Sunday, July 24, 2016

When will Buddhist leaders issue a fatwa against the religious agitation and mobilization by hateful Buddhist monks?

"Controversial data on religion withheld by Myanmar’s government for two years has shown a decline in the country’s Muslim population, raising questions about the exclusion of a stateless community as well as anti-Muslim campaigns driven by a nationalist monk-led group.  The results of the Myanmar Population and Housing Census were released earlier this week, after having been on hold since 2014 due to fears that they may inflame tensions between the country's Buddhist and Muslim populations.  Figures released Thursday show that the country's Muslim population has fallen from 3.9 percent of the overall population in the 1983 census to just 2.3 percent -- a figure that does not include around 1.09 million mostly Rohingya Muslims in western Rakhine State -- who were not enumerated.  The data starkly contrasts with predictions by the Association for the Protection of Race and Religion -- a group better known as Ma Ba Tha which has accused Muslims of attempting to "Islamize" the country of around 51 million people -- that Muslims would account for at least 10 percent of the population.  Countrywide, 89.8 percent registered as Buddhist -- a minor decline -- while the Christian population increased from 3.9 percent in 1983 to 6.3 percent in 2014."

Director of Human Rights Watch on Twitter

Notice that he does not use such language about pro-US autocrats, like the King of Jordan or King of Saudi Arabia.
Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth)
Only an unaccountable autocrat can translate Venezuela's oil wealth into severe deprivation.

Stop using children for propaganda in the Syrian war

It is nothing less than criminal for adults to give children political signs to carry in a war.  An no one in the Middle East has done this more than Syrian rebels and their supporters.  And it is not cute.  Leave the children out of the bloody conflict in Syria.  And these spectacles are designed by American PR firms on K street which are hired by the US government to  help Syrian rebels in their propaganda campaigns.  Is it not enough that children are being killed on both sides and at the hands of all sides to the conflict?

William Booth of the Washington Post casually carries Israeli threats to the "civilians of Lebanon"

"and the civilians of Lebanon, they promise."  This is such a propaganda piece on two counts: 1) it carries terrorist Israeli threats against the civilians of Lebanon.  The reporter mentions that matter-of-factly.  Imagine the headline if Hizbullah sent through a Washington Post correspondent threats to the "civilians of Israel"; 2) he interviews and cites two Lebanese experts: both of whom are March 14 functionaries employed by March 14 media.  You call that journalism?

Trotskyism and the Syrian war: wahhabiyyah in red

From James: "Louis Proyect says that it's wrong but understandable for Syrian rebels to behead Abdullah al-Issa, also that he wasn't Palestinian but really Syrian, and that was not a boy but a nineteen-year-old fighter with a growth problem. His authority? "Activists" and "his alleged cousin" who becomes "his cousin."

The US response to the extradition of Gulen is exactly like that of the Taliban about Bin Laden

The US government has adamantly refused to extradite Gulen to Turkey, standing behind the request that the Turkish government should submit evidence against Gulen to the US government.  But that was exactly the stance of the Taliban: they said that they would surrender Bin Laden to the US government if the US were to submit evidence of his complicity to the Taliban regime. But the US was too eager to go to war to bother with evidence (which it had at the time, or shortly after).

Clerical fatwas against terrorism

As much as Westerners would like think otherwise, clerical fatwas on believers are only voluntarily and really have no binding powers whatsoever.  I think the misunderstanding stems from the fact that Westerners long assumed that Islam is not a religion but a corporation or an iron-clad organization.  Sorry to disappoint you.

