Sunday, May 21, 2017

And then they all gathered and worshipped the lamp.


Investigative reporting from Bloomberg News

Bloomberg News White House correspondent provides investigative reporting:
Jennifer Jacobs‏Verified account @JenniferJJacobs 9h9 hours ago
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"Room where Trump will give his big speech on terrorism to 54 Arab & Islamic nations is stunning--theater chairs, crystal chandeliers, snacks"

What US media calls "Pan-Arab media" is nothing but Saudi regime media

Wikileaks: How Saudi regime controls Arab media.

Analysis of Saudi-US relations

"What emerged as a veritable love fest between the two governments"

Another propaganda piece about Saudi regime: this time in the Boston Globe

"Reforms that seem obvious to Westerners, such as allowing women to drive, come slowly in this absolute monarchy. As one woman, a textile artist, put it when asked about the prospect for reforms: “It’s like a glass of water with a layer of mud at the bottom. Each time you add another level of fresh water, the glass becomes clearer.”"  Official Saudi regime propagandists were circulating this piece.

Ben Hubbard is going to wind up running a Saudi Information Office somewhere in the world, I predict

Another apologetic puff piece by Ben Hubbard about Saudi regime.  He never manages to find one Saudi person who is critical of the regime, and if he is to interview an expert, it is always someone apologetic about the regime.  

Saudi regime media praises Melania Trump


First Lady of Saudi Arabia

The joke being told on Arab social media: that First Lady of the US entered the royal palace in Saudi Arabia and saw 155 women. She asked them who they were?  They answered: we are the First Lady of Saudi Arabia.

Those too were awarded the Order of Abdul-`Aziz




Yeah. Yeah. Obama raised hell about human rights violations in Gulf countries

Ben Rhodes (@brhodes)
Really undercuts US credibility when it looks like we only raise human rights issues for geopolitical purposes twitter.com/peterbakernyt/…

Is this Saudi lobby director making threats to the US about JASTA?

Watch this carefully.  He basically says that if JASTA is passed Muslims will get angry and join terrorist organizations and strike at the US.  It is a direct threat, it seems to me.

Look who is now pretending to be for human rights?

Samantha Power (@SamanthaJPower)
For a country whose attacks on civilians in Yemen -- and inability to learn from mistakes -- have been devastating to human lifetwitter.com/presssec/statu…

There is nothing quiet about GCC repression: Western media makes it quiet by not covering it

"As Trump visits, Gulf states seen quietly curbing opposition".
Reuters is notorious in succumbing to Saudi pressures, and in switching correspondents at the orders of Saudi government.  

They hate Islam but they love Wahhabiyyah

Bannon seated next to the descendants of Muhammad ibn Al-Wahab.

Moments before Trump arrived, Saudi King asked that his shoes be replaced


It has to be said: Lebanese journalists are far more extreme in their subservience and obedience to oil royals than Saudi journalists


Rima Maktabi (@rimamaktabi)
Oil, women n Yemen at a press conference by Princess Reema Bint Bandar and Dr. Basma Al Omair. A precedence that #Saudi women give presserspic.twitter.com/MX6eScWI0O

Afaf Kanafani died. She was 99.

