court since Mattis did his own investigation and reached a verdict. 

US secretary of defense explains Arab democracies

"MATTIS: There are moderate regimes in the Middle East. The king of Jordan, clearly a moderating influence. The Emirates, the United Arab Emirates, I think almost a quarter of their ministers, what we would call secretaries of departments, are women. Everybody drives there, men, women, whatever. They’re a modern country. There are moderates you know, Kuwait, they have a very restive legislature parliament."

Where are the tears of Western correspondents in Beirut and DC pundits about Mosul?


What is left of Mosul. If this destruction was caused by Russian and not US planes, there would have been outrage all over social media.

Can you imagine the tears of Western correspondents in Beirut if this destruction and bombing was not caused and blessed by US military?

Sunday, July 09, 2017

The List: Zionist crimes

A list can be made of the thousands upon thousands of innocent people killed by Israeli terrorism.  Some were targeted as civilians, as in the many massacres which were purposefully perpetrated by Zionists (before 1948 and after) to terrorize the Arab population.
A list can be made of the writers, poets, intellectuals, and journalists murdered by Israeli terrorists.
A list can be made of innocent people who were killed because either they resembled Palestinian leaders or because they had similar names.  

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Sen. Elizabeth Warren wants more war in Afghanistan

The idol of the American left, Sen. Warren, wants more war in Afghanistan.

Zionism is always racism

"Reality is already much uglier: today, Israel attempts to control the Palestinian population with a host of racist laws and practices – up to and including periodic massacres such as the most recent one in Gaza whose third anniversary will be marked this week."

Close ally of the U.S. and headquarters of the 5th Fleet

"Bahrain has rearrested a prominent human rights advocate who has accused the country’s security services of torturing and sexually assaulting her during her previous arrest in May." "In her account of her previous arrest in May, Al-Saegh told how she had been summoned to the National Security Agency offices and on arrival she was immediately blindfolded, before being sexually assaulted and beaten."

I would rather travel on camel back with skunks than travel by private jet with NYT reporters

Is this supposed to be a good offer?

An American diplomat speaks about the improvement of relations with the Sudanese dictator

Why is this fact of US improvement of relations with Sudanese dictator part of this story?

Porn is huge in Lebanon

Top websites in Lebanon.

Bogus stat in Reuters - Lebanon does not even register

From Basim: "The Lebanese army is the fifth-biggest recipient of U.S. military assistance,"



You mean just behind Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, Iraq, Turkey, Afghanistan, Japan, South Korea, Qatar and UAE?



Western media's al-Qaeda heroes

"The New York Times' Ben Hubbard published a sympathetic profile of Abdul Kareem, summarizing him euphemistically as "an American with a point of view and a message." For an accompanying photo, the Times chose a screenshot from a video in which Abdul Kareem rationalized suicide bombing." "Since the beginning of Syria’s civil war, CNN has virtually ignored the experiences of those who live in constant fear of the U.S. and Gulf-backed rebels that Ward branded as "heroes." In her apparent zeal for access, Clarissa Ward solicited a working partnership with one of al-Qaeda’s top propagandists in Syria, Bilal Abdul Kareem."

Child marriage in the U.S.

"At least 207,468 minors married in the US between 2000 and 2015, according to data compiled by Unchained At Last, a group campaigning to abolish child marriage, and investigative documentary series Frontline. The true figure is likely to be much higher because 10 states provided no or incomplete statistics." (thanks Amir)

When I see leftists cheering Dan Rather, I can only remember when he used to dress as "the mujahidin" to promote the cause of Bin Laden against communism


Guy Laron's book on 1967: how to describe Palestinian leaders vs how to describe Israeli leaders

From Guy Laron's The Six-Day War: The Breaking of the Middle East, Yale UP.
On Arafat: "an uninspiring public speaker (especially in English, which remained mediocre throughout his life), and with frantically rolling beady eyes". (p. 38).*
On Eshkol: "a bespectacled 72-year-old who had the appearance of a kind uncle" (p. 87).
Dayan and Peres: "who were both considered handsome and articulate" (p. 103).
Alon: "With his shock of curly black hair neatly combed back, and a handsome face dominated by drooping eyelids that gave him the air of a sleepy gazelle" (p. 113).
 The lousy Nation magazine published a free promotion of this typically racist and academically dishonest book. More about it in Arabic and maybe here too.

PS Had the author known Arabic he would have realized that in fact Arafat was a very strong and inspiring orator in Arabic. His command of Arabic and of grammar was not strong, but he had a great theatrical voice which he put to good effect in speeches.  Also, why should Arafat be a speaker in English? Were Shamir and Rabin and Ben-Gurion great orators in English?

