Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Patrick Cockburn: explaining ISIS

If you want to read a good reliable book on the rise of ISIS I highly recommend the newly released "The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising" by Patrick Cockburn.  Read it. NOW.

Talking points about Palestine

The activists at Ikhras came up with those useful talking points about Palestine.

Who can defeat you, o people of Palestine

Who can defeat those people, who? Those are the reason why Israel and the Zionist project are doomed.  Zionists had many good fortune but to have the Palestinians as their enemy is their biggest misfortune of them all. 

Sanaa Hamri removed her name from the statement about Gaza

From a reader: "I saw it on this list from the group who organized the letter yesterday or the day before. It is now gone:"

Women and global economy

"The global economy is not working for working women. Women contribute 66 percent of the world’s work and produce 50 percent of the food. Yet they earn 10 percent of income and own 1 percent of property.  Millions of women live in poverty—they account for 70 percent of the world’s poor. Women also are highly likely to experience violence at home or at the workplace: Up to seven in 10 women globally will be beaten, raped abused or mutilated in their lifetimes."

BBC on Gaza

From comrade Laure: "Assuming that all the 700 men killed are fighters, how does that make killing 250 women and 450 children not discriminate?  BBC is so obsessed with the civilian Gaza toll and making the argument for Israel that they have already written 3 articles to cast doubt on the statistics and were still talking about it on the Radio today.

"Of those killed, the UN estimate that 70% were civilians and of those thought to be civilians, approximately 250 were women, 450 were children and 700 were men. (...) Now the fact that among the Palestinian civilian casualties there are nearly three times as many men as women has been in the spotlight. Indeed an article on the BBC News website said “if the Israeli attacks have been “indiscriminate”, as the UN Human Rights Council says, it is hard to work out why they have killed so many more civilian men than women”."

AIPAC

This is a long article about AIPAC: it is revealing but news of the end of AIPAC are rather premature.

When Western governments try to produce acceptable versions of Islam

These attempts are so dumb and the US tried to do that after Sep. 11. They don't realize that those Western government-approved Imams have no connection to their communities and they sound so programmed that they can never dream of ever having influence.

Palestinian human shields--for Israeli terrorists

"Over the next several days, he was moved among homes and made to walk ahead of groups of soldiers looking for tunnels. Food was scant, and his bathroom breaks were limited and monitored, he said; at one point he wrote a note in Arabic, saying, “In case I die or get arrested, please send my greetings to my family,” according to D.C.I.-Palestine’s report."

Have you ever heard of "Sunni Assyrian"?

"For a thousand years, Sunni Assyrian Arabs from the northwest have fought for exclusive control of that area, against countervailing pressure from Shia Persians from the southeast and their Arab co-religionists. " (thanks Ansar)

If you were in their shoes

"Do congressional leaders ever stop to wonder what they would do if they were born Palestinian, had their homes and private property stolen from them, and were forced to live without freedom under an illegal Israeli occupation for 47 years? Do they know what it means to be on the receiving end of Israel's barbaric "mow the lawn" euphemism?"

Those who were assigned to liberate Muslim women in Afghanistan

"Calvert says that an estimated 26,000 rapes and sexual assaults took place in the armed forces last year,"

"Were KGB or Stasi this bad"

"The search tool was designed to be the largest system for internally sharing secret surveillance records in the United States, capable of handling two to five billion new records every day, including more than 30 different kinds of metadata on emails, phone calls, faxes, internet chats, and text messages, as well as location information collected from cellphones." (thanks Amir)

The US government on outside intervention in Libya

"“We believe outside interference in Libya exacerbates current divisions and undermines Libya’s democratic transition,” said the statement issued by the US State Department. " (thanks Krim)

The New York Times informs readers about who Israel targets in Gaza

"Israeli forces continued on Sunday to strike Palestinians suspected of being militants ".  So hospitals, schools, mosques, children, women, high rises and shops are all suspected of being militants, I guess.