To all my students who met her and loved her, I am sad to report that Lebanese-Palestinian-American writer, Fay Afaf Kanafani died the other day. I first met Afaf maybe around late 1990s, when I still lived in Berkeley. She called me one day, and asked me to speak about Palestine to a group of Arab and Jewish women who met in San Francisco and discussed foreign policy. We chatted on the phone and she sounded very young. She then asked me to pick her up at her place in Oakland, and then we would go together to San Francisco. I was astonished when she answered the door, as she looked so much older than what she sounded on the phone: and I realized that her group was a group of retired older women. As soon as I met her in person, she asked me if I knew of a Professor Kanafani at UC, Berkeley, who taught in the engineering department. I said that I did not know him but that I have heard negative things about him: that he would refuse to speak Arabic with Arab students and would tell them: we are in America, and we have to speak English. She said: oh, that is my son. Tactless me, as usual. I addressed her group and we talked about her experience living in Lebanon and working in the administration of Lebanese University (Lebanon is so small, that I later discovered that she worked with my cousin Shadya Alayli). Afaf called me often and invited me to eat Lebanese food, but I never went. But she did show me the pictures of her late husband, Fu'ad (her second husband, the love of her life). She then invited me to her book party at UC, Berkeley when her book, Nadia: Captive of Hope was released. She also established a scholarship fund for women working on Middle East women topics. I went and saw her being very happy, and she introduced me to two of her three sons. Her granddaughter was present and she read excerpts of the book. I never saw Afaf more happy. I read the book and contents and the ending (especially the part about the horrific experience that she and her (second) husband were subjected to in Lebanon during the war) distressed me a great deal. I called her in tears that night, and she comforted me, telling me that she was OK, now and that she never let what she went through to influence her or to derail her life plans. The book was rather original but very painful (to read and to write--I am sure): it was the first book by an Arab who talked candidly about being sexually molested by her father, and the sexual assaults that maids at the home were subjected to by her father and brother. She also spoke about physical and sexual abuse at the hand of her first husband, when she lived in Palestine. Her family married her off in the 1930s, and she moved to Palestine with her new (terrible) husband. Her experience in Palestine and witnessing An-Nakbah made her a lifelong activist for Palestine. The book was very moving and I added it to the list of books of 1st person narratives in my Gender and Sexuality in the Middle East class. And then--I forgot who: a student suggested that we invite her to class to a potluck and discuss her book with her. A student volunteered to pick her up from Oakland and there began a tradition in my Gender class: that Afaf would be invited to a potluck in my class to discuss her book (Valerie Marleau was one of her volunteer drivers one year, and she promised me to provide her with bathroom breaks during the long trip to Oakland). It happened every semester, or every year when the Gender class was being offered annually and not every semester. She was so lively and had such charm, and she always dressed (very Lebanese) very elegantly to those events. Students always observed that I was always protective of her during those meetings, and that I tried to shield her from tough questions. I was always happy to see her, and students often stayed for hours with her to talk about her life. She was so positive about life and about the future. She told us that her sons (especially two of the three) were furious with her about the book, and that none were happy about it. But two stopped talking to her. But she was not in any way feeling guilty about that: she knew that she did not do anything wrong and that it was their problem, not hers. Her visits to my class ended only five years ago: she told me bluntly: I am too old now to make that trip. She also would tell me about her computer art work which she got into. She was 99: I wished that lived to be 100 and more. Over the years, I became more critical of the book, from a gender and class perspective. She once saw me at a conference (where she met dear friend Lama Dajani who was thrilled to meet her, and I did not know that Lama had read her book and was deeply moved by it). Afaf pressed me if there was anything I did not like about the book, and I only gave her one example, and we discussed that. Many students of mine here on Facebook have met her and got to like her.
PS Jenn-Jarred Neal took this picture us back in 2004, in one of those potlucks).

Saturday, May 20, 2017

About Ivanka

This Saudi journalist has a point.  He says: "I think that the interaction regarding Trump's daughter is not sexual frenzy, as some are portraying it.  In reality, there is nothing in this political and economic event on which we have an honest opinion except this".

عبدالرحمن الشهري‏ @Abdurhmanshehri 1h1 hour ago
"أعتقد أن التفاعل مع بنت ترمب ليس سعاراً جنسيا كما يصوره البعض، الحقيقة أنه لاشيء في هذا الحدث السياسي والاقتصادي نملك رأيا صادقاً فيه سواها"

Royal Saudi Sleaze: ogling


Notice that Lebanese journalists in Saudi media sound different on Twitter than in Saudi regime media

Read here

When anti-Semitism is in the US camp

Trump will give a speech on in Saudi Arabia، and the fanatic Jewish (who wrote the muslims controversial bans) will write it.

PS This person was a media officer of Free Syrian Army and is a Syrian rebel "journalist" (one of those "activist-journalist")

As if American presidents never praised despots before Trump

Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth)
Tillerson says he won't promote human rights, but does Trump really need to undermine rights by praising autocrats? bit.ly/2rmmb9wpic.twitter.com/cYEvOvcs9a

US ambassador summons Jordanian royal Zeid bin Ra'ad and told him to ignore Israeli violations

He said: as you order.  Not that he has been vocal at all against Israeli violations.

In this video, King Fahd says that the right-wing president of "nationalist" China told him that Islam is most effective to combat communism

Watch here

Iranian election

I detest all Iranian presidential candidates equally, but Rouhani bothers me in particular.  

The caption says: "If someone tells you 'Let me show you the bathroom' don't go".


Where is Anthony Weiner?

The only one missing from the meeting between Saudi royals and Trump is Anthony Weiner.  

They all bow down to Saudi kings


Classy American journalism

Yeah.  Anderson Cooper and CNN are in a position to lecture about professional journalism.

The irony is that those who made hatred of Islam, as a religion, their career found peace in, and with, Wahhabiyyah


When Saudi royals meet with Trump

When Saudi royal males meet with Trump is there a doubt that the they only discuss feminism?

Saudi Twitter Robots Welcome Trump

"Saudi Twitter Robots Welcome Trump: Trump's welcome to Saudi reaches 'Inauguration-level' on Twitter".