PPS By the way, the book is really not about the war itself. It should have been titled: On the Eve of the War: the context of the 1967 war.

Learn from Ghassan Kanafani: how to respond to questions from a mainstream Western reporter

Today is his anniversary.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Can it be denied that Zionist diplomatic hoodlums can be classy?

"In Krakow, Poland, where the vote took place, Israel's Ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama HaCohen, had a theatrical response. He took out his cell phone and said, “Mr. Chairman. It’s my plumber in my apartment in Paris. There is a huge problem in my toilet and it is much more important than the decision you just adopted.”"

Guy Laron and the 1967 war

I don't have time to write about the book in details especially that I am serializing a critical review about it for Al-Akhbar: but I am rather surprised that some leftists are counting this book as a dissident or critical history of the war. The book suffers from all the major flaws and problems of classical Israeli Orientalism, including the disregard of the views of the Arab themselves and the academic dishonesty which is a feature of Zionist writings about the conflict.  The dishonesty is such that he tells a story about how Yasser Arafat (who he called "ruthless") (accompanied with Abu Jihad) once ambushed an opponent in Fath leadership (Yusuf Al-`Urabi) and killed him.  (see p. 40).  The footnote of the story takes you to two sources, a book by the Israeli journalist Ehud Yaari named "Strike Terror: the Story of Fatah".  I mean, how much objectivity does one expect from a book by that name?  However, Arafat and Abu Jihad were not even in that meeting when `Urabi was killed.  The story is well-known: `Urabi was having an argument with someone in an office (Arafat was nowhere around that place), and then a Fath members hears the yelling and enters the office shooting.  `Urabi was killed along with a guard of Yasser `Arafat.  And while Laron cites Yazid Sayigh's book, the account in the latter is totally different from the account of Laron (see Sayigh, p. 127).  And on and on.  Typically in those Israeli histories, what Arabs say does not count unless it is said in English by people who support Anwar Sadat.  There are six Arabic sources listed and barely used except Haikal and Murtaji (and he mistrusts the former and trusts the latter because he was anti-Nasser).

On Guy Laron's new book on 1967

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "Was the 1967 Defeat a Destiny?  Zionist Historiography and Schadenfreude".

Who really killed Malcolm Kerr? New Information

It is ironic that Steve Kerr used to be known as Malcolm Kerr's son, while Malcolm Kerr is now known as Steve Kerr's father.  The reason I raise this point is that I am reading the newly released book by George Frayhah on Bashir Gemayyel (titled Ma`a Bashir).  Frayhah was related (by marriage) to Bashir and he was a close aide to him.  Frayhah was assigned by Bashir to found the OCP of AUB.  The book has many revelations about the way Bashir dealt with his desire to establish branches of Lebanese universities in East Beirut during the war.  He tells the story of how Bashir basically threatened the president of Lebanese University, Butrus Dib, and forced him to sign an official statement which was prepared by Bashir's people.  There is also talk about AUB: for the first time, we have an official admission by a Bashir's chief aide that Gemayyle indeed shelled the West Beirut campus, and that the shelling resulted in the killing of innocent students on campus.  If you read the book and the tension between Bashir (and the Lebanese Forces) and the AUB administration you really reach the conclusion that it is highly likely that Kerr was killed by Lebanese Forces thugs. I was never convinced that "Islamic Jihad" gunmen were behind it. They would have been more interested in kidnapping him, not killing him.  I strongly urge the Kerr family to pursue this case and use the book by Frayhah as a legal evidence of the design of Bashir and his henchmen.

Israeli-UAE-Evangelical network smuggled 5500 artifacts out of Iraq

"The packages that made their way from Israel and the United Arab Emirates to retail outlets owned by Hobby Lobby, the seller of arts and craft supplies, were clearly marked as tile samples. But according to a civil complaint filed on Wednesday by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, they held something far rarer and more valuable: ancient clay cuneiform tablets that had been smuggled into the United States from Iraq. Prosecutors said in the complaint that Hobby Lobby, whose evangelical Christian owners have long maintained an interest in the biblical Middle East, began in 2009 to assemble a collection of cultural artifacts from the Fertile Crescent." (thanks Amir)

A devastating critique and deconstruction of Sulome Anderson's piece for Newsweek

Do we not agree that editorial standards and fact checking at the National Inquirer are superior to those at Newsweek? 
"Let us assume, for the benefit of the doubt, that Anderson does not read or understand Arabic, and the same applies to her editors, surely all of them would have noticed the Palestinian flag in the video? Do they believe that Hezbollah marks its vehicles, not with its own very distinctive logo, but with the logo of a Syrian-Palestinian group? Additionally, since when do Hezbollah commanders wear caps with Fatah al-Intafada’s logos on them?"

