Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Merkava and the Fulbright Scholar: The Israel "security" sham

In Today's Wall Street Journal "What's News" an item on Palestine reads:

"The White house predicted Israel will relent on its decision to deny visas to Gazan recipients of Fulbright scholarships."

This is irrefutable evidence of the irrationality and vindictiveness of the Israeli government in its dealing with the Palestinians.

Denying the visas to the Fulbright scholars is further evidence that Israel takes measures against Palestine under the pretext of security when in fact these measures are taken out of a sense of entitlement, colonial supremacy, fear of international scrutiny and transparency.

The "security" sham must not be allowed to continue.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Tolerant Nasrallah, Intolerant Malkin: It's More than a Garment Thing

McCain's daughter is pictured wearing a scarf that looks like the Arab scarf, the Kaffieh.

Rachel Ray wearing the same scarf in a Dunkin Donuts commercial led to pressure from right wingers. This pressure resulted in Dunkin Donuts withdrawing this commercial. Too bad. Ms Ray looked great in the scarf.

But Dunkin Donuts did not want to deal with the controversy and Rachel Ray did not need the headache of a tiny minority of zealots using the web to call her "Jihadist Sympathizer" among other things.

Thousands of miles away, Hizbullah held a rally in Beirut.

The news item of the event had a picture of a young woman, dressed in Jeans and T shirt, holding Sayed Nasrallah's picture. This young woman looked like any average young woman in a Western city.

As any visitor to the areas dominated by the Hizbullah finds great diversity in dress from the ultra conservative chador to the tight Jeans and T- shirt. Unlike the Taliban, the Islamists of Hizbullah, surprisingly but smartly, have a liberal dress code for those living in their areas.

I am not surprised that the right wing goes after anything that puts Arabs or Arab symbols in a positive light. They hate Arabs and hate their symbols and want to make sure that nothing of Arabic origin be seen as normal and part of American culture (they should be consistent and stop using our Arabic numerals). The right wingers engage in a holy war against this scarf under the pretext that it is a symbol of radicals or terrorists. Millions of ordinary people wear these scarves in the Arab world. The fact that a few radicals and terrorists wear it does not transform its nature as an Arab garment. I have read that a number of those accused of hate crimes against Arabs in Chicago have a flag post on their lawn. Does this fact diminish the American flag?

I am not surprised. This is the same country where some elected officials had French fries renamed Freedom Fries. But the key difference between the campaign against French products and the Arab scarf is that the campaign on the scarf is a part of the effort to feed an image of the Arab as foreign, threatening and dangerous. An Arab scarf or something that looks like it worn by Ms McCain and Ms Ray takes away from that and that can never be allowed by the merchants of the Arab is evil and the Arab is the other.

When Hizbullah shows more tolerance to personal dress than Michele Malkin, we know that there is something wrong in the land of the First Amendment.

The Sunni- Shia Fitna: Two Fatwas-Shaykh Naim Qasim's and Shaykh Mawlawi's

Is there a Sunni Shia Fitna in Lebanon or not? It's good to know. Because if there is one, it should be dealt with before it festers and grows out of hand into something real ugly like what happened in Iraq.

MP Saad Hariri stated that the Fitna has happened due to the violations and trauma of May 7 events.

These comments have been faced with cynicism by the Hizbullah and its allies. Since MP Shaykh Saad Hariri and the 14th of March group are allied with the US- the charge is that it is the US (with its junior team member Israel), the convenient suspect for ALL Arab and Muslim ills, that is pushing for an alleged "Shia- Sunni Fitna."

The claim is that the US wants this Fitna and that its allies and friends are "shamelessly irresponsibly" etc. promoting this idea.

However, today in al Safir the leader of a Muslim Brotherhood group, al Jamaa al Islamiya, (which has the [bad] habit of other Islamists, that it blaming the US for everything and not giving it credit for anything,) told al Safir basically the same thing as Shaykh Saad of the Future Movement did.

In this Al Safir interview Shaykh Faysal Mawlawi stated that "the chief responsibility for the events of May 7 conflict is Hezbollah's and that Hizbullah should have preserved the sacredness of its weapons."

Shaykh Mawlawi stated that the [Sunni-Shia] Fitna has happened already.

"To us the heart of the matter is that Hizbullah is not realizing that the [Sunni-Shia] Fitna has already occurred. It's now in [people's] hearts. It would have increased multiple fold had it not been for the Doha agreement."