Would you not agree that Saudi regime propaganda is rather subtle?


Of all the Sadi regime media headline, this is my favorite

The mouthpiece of Prince Khalid bin Sultan, Al-Hayat, headlines: "Saudi Arabia strongly supports Trump Policies in Palestine---and Deterring Iran" (Iran is an afterthought, it is all about Palestine.  But what are Trump's views on Palestine, one wonders).

Look at this sleazy headline in the Saudi regime newspaper

"Saudis swoon as Ivanka Trump trends on Twitter in the Kingdom"

Friday, May 19, 2017

Iranian elections

I want them all to lose, real bad.  Every single one of them.

And when Nixon visited Egypt during Watergate, despot Sadat canceled classes and forced students to greet


Those are not leaders of Al-Qa`idah. They are the most senior Saudi clerics who will lead US-Saudi effort to spread moderation


Time magazine cover

This is so insane and so stupid and it shows you how the establishment is so ready and eager at a moment's notice to back to Cold War fever.  There aren't enough conflicts and wars in the world for the DC establishment. They want more blood.  

US government and appeasement of the Nazis

There is no popular factual history of the US role in WWII.  Since I came to US, I was struck that popular culture about the war are so wrong and based on fallacies and propaganda.  Take the notorious appeasement policies of  Neville Chamberlain.  The disgraceful policies of appeasement (which certainly facilitated the expansion of the rule of Hitler--he even was expecting a stronger French and British reaction to his provocations in 1938) were not entirely Chamberalain's.  FDR was also an appeaser and sent a telegram to Chamberlain congratulating him on his peace talks with Hitler, on the eve of Munich.  

I am glad to report that the song of the Moroccos King is now a colonel


This is the director of the official Saudi lobby in DC (although there is a few of those lobbies in DC now)

Salman Al-Ansari (@Salansar1)
#RiyadhSummit is the summit of all summits!We as #Saudis are so glad to receive the president who talks the talk& walks the walk @POTUS.
#US pic.twitter.com/WWldfJCt0a

Saudi regime criticisms of the Iranian election

I swear. I read in Saudi regime newspapers criticisms of Iranian elections, and that they are not fully free and all that.  Kid you not.  But then again: not even Sweden and Denmark have elections as perfect as those in Saudi Arabia.

What Gulf potentates want

Notice that Obama officials are as enthusiastic about Saudi regime as Trump officials: "This question, to put it mildly, horrified the leaders of the Sunni Gulf states. When I traveled around the region in my former government capacity, I was more frequently accosted by questions about why more U.S. troops weren’t in the region. Why, I was asked, had we not built the kind of enduring infrastructure in Qatar and the UAE that we had in, say, Germany and Japan?"

Does this Saudi regime propaganda not read like a paid advertisement?

This Washington Post correspondent writes a hagiography of Muhammad bin Salman.   If this is not a paid advertisement, it should be.

My favorite actor, Gregory Peck

Gregory Peck is one of my all time favorite actors. In the 1950s, he passed through Paris on his way to Rome to shoot a movie. He was asked by Paramount to sit for an interview in Paris with an up-and-coming French female journalist at France Soir, named Veronique Passani. He sat through the interview and they got along. Months later, he passed through Paris again and had time to kill. He called Veronique and asked her for lunch. She hesitated a great deal but then they met and fell in love and got married (they remained married until his death). Later, he asked her why she hesitated when he asked her out. She told him that the day he asked her out for lunch, she was scheduled to interview Albert Schweitzer at the home of Jean-Paul Sartre.

Who says freedom of speech is not protected in Saudi Arabia?

The man says: "I appeal to the Deputy Crown Prince (the Arabic term for Deputy Crown Prince in the official Saudi title is actually wrong, and gives the meaning of the Guardian of the Crown Prince instead of Deputy Crown Prince--but then again, we are talking about the illiterate princes here) to allow me to kiss his nose".  

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Ben Hubbard doing what he does best: producing pro-Saudi regime propaganda in the New York Times