Thursday, July 06, 2017

The PLO and drug Trade; Hizbullah and the drug trade in Lebanon

This book by Jonathan Marshall, The Lebanese Connection: Corruption, Civil War, and the International Drug Traffic, has become the definitive book on the subject. Marhsall is no Middle East expert and does not know Arabic but he has conducted extensive and meticulous research.  The book stretches out too much and could have been condensed into a half or a third.  The chapter on Intra Bank is really not related to the topic and the narrative of the civil war adds nothing new. The story is best told in pre-civil war Lebanon. However, the author is at least a skeptical researcher--unlike all mainstream reporters who write about the subject.  On the subject of PLO and drugs: he rightly points out that it was NEVER an official policy for any mainstream PLO organization to deal with drugs (perhaps with the exception of groups aligned with Syrian intelligence, like Sa`iqah or the Arab Democratic Party).  He points out that all media references to the contrary were from Israeli propaganda sources. Similarly, he talks about the Hizbullah popular story and also concludes that Hizbullah never dealt with drugs at any level and that stories to the contrary all came from Israeli propaganda sources. Had he known Arabic, he would have referred to speeches by Nasrallah in which he rails against drugs and says explicitly that the party considers them to be religiously impermissible ("haram").  He points out, however, that former secretary-general, Subhi Tufayli, who is now reported on Saudi regime payroll, has been aligned with drug dealers since he left the party.  He does mention interesting things: like the involvement of the Gemayyel family with the drug trade, and the name of Mustafa Tlas and Syrian intelligence operatives too.

Finally, a website dedicated to the plight of domestic workers in Lebanon

I told the comrades in charge of it that--despite my strong support for the cause--I am not a fan of the leading picture on the site. It should be changed.  

This is how the Lebanese Army officially (medically) explained the death of four Syrian refugees in its custody

It says: "It turns out that several of them suffers from chronic medical illnesses which were activated due to the climate conditions".  I swear I am quoting verbatim.  

Saudi regime media turn classy

The cover front page of Okaz says about Saudi response to Qatar: "After 'clipping the fingernails'...the breaking of the bones"

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Abdullah bin Zayid

After I wrote that he has been absent, he resurfaced.  

The SA-UAE alliance today

It was clear. Trump called Sisi and ordered the new alliance to cut it out.  I expect the announcement of a new Qatari-US arms deal any minute now.

Lebanese, united

At least racist anti-Syrian and anti-Palestinian sentiments can unite the Lebanese, across the political divides.

I refuse to accept that Gen. Khalifah Haftar of Libya resembles right-wing dictators of Latin America of the 1960s


The Middle East Institute Teaches Arabic

Word of the Day: Missile Arabic: قذيفة qadhīfa Hebrew: טיל ṭil Persian: موشک mūshak 
Turkish: füze

PS Of course, Missile in Arabic is Sarukh while Qahdifah is shell.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Meet the new nature of Israeli terrorism

In 1972, Palestinian journalists formed the Central Palestinian Information department within the PLO. The three who founded it were: Ghassan Kanafani, Kamal Nasir, and Majid Abu Shrar. All three were murdered by Israeli terrorists in separate terrorist attacks. 

The crazy article by Sulome Anderson in Newsweek on Hizbullah

Doesn't Newsweek remind you of supermarket tabloids these days (and for years now)?  Look at this: "what? "several times in the past few months, the United States struck Hezbollah targets in Syria, prompting Hassan Nasrallah, the group’s leader, to warn of retaliatory strikes if America continues to infringe upon the territory it holds in the country."  This is made up.  No such threat was issued by Nasrallah. She just made it up.  Don't you like the tabloid journalism where there are no editors and no fact checkers?  But scandalously: Sulome can't even add or subtract: ""A boy who was 18 years old and went to fight in Syria—now, he is 25.""  Hizbullah began its intervention in Syria in 2013, it she saying that this fighter grew faster by a few year? Because if he was 18, he should be only 22 now.  But who is counting really.  

Monday, July 03, 2017

Headline of Al-Arabiyya

"Opposition convention in Paris calls for evicting Iran from the Middle East". Send it to Latin America, they said.

Indigenous population of Canada

Between 1870 and 1996 over 150,000 indigenous children were put in schools to "kill the Indian in the child"

People who write this malarkey, do they mean it?


AEI (@AEI)
The birth of the United States was unique because it was a nation founded not on blood or ethnicity, but on ideas. bit.ly/2sv8IbNpic.twitter.com/bCWfpzrSAv

it is all hush hush

Nicholas Blanford brand of journalism: "Rabieh is a Hezbollah fighter stationed in the area, and like other Hezbollah members who spoke to Newsweek, he asked to be identified by a pseudonym because he isn’t authorized to speak to the press. The Shiite group doesn’t seem concerned about being overstretched—at least according to two commanders in Dahieh, a suburb of Beirut. The two commanders sit side by side on a couch, smoking cigarettes and drinking syrupy tea. One is a ranking officer; the other, his lieutenant.  “What the world saw from Hezbollah in 2006 is 3 percent of what we are now,” says Mustafa, a Hezbollah fighter." (thanks Basim)

Do we believe Qatari regime in Arabic or in English?

I thought that Qatar had closed down the Israeli trade office in Doha back in 2009, in the wake of aggression war on Gaza. But last week: "In Doha “we have an Israeli trade office, and we have a Hamas representative office,” Mohammed, the foreign minister, told a group of reporters and academics in Washington last week. Hamas is a militant group that rules the Gaza Strip. “We have an open-door policy.”"  

Where was Aljazeera?

In defending itself, Aljazeera now raises the slogan of press freedoms. Where was Qatar which voted in support of the GCC ban against Al-Manar and Al-`Alam and Al-Mayadin (regardless of what one thinks of all channels).  

You want to read a funny article about Hizbullah?

Read this one.  It cites a professor at AUB assessing the military readiness of Hizbullah.  Very funny indeed.  As for the author of the article, I doubt that she has studied any Middle East in college.  It sure does not show.

Israeli government's propaganda functionaries invaded all Wikipedia entries related to Arab-Israeli conflict

Every single entry on Wikipedia related to the Arab-Israeli conflict has been invaded by Israeli propaganda functionaries and edited to vomit the Israeli government occupation line. Look at this ridiculous reference to 1967 here.

Anti-Semtisim in Saudi regime media

This is by the columnist, Jihad Al-Khazin (the person who had the dubious honor of editing both, Al-Hayat and Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat in the past) writes: "Jewish religion is an innovation written one thousand years after its ostensible events".  

Aljazeera now remembers the role of Saudi regime in the Afghani Jihad

This has been widely circulating.

You have to understand: Saudi regime propaganda is very subtle


Who did the New York Times pick to write a review of a Palestinian novel? What is worse than Orientalism?

The New York Times picks this right-wing anti-Palestinian Lebanese (formerly a publisher of a soft-pornographic magazine intended for Gulf royal markets) to write about a Palestinian novel.  Look at the title: " A Palestinian Novel Unearths Dirty Secrets in the Arab World".  Can you imagine an article in the Times with a headline about the "dirty secrets of Jewish society" or of "Israeli society"? Can you imagine the uproar?  And no matter how stupid a person can be belonging to a "native" culture, racist and bigoted expressions are welcomed: "We are a people of dirty secrets hiding beneath a veil of fake morality. ".  Dirty secrets? Other societies don't have them? Western societies don't have "fake moralities"?  The land of "puritanical protistan morality" is the biggest producer of pornography in the world.  Look at this: "Indeed, being an Arab today means you need to master the art of denial."  Other societies don't have the art of denial. The West is based on truth and candor. Look at the dispicable language she uses about Palestinian society: "It did not shy away from exposing the ugliness, the desperateness, the corruption, the loss of purpose, the unavoidable wrong turns and the uncomfortable truths of life in Ramallah after the second intifada."  She then links the ugliness to the aftermath of the second intifada. She basically means that if the Palestinians were to surrender completely to Israeli occupation, they may enjoy beauty of occupation.  She is introduced in the West as a "writer" and "poet": I would give you my farm (I don't have one) if you can find an Arab at random who knows who she is (except those who watch her as a judge of Lebanese beautify pageants on sleazy Lebanese TV stations, like LBC TV.  It is rather amusing that the New York Times picks someone who has never had any connection to Palestinian literature or cause to write about Palestinian literature and cause.  But then again: this is the New York Times.  I would flatter Haddad if I accuse her of suffering the problems of classical Orientalism.  Classical Orientalism had the qualities of knowledge, scholarly diligence, erudition, intellectual curiosity, and philological mastery--qualities of which Ms. Haddad has none.  

PS A friend wrote about this: "The words Israel or occupation are not mentioned in the article. The inhabitants might as well be living on Mars (or in a zoo)."