Shaykh Mawlawi is not a friend of ex- US ambassador to Lebanon Feltman nor a frequent guest at the US Lebanon embassy events. I doubt he is on their A, B or z list of invitees.

Shaykh Mawlawi's concern about Hizbullah's failure to realize what happened was validated in the same paper by Hizbullah's second in command, Shaykh Qasim of Hizbullah.

In the same paper, Shaykh Naim Qasim, is quoted from an interview with Satellite TV station Orbit that:

"we assure Arabs and Muslims there is no Sunni-Shia Fitna."

He stated: "There is no Shia Sunni Fitna. We don't want it and we are not contributing to its creation."


Add this to the litany of Shia- Sunni disagreements and differences that keep ordinary Muslims puzzled and at a loss.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Palestine Supporters and the State of Palestine

Where is the support for a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza among Arab Americans, Muslims Americans and their friends?

Where are the massive grassroots campaigns to create a momentum for a Palestinian state?

From Madrid to Oslo- the formula agreed on is land for peace, as to Palestine- a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza.

This is the Palestine struggle today.

The real struggle today is the creation of a state in the West Bank and Gaza.

The Arabs, Muslims, Palestinians, their friends and supporters, need to keep the goal of a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza, with Jerusalem as its capital, the center of their efforts.

But this is not the case.

There is too much energy spent on the Nakba and the issue of the refugees. These are core issues and should be focused on. However, the issue of a state on the West Bank and Gaza should be the centerpiece of action of the pro- Palestinian groups, Arab and non- Arab, Muslims and non Muslims.

Look at the events supporting Palestinians. See for yourself how much energy and effort is spent on activism for this goal. Not much.

For the Palestinians to have their state, supporters of their cause have to keep their energy focused on the creation of a Palestinian state.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

It's "a Kind of" Apartheid- Haaretz & President Carter

In "Our debt to Jimmy Carter," The Israeli newspaper Haaretz editorializes on the Israeli debt to President Carter for the peace agreement with Israel writing in part:

"Israel is not ready for such comparisons [with South Africa], even though the situation begs it. It is doubtful whether it is possible to complain when an outside observer, especially a former U.S. president who is well versed in international affairs, sees in the system of separate roads for Jews and Arabs, the lack of freedom of movement, Israel's control over Palestinian lands and their confiscation, and especially the continued settlement activity, which contravenes all promises Israel made and signed, a matter that cannot be accepted. The interim political situation in the territories has crystallized into a kind of apartheid that has been ongoing for 40 years. In Europe there is talk of the establishment of a binational state in order to overcome this anomaly. In the peace agreement with Egypt, 30 years ago, Israel agreed to "full autonomy" for the occupied territories, not to settle there."

Sunday, May 25, 2008

President Michele Suleiman : "Defensive National Strategy" and "Syria Diplomatic Relations"

It's official.

Army Commander Michele Suleiman is the President of the Republic.

In his acceptance speech, he emphasized the need for "diplomatic relations "with Syria and for a "national defense strategy."

This is remarkable.

These two echo the demands of the 14th of March coalition.

President Suleiman called for a "calm dialogue" on the issue of the weapons of Hizbullah in order to develop a "national defense strategy."

In effect, this is what MP Jumblatt has been saying- a "defensive" strategy (not offensive) where Hizbullah does not solely have the country's war decision.


This is an auspicious beginning for the Presidency of Mr. Suleiman.

The impressive turnout of Arab and other dignitaries means that the days of Lebanon being monopolized by one medium power are gone.

The future of Lebanon is an Arab and international responsibility.

Hope the events of May 7 never happen again.

King Solomon and Splitting the Baby

Al Arabiya TV has a program on Palestine.

In this program Arabs and Jews are interviewed about the 1948 war and its aftermath. At one point, the interviewer, to illustrate the refusal of the Palestinians to accept the UN partition plan, asked a Jewish Israeli if he knew the story of King Solomon and the two competing claims for a baby.

The Jewish interviewee says yes. He told the traditional reading of the story. There is a more reasonable reading of the story.

As a judge facing competing claims for a baby, the common thinking is that King Solomon devised a plan to find out who the real mother is.

King Solomon proposed splitting the baby with the understanding that the real mother would not accept the splitting of the baby while the false mother would.

