Thursday, January 29, 2015

Greek Politics

In one week, US and European media will start writing that the leftist Greek government failed in solving the economic problems of Greece.

McCain and Kerry discuss spreading secularism with young Saudi moderates

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

U.S. Special Operations forces (SOF) deployed to 133 countries -- roughly 70% of the nations on the planet

"During the fiscal year that ended on September 30, 2014, U.S. Special Operations forces (SOF) deployed to 133 countries -- roughly 70% of the nations on the planet -- according to Lieutenant Colonel Robert Bockholt, a public affairs officer with U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM).  This capped a three-year span in which the country’s most elite forces were active in more than 150 different countries around the world, conducting missions ranging from kill/capture night raids to training exercises." (thanks Amir)

Israeli occupation forces on fire

Netanyahus sued by former caretaker over 'racist and physical abuse': Zionism is always racism

" Benjamin Netanyahu is being sued by a former caretaker who alleges that he was subjected to racist and physical abuse by the Israeli prime minister’s wife, Sara.  Manny Naftali, 35, a former soldier, claims that he was subjected to humiliating treatment by Mrs Netanyahu, mostly with her husband’s knowledge.  In a suit filed to the Jerusalem district labour court, Mr Naftali, who worked for 20 months at the Balfour Street residence, described one incident when Mrs Netanyahu complained him about a Shabbat meal. “We are sophisticated Europeans,” she said, according to Mr Naftali. “We don’t eat as much food as you Moroccans. You are stuffing us, so that when they photograph us abroad, we look fat.” "

What is in a name?

From Basim: "And rest assured Israeli propagandists will go out of their way to cite the Zionist name for the area in order to give legitimacy to its occupation:

"Initial reports indicate a military vehicle was hit, apparently by an anti-tank missile in the area of Har Dov," the army said on its official Twitter feed, using Israel's term for the Shebaa Farms which is also close to the ceasefire line with Syria."

Wilson Center

I just noticed that media adviser to Rafiq Hariri is now "senior scholar" at the Wilson Center.   Washington, DC think tanks crack me up.

Shib`a Farms

Western correspondents in Beirut will manage to obscure the occupation status of Shib`a farms tomorrow. You will see phrasing as "Israeli-controlled" or "disputed Shib`a farms" or "a little tiny piece of land that no one cares about" or "why can't Arabs let Israeli occupation forces roam the region unmolested?"

And notice

That although the Hizbullah operation targeted Israeli soldiers in occupied parts of South Lebanon, Western correspondents will manage to make the attack a humanitarian calamity and will manage to talk to the families of the dead Israeli occupation soldiers and will make them to be the saddest people on the face of this earth.  Anything to serve Israeli propaganda, anything.

Hizbullah attacks Israeli occupation force in occupied South Lebanon but...

I am sure that Western correspondents in Beirut will forget to refer to the attack as "retaliation" in response to an attack by Israeli occupation force in Golan and they will also forget that the attack targeted occupation soldiers ON LEBANESE territory and not on this weird invention of "Lebanese-Israeli border".  Anything to serve Israeli propaganda. Anything.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Singer Sabah on Palestine

The late singer, Sabah, describes how the events in Palestine make her cry. (thanks Yusuf)


Notice that every story in the Western media refers to Syriza in negative terms as in "the anti-austerity" or the "anti-reform" there is always "anti" preceding any description of the party leaving us with the impression that they don't stand for anything except to reject.

In honor of Obama's visit, the Saudi royal family beheads

"Al-Zahrani repeatedly maintained his innocence throughout his trial and appeals, and pleaded to the late Saudi King Abdullah to intervene in a video, which circulated widely in social media. The video featured al-Zahrani’s allegations that police framed him, eliciting a Twitter hashtag in Arabic “We are all Moussa al-Zahrani.”

However, King Salman, like his predecessor, chose not to intervene in the execution. Saudi Arabia continues to apply the death penalty to cases of rape, murder and other offenses according to the theocratic kingdom’s strict interpretation of Islamic law."

For those who take seriously think tanks in Washington, DC: this is the Wilson Center

  I know that you have never heard of this man: by his own admission he received generous Saudi funding in the last parliamentary election to defeat Hizbullah because he a scion of an old feudal family in the South which succeeded in expelling all vestiges of feudal influences during the years of the civil war.  He managed to receive a whopping 1% of all Shi`ite votes in South Lebanon (see the detailed results of the election in the Electoral Encyclopedia of Lebanon published by Kamal Fghali).

Syrian rebels' indiscriminate bombardment of Damascus and Latakia: How HRW Kenneth Roth responds

As many Syrians on social media predicated, US media had not one word about the indiscriminate bombardment by Saudi-financed Syrian (m0derate, of course) rebels of Damascus and Latakia.  No worse, look how the director of Human Rights Watch reacted on Twitter: "Assad's slaughter of civilians is no excuse for rebels to fire indiscriminately on Damascus."  He always qualifies any mild criticism of the rebels and he sounds always as if he is affectionately chiding his comrade-in-arms.  So even if he wants to point out a war crime by the rebels, the focus is always on the regime.  Kenneth Roth would be a good spokesperson for the US government.  He never deviates from the talking points.


Stasi versus US security agencies

It is often said that the East German's totalitarian hold was unprecedented because Stasi had files about some third of all citizens. Correct me if I am wrong, but don't US security and "justice" agencies hold files over far more than a third of all citizens and visitors in the US?

hundreds of millions of records about motorists

"The Justice Department has been secretly gathering and storing hundreds of millions of records about motorists in an effort to build a national database that tracks the movement of vehicles across the country, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday."

BADASS malware

"According to The Intercept‘s analysis of the document, intelligence agents applied BADASS software filters to streams of intercepted internet traffic, plucking from that traffic unencrypted uploads from smartphones to servers run by advertising and analytics companies." (thanks Amir)

in mourning

Tomorrow I go back to school but I am not ready. What if I tell them that I am still in mourning over the death of the Saudi potentate? Will they believe me?

Obama: bringing up the issue of human rights with the Saudi potentate

Update: What Oabama will be eating in Riyadh

Dessert is misspelled as an alert reader on FB has noticed.

Chomsky on American sniper

"“‘I hated the damn savages I’d been fighting,’” Chomsky said, quoting Kyle. “‘Savage, despicable, evil — that’s what we were fighting in Iraq. That’s why a lot of people, myself included, called the enemy savages. There was really no other way to describe what we encountered there.’”"

The convoy of King Salman (when he was still a prince)

When will women be allowed to drive in...Jiryas Joel, New York?

"I grew up in a small, densely populated village in upstate New York called Kiryas Joel. And in Kiryas Joel, woman don’t drive. It’s a village of ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jews. In my hometown, women can't be jailed for driving like they can in Saudi Arabia. But driving is still forbidden. A woman who drives would risk being shunned, and her children expelled from the private Hasidic school. She could be excommunicated from the community."

My piece on Saudi political dilemmas

My latest blog post for Al-Akhbar English: "Saudi Political Dilemmas".

Monday, January 26, 2015

Finally: a Saudi prince who is eloquent and articulate

Meet Prince `Abdul-`Aziz Bin Fahd.

Ben-Gurion and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians

"Some readers may find it hard, as I did, to read Shapira’s brief treatment of the moment in 1948 when the commanders Yigal Allon and Yitzhak Rabin came to Ben-Gurion asking whether to carry out “a large-scale population evacuation.” Rabin reported that Ben-Gurion responded with a wave of the hand, saying “Expel them.” Shapira explains here that while he forbade the evacuation of some areas, like Nazareth, “like most of his ministers, he saw the Arabs’ exodus as a great miracle, one of the most important in that year of miracles, since the presence of a hostile population constituting some 40 percent of the new state’s total populace did not augur well for the future.”

Shapira doesn’t subject this incident to any ethical scrutiny or judgment, reporting it almost matter-of-factly. She does, however, note that given the history of the time — which included moving enormous masses of people across Europe and carrying out huge population transfers as part of the partition that divided Pakistan from India — Ben-Gurion’s decision wasn’t beyond the norm. “The decision not to allow the return of the Arab refugees was accepted as self-evident, and gained broad public support.”"

And now a paid word from Tony Blair

"Statement by Tony Blair on the death of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz"

unsurprisingly, it turns out that Liz Sly is also a propagandist for the House of Saud

This article by Liz Sly and her colleague deserves to be reprinted (and it will be) in full in a Saudi mouthpiece of princes.  She basically argues that the US is not catering enough to the Kingdom of horrors in its foreign policy.  Notice that not one critic of House of Saudi is cited in the article.

Senator MecCain on Islamic history

"“We’ve got thousands of foreigners over there in the largest caliphate in history,”".   There was a time when the caliphate, you ill-informed amateur, stretched from Western China to the Europe--and whatever else was in between.  

These Are The Most Stressed Out Countries

Here, an expert cited in the New York Times explains why the Houthis are not Hizbullah

"“They are domestic, homegrown, and have very deep roots in Yemen".  You see, Hizbullah is not domestic and is not homegrown and does not have deep roots in Lebanon.

The real Kingdom of horrors

"THE Western response to the death of Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, king of Saudi Arabia and custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, followed two paths. Along one, various officials and luminaries offered the gestures — half-mast flags, public obsequies — expected when a great statesman enters the hereafter. John Kerry described the late monarch as “a man of wisdom and vision” and a “revered leader.” Tony Blair called him a “modernizer of his country” and a “staunch advocate of interfaith relations,” who was “loved by his people and will be deeply missed.”  Along the other path, anyone outside Western officialdom was free to tell the fuller truth: that Abdullah presided over one of the world’s most wicked nonpariah states, whose domestic policies are almost cartoonishly repressive and whose international influence has been strikingly malign. His dynasty is founded on gangsterish control over a precious natural resource, sustained by an unholy alliance with a most cruel interpretation of Islam and protected by the United States and its allies out of fear of worse alternatives if it fell."

Saudi students in the US

"But the cultural gap is narrowing. Many members of the next generation of Saudi leaders studied in the United States, where there are currently about 54,000 Saudis studying. Gause said that the new generation “learned at their fathers’ knees that America was their big relationship.”" Anyone who thinks that the Saudi students in the US are automatic believers in the US-Saudi alliance is someone who has not freely listened to Saudi students in the US.  Furthermore, take into consideration that Saudi students are less likely to speak freely to someone if they think he is a supporter of the House of Saud.

The dirty hands of Israel, everywhere

"You approved the transfer of arms from the State of Israel – and not only through arms dealers – to Rwanda, and the Serbia of Slobodan Miloševic and the Serbian forces while the genocide was in progress.   The whole world knew about it in real time, and both of you also definitely knew.  Attorney Itai Mack and I have been working to uncover the facts about the arms deals that were carried out while the genocide was in progress, and when the United Nations had imposed an embargo on such sales. "

British hoping to profit from Saudi dungeons

"The UK Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is hoping to profit from selling its expertise to the prison service in Saudi Arabia, a country notorious for public beheadings, floggings, amputations and courts that regularly violate human rights. A new commercial arm of the justice ministry, staffed by civil servants, has bid for a £5.9m contract in Saudi Arabia."

U.S. poised to violate nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), again

"Nuclear commerce worth billions of dollars was meant to be the centrepiece of a new strategic relationship between the United States and India, allowing New Delhi access to nuclear technology and fuel without giving up its weapons programme."

the global nuclear threat

"Between 2014 and 2023, the United States expects to spend $355 billion to modernize its nuclear arsenal."

Free speech in France?

"French authorities have arrested dozens of people — including a comedian — for appearing to praise the terrorists or encourage more attacks. That has unleashed accusations of a double standard, in which free speech applies to those who mock Islam while Muslims are penalized for expressing their own provocative views. Many Muslims complain that France aggressively prosecutes anti-Semitic slurs, but that they are not protected from similar racist speech."

Foreign fighters

"Australian jihadis Khaled Sharrouf and Mohamed Elomar have been accused of enslaving and raping women from the Yazidi religious minority in northern Iraq." (thanks Amir)

King Abdullah Was Not A Reformer

A list of alternative reformers in the Gulf.

Muhammad bin Salman: the new Saudi Minister of Defense

Since the media coverage of the House of Saudi is corrupted (both in Arab and Western media) you should know that while Salman is mostly loved in Riyadh, his spoiled brat, Muhammad (who is to Salman what `Abdul-`Aziz was to Fahd) is hated and nicknamed "Muhammad the shit" by people in Riyadh for his corruption and land grabs.

Hizbullah delegation at the Saudi embassy

A Hizbullah delegation visited the Saudi embassy and offered condolences.  It thanked the Saudi King for his sectarian war in the region and for supporting Israeli aggression on Lebanon.

Angry Arab to Riyadh?

I feel that I am the only Lebanese who has not flown to Riyadh to offer condolences and to pledge allegiance to the new king.  Nabih Berri was inconsolable.