Thursday, September 03, 2015

US Security Council

So the UN Security Council held a special meeting on Lebanon. On Lebanon regarding the garbage protests. 1000 Egyptians were killed in one day in Cairo, and Gulf regimes launching wars all over the region and US Security Council did not find reason to convene?

From Turkey with love: "500,000 rounds of ammunition and 5,000 "police-style" shotguns"

"Greek authorities say a partial inventory of unregistered weapons found on a Libya-bound freighter includes nearly 500,000 rounds of ammunition and 5,000 "police-style" shotguns." "The Haddad 1 sailed from the Turkish port of Iskenderun on Aug. 29 and was headed for Libya — on which the United Nations have imposed an arms embargo."

Who is giving chemical weapons to ISIS?

From Amir: ""Doctors and activists in Syria on Tuesday accused the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) of launching a second chemical weapon attack in Marea, a strategically important town north of Aleppo."

"Bugun's revelation continued: “For two months, every single day two semitrailer loads of fertilizer used in production of explosives, one semi load of metal sheeting and one truckload of electronic supplies and cables were transferred to IS-controlled areas of Syria. Moreover, every other day, one truckload of barrels filled with explosives and crates of fuses were moved across.” The photographic coverage did not specify the dates of shipments through Akcakale customs to Tell Abyad. Bugun's report said the shipments, made in front of the local customs director and his staff, also included metal piping often used in the production of mortar tubes."

UAE says the sea is the best shelter for Syrian refugees

"U.A.E. Says Aid Not Shelter Is Way to Help Syria Refugees"

A Lebanese right-wing sectarian Christian TV station (funded by Saudi Arabia, among others) airs a segment on etiquette of demonstrations

UAE-Israel honeymoon

" "The first U.S. senior official added that Otaiba and Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer are very close.""

Is this a paid advertisement for UAE in the Huffington Post? What is with Huffington Post and Gulf regimes?

First, Huffington Arabic has been turned into a crude and vulgar platform for the Qatari regime. And now this PR piece about the UAE ambassador (son of UAE oil minister of the 1970s, renowned for buying degrees like he bought hotels) in DC.  This man spends more on PR than any other government in DC: "Otaiba’s entrée to D.C. was aided by the UAE’s willingness to pour astronomical sums of money into improving its public standing in the U.S. It now spends more money on lobbying than any other foreign government ($14.2 million dollars in 2013). That’s in addition to hundreds of millions in philanthropic giving (UAE entities gave at least $2 million to the Clinton Foundation alone by 2008), as well as billion-dollar investments in U.S businesses. In a 2010 Aspen appearance, Otaiba made a point of remarking that the U.S. “is actually a beneficiary of our oil revenues," by way of at least $10 billion that the UAE had invested in various US projects just that year. One Washington operative who has the UAE as a client even created a video mashup of Dubai Ports World news footage, which he shows to wealthy Emirati to remind them of the importance of D.C.-oriented giving."  This man flies Washington, DC journalists in a private jet to attend Formula One. 

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Police chief in Israel

From a reader: "Also, in "Rogues Gallery news":

More on the police chief hopeful Gal Hirsch:

and there's even more than that. For now, his appointment is delayed for
all sorts of reasons, and the temporary appointment is Ben-Tzion
(Bentzi) Saau, who was found even by the Israeli commission of inquiry
as having been responsible for the unjustifiable shooting by snipers of
protesters in the October 2000 events. The inquiry commission
recommended he not be promoted in rank or position for 4 years after
publication of its report (in 2003).

Kenneth Roth on Syria on Democracy Now

From Eyal: "HRW's Kenneth Roth appeared on Democracy Now today:

"And said the problem making Syrians have to flee their country is Assad
dropping barrel bombs, so it's unsafe to be anywhere in Syria if you're
associated with the Opposition. No mention whatsoever of any kind of
attack on civilians by non-regime forces. Why, he hasn't even mentioned

TV academia

Teaching foreign policy through a TV entrainment show. I am not making this up.

Faking Doctors’ Notes to Escape Gaza War Zone

"The medical report details some worrying conditions: chronic dyspnea — a shortage of breath that could be a sign of heart or lung disease — and bronchial asthma. It says the patient, a 28-year-old woman from Gaza City, relies on “continuous medication” and an inhaler.
But the woman has neither affliction, nor an inhaler, although she said she was prone to coughing fits around smokers. What she does have is a work retreat she wants to attend in Morocco, and family in Europe she has not seen for ages." (thanks Nasser)

Missing from reports of Yemeni carnage: Washington's responsibility

"Both of these reports left out the information that made this news particularly relevant to the papers’ mostly American readership: The US government is actively backing the air war in Yemen that killed those civilians, as the Times and Post have both reported."

Israeli wars & blockade is making Gaza uninhabitable

"The Gaza Strip, ravaged by wars and nearly a decade of a grueling Israeli blockade, could become uninhabitable for residents within just five years, the United Nations development agency said Tuesday." "The report estimated that the three military operations, including last year's devastating war that killed some 2,200 Palestinians and displaced half a million more, had caused economic losses close to three times the size of Gaza's local gross domestic product."

This is how Human Rights Watch mildly criticizes war crimes by Syrian rebels

This is the HRW director in Beirut:
Nadim Houry (@nadimhoury)
Car bombs against civilians in gov areas like today's attack in Latakia are illegal/Immoral & won't help #Syria move from authoritarian rule

Does this not sound as if he was giving advice on how to fight battles to the Syrian rebels? Can you imagine a director of human rights anywhere in the word saying that Bashshar's barrel bombs "won't help" his effort to stay in power?

Britain takes in so few refugees from Syria they would fit on a subway train

"Just 216 Syrian refugees have qualified for the government’s official relocation program, according to data released last week. (Tube trains seat about 300.) British Prime Minister David Cameron has reassured his anxious public that the total number won’t rise above 1,000." (thanks Amir)

Saudi mufti as movie critic (of a movie that he has not seen)

"Saudi Arabia's top cleric hit out at Iranian film "Muhammad" on Wednesday describing its portrayal of the prophet's childhood as a "hostile act" and a "distortion" of Islam.
Iran's most expensive movie, which opened nationwide in the Shiite Islamic republic last week, depicts the prophet on screen, an act that is prohibited in Sunni Islam.
"This is an obscene work... It is a distortion of Islam," Saudi Arabia's Grand Mufti Abdulaziz al-Sheikh told Al-Hayat newspaper. "It is a hostile act against Islam." The Mufti also added that according to a fatwa from Ibn Baz, only pornographic movies are religiously permissible in his understanding of Islam.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

"Photos of Hell Cannon transferred to ISIS at Turkish border"

"Turkish newspaper, Bugün Gazetesi has published a series of photos revealing transfer of weapons from Turkey to ISIS at Turkey's Akçakale border north of Tell Abyad, Syria

* Specially notice photos 10 to 17 that show materials to build The Hell Cannon are passing through the border from Turkey to Syria. Copy the Turkish text to Google Translate to read a machine translation of the text"

 (thanks Amir)

Petraeus wants to use Al-Qa`ida terrorists to fight ISIS

"To take down the so-called Islamic State in Syria, the influential former head of the CIA wants to co-opt jihadists from America's arch foe.
Members of al Qaeda's branch in Syria have a surprising advocate in the corridors of American power: Retired Army general and former CIA Director David Petraeus.
The former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan has been quietly urging U.S. officials to consider using so-called moderate members of al Qaeda's Nusra Front to fight ISIS in Syria, four sources familiar with the conversations, including one person who spoke to Petraeus directly, told The Daily Beast."

The hidden war of Yemen

"The names of the dead did not even make news in the local press in Aden. This form of death is now commonplace amid a war so hidden that foreign journalists are forced to smuggle themselves by boat into the country to report on an ongoing conflict that the U.N. says has killed more than 4,500 people and left another 23,500 wounded."

PS I just did not like the opening sentence of the article; ridden with Orientalist cliches.

dealing with Netanyahu

"The conclusion you come away with from this section and the email generally is that Indyk believed Netanyahu was the real obstacle to peace and that his opposition was rooted neither in rationality nor even in cynical politics, but in irrational pathologies and personality faults.
If that strikes you as a position that is too harshly critical of Israel and Netanyahu, then it may interest you to learn that Indyk's four-point plan for addressing the problem is not to punish what he sees as Netanyahu's intransigence, but rather to reward it by coddling the Israeli leader. "Put your arm around Bibi," Indyk writes, adding that generous US concessions to Israel "should buy you credibility with him.""

These repression forces are US-funded, US-equipped, and US-armed

Watch in Beirut.

Syrian refugees

sleazy Saudi media

The TV station of King Fahd's brother-in-law, MBC, airs this report: "The beauty of Lebanese women steers the light in the you-stink protests".

Those poor Lebanese security forces

They issued this statement:
"Security Forces: Two people were arrested while carrying firecrackers of the large size, and the Investigative Unit of Beirut held them and referred them to the appropriate unit to interrogate them." Kid you not.

Another gem: "Security Forces: "Members of the Lebanese Security Forces were cursed and water bottles were thrown at them by some citizens in front of the Ministry of Environment."  Verbatim.

Hasan Nasrallah's parents celebrating his birthday (which was two days ago, I think)

Monday, August 31, 2015

American Television and the plight of girls in Fiji

"Just a few years after the introduction of television to a province of Fiji's main island, Viti Levu, eating disorders -- once virtually unheard of there -- are on the rise among girls, according to a study presented yesterday at the American Psychiatric Association meetings in Washington. Young girls dream of looking not like their mothers and aunts, but like the slender stars of ''Melrose Place'' and ''Beverly Hills 90210.'' 
''I'm very heavy,'' one Fijian adolescent lamented during an interview with researchers led by Dr. Anne E. Becker, director of research at the Harvard Eating Disorders Center of Harvard Medical School, who investigated shifts in body image and eating practices in Fiji over a three-year period. 
The Fijian girl said her friends also tell her that she is too fat, ''and sometimes I'm depressed because I always want to lose weight.'' 
Epidemiological studies have shown that eating disorders are more prevalent in industrialized countries, suggesting that cultural factors play a role. But few studies have examined the effects of long-term cultural shifts on disordered eating in traditional societies. 
Dr. Becker and her colleagues surveyed 63 Fijian secondary school girls, whose average age was 17. The work began in 1995, one month after satellites began beaming television signals to the region. In 1998, the researchers surveyed another group of 65 girls from the same schools, who were matched in age, weight and other characteristics with the subjects in the earlier group. 
Fifteen percent in the 1998 survey reported that they had induced vomiting to control their weight, the researchers said, compared with 3 percent in the 1995 survey. And 29 percent scored highly on a test of eating-disorder risk, compared with 13 percent three years before. 
Girls who said they watched television three or more nights a week in the 1998 survey were 50 percent more likely to describe themselves as ''too big or fat'' and 30 percent more likely to diet than girls who watched television less frequently."

Women in Israel

In Israel: "One woman is killed by her spouse every 9 days".

The Penguin Atlas of Women in the World, Fourth Edition.

US-supported Saudi-led coalition air strikes kill more civilians

"An air strike by warplanes from a Saudi-led coalition, which said it targeted a bomb-making factory, killed 36 civilians working at a bottling plant in the northern Yemeni province of Hajjah on Sunday, residents said. In another air raid on the capital Sanaa, residents said four civilians were killed when a bomb hit their house near a military base in the south of the city." "The process of recovering the bodies is finished now. The corpses of 36 workers, many of them burnt or in pieces, were pulled out after an air strike hit the plant this morning," resident Issa Ahmed told Reuters by phone from the site in Hajjah."

Nabi Saleh

"The village of Nabi Saleh has organized a weekly demonstration every Friday –without exception – since 2009, in protest against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory, and the confiscation of Nabi Saleh land by the nearby illegal Halamish settlement."

a great deal of the IDF’s operational activities: chasing children

"The video clearly shows, once again, the truth about a great deal of the IDF’s operational activities: chasing children." (thanks Amir)

Class analysis of Beirut protests

Comrade Amer writes.

Larry King and the "dark-skinned man" in the New York Times magazine

"A dark-skinned man approached and asked King if he would pose for a photo.  ‘‘Where are you from?’’ King asked. ‘‘Saudi Arabia,’’ the man said.  ‘‘I’m a Jew!’’ King informed him. ‘‘You sure it’s O.K. to get your picture taken with a Jew back in Saudi Arabia?’’  The man assured him that indeed Larry King had many fans in Saudi Arabia. They smiled for the picture. ‘‘Thank you, Mr. King,’’ the man said. They shook hands, and King looked him in the eye. ‘‘Now,’’ he said, ‘‘please, go fight ISIS!’’"

Oliver Sacks and Zionism

"But in “Uncle Tungsten,” his 2001 memoir about his childhood love of chemistry, he explained that the inflamed Zionist meetings his parents held before the war helped turn him away from organized religion."

Classism in Lebanon

"Some protesters that came last night from Baalbeck to Riad al-Solh Square were reportedly behind the riots, otherwise the protest in downtown Beirut in the Martyrs square was peaceful." (thanks Basim)

You, who are Charlie

"But then a leading French intellectual, the leftwing historian and sociologist Emmanuel Todd, lobbed what he called his own “magnificently crafted Exocet missile” at the nation, with a book arguing that the street rallies were a giant lie. The rallies, he argued, were not what they claimed to be – an admirable coming-together of people from different ethnic, religious and social backgrounds standing up for tolerance – but an odious display of middle-class domination, prejudice and Islamophobia. To Todd, they represented “a sudden glimpse of totalitarianism”. These “sham” demonstrations, he claimed, were made up of a one-sided elite who wanted to spit on Islam, the religion of a weak minority in France. The working class and the children of immigrants had been notably absent, he said. The most enthusiastic demonstrations, he decided, had occurred in the country’s most historically Catholic and reactionary regions, an affirmation of the middle class’s moral superiority and domination, and their Islamophobic quest for a scapegoat."

Sunday, August 30, 2015


Salutations to the (anonymous) comrade who carried this salutation sign to me yesterday during the lame protests.

This is what Hamas is teaching in Islamic University in Gaza

The full translation of this book is: "Coil in Uncovering the Unbelief and Repugnancy of the Shi`ite religion".

This is about a dead guy who gives interviews

From a well-known American correspondent in the Middle East: "this is outrageous and an example of the kind of sloppy reporting (and accountability) that makes us all look bad. It’s not the first time this guy has been wrong but this is so obvious it’s scandalous. If you post it please do so without attribution. 

Ammar al-Wawi is a commander with the US-trained Division 30 Syrian rebel group (the 54 guys the US trained at a cost of millions of dollars each who were routed by Jabhat al-Nusra recently). He is not hard to reach and has given many media interviews, but he was declared dead by Jamie Dettmer in December 2013. ( It was clear at the time that Wawi was not killed by Jihadists (because he was giving media interviews!) but Dettmer repeated the lie in several other articles ( and  As far as I can tell, a correction has not been issued. "

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Anne Barnard is at it again: she explains Lebanese political divisions to American readers

"The main political divides in Lebanon are between the March 14 movement, which came together to demand the end of Syria’s military presence in Lebanon in 2005 after the assassination of the former prime minister Rafik Hariri, and the March 8 movement, which backed the Syrian government."  But here is the mystery, Anne: you mention the sponsor of March 8, but who is the sponsor of March 14? Unless you are implying that only one side is sponsored by a regional tyrannical power.  Let me guess: March 14 is sponsored by Finland?

PS Also, there are tons of organizations sponsoring the protests: most of them are leftists. She managed to speak to the one non-leftist organization among them.

PPS: She is wrong: Nuhad Al-Mashnuq is related to Muhammad Al-Mashnuq. It is the same Beiruti family. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Flash: Palestinian women teach an Israeli terrorist a lesson

Odors and Protests in Lebanon

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "Odors and Protests in Beirut: Legacy of Rafiq Hariri."

Israeli police

From Eyal: "A Palestinian from Jenin was assaulted in Netanya by locals. Despite
being injured from the blows, but managed to escape his assailants and
call the (Israeli) police. They proceeded to arrest... the Palestinian,
and nobody else. You can always trust the police here to fight crime!

By the way, for those who haven't noticed, over the past year, over half
of the police commissioners in Israel resigned: Several due to
allegations of sexual assault against female police officers and one due
to a corruption scandal involving a lawyer and a district prosecutor
official who had conspired to help shield people from criminal
investigations. So now the minister of internal security has decided to
appoint someone 'clean', from outside the police force, as the new chief
of police. He appointed... you guessed it, a retired high-ranking
military officer, Gal Hirsch.

The same Hirsch, during his tenure as the head of the Israeli Military's
officer school, introduced numerous Jewish religious texts into the
commander's library and the cadets' library, and initiated the
construction of the Great Synagogue at the officer school. He commanded
a division of the force invading Lebanon in the war of 2006. Indeed, an
"inspiration" to us all."

Saudi mufti meets with US-Saudi new ally in Yemen, Shaykh Zandani (a Ben Ladenite)

Do you notice that the Brazani police state in northern Iraq still gets good press in the US?

""Kurdish security officials speaking on the condition of anonymity said that Thursday night saw the execution of a security plan in which Arab Sunnis_of which there are tens of thousands as refugees in the Kurdisn areas_that have been under observation were being arrested in a series of raids throughput the area. Plainclothes Kurdish security forces could be seen in unmarked cars throughout may areas of the capital, as, according to the officials, steps were taken to prevent ‘sleeper cell’ attacks inside the city.""

Threat to world peace

"Washington alone builds roughly eight new warships a year, including a brand-new nuclear carrier every four or five years" (thanks Krim)