King Solomon, the story goes, figured out that the woman that accepted spliting the baby is not the real mother so he gave the baby to the other woman- the real mother.

A more reasonable reading of the story is that King Solomon took what we now call the best interests of the child test. He reasonably concluded that a woman who would agree to splitting a baby is clearly unfit to raise a baby.

Splitting a baby means the baby would die.

Presumably, anyone even at that time knew that. The fact that the other woman would agree shows that either that she is mentally challenged and/ or mentally ill. In both circumstances, she would be unfit to take care of the child.

King Solomon gave the woman to the fit mother- his test did not reveal who the real mother is.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Sunni and the Shia Urban Myths and the Challenge of Coexistence

The Sunnis and the Shia: Adventures in Medieval Thought in the age of SMS

After the misadventure of May 7, the question being asked is how can the tension between the Shia and the Sunnis be reduced in Lebanon and in the Arab and Muslim world.

It is going to be a very difficult job. Take Lebanon for example.

In Lebanon they embrace modernity- they love Western toys of all kinds.
In a nation of about 4 million people, there are more than one million cell phone lines. It seems that almost everyone has a cell phone and a satellite television access.

The internet is widely used with no censorship.
But education and modernity do not change medieval outlooks.

The Amal and Hizbullah supporters, for example, had to place their flags on the light poles in majority Sunni areas. The sight of these men gave their tribe members feelings of power over the Sunnis while the other tribe felt that the Shia are out to humiliate them.

That sight, to me, reminded me of Neil Armstrong's moon moment.

When Neil Armstrong placed the American flag on the moon and made his one small step, one giant leap statement it was a moment of triumph for science, technology, humankind and rationality.

On the other hand, the flags on Lebanese poles stand for the opposite of everything that that American flag placed on the moon by Mr. Armstrong stood for.

It's a big problem we have in the Arab world.

I remember a wealthy engineer - a Shia- saying in the 1995 that PM Rafiq Hariri wants to kick the Shia out of Beirut! That simple. That successful millionaire with an engineering degree believed that his tribe in threatened by the Sunnis. No explanation and logic was needed.

Iraq is worse.

A highly educated Sunni Iraqi who lived in the West for years and dealt with scientific issues relayed to me, in all seriousness, what is obviously to me, not him, is an urban myth.

He told me, in all seriousness, that a Sunni woman told him that she was going through a Shia area in Baghdad when she saw a baby on a grill. She asked what's going on and she was told that this is a Sunni baby being cooked for the feast of Imam Hussein. I had to muster all my self control not to burst laughing at the idiocy of this anecdote.

What’s interesting is that both the Sunni and the Shia who shared urban myths of the threat against their communities are highly educated people. One only wonders what kind of myths the less educated classes are hearing and sharing.

The issue then is not an education and ignorance issue where the lesser educated and worse off have their grievances directed at the other group.

The issue is a lot deeper and scarier.

Super modern toys, medieval times.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Egypt's Mehdi Akif's Mujahid

The Islamists, including the Muslim Brotherhood, always criticize the US for not recognizing them and for distust of them (with the rare exception of the Turkish modern and democratic Islamists).

For example, the Palestinian Hamas always protests that the US is hypocritical for not recognizing them despite their gains in the Palestinian elections. They protest that the US as a believer and promoter of democracy should recognize them and engage them.

Voices from the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood have called for the US to pressure Mubarak’s government to ease the pressure on the Brotherhood.

The Arab Islamists also have protested that not all of them are terrorists and that the US and the West should deal with them as the up and coming force in the Arab and Muslim world after the nationalists and the secular groups have been allegedly discredited.

Today an interview in Elaph, (if the interviewer has been accurate and truthful), raises serious questions about the Brotherhood's position regarding terrorism and engagement with the US.

The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader, Mehdi Akif, told an interviewer from Elaph that Usama Bin Laden is “a Mujahid whose sincerity he does not doubt” and that he supports “Al-Qaida’s activities in response to oppression and corruption.”

For the interview see

Jumblatt in Al Shiraa

See in Al Shiraa of this week Hassan Sabra's analysis of the role of MP Jumblatt in managing the crisis of May 7.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Gains and the Losses of May 7 and the Doha Agreement

The May 7 2008 Hezbollah military misadventure in Sunni Beirut and the Muslim Druze Mountain and the Doha Agreement have handed the Saniora government and its allies major achievements.

Think of the reality before Doha.