America's political obsession with the occupation state of Israel

So Michele and I have been watching (and enjoying) the series, Mad Men.  But from the very first season, there were signs of the political obsession with Israel that you find in American political and hollywood cultures.  Just out of nowhere and for no reason, Israel is invoked: as gratuitous as the nude scenes of movies or as the extraterrestrial computer-animated creates in big movies.  A TV series that refused to tackle seriously women's issues or race relations or gay and lesbian issues would decide to tackle the foreign policy issue of Israel. And when stars and creators of the show would be pressed for the lousy presentation of race and gender, they would either say that it was not our problem or that we just reflected the era. Reflecting the era? Posters of Moshe Dayan were hung on walls?  There even a hunting accident on the show only for a character to wear the eye patch just like Moshe Dayan.  And they would showcase an ad tourist campaign for Israel, as if the state came from Hawaii and not over the dead bodies of Palestinians.  This is like how there are more courses taught on Israel at US universities than there are courses taught on Indonesia, Vietnam, India combined.  I don't think that it is accidental.  There are Zionists in the US political and hollywood elite who purposefully promote Israel and ZIonism to ensure that public support for Israel remains.  I expect this to increase as the new generation of Americans, including Jewish Americans, care less and less about Israel and absorb less and less about Israeli occupation propaganda.  After posting on the matter on Facebook, a colleague shared this interview with the creator of the series in which he discusses in a racist manner his obsession with Israel: ""I think that despite anti-Semitism, that the Israeli victories in the late Sixties were very inspiring to the American public. And those characters like Moshe Dayan were completely heroic. For being outnumbered, for being smarter, for winning against all odds.""  How ignorant you have to be in this time and age to believe that Israel, with a massive arsenal of WMDs even THEN, won "against all odds'?  From what we know now, the US administration of Johnson never for a second had an iota of doubt that Israel would win the war and win it decisively.  

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Britain has been a staunch defender of the dictatorship's assault on Yemen

"The autocratic petro-state is currently engaged in a bombing campaign in Yemen where it has blown up hospitals, schools, and weddings as part of its intervention against Houthi rebels. Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the UN’s high commissioner for human rights, has said that “carnage” caused by certain Saudi coalition airstrikes against civilian targets appear to be war crimes. Britain has been a staunch defender of the dictatorship’s assault, with UK arms companies supplying billions in weapons and ministers staking their reputation on the conduct of the Saudi Arabian armed forces."

Saudi reactions to the visit by a Saudi delegation to Israel

This article covers the public anger against the visit--even by propagandists of the Saudi regime.

Saudi official brought his slave to London

"A Saudi official has been accused of bringing a slave to London, as a string of crimes committed by people with diplomatic immunity are released in new Foreign Office documents." (thanks Amir)

A Saudi regime propagandist blames the Ikhwan for the coup

""A Brotherhood group ‎behind the Turkey coup"" (thanks Basim)

Your guide to Western media when they publish in Arabic

When Western media outlets decide to publish in Arabic they enter into financial arrangements with Gulf regimes and agree to serve as propaganda outlets for Gulf regimes. This is your guide to Western media in Arabic:
Huffington Post Arabic: Qatari regime.
Sky News Arabic: UAE regime (and a UAE minister sits on the board).
CNN Arabic: Saudi regime.
BBC Arabic: general GCC.  

The poetry of Mahmoud Darwish terrifies them

What is the value of nuclear weapons when the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish terrifies them?

The visit to Israel by a Saudi delegation

The reaction of Saudi people (of all stripes really) was overwhelming. Just search the key on twitter:عشقي_في_اسرائيل?src=hash
Even regime journalists, like Jamal Khashuqji, opposed the visit and normalization with Israel (of course, Kashuqji declared his allegiance to the regime while doing that).  Some Saudis on twitter even cross the permitted political boundaries in registering their opposition to any normalization with Israel.  I have always believed that the Saudi people are among the most pro-Palestinian supporters. 

The Lebanese political class and Hizbullah

You should not harbor any illusions: all elements of the Lebanese political class (from March 14 to Hizbullah) are enemies of the poor. This week the Lebanese cabinet agreed to a plan to reduce minimum wage.  Hizbullah supported--for those who harbor the illusion that Hizbullah is a progressive party.  It certainly not.  Fortunately, the Lebanese Communist Party is planning a rejuvenation.  Let us hope they don't recreate themselves as a liberal party.

This Lebanese woman writes on Syria for the Daily Telegraph*--kid you not

Carol Maalouf writes on Syria for the Financial Times. She wrote the exclusive scoop (turned out to be a fabrication) that Ali Mamlouk of Syrian intelligence was sacked.  Lately, she has been known in Lebanon for being an advocate not only of the Free Syrian Army but also of Al-Qa`idah in Syria.  When the "moderate" Syrian rebels beheaded a child last week, she rushed to defend the beheading and said that he was not 12-years-old but is 19-years-old and that he looks younger due to a rare diseases and that he deserves to be "in hell" because he was working for the Syrian regime.  Today, New TV released a taping in which she was allegedly negotiating to suppress an interview she did while being a guest of Nusrah Front with Lebanese hostages.

*I mistakenly wrote Financial Times yesterday but I was corrected.  

Anti-Semitism and the pro-Palestinian movement

I saw this article posed on the page of a friend on Facebook, and I wrote this response:
Here are the reasons (why the article should not be posted): 1) the author claims that he is an activist for Palestine: I asked activists for Palestine in the UK, most did not know him, and some knew him but not as an activist for Palestine. I went on a tour of British universities a few years ago--from the south to Scotland to speak against Israel--and met with pro-Palestinian activists everywhere and never heard his name. 2) If he is addressing the pro-Palestinian groups and individuals, why is he addressing them in Haaretz, a Zionist racist paper with a record of hostility to the Palestinian question (yeah, yeah, I know they have two token critics of Israel there). 3) what is his evidence of anti-Semitism in the movement? That one Arab guy said: we can't be anti-Semites because Arabs are Semites themselves? Well, this is a dumb statement that some Arabs say but it is dumb and not anti-Semitic, and he should know the difference. And he strains to stigmatize the whole movement by claiming that he surveyed the room (with his Superman vision) to read their minds and did not see disapproval. OK, so the author may not be a pro-palestinian supporter but he is a mind reader. I am impressed. 4) he wants to educate us that there are good Zionists and bad Zionists, that there are different strands of Zionism. Yes, that is true: there are different strands of Zionism but all of them are racist who believe that the native Palestinian population deserves to be uprooted and their rights trampled on. To suggest that there are good brands of Zionism is like saying that there are some moderate strands of racism and bigotry and settler colonialism. 5) he at the end calls on Palestinians and their supporters to support what he calls "Jewish Israeli rights". No, to jump for abhorring anti-Semitism (which we in the real pro-Palestinian movement all abhor) to calling for supporting Israeli rights (he added the label "Jewish" so that if we disagree with him he would call us anti-Semites) is a clear indication of where he stands. What are Israeli rights? Israeli rights can only be recognized at the expense of Palestinian rights. He wants us to recognize the right of Israelis to be superior and to occupy lands that belong to Palestinians and to have a state on parts of Palestine occupied in 1948, and maybe even after. 6) he lambasts the Palestinian movement because some draw analogies between Zionism and Nazism: and while I am no fan of such practice, it is Zionists who are far more casual in drawling analogies to Nazism and to exploit the horrors of the holocaust for cheap political ends. The Zionists of Labor and Likud and in between have over the decades called every enemy of Israel a Nazi and described every single resistance movement as Nazi--and any regime that they didn't like: from Hajj Amin to PLO to Ahmad Shuqayri to Nasser to Qadhdhafi to Iranian leaders to Hamas to Hizbullah, all have been described in Zionist ("moderate" and non moderate) propaganda as Nazi and anti-Semitic. His message should be better addressed to them (and Haaretz would have been the best platform for that). Furthermore, to describe Israeli massacres as Nazi may not be something he likes but it is not in itself anti-Semitic, unless he is using the definitions of Amos Oz or Elie Wiesel. Look it is true that we in the Palestinian community in the world (and this author does not speak in our name) need to root out all or any anti-Semites. And we have done just that over the years, and we don't need lessons from him or from other Zionists on the evil of anti-Semitism. But we also need to exclude from our movement imposters and poseurs--and Zionists.

Friday, July 22, 2016

The attempted coup in Turkey

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "Preliminary Observations on the Attempted Coup in Turkey".

Anne Barnard and Liz Sly and the beheading of a child by a moderate Syrian rebel group

Both Anne Barnard and Liz Sly report on rumors, innuendos, skips, tweets, and often falsehoods if they happen to serve the interests of their beloved Syrian rebels.  But the story of the beheading of a child by a "moderate" Syrian rebel group didn't warrant from them a word.  It just did not fit to print, I guess.  The story, by the way, have occupied Arab social media (of all sides) for days now.  

Today, Twitter decided to ban Mujtajhid, the Saudi whistleblower

In other news, Prince Muhammad bin Salman met with Twitter guy only a few weeks ago.

Ignorance of Saudi regime officials

The funny part is that the Saudi delegation in Israel was met by Dore Gold, the author of a book in which he blames all terrorism on the Saudi regime, and the title of the book is "Hatred's Kingdom: How Saudi Arabia Supports the New Global Terrorism".

Saudi-Israeli alliance

I have been writing for many years about an under-the-table but obvious Saudi-Israeli alliance. Many were skeptical. I am glad that now it is over the table, over the top.

US-backed moderate rebels admit they are worse than ISIS

From Amir: "12-year-old Abdallah Issa, a Palestinian refugee kidnapped by US-backed moderate rebels begs them not to slaughter him. US-backed rebels laugh and tell the child, they are even worse than ISIS"

"The Islamist thugs are seen giggling, making fun of the child, taking selfies, and of course shouting Allahu-akbar. When ironically asked about his final wish, the young victim asked to be shot, and not slaughtered. Their shocking answer? “We are even worse than ISIS” "

Thursday, July 21, 2016

U.S. to set up 5 bases in northern Iraq & pays Kurdish militia

"The source disclosed certain paragraphs of the agreement signed between the US Department of Defense and the Iraqi Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga ministry, including establishment of 5 US military bases in the region. “One of the bases will be set up in Atroush region, two in Harir region and two large bases in Erbil and Duhok,” the source, who called for anonymity, told Iraq’s al-Ma’loumah news agency. “Based on the MoU, the Americans should pay the salaries of Peshmerga forces and train and equip them for 10 years,” he added." "Meanwhile in Baghdad some Iraqi MPs have considered the move a violation of the sovereignty of Iraq and have asked the Iraqi government to take a stance against the deal." (thanks Amir)

Backlash against feminism in Egypt

Misogynistic courts and clerics in Egypt are fighting back: in response to date about domestic violence, they cooked a kooky study that 66% of husbands in Egypt are beaten by their wives.  Kid you not.

Anne Barnard officially inaugurates a new journalistic practice: a fighter is an activist and an activist is a fighter in Syria if he belongs to the opposition

"an opposition activist, fighter".  Can you imagine if she were to refer to a Hizbullah or Hamas fighter as "an activist"?

The democracy requirements of NATO

From a reader: "During the metapolitefsi coup in Greece the constitutional officers of the HNS Velos mutinied and sailed to Italy to claim asylum. They quoted North Atlantic Treaty preamble which says: "all governments ...are determined to safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilization of their peoples, founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law".

US-armed/financed/supported child killers in Syria (I mean, moderate child killers in Syria)

From Ricardo:  Have you seen this article  
about the child-beheading rebels in Syria? After reassuring us that the US no longer supports them and that the culprits will face a judicial process, the journalist ends with a quote from a senior member of Jaish al-Fatah. So we learn that the US supported this group because it hoped it would fight against al-qaida, and after they commit such an atrocity western journalists go and ask al-qaida what they think about it!"

American media hypocrisy about Turkey

American media are aghast that Turkey may reinstate the death penalty. The argument is that democracies don't allow the death penalty--unless the democracy is the US.
American media are aghast: there is a state of emergency in Turkey, which is incompatible with democracy--unless the democracy is France.

Once again, the Nation Magazine proves it is an enemy of the Palestinian people

It now features a writer who supports the Israeli apartheid wall: "But the “security fence” (or “apartheid wall,” as some call it) has ended the threat of large-scale suicide bombings."

If those were Muslim clerics, they would have been made famous on US TV and there would have been calls for "reforming" Islam

"Israeli rabbis who are both Zionist and ultra-Orthodox have published a letter opposing Thursday’s gay pride parade in Jerusalem, calling the event a “parade of abomination.”
The president of Jerusalem’s Har Hamor Yeshiva, Rabbi Zvi Tau, published the letter Wednesday with Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, the head of the Ateret Yerushalayim Yeshiva in the Old City’s Muslim Quarter."

Crimes of Israel: don't forget, don't forgive

"On July 21, 1973, Israeli secret agents shot dead a man they believed was a Palestinian terrorist in the Norwegian town of Lillehammer. They had misidentified their target, however, and the man they killed was not arch-criminal Ali Hassan Salameh, but rather a Moroccan-born waiter named Ahmed Bouchiki."

Saudi regime continues to spread moderation

"Top clerical body republished 2001 edict to address illegal downloads of Pokémon Go, stating game promotes gambling, evolution and polytheism". (thanks David)

“Mohamed Ahmed, Seat 25-A: I will be watching you.”

"A Muslim man was removed from an American Airlines flight after a flight attendant publicly announced his name, seat number and said she would be “watching” him. Mohamed Ahmed Radwan had boarded a plane in Charlotte, North Carolina and the flight attendant went to the tannoy and said: “Mohamed Ahmed, Seat 25-A: I will be watching you.”

How the Saudi regime spread secularism around the world

"At that point, the Saudis lost control of global Salafism, if they ever really had it." This would be touching if true but the newly released 28-pages of the Sep. report refutes this notion entirely.

CNN hosted two "experts" on Turkey: both are from the Washington Institute

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Human Rights Watch director in Beirut blames the murder of a Palestinian child by a Syrian rebel group on "lack of discipline"

Nadim Houry (@nadimhoury)
Beheading of child by Nour al-Deen Zenki fighters horrible; shows depravity of many fighters these days. No discipline, rampant cruelty

Sinan Antoon on Karrada

"Many Iraqis were also bitter about a world whose solidarity and empathy are largely restricted and reserved for victims in the West, where terrorist attacks are framed as assaults on humanity and elicit immediate, collective grief. The death of Iraqi civilians at the hands of terrorists has been normalized. In May, a string of bombings killed more than 200 people. Dozens more have died in terrorist attacks in Baghdad since the Karrada bombing. According to the Mercer Quality of Living Survey, Baghdad is one of the world’s least-safe cities, alongside Damascus, Syria."

Those Westerners who shed crocodile tears over victims of Syria are silent over Syrian victims of US bombs in Syria

"At least 56 civilians were reported killed on Tuesday in airstrikes north of the besieged Islamic State-held city of Manbij in northern Syria, and residents said they believed the attack was carried out by aircraft from the United States-led coalition, a monitoring group said."

Sign about Gulen in Taksim Turkey

How a Saudi prince who is serving a jail sentence in Beirut for smuggling a plane load of drugs is spending his time in jail

Apparently, he is a prisoner in name only.

When a Holocaust survivor confronted Wiesel

"But outside the official hagiography, Wiesel was notorious for erasing non-Jewish victims of the Holocaust – Roma and LGBTQ – and defending Israel’s crimes against Palestinians. In his later years, he also became an apologist for US imperial interventions, including the calamitous invasion of Iraq."

British charity attempts to distance itself from worker who posed with weapons

"The commission was responding to a complaint about Hand in Hand for Syria made by Robert Stuart, a development officer at another charity, who claimed an employee of the charity’s now-closed Atareb Hospital near Aleppo had posted photos of himself with mortars, rifles and tanks."

One-third of Nice attack's dead were Muslim

"When a Tunisian man drove a truck down a crowded street in Nice last week in an attack claimed by the Islamic State, more than one-third of the people he killed were Muslim, the head of a regional Islamic association said on Tuesday. Kawthar Ben Salem, a spokeswoman for the Union of Muslims of the Alpes-Maritimes, said that Muslim funerals were being held for at least 30 of those who died during the Bastille Day attack, including men, women and children." (thanks Amir)