Not one person cited in this article is not tied financially to the Saudi regime. Not one person cited in this article is not an advocate of the Saudi regime.  Not one critic of the Saudi regime is cited in this article.  Not one.  Also, notice how he conflates Saudi regime with Saudi people, as in: "The exuberant reception for Mr. Trump reflects how differently Persian Gulf leaders see him compared with how they saw Mr. Obama.  Many of Mr. Obama’s Middle East policies angered the Saudis".  He also cites a twitter by the director of the official Saudi lobby in DC, without mention his post.  He talks about what Saudis think as in "In Mr. Trump, however, many Saudis see a decisive" without telling readers that you can serve years in jail in that country if you disagree with the policies of the regime on social media.  Saudi regime propagandist,  Jamal Khashoggi, has been silenced simply because one of his tweets disagreed with Saudi policies in Egypt.  This man was the most frequently cited person in Western media, and no one bothered to report about his silencing.    Wait: Ben Hubbard is not done yet: "Mr. Trump’s apparent lack of interest in human rights also suggests that he is unlikely to complain about the Saudi justice system or the limited rights of Saudi women." Yes, Mr. Hubbard. George W. Bush and Barak Obama complained all the time about Saudi human rights violating as they were selling arms to the regime and holding hands with the Saudi king.  Wonderful journalism.  It should be taught in journalism schools, or in comedy traffic schools.

The Greatest Generation: rapes by US soldiers in WWII

"Rapes by U.S. and French soldiers are also documented, but were not as frequent".   We are talking about more than 10,000, by conservative estimates.

Atlantic Council and Erdogan

By the way, did Atlantic Council pundits participate in beating up protesters the other day?

The entertainment which the Saudi regime is preparing for Trump is way too entertaining

PS Who is this Arab singer to the right? Never heard of him.

US government never lies about intelligence on the Middle East

"Human rights groups said they were surprised by the Trump administration’s assertions, in part because some of the satellite photographs have existed for years and are not conclusive." Not conclusive? What the hell. Make it a headline and put it on front pages of US newspapers.

Israel: it is our spy in ISIS. Jordan: no, no. It was our spy.

Jordan and Israel are competing to prove that they have more spies within ISIS.  Why do I have a feeling that ISIS is comprised of Jordanian and Israeli spies?

Welcoming Trump in Riyadh


All Saudi regime media were ordered to end all criticisms of Trump

It has been noticeable. No one is now permitted to criticize Trump in the media of Saudi princes.

Teaching about Jihad and murder in a Saudi school textbook


The takfiri Saudi regime

The Takfiri Saudi regime refused to invite the Lebanese president to the summit because he is Christian.  Simply put. They invited instead the Muslim prime minister.

Mainstream media's support for pro-U.S. dictators

"Nice words to the wrong dictators unleash a torrent of outrage from our pundit class. Nice words to the right dictators—along with billions in military hardware, which unlike nice words will be used to continue to slaughter residents of a neighboring country and suppress domestic dissent–result in uniform silence."

Sexual harassment in the U.S.

"Nearly 90 per cent of young women in the US have experienced some form of sexual harassment during their lifetime, according to a new report."

Children are among those killed in the latest US-UK-backed attack

"A suspected raid by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen killed more than 20 civilians on Wednesday, the latest in a spate of deadly strikes by the alliance that have drawn condemnation from rights groups and aid agencies." "The raid comes days before US President Donald Trump is to arrive on Saturday in Saudi Arabia on his first foreign trip since taking office in January. Washington provides intelligence as well as aerial refuelling to coalition warplanes conducting air strikes in Yemen with American and British supplied weapons." (thanks Amir)

Update on the witch hunt in Saudi Arabia (when we say "witch hunt" in Saudi Arabia we mean that literally)

The statement by police says: "The information spokesperson of Riyadh area police explained that during monitoring by the local police of the social media, a video clip was spotted inside one of the photography centers north of Riyadh by someone of a woman, pointing out that she possessed magical talismans."  Notice the emblem of the Muhammad bin Salman 2030 Vision up to the left side corner. 

And some people still think that US congress people don't care about Arabs?


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Not kidding.

Saudi regime launched a website to countdown the arrival of Trump, caliph of all Muslims. 

What is not reported about Saudi regime

What isn't reported about Saudi regime is that it still engages in hunting witches--and I mean that literally.  

Is Mike Tyson invited to the GCC-Trump summit?

We just need to know.  How about Lindsay Lohan?  Qatari regime media is very happy about Lohan's sympathy for Islam.

The Trump Islamic Holy Site

I won't be surprised if the Saudi king offers to rename the Ka`bah: the Trump Ka`bah and Tower.

Can someone ask Israel to ask its spy inside ISIS if they are planning some terrorist attack?

And how come Israel never warned us about ISIS attacks before they happened, in light of the presence of their Baghdadi spy?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Whatever happened to the Israeli guy who made bomb threats to synagogues and Jewish centers in the US and abroad?

Is Israel still suppressing information on the case? And is he the same guy who is the Israeli spy who infiltrated ISIS?

This Israeli spy inside ISIS

Regarding this Israeli spy inside ISIS, how many people did he kill? How many did he behead? How many women did he rape?  How many children did he whip? Is the information classified?

This is the director of the official Saudi regime lobby in Washington, DC (he is not kidding)

Salman Al-Ansari (@Salansar1)
I'm certain @realDonaldTrump will go down history as the man who brought everlasting peace to #Israel#Palestine and the entire #MiddleEastpic.twitter.com/VqerLWA14M

Israel's spy within ISIS revealed

What if the Israeli spy inside ISIS is none other than Abu Bark Al-Baghdadi himself?  If true, this would only confirm Arab public suspicions about ISIS and its origins.  Also, this would explain why and how ISIS has been keen on not bothering Israel.

So for those complaining about not being able to travel with their computers and devices, you should know this

The inconvenience is caused by the Israeli intelligence service with its long record of fabrications and incompetence.

Trump's speech on Islam

Trump has asked Salman Rushdie to write his speech on Islam. 

Now we know why US Congress and media were up in arms yesterday

They did not care about sharing intelligence with Russia as they were afraid that Israeli feelings may have been hurt.  That was what it was all about.

So Gulf regime amended the Arab Peace Plan

Now, Gulf regimes pledge to normalize with the Israeli occupation-terrorist state if only Netanyahu smiles.  

So the ally is Israel (about the ISIS plot)

Is there any dirty scheme in which Israel is not involved? So the sources of intelligence about ISIS is now Israel?  The country which enjoys excellent relations with both ISIS and Al-Qa`idah in Syria?  Let me guess: it also is the source of information on all matters Syrian for the US government.

Trump's speech on Islam

So it was just announced that Trump would be reliving a speech on Islam in Saudi Arabia.  I bet Gulf tyrants will add the speech the Hadith.

Look how causally the New York Times mentions US and Israeli cyber attacks

"Security experts at Symantec, which in the past has accurately identified attacks mounted by the United States, Israel..."

The plea of Iranian voters

I saw this headline in the New York Times and I thought they must be referring to a public opinion survey or to some political protest.  It turns out this headline: "NYTimes: Iranian Voter’s Plea: Stop Saying ‘Death to America’" was basically a statement by ONE GUY IN IRAN: "“Stop saying, ‘Death to America,’ make amends with the world and foreign investors and jobs will come,” he said."  Journalism at its best.  And they dare talk about Fake News.  You are the kings and queens of fake news.  

Condoleezza Rice and the pangs of

"And she recalls an infelicitous remark during the 2006 Lebanon war — “We are experiencing the birth pangs of a new Middle East,” she said — that she now thinks was correct. “The tumultuous events of the last decade have indeed torn apart the map of the area and cast aside the pillars of the old order,” she writes. “A new Middle East is emerging through war, unrest, revolution — and in a few cases, reform.”"  She then goes on to praise her administration's promotion of democracy in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan, UAE, Oman, Egypt, and Tunisia.

How obvious is Hillary's plagiarizing of the Macron's silly campaign slogan?

"En Marche", in English.  She has no imagination.  No wonder she was a lousy candidate. (thanks Souheil)

How Gulf regimes are ruled

From the left, Shaykh Tahnon bin Zayid, then his brother Shaykh Muhammad bin Zayid, then his brother Shaykh `Abdullah bin Zayid.  

Monday, May 15, 2017

Martin Indyk's love for the lives of Arabs is almost touching

One cruise missile does not a war make. Will you be satisfied if Assad is allowed to burn thousands more political prisoners?

PS How come we did not notice the love for Arabs by US Zionists all these years?
PPS: and how come Zionist love for Arabs is only manifested by calls for war...on Arabs?

Shadi Hamid and William McCants interview Syrian Muslim Brotherhood leader

You have to watch this interview to believe it. You discover first that neither of the two can ask questions in Arabic although both impressed the viewers by using the word "thank you" in Arabic. No easy task.  But the interview accomplishes this: they keep referring to the moderation of the brotherhood and the leader talked about the non-violence of the brotherhood, and the entire discussion assumed that Nusrah and ISIS and the rest only carried arms after the regime used force. So the followers of Bin Laden and Baghdadi were pacifists until the regime resorted to force?  Were they also secular prior?  The other thing is that the leader of the Brotherhood (who was treated like Hollywood treats the Dalai Lama) basically admits the obvious: that while the Brotherhood does not have an "official" (wink wink) militia in Syria among the rebels, they have authorized their followers to join the "Shields" among other militias.  It also reveals how much the discourse and propaganda of the Brotherhood is shaped by its interest in Western governmental approval (and of Qatari funding of course).  

Protesters: when they protest against anti-US governments

Notice that pictures of protesters are "powerful" only when the protesters are protesting against an anti-US government. Are pictures of protesters in Bahrain or Saudi Arabia or Jordan ever described as "powerful"?

RSF press freedom index

This is yet another silly and unreliable Western ranking of countries.  Just look at the Middle East countries: how does the UAE for example register ahead of Iran: neither have press freedoms but certainly there is a livelier and more diverse (within official parameters) in Iran than in UAE.  Also, in Iran you may criticize ministers and even the president (but not the supreme guide) while in UAE you can't criticize anyone unless they are enemies of the royal families.  Also, Lebanon should be ahead of Israel for sure: there are no taboos in Lebanon.  You can say anything and the country has none of the strict military and intelligence and security censorship, nor the blatant repression of Palestinian press.  

Luxury mall in Cuba which most citizens can't afford

The headline above is from the print edition of the Post (not the exact words).  As if there are no luxury malls in the US which most Americans can't afford.  It is amazing that Western reporters suspend any sense of perspective when reporting about injustices and inequities in countries opposed to US, politically.  They seem to have blinders.

Where are the tears for Syrian civilian victims of US bombing??

"The result so far: In more than 1,000 days of bombing, Airwars estimates that the United States and its allies have killed at least 3,200 civilians — more than nine times the 352 deaths acknowledged by the U.S. military".

Islamophobic incidents in the U.S. soared again

"Alongside data that shows Americans are seven times more likely to be killed by right-wing extremists than those driven by Islamist views, a new report suggests that incidents of Islamophobia rose by 57 per cent in 2016. This included a 44 per cent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes."

GCC funding of DC think tank and Western media at work: The silence of mainstream media over AwamiaSiege2017

"The planned "renovation" of the historic 400-year old Almosara district has been highly controversial. In April, the United Nations called on the Saudi government to halt the project, warning that it threatened "the historical and cultural heritage of the town with irreparable harm". “Residents have been pressured in many ways, including through power cuts, to vacate their homes and businesses without adequate alternative resettlement options, leaving them at best with insufficient compensation and at worst, with nowhere to go," said the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, Leilani Farha." (thanks Amir)

Look at this statement in the WSJ

It implies that Jews and Christians can't be radical: "“The disappearance of such minorities sets the stage for more radical groups to dominate in society,” said Mr. Johnson of the loss of Christians and Jews in the Middle East. “Religious minorities, at the very least, have a moderating effect.”"  Religious minorities don't necessarily have a moderating effect: Bashir Gemayyel and the Phalanges, not to mention Zionist groups in the Middle East have hardly had a moderating impact on the region.  

If only Americans would know: US government (under Obama and Trump) don't consider Al-Qa`idah in Syria as a terrorist organization

"And yet HTS has not been designated in the U.S. Canada, which usually follows the U.S. listing closely, has also not listed the group. The change is significant, and the U.S. State Department confirmed to CBC News that HTS members are no longer considered terrorists."

PS State Department reacted to this article but it did not explain how is it a mischaracterization:

Qatar versus Saudi Arabia

Qatari regime media are still being anti-Trump: it is one of the many signs of rift between Saudi and UAE regimes and the Qatari regime.  Wish them all ill, of course.

Michael Isikoff

Michael Isikoff started his "investigative" career by reporting on the dress of Monica Lewinsky.  Now he too opines on Syria.

Western human rights organizations are going along with this whitewashing of war crimes by Sudanese dictator

They would be furious if he was still aligned with Iran instead of the Saudi regime.  "Sudan has been removed from the US list of countries harboring and sponsoring terrorism. US intelligence has confirmed in a report to Congress that Khartoum is abiding by a number of conditions that would pave the way for lifting the sanctions imposed on the country for over 20 years."  Where are the Hollywood Dharfour groupies when you need them? (thanks Basim)

From the river to the sea

From the river to the sea--the passage of time notwithstanding.  

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The other side of Trump's relationship with Saudi regime

The warming  of Trump's relations with Saudi regime is coming at a very high price for the Saudi regime: in addition to the $100 billion in arms sale, they have already invested--at least---$40 billion in the US.  Basically, Saudi regime may empty its cash reserves by the end of the first Trump's term.  

Wow. DC Think tanks and their Gulf money: DC think tanks should be now housed at GCC embassies in DC

Look at his piece of pro-Saudi regime propaganda by Anthony Cordesman at CSIS: "The president not only needs to understand that Saudi Arabia is doing more than its share by any reasonable metric, he needs to understand that success of its 2030 reform plan is critical to modernizing Saudi society and keeping the steady pace of Saudi modernization and reform. From a human rights perspective, this plan is critical to providing economic security. There is no way it can be funded and implemented, however, unless Saudi Arabia can give funding reform the proper priority, and Saudi stability is an absolutely critical aspect of regional security.
The Kingdom is often criticized, and scarcely without reason, for some of its ultraconservative religious practices and its support of neo-Salafi Islamic Madrassas and religious efforts overseas. At the same time, its critics need to be far more careful about the possible alternatives. An unstable Saudi Arabia that does not provide effective security and stability around Islam's holy places presents a truly major threat in terms of terrorism and to the peace and development of the entire MENA region and Islamic world. The pace of reform in the Kingdom may sometimes be grindingly slow, but it also sometimes moves surprisingly quickly. What is critical is that reform almost always moves at a pace that leaves Saudi Arabia relatively stable in spite of the fact that its rulers and educated elite are leading a far more conservative people."

Pillaging Palestine's gas

"If the Israel-EU gas pipeline goes ahead, the EU may find itself complicit in the crime of pillage. The European Commission’s energy spokesperson declined to comment when asked for an explanation of the EU’s position on purchasing gas from Israel which might include illegally extracted Palestinian gas. The EU appears to be turning a conveniently blind eye to the colonisation of Palestinian energy resources."

Mainstream media are literally copy-and-pasting government press releases

"Rewriting press releases to mindlessly advance a government narrative is bad enough; literally plagiarizing government press releases in the service of the same ends is a whole new low in corporate media stenography." (thanks Amir)

Queen of England is standing with Western values


Apparently, US supported FSA leader is protesting with Nusrrah Front in Syria


Notice: Bret Stephens racist views on Arabs are not controversial; only his views of climate change are

See here.

I would love to know how the Middle East is taught at Liberty University

Link here.

Fadlo Khuri and the role of AUB

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "Fadlo Khuri and the Role of AUB".

What peaceful opposition in Venezuela?

"“A catalogue of the violence over the last 18 days is shocking – schools have been ransacked, a Supreme Court building has been torched, an air force base attacked, while public transport, health and veterinary facilities have been destroyed. At least 23 people have been left dead, with many more injured. In one of the most shocking cases of right-wing violence, at around 10 PM on April 20th, women, children and over 50 newborn babies had to be evacuated by the government from a public maternity hospital which came under attack from opposition gangs.”"

Human Rights Watch is promoting this myth that Venezuela is authoritarian rule (while Saudi Arabia and Jordan are not)

Best assessment of Venezuela that you will read:  "The idea that Venezuela is authoritarian has been repeated ad nauseam for nearly the entire eighteen-year period of Chavista rule, which began when Hugo Chávez was elected president in 1998. Until recently, it has been relatively easy to refute this claim, which ignores the fact that Venezuela’s ruling party has been repeatedly affirmed at the polls, winning 12 of 15 major elections between 1998 and 2015, and conceding on the three occasions when it lost (December 2007, September 2010, and December 2015). On the five occasions Chávez stood for office between 1998-2012 he won by substantial margins (his lowest margin was 55-44% in 2012, and his highest was 63-37% in 2006). Venezuela’s current president, Nicolás Maduro, was also democratically elected. Regularly repeated charges of electoral fraud are baseless, as fraud is all but impossible in Venezuela’s electoral system, which Jimmy Carter has called “the best in the world.”Yet, while previous claims of Venezuela’s authoritarianism have had little merit, this is no longer the case. A series of government actions since early 2016 has made it increasingly difficult to challenge claims that Venezuela is moving in an authoritarian direction. First, throughout 2016 the Supreme Court, which is clearly and even openly subordinate to the executive branch, blocked the opposition-controlled National Assembly, which won the legislative majority in December 2015, from passing any major legislation. In some cases, the legislature was attempting to act beyond its authority, for example, in seeking to grant amnesty to prisoners like Leopoldo López. Yet the Supreme Court’s systematic blockage of the National Assembly effectively rendered the opposition’s newly-captured legislative majority—and thus the December 2015 election results—null. Second, after months of dragging it feet, the government cancelled a constitutionally allowed recall referendum process in October 2016. Third, the government indefinitely postponed municipal and regional elections that should have occurred in 2016, according to the constitution (although Maduro recently moved to set a date for the elections). Fourth, as noted, the Supreme Court issued a ruling dissolving the National Assembly in March, before partially reversing itself days later, after Maduro asked the Supreme Court to review its decision. Maduro was spurred to action when his own attorney general, Luisa Ortega, took the unprecedented step of publicly condemning the Supreme Court decision as “a rupture in the constitutional order.” Fifth, in April 2017 Henrique Capriles, a leading opposition figure and two-time former presidential candidate (in 2012 and 2013), was banned from participating in politics for fifteen years, on highly dubious grounds.  By cancelling the recall referendum, suspending elections, and inhibiting opposition politicians from standing for office, the Venezuelan government is systematically blocking the ability of the Venezuelan people to express themselves through electoral means. It is hard to see what to call this other than creeping authoritarianism. But it is also hard to agree with characterizations of Venezuela as a full-scale authoritarian regime, given the opposition’s significant access to traditional and social media and substantial ability to engage in anti-government protest, notwithstanding certain restrictions (some if not all of which appear justified; such as limiting protesters’ access to parts of Caracas appear reasonable in light of repeated episodes of destruction of government property)." (source). (thanks Ben)