The following is the reality of the political and economic stalemate that existed before the Doha agreement:

The Speaker of the Parliament, an ally of the Hezbollah had the parliament shut down thus making electing a President of the Republic impossible and precipitating the constitutional crisis of the vacancy in the top political position in the Republic.

Second, the Hezbollah and its allies erected about 1200 tents in the middle of downtown Beirut thus greatly suffocating the economic life in this economic and tourist hub and undermining investor confidence in Lebanon.

The Doha agreement has resulted in the decisions to reopen the parliament, and to elect the candidate nominated by the very same pro- government coalition, General Suleiman, as President of the Republic. The agreement also involved the decision, already implemented, to remove the 1200 tents choking the economic life of downtown Beirut.

In addition, and most importantly, Hezbollah’s misadventure of May 7 and the Doha discussions have changed the Lebanese and regional perceptions of Hezbollah.

On May 7 Hezbollah broke its pledge of not using its "holy and sacred weapons" against other Lebanese and as such, as US officials put it, “undercut its self- proclaimed mantle as a resistance movement against Israel.”

Before May 7 and the Doha agreement, Hezbollah opposed any discussion of its weapons on the pretext that its weapons are solely for the defense of Lebanon and were not and would not be used against other Lebanese. That is these weapons shoot only "South of the South" as the hugely popular singer Mr. Khalifeh's song has it.

These weapons to the shock and awe of the Arabs and Lebanese were used against largely defenseless other Lebanese- even the Sunni Mufti of the Republic highlighted this fact when he pointedly made an appeal addressed to the Arab and Muslim world against the group.

The effect of the May 7 misadventure can be seen on the regional level by a recent online poll by the satellite news Alarabiya channel where of 60,000 participants 70% said that the weapons of the Hezbollah have lost their legitimacy(

True the Hezbollah and its allies got a veto power in the cabinet. But Hezbollah has lost much of its soft power in Lebanon and in the Arab and Muslim world and its weapons are going to be an item on the national government and public agendas.

What the Hezbollah gained in the cabinet is quantifiable and limited but what it lost in soft power is priceless.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Doha Lebanon Agreement: Many Winners and One Loser

The Doha success has winners and a loser.

MP Aoun emerges as the biggest loser.
He insisted on a “transitional government.”
He wanted so bad to become President and thought the juvenile but deadly move of the Lebanese Opposition would lead to his coronation over Lebanon. He comes back from Qatar a broken old man. Good. No President of the Republic title for him -he deserves the title the Don Quixote of Lebanese politics.

Lebanon will have a President and the Camp of shame in Downtown Beirut will be dismantled and the filth left cleaned by Sokleen. I was a witness to what the squatters in the tent city wrote on the walls of the beautiful downtown- filthy words from filthy dark minds and hands. The words and the filth should be pictured and documented so that we do not forget.

As to MP Saad Hariri the success in Qatar shows that militias and street people with guns are not the key to political participation and political influence. MP Saad Hariri emerges from Doha a modern leader with hands unsullied by the dirt of street battles. He promised to rebuild again- he is to be believed, it seems to be the destiny of the Hariris to rebuild what others have destroyed.

As to the Arab world and Qatar- there were too many naysayers. But- Arab positive engagement - from Saudi Arabia , Egypt and Kuwait specifically, was the key to the halt of the descent into civil war and Iraqization.

As to Qatar-The Qataris have shown, again, that despite their country’s tiny size, they can play a big positive role in the Arab world.

They deserve much of the credit for the political agreement reached in Doha.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Holy Violence and Unholy Politics: Radical Islamists from Gaza to Beirut

The radical Islamist violence in Beirut, aided by a motley crew of has- been leftists, quasi fascists and nationalist groups, directed inwards, highlights the threat the radical Islamists pose to their own societies. Societies that have been sleeping while the radicals have been growing like wild and poisonous mushrooms on a spring lawn.

Despite their rhetoric that plays on legitimate national and economic frustrations, their goal is political power- unchecked- except by their own thoughts of what God really really wants.

Once in power, by ballot or by the gun, they would rule ruthlessly against others- just as their secular revolutionary predecessers communists did.

Some of yester year's communists have re-emerged, with the same old bearded face of leftist youth and folly, as radical Islamists. That seems odd but not really.

Both ideologies are rigid, absolutist, totalitarian and violence prone.

It’s disgusting the naïve and misguided support that they get from Western sources and a few Muslims and Arabs in the West.

These supporters live in a democracy, enjoying civil rights and civil liberties, while supporting groups that are clearly and violently against both.

These supporters and apologists defend a regime for others to live under- a regime that they would not accept for themselves for even one day.

The radical Islamists, whatever the brand name, share adverse positions on freedom of speech, civil rights, civil liberties, religious minorities, women’s rights and representative government as we know it.

In this day and age these rights are taken for granted as the norm- but the radical Islamists refuse them, mock them, fight them and oppress their compatriots that support them-

They have their own ideas of a utopia that never really existed except in their heads.

The use of “holy violence” stands out as another common theme- and people are "martyred" whether they want to be or not.

This use of violence is in many ways the post- modern religious incarnation of the radical Arab nationalist and leftist “revolutionary" violence to force one marginal, but well organized and fired up with zeal, group’s will on the rest of society.

As to the US- a common theme among these radical Islamists is an unhealthy obsession with America and an almost- comical kneejerk anti-Americanism.

This is true for all the radical Islamists from the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood to Hamas to the Jordanian Islamic Action Front to the Hizbullah and its lesser Islamist allies in Lebanon.

Lebanon Vigil pictures

For pictures of the vigil held in Dearborn to protest the violence in Lebanon, check

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Western Islam and the Jewish Experience

In Migrations and Cultures: A World View, Thomas Sowell writes about the great migrations- among them the Chinese (the largest diaspora in the world) and the Jews.

It is interesting that his arguments on the Jews, in many ways, apply to the Moslems in the US today- explaining why they are better off as a group in the US than they are in Western Europe.

Sowell writes:

“Where anti- Semitism was strongest and most implacable- Eastern Europe being again a prime example- Jews tended to be least assimilated in language or culture. Where acceptance was greater in Western Europe and their offshoot societies in North America and Australia-Jews tended much more to become culturally assimilated, citizens and patriots.”

Now about the Jews in the Muslim world, Sowell writes:

“Among the factors influencing the better treatment of Jews in Muslim lands during the early Middle Ages was that Jews were less conspicuous , or only one of a number of non-Moslem minorities in the Islamic world, while they stood out sharply as the only non-Christians in Europe- at a time when religion was an enormous influence.”

In an odd twist of fate-the same logic applies to the Muslims in the US.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Arab American News Report on Pro- Government Vigil in Dearborn

See below a report in the Arab American News on the Vigil held in Dearborn on Tuesday in support of the government of PM Fouad Saniora and against the violence there.

The reporter, Khalil AlHajal, wrote a balanced and thorough report. Kudos to him and the Arab American News for this fine reporting that is on par with reporting by any of the renowned national media:

Pro-government Lebanese demonstrate in Dearborn By Khalil AlHajal
- The Arab American NewsFriday, 05.16.2008, 02:25pm

Local supporters of both sides of the conflict weigh in on crisis in Lebanon

Dearborn — About 100 people gathered on the steps of City Hall here on Tuesday to protest violence in Lebanon over the past week that has left at least 65 dead and 200 wounded.
The protestors were supporters of the Lebanese government's ruling March 14 coalition, which has faced demands to step down from a Hizbullah-led opposition for the past 18 months.
Last week's violence saw  Hizbullah fighters take over west Beirut, overrunning Sunni supporters of the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.
"We need Lebanon, not another Iraq," said protestor Walid Nassif, Coordinator General of the Future Youth Association in the U.S. The Future Movement is the largest party in the March 14 coalition, Lebanon's majority bloc in parliament.
"I hope that this will not result in a Shi'a-Sunni conflict," Nassif said.
Fighting broke out in Beirut last Thursday after the cabinet announced plans to probe a private Hizbullah communications network and reassign the head of airport security over allegations he was close to the powerful Shi'a group. Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah called the moves a declaration of war and when they were not rescinded, opposition gunmen went on the offensive in Beirut. Fighting spread to north Lebanon, the Bekaa Valley and Druze areas south and east of Beirut.
Nassif said a cousin of his, a 26 year-old housewife, was killed in the Bekaa valley during one of the clashes.
"If this continues like this, we will not have Lebanon. It's very simple," he said.
Local college students who identified themselves as sympathizers of the opposition observed the demonstration from a distance.
"They have the right to freedom of speech… But the current government in Lebanon is illegitimate, and really, it's time for change. It's time that there's equal representation," said Rashid Baydoun, a Lebanese American pre-law student at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
Bilal Dabaja, another Lebanese UM-D student opposed to the Western-backed government, said he doesn't believe the conflict is about sectarian strife, but political alignments.
"This conflict is purely political," he said. "There’s no sectarian basis. All sects can be found on both sides… In any other country in the world, when there is such a strong opposition, you would see the prime minister resign and they would have elections."
He said that U.S. influence and support for the Siniora government has been the only thing keeping it in power in the face of massive, paralyzing civil disobedience campaigns over the past year and a half.
But Nassif said support from the U.S. has been limited to words.
"These past few days shows who has support from who," he said.
He said that if the U.S. had been deeply involved in the Lebanese government, there would have been more weapons to fight Hizbullah with.
"Where are the weapons from the U.S.? They have the weapons and we don't. Iran is helping to destroy Lebanon. If Iran really cares about Lebanon, they will support Lebanon," Nassif said. "We never want any other interference. We don't want no United States, we don't want Syria and we don't want Iran. It will not happen."
Dabaja said March 14 forces did have weapons, referring to reports that the Future Movement used a security firm to assemble a private force.
"They do have weapons. Weapons were found," he said.
He said the government is illegitimate because supporters of Hizbullah and its Shi'a and Christian allies that oppose the government make up a majority in Lebanon.
"Trust me, the majority of the people are not with the opposition," said Nassif in response.
"We respect Hizbullah when they fight Israel, but when they kill people in Lebanon, you know this is wrong," he said. "That's not the goal of a resistance… Because they disagree with their [opponents'] opinion, they want to kill them off."
Dabaja said elections should be held immediately to show who does have more support among the people.
"If you claim you have the majority, let's have elections," he said.
Edward Moussawer, a protestor from Troy who identified himself as a U.S. representative of the pro-government Lebanese Forces party, said the opposition should play by the rules.
"They should go through the legal way, to take [the government] down by voting," he said. "After two years, there's elections. Just wait. You should not use force."
Nassif said Lebanese people can no longer explain the existence of Hizbullah as a necessary entity to protect the county from Israel, now that the militia's weapons have been used against fellow Lebanese.
"We can't say that anymore. How are we going to explain this to our children, about what they did? How are we going to explain it to America, the officials? Shame on them. To kill their brothers and sisters… We live together. Shi'a and Sunni are brothers and sisters. If we disagree, we don't need to kill each other. If they disagree, they should sit down and have a dialogue… We want Hizbullah to go to the south and protect us from Israel… If [Hassan Nasrallah] believes that the weapons are more important than people, he is wrong… I hope that he doesn't mean that… I know that Hizbullah knows they made a mistake and are reflecting on what they did."
Dabaja said the violence was low-intensity, describing the clashes as being carried out by "individuals who are saying enough is enough."
Dearborn attorney and blogger Ihsan Al-Khatib, who demonstrated with the March 14 supporters, said he was glad the group could demonstrate peacefully in Dearborn with supporters of the opposing side looking on.
"They're not angry. Even though ugly things are happening in Lebanon," he said.
He said what troubled him most about the week of violence was the targeting of media outlets.
"It's unacceptable what happened to Future TV," he said.
Militants burned down the offices of Future TV, a television channel owned by parliamentary majority leader Saad Hariri's family, on May 9. The station began broadcasting again on Tuesday.
During the clashes, the Lebanese army refused to engage in the fighting in order to maintain its neutrality as a multi-sectarian institution that the rival camps both support.
Nassif said he was upset the army didn't intervene.
"The role of the army is to protect the civilians," he said. "I really don't agree with the army staying neutral. By them not doing that, they really are taking sides."
Baydoun said the actions of the militants and the neutrality of the army were justified.
"In the case of a legitimate crisis, there comes a time for change," he said. "The current government have yet to prove themselves. They haven't reached out to the opposition… The people of the south have been disenfranchised for decades. It's time for us to come together as a country."
Hizbullah officials said Thursday that it would return things to normal in Lebanon, reopening the airport and removing roadblocks, after the government reversed the decisions that triggered the bloodshed.
The announcement came after a high-powered Arab League delegation arrived in the country seeking a solution to the crisis, Lebanon's worst since the end of the 1975-90 civil war.By Khalil AlHajