Friday, October 21, 2016

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Newsweek on Saudi Arabia

Does not the coverage of Saudi Arabia in most mainstream Western media reads like the press releases of Saudi embassies around the world?

Hillary buys into the "reforms" of Bashshar

In her leaked remarks, Hillary basically subscribes to the notion that the Syrian people would have been fine with Bashshar had he enacted "reforms" early in the uprising.  Of course, supporters of the Syrian "revolution" don't dare attack Hillary for arguments sympathetic to Bashshar.

Bob Dylan's embrace of Israel's war crimes

"Already in 1971, Scaduto wrote, “Dylan’s enthusiasm for the militant Jewish organization has brought down the wrath of some in the radical movement.” Scaduto detailed this just four years after the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Syria’s Golan Heights and Egypt’s Sinai had begun: “To many young radicals, including Jewish kids, Israel is simply another one of those fascist states propped up by a fascist American Government, and Dylan’s fervent support of Israel and his over-publicized contacts with the JDL are to them a further indication that he has sold out to the political right he condemned.” " (thanks Amir)

U.S. complicity in war crimes

" “The continuing civilian carnage caused by the Saudi Arabia-led military coalition in Yemen is horrifying,” Lieu wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by Salon. “It appears that either the Saudi coalition is intentionally targeting civilians or they are not distinguishing between civilians and military targets. Both would be war crimes,” he stressed." "Despite internal concerns about complicity in war crimes, large U.S. weapons sales to Saudi Arabia continued."

The resort to human shields argument

Notice that US and Israel only use the argument that "they are hiding behind human shields" about enemies of Israel only and about ISIS but they don't even use the argument about Al-Qa`idah in Syria (and its allies and variants).  

Fact Checker of the Times

This is one of the lousiest jobs in US journalism.  Forget about the political bias in favor of Hillary, the checker can't get to admit that Trump can be right in some attacks on Hillary, like her leaving a mess in Syria and Libya.

Candidate Clump

"After careful analysis of Mr. Trump’s inconstancy on the Middle East and other matters, I have come to suspect that he is actually five guys sharing a single, oversized orange wig. Meanwhile, Mrs. Clinton presents herself as the pitiless goddess of air strikes, drone warfare, and dead tyrants. But, at heart, the two candidates faithfully reflect the narratives, prejudices, and conventional policy approaches of the nation they propose to lead. This gives them so much in common that it is more efficient to discuss them together than separately. So, I will refer to Candidates Clinton and Trump as one gender-fluid person: “Candidate Clump.” Candidate Clump is on the payroll of the Israel Lobby’s major donors, wants to isolate Iran, and loves sanctions and other forms of economic warfare more than trade and investment. Clump was for the invasion of Iraq before heshe was against it. Heshe is more interested in poking at the Middle East than in understanding it. Clump thinks terrorism is a function of theology rather than a violent response by misfits to humiliation and social marginalization. Heshe is convinced that bombing is the best antidote to what heshe imagines is a religious onslaught. Heshe is not fond of Egypt and wishes Saudi Arabia would go away. When elected, President Clump will give Israel whatever is must have to fend off political tantrums by it. In short, the next president will concentrate on keeping the lid on the explosive mess the last few presidents have made of the Middle East and America’s position in it, not on defusing or dismantling the mess."

Has Reuters been purchased by the Saudi regime? Their report on Iranian supplies to Huthis

Brian Whitaker has rightly expressed skepticism about this Reuters story about Iranian arming of Huthis. But the funny part is that the method of documentation reminds me of the methods of Nicholas Blanford (the hagiographer of Rafiq Hariri) when he writes about Hizbullah and cites unnamed member of the party who basically tell him: yes, we are terrorists. Yes, we deserve to be bombed.  Yes, Israel should take us out.  Yes, everything that Israel says about it is true--and they exclusively tell him all that using name like "Abu Potato".  Similarly, this report from Reuters cites an Iranian diplomat: so the Iranian diplomat exclusively told Reuters that "yes, we are terrible and we are violating international norms by smuggling weapons into Yemen.  But then again: we remember when Saudi regime complained about a Reuters correspondent, and then Reuters management simply relocated that correspondent because he was too knowledgeable and asked too many questions.

Treasury Department now classifies organizations and individuals as terrorist jointly with the Saudi government

"Action Includes Joint Designations by the United States and Saudi Arabia".  Will they also behead convicts jointly?

Syrian rebels propaganda

Rebels of Ahrar Ash-Sham and Nusrah Front and Jaysh Al-Fath have been posting those signs in Idlib and elsewhere. The sign reads: "Beware of Secularists".  Who remembers when Western journalists were writing that Syrian rebels are exclusively secularists and feminists and hippies and democrats?  I do.

CORRECTION: Look how much Bill Clinton knows about Lebanese politics

"Lebanon has taken in over one million refugees (its total population does not exceed five million), and it has not had a president since 2014 because the Muslim-controlled Parliament has blocked a Christian from taking the post.Lebanese law requires the president to be a Maronite Christian."  And the funny part is that US media treat Bill like he is some foreign policy expert. (thanks Marc)

PS The Daily Star of Lebanon deleted this section of the speech by Clinton and only celebrated that: Bill Clinton praises Lebanon.

PPS Marc corrects me. The sectarian reference to Lebanon was not in the text of Clinton's speech but in the text of the right-wing nutty Breitbart news.

Trump Versus Hillary

The craziness of Trump is obscuring the dangers of Hillary Clinton--especially to world peace.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

My Chris Wallace story

My Chris Wallace's story (who was the only decent moderator of all those presidential debates we have seen in recent years).  As you know, Mike Wallace (his father) was very interested in the Middle East.  He tells in his memoirs that he had met the late Fayez Sayigh back in the late 1950s and they became good friends, and Sayigh opened his eyes to the Palestinian problem.  So Chris Wallace, when he was with ABC News back in 1993, came to interview me at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC, in the wake of the first World Trade Center bombing to analyze `Umar `Abdul-Rahman.  So I talked in the interview about the kooky cleric and his speeches and sermons.  We finished the interview and he then asked me to pose for the camera while I am pretending to listen through headphones to tapes of the Shaykh.  I of course refused.  And he was furious with me and said that the show can't go on without it.  I said: Fine by me. I can't act. You want me to act and you should hire an actor for the shot.  He insisted and I--as stubborn as I am--refused.  He then relented and asked me to walk with him on the street and that we talk while they shoot us for a scene.  I also refused and said I can't act.  But he said: you won't act, just talk to me as we talk. I think I agreed to that one but I am not sure.  

FIXED Link: Bob Dylan on Um Kulthum

Here is the recording of Bob Dylan talking about Um Kulthum.

Sheikh Mo: Ruler of Dubai being his sleazy self

A Brief History of Time

Hawkin's book, A Brief History of Time deserves a Nobel Prize for literature. Serious.  

Bassam Haddad on Syria

This is a new article on Syria by Bassam Haddad.  I don't agree with it in full, but he raises interesting points.  I wish he treated both sides (which he deals with) with equal derision.

women in Saudi Arabia; this Saudi regime network explains that it is all a misunderstanding

"Despite popular beliefs, many women in Saudi Arabia drive their cars in order to run errands and get from place to place. The government simply does not issue any licenses to women, who mostly rely on personal male drivers or relatives to get around." (thanks Basim)

Ben Hubbard is ecstatic: he almost declares Saudi regime as the epitome of virtuous rule

OK: regarding the execution of the prince. We don't know the circumstances of the execution. There is certainly more to the story than what was announced.  There is no way the story is as declared: that he was executed because he committed murder.  King Salman in his early years committed murder in Riyadh. Murder by a royal does not get you killed.  Also, Hubbard consistently relies on what is being tweeted by Saudis on Twitter as a measure of Saudi public opinion. Someone needs to tell him that tweeting disagreements with the royal family on Twitter can get you lashes and long sentences.  There should always be a disclaimer toward that effect.  Of course, as usual, Hubbard only interviews fans of the royal regime.

Meritocracy at the New York Times

"Mr. Sulzberger, the son of Arthur Sulzberger Jr., who took over as publisher in 1992, was one of three candidates, all cousins...By all accounts, the competition for the job was cordial. The cousins have known one another since childhood and their families are friendly. They grew up together professionally, met in glass-walled meeting rooms to discuss strategy and proceeded through the selection process with mutual respect."

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Wait: King Abdullah of Jordan in the PBS Frontline's documentary about ISIS

I forgot to mention. In the Frontline documentary about ISIS, there is a reference to the Jordanian pilot who was set on fire by ISIS.  And then the documentary shows footage of King Abdullah of Jordan pushing parachuters off a military plane.  The narrator (the producer and star of the documentary) then says that this was during Jordanian participation in the war on ISIS. But when did that happen? When did Jordan send parachuters behind ISIS lines to fight? The footage is old exercise training footage that was aired before.  

Iraqi government leaflets against ISIS: so non-secular

Bob Dylan and Um Kulthum

Does anyone know how to transform an audio into a weblink? I have a recording of Bob Dylan talking about Um Kulthum and playing a song by her.

Civilians everywhere

I worry about civilians of Palestine, and civilians in East Aleppo and West Aleppo, and Damascus and Ghutah and Mosul and everywhere where US or Russian or regime or rebel bombs are falling anywhere in the region.  

Saudi and Qatari regime media

Both Saudi and Qatari regime media started even before the beginning of the battle of Mosul to raise a hue and cry over the Sunnis of Mosul and the fear of Shi`ite militias.  But they seem to have quieted down.  They must have received US orders.

When US read that "moderate rebels" pushed ISIS from Dabiq, it means US special forces are the "moderate Syrian rebels"

"A few dozen U.S. Special Operations forces also are in northern Syria assisting the rebels. Dorrian declined to say whether they had played any direct role in the Dabiq conquest, citing operational security."

The apartheid and terrorist state of Israel

"It is generally illegal for Palestinian civilians to own any type of firearm, including hunting rifles. Ownership can bring a prison sentence. In contrast, Jewish settlers in the West Bank are granted permits and carry weapons openly."

What? Crusaders?

"Muslims were known as Saracens, a racialized term that referred to Arabs or dark-skinned Crusaders."

Ken Roth does not object to US appeasement of Saudi regime: he just does not think it should go too far

Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth)
Allaying Saudi concerns over Iran deal is no reason for US to keep fueling its coalition attacks on Yemen civilians.

Australia intentionally torturing refugees, says report

"The Australian government is responsible for the deliberate and systematic torture of refugees on Nauru and should be held accountable under international law, according to a major new report informed by unprecedented access to the secretive island."

"Saudi Arabia is working on increasing flows of arms to moderate al Qaeda"

Newsweek Middle East: "Saudi Foreign Minister Jubeir says Saudi Arabia is working on increasing flows of arms to 'moderate' Syrian opposition in Aleppo"

Amal Clooney's offensive behavior: She is to human rights what her husband is to human rights in South Sudan

"When the conversation turned to the Yazidi people, Clooney made it seem as if they were the only religious sect in Iraq being slaughtered by ISIS, the official said. The ambassador and his staff tried to offer her a “full picture” outlining each group targeted by ISIS, but Clooney was “completely uninterested” and “tone deaf to the whole thing,” the official said, noting, “It was highly offensive. I have had cousins decapitated.” Alhakim, who had 65 of his own family members exterminated by Saddam Hussein’s ruthless regime, became infuriated with Clooney and, at one point, stated to her, “This is highly insulting. This is very unacceptable,” the official said."

PS I should have pointed out that the tone of the article is sexist and condescending, as much as I detest Mr. and Ms. Clooney. 

Israeli officials' extremist & bigoted rhetoric

"Palestine Advocacy Project (PalAD) has launched a dynamic new ad campaign “Israel’s Leaders: In Their Own Words,” directly quoting prominent Israeli officials’ extremist and bigoted rhetoric." "Palestine Advocacy Project notes that during this election cycle American politicians have condemned Donald Trump’s racist, inflammatory rhetoric but they let Israeli politicians off the hook time and again because both the Democratic and Republican establishments pander to the Israel lobby: Because, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put it, “I know what America is. America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction.” " (thanks Amir)

How US bombs don't kill civilians, ever: they only hit at terrorists for some scientific reason

Where are the tears of Western correspondents in Beirut? How come they are not raising hue and cry over the civilians in Mosul? Or are they of the opinion that US bombing of Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Mali, Libya, and Afghanistan never killed civilians?

US and Israel: supreme cyber-terrorists of the world

"a probe of a leak of classified information about a covert U.S.-Israeli cyberattack on Iran’s nuclear program."

Monday, October 17, 2016

Be worried. Be very worried.

Hillary admits that No-fly Zones will kill Syrian civilians, and yet those who speak on behalf of Syrian civilians want no-fly Zones

"“To have a no-fly zone, you have to take out all of the air defense, many of which are located in populated areas,” she said. “So our missiles, even if they are standoff missiles so we’re not putting our pilots at risk — you’re going to kill a lot of Syrians. So all of a sudden this intervention that people talk about so glibly becomes an American and NATO involvement where you take a lot of civilians.”"

When U.S. librarians are silenced

"In the most recent such incident, a librarian in Kansas City, Missouri was arrested simply for standing up for a library patron’s free speech rights at a public event featuring a former US diplomat." "During the question-and-answer session after Ross’s address, a local writer and activist named Jeremy Rothe-Kushel asked about US support for what he called Israel’s “state-sponsored terrorism.” "The guards led Woolfolk and Rothe-Kushel through the green room toward the lobby. As Woolfolk rounded a pillar, several of the guards grabbed Woolfolk from behind. Woolfolk was kicked in the leg (resulting in a torn knee ligament), slammed against the pillar, and thrown into a chair."

US government cheers the admission of the war crime by the Saudi regime and promises to send more arms and intel to Saudi royals

Department of State (@StateDept)
U.S. welcomes initial results of Arab Coalition investigtion into the Oct. 8 airstrike on a funeral hall in

Berlin Bomb suspect had volunteered with White Helmets in Idlib

"Berlin bomb suspect Jaber Albakr showed signs of radicalization in Germany, posting jihadi videos online before traveling to the Islamist-controled Syrian city of Idlib earlier this year, his brother told Reuters." "He went to Turkey seven months ago and spent two months in Syria. He called us and told us 'I'm volunteering with the White Helmets (emergency teams) in Idlib'." " (thanks Amir)

Von Braun: America's favorite SS Nazi (protected by Israel and Zionists)

(thanks Matthew)

Once again: my theory is validated. All friends of Israel in the Middle East are anti-Semites who are protected by Zionists

Gülen’s sermons were pro-business, pro-science, and—virtually unheard of in the Muslim world—conciliatory toward Israel...His book “From Chapter to Chapter,’’ published in 1995, contained a rant in which he accused the “Jewish tribe” of developing ideas, such as Communism, that seduced the world into disaster. “This intelligent tribe has put forth many things throughout history in the name of science and thought,” Gülen wrote. “But these have always been offered in the form of poisoned honey.” He continued, “Jews will maintain their existence until the apocalypse. And shortly before the apocalypse, their mission of acting as the coil-spring for humanity’s progress will come to an end, and they will prepare their end with their own hands.”"  Of course, as always, Israel and Zionists will protect any anti-Semite who is conciliatory toward Israel, just as they protected Nazi SS scientist, Von Braun as a favor to US government.

It is fair to say that ISIS is going down fast. Is it not enough that Ken Roth is using sarcasm against it?

I mean, what chances does ISIS have when Ken Roth is now resorting to sarcasm?  There is nothing to defeat ISIS better than the sarcasm of Ken Roth.  (If only he is funny or witty).

Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth)
ISIS had promised an apocalyptic battle for Dabiq but when attacked end up fleeing with barely a whimper.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Zionists' favorite Islamist kook, Rashid Ghannushi, offer an apologia for ISIS

This Qatari Islamist tool maintains that it is not possible to declare the infidelity of ISIS and that it represents the voice of "angry Islam".