Friday, May 12, 2017

In Tripoli, Lebanon

The graffiti says: "Ibn Qayyim (Al-Jawziyyah) said: if you wish to see the darkness of great sins, look at the faces of Rafidah (Shi`ties)."  GCC money and ideology at work.

Cringe worthy? When Kenneth Roth tries to be funny

Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth)
Boat travel may not be so bad after all.
bit.ly/2r56Ki6

It seems that Lavrov is the only foreign official who refused to accept Trump's humiliating photo choreography

 
Of course, the Ukrainian foreign minister would have accepted to sit at the feet of Trump for the picture.  

No coverage anywhere of what is happening in Awamiyyah in East Saudi Arabia

I just received this:  "Urgent.  The town of Awamiyyah enters its 3rd day of siege with gun fire from the armored vehicles of Saudi emergency forces and tens of injuries, and news that a child was martyred, named Jawad Mu'ayyid Ad-Da'ir, 2 years old, from Ahsa"."

You should know: a Saudi preacher considers some emoticons to be Satanic


Tunisia: the successful model of the "Arab spring"?

The Tunisian president threatened to use the Army to quell demonstrations and protests in the country. I knew that this news won't be reported in Western media. It runs counter to the hegemonic narrative.

When mainstream US media become even more stupid than they usually are

"The officials cited the danger that a listening device or other surveillance equipment could have been brought into the Oval Office while hidden in cameras or other electronics. Former U.S. intelligence officials raised questions after photos of Trump’s meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov were posted online by the Tass news agency."  Why allow any foreigner into the Oval Office if there is such a fear?

US still making progress in Afghanistan

"The proportion of the country reckoned to be under uncontested government control fell from 72% to 57% during the 12 months to November last year".

The Syrian 7-year old is now a Turkish citizen

I
am sure that Western reporters will now be relying on her for political developments in Turkey.  When will this cruel abuse and political exploitation of this child end? When will the UNICEF intervene and snatch her form the exploitative claws of her parents?

William McCants: I can't keep up with the pro-Gulf regime propaganda by DC think tanks

"Foreign Muslim diplomats have told me that the new leadership is unusually responsive to complaints about the deleterious effects of Saudi proselytizing."  Those Muslim diplomats also told him that Saudi regime would even start elections if asked, and would let women drive cars if only they are asked.  

NPR has a new Middle East correspondent

NPR yesterday (in an internal memo) announced that they are appointing Ruth Sherlock as their new Middle East correspondent.  Of course, Sherlock does not know Arabic and among her scoops when she was at the Daily Telegraph was that story that Ali Mamlouk (which she co-wrote with none other than Carol Malouf) was under house arrest.  This is among her investigative reports from Beirut for the lousy Daily Telegraph.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Spots of Sectarian agitation in the Arab world

Marc Owen Jones is doing a study of sectarianism in the Arab world.  He plotted among 5000 tweets evidence of sectarian tweets.  The red is the most active, and blue means sectarian tweets were spotted.

The Middle East Institute, as arm of the Zionist lobby

This fellow at MEI monitors the Iran file, it says. He found a phrase in a sentence in Arabic which refers to fighting Israel, and MEI thought it was important to alert the world.  Israeli ministers threaten to destroy Lebanon and to hit at civilian targets almost weekly.  Yet, there are no alerts from MET telling the world of such threats.

When Ronald Reagan (far less intelligent than Mugabe) slept through meeting US media thought it was cute

Robert Mugabe isn’t sleeping when he closes his eyes during meetings, spokesman says

Chomsky

It is quite telling about the restrictive political atmosphere of the US that Noam Chomsky is a frequent guest more in foreign mainstream media than in US mainstream media.  

"Leaked report highlights Israel lobby’s failures"


source from EI

This is a big deal: please take note

Senior Fellow quoted in on 's strikes against the -s in

When the leader of the opposition is the likes of Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton....

You want both sides to lose.

Is this really the most significant matter of the day? How ridiculous

The White House allowed a Russian photographer into the Trump-Lavrov meeting but not a US one.