The New York Times now lists children among the victims of the war on Gaza

"More than 2,000 Palestinians have been killed in the fighting that is stretching into a seventh week, most of them civilians, according to monitoring groups. On the Israeli side, 64 soldiers and four civilians have been killed, including a 4-year-old boy from a small community near the border who was killed by mortar fire. He was first Israeli child to be killed in the current conflict, and he was buried Sunday."  The obvious question, of course, is why the one Israeli child is worth mentioning but not the 500 Palestinian children??

One of the most racist (and ignorant) articles: From Haaretz

If this article was about "the Jewish civilization" there would be an outcry and calls for boycott and picketing.  But my favorite part of this piece is the identification of the author.  Here, the predicts for Muslims their abysmal future: "In this complicated situation the chances for secularization and a separation of religion from state are very small. That is, there is little chance Islam will adopt modern ideas stressing man’s autonomy. There is little chance it will adopt thinking freed from tradition and dogma, or critical thinking about social mores. There is little chance it will recognize the crucial nature of change. "

State Department spokesperson: Palestinians should not damage the atmosphere with their killers

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In praise of a terrorist organization

"BOB BAER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I think that Jabhat al-Nusra is -- I wouldn't use the word moderate, but it is tamable. It's not completely radical group. It does want connections with the outside world. I've been in touch with it indirectly a couple of years ago. They want to be accepted. Their main goal is to defeat Bashar al Assad. Right now, they have no attention to set up a caliphate or randomly kill Westerners. So, I think that we were able to indirectly, if you like, that the family was negotiating with this group and make them see reason. " (thanks Basim)

Something is fishy about this story

"A gang of anti-Semitic thugs roughed up a Jewish man and his wife on the Upper East Side on Monday evening before fleeing in cars flying Palestinian flags, police sources told The Post.  Two cars and multiple motorcycles pulled up to the couple on East 63rd Street near Third Avenue just after 8 p.m., and the assailants began yelling “anti-Jewish statements,” the sources said."  Let us forget about the details of the story, how would the thugs know that the man and his wife are Jewish?  And those who decided to openly fly the Palestinian flags decided that the most hospitable place for them is the Upper East Side?

M J Rosenberg on AIPAC

This revealing story misses one element: that Sen. Levin never challenged AIPAC ever again.

Monday, August 25, 2014

corruption in Shi`ite religious establishments

This is an important article: the first one that i have seen which deals with the issue of corruption in the Shi`ite religious establishment.  Did you know that Al-Khu`i and Fadlallah each left an endowment of $2 billion and that the sons of the two late marji` taqlid were put in control of the endowments?

Sanaa Hamri: did she or did she not?

Did she or did she not sign the petition in support of Israeli war on Gaza? In French, she says she did not, but her signature appears on the English petition.  I say that she seems to be lying. She could have easily written to the publication--in English--to withdraw her name.

We all are uuntouchables

"The practice of forcing low-caste people in Indian communities to remove accumulated human waste from latrines is continuing despite legal prohibitions and must be stopped, says a leading advocacy group.   In a report released Monday, the New York City–based Human Rights Watch (HRW) detailed the practice of “manual scavenging” — the collecting of excrement from latrines by hand. The job is done by those considered to be of the lowest birth. These Dalits, or untouchables, often face threats of violence, eviction and withheld wages if they attempt to leave the trade."

Is Khalid Mish`al that dumb?

I deliberately suspended my criticisms of Hamas during the Israeli assault on Gaza but this is too much: Khalid Mish`al today appealed to Obama to end the Israeli war on Gaza.  Is this guy that dumb?   Can you imagine George Habash or Hasan Nasrallah or even Ahmad Shuqayri appealing to the US administration to end an Israeli war? How little understanding does this man have for international relations?

the good native

I know that the White Man really likes her and she knows how to make the White Man feel good and superior but was she really a good choice for a book discussion? She has read three or four books and she kept referring to them throughout this silly interview.

Juan Cole reviewed in the New York Times

Is this a joke? Is this really a farce? Look who they gave the new book by Juan Cole to review in the New York Times.  I mean, I don't mind if they chose at least a qualified Zionist academic, but this one?

Arab atheists

This Saudi writer is taking note of rise in Arab atheism

PS He is implying that one of the first vocal contemporary Arab atheists, the Egyptian Isma`il Madhhar, was murdered.  There is absolutely no evidence of that, and I am sure it was not.  He also fails to mention that Mahdhar recanted at the end of his life.

Genocide begins with the silence of the world

"Dozens of Holocaust survivors, together with hundreds of descendants of Holocaust survivors and victims, have accused Israel of "genocide" for the deaths of more than 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza since the conflict erupted in July." "Genocide begins with the silence of the world," the statement reads, "We must raise our collective voices and use our collective power to bring about an end to all forms of racism, including the ongoing genocide of Palestinian people."

The Saudi Lobby

My latest blog post for Al-Akhbar English: "the Saudi lobby".

Lebanese for the explusion of Syrian refugees from Lebanon

85% of Maronites and 88% of Catholics are for the immediate and mass expulsion of Syrian refugees from Lebanon.  64% of Greek Orthodox, 62% of Sunnis, 51% of Shi`ites, 50% of Druzes and 33% of Alawites support that option.  (From AsSafir). (thanks Raed)

Britain & al-Qaeda

"Britain and al Qaeda are also the only two outside powers to cause an American president to be a fugitive in his own country. President Madison ended up hiding in a shack in Virginia. President George W. Bush took refuge at an Air Force base in Nebraska." (thanks Amir)

British war criminal advises Kazakh dictator

"Tony Blair gave Kazakhstan's autocratic president advice on how to manage his image after the slaughter of unarmed civilians protesting against his regime."

She is now a major Syrian opposition voice on twitter

"Now that Yitzhak Rabin has managed his historic handshake with Yasser Arafat, he must stoically relinquish the Golan Heights, occupied by Israel in 1967, to give Israel what it needs more than territory: an abiding peace with its only real adversary in the region - Syria.

The handshake that will usher in a new Middle East is the handshake we have yet to witness, between two seasoned and skeptical soldiers, Prime Minister Rabin and President Hafez Assad of Syria. There can be no hopeful future for Arabs and Israelis without it.

RANA KABBANI."

As you know, the US is a stickler for respecting international borders

“We’re actively considering what’s going to be necessary to deal with that threat and we’re not going to be restricted by borders.” (thanks Basim)

Behind the blocking of Salaita appointment: the money factor

"Also on Friday, the university responded to an open records request from Inside Higher Ed for communications to the chancellor about the Salaita appointment, prior to her action to block it. The communications show that Wise was lobbied on the decision not only by pro-Israel students, parents and alumni, but also by the fund-raising arm of the university. The communications also show that the university system president was involved, and that the university was considering the legal ramifications of the case before the action to block the appointment.  Most of the emails have the names of the senders redacted and some are nearly identical, suggesting the use of talking points or shared drafts. Many of the letter writers identify themselves as Jewish and/or sympathetic to Israel, as students, parents or alumni, and as people who say that the tone of Salaita's comments (especially on Twitter) makes them believe he would be hostile to them and to their views."  What about those students who take classes with rabid Zionist champions of Israeli wars and murder, like Alan Dershowitz and Elie Wiesel and numerous others like them around the country? How come no one worries about their rights? (thanks Yusuf)

Syrian regime supporters are gloating today

Deaths from police shootings

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Fareed Zakaria at the Atlantic Council

I wonder what Fareed Zakaria will do at the Atlantic Council.  Who will he plagiarize, I wonder.

Qatar and ISIS

The Qatari regime denied having any connections with ISIS. In other news, the Qatari regime ordered ISIS to release an American journalist, and ISIS complied. 

How many Sep.11s have Israel inflicted on the Palestinians in one month?

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Zizek on Gaza

"Today in Gaza, the Israeli military is fighting not only in underground tunnels, but also against the natives of the land. They are fighting not only against Hamas, but also against Palestine itself. They –alongside the West– are fighting against a nation that they have tried to expel from the land for almost 70 years now. They are fighting not only because of these tunnels, but also and precisely to conquer the land within which the tunnels were dug. The refugee camps in Gaza are living evidence of this enormous land robbery, the original sin. Since 1948, there’s been an attempt to divide the Palestinian people, to deprive them of all national consciousness; there’s been an attempt erase their memory, as if memory were the inalienable property of only Judeo-Christian thought. It was assumed that afterwards they could be branded with a new, divided consciousness as Arab-Israelis, Arab-Jerusalemites, fundamentalist Gazans, West-Bankers, and exiled Palestinians without the right of return. But we in the West didn’t anticipate that the Palestinians would still see themselves as one people. And yet, despite the attempt to erase their collective memory, they are reunited again. That’s the real reason for the missing fourth beat [i.e., Israel's refusal to release the fourth and last batch of Palestinian prisoners in March 2014 as guaranteed during US-backed peace talks], and that’s the main reason for the war and the killing. All of the rest — footnotes."

On swords and beheadings

From Nikolai: "Those who claim that the sword has some kind of unique special place in Islamic and Islamicate culture are misleading at best - in many (most? maybe all?) cultures there have been trends to give special significance to swords and other weapons. This shouldn't be that surprising to anyone.

In Anglo-Saxon culture (as well as other European cultures) the word "sword" was closely tied to the phrase "God's word", a phrase found in Biblical translations. In fact, a popular folk etymology claims that the word "sword" is a contraction of the phrase "God's word" (this is not true - it comes from the Germanic word "swerdom"). Regardless, the sword - probably more so than other kinds of weapons - often invoked spiritual warfare in English culture. The Oxford English Dictionary (certainly the best English language dictionary) even gives as one definition of sword: "something figured as a weapon of attack in spiritual warfare". How's that for "religious and cultural symbolism"?

As for beheadings, they're no more - or less - part of Middle Eastern culture than they are of European or East Asian culture. Take, for example, the case of Sweden: "Some 644 people, including nearly 200 women, were beheaded in Sweden between 1800 and 1866.  From 1866 until manual beheading was replaced by the guillotine in 1903 only 14 more people were to suffer this fate. Capital punishment was abolished in Sweden in 1921.... This drawing is of the execution of 48 year old Anna Månsdotter in Kristianstad, southern Sweden on the 7th of August 1890. In Anna's case, the blade of the axe passed through her lower jaw which was left attached to her neck afterwards..." (In 1973, Sweden truly abolished the death penalty - they abolished it for crimes even committed during times of war.) So even as recently as the 1800's beheadings were popular in what is now one of the world's most progressive states. Things change."

Look at the first angry propaganda sentence in an article by NYTimes Israel bureau chief

"Hamas is the party that keeps extending this summer’s bloody battle in the Gaza Strip, repeatedly breaking temporary truces and vowing to endlessly fire rockets into Israel."  This sentence really makes Fox News to be truly fair and balanced in comparison.

NYTimes reprot "limited civilian casualties"

" limited civilian casualties" and then: "The Gaza Health Ministry said Israeli airstrikes had killed at least 60 people since the collapse on Tuesday of cease-fire negotiations in Cairo and the resumption of violence after nearly nine days of quiet, bringing the Palestinian death toll in the operation that began July 8 close to 2,100.

Several of Thursday’s attacks targeted men on motorcycles or in cars who Israel said were militants, though Palestinian witnesses also reported that five people, three of them children, were killed while watering a Gaza City garden, and five others while digging a grave in the Sheikh Radwan cemetery...where five one-ton bombs also killed Mr. Deif’s wife, baby son and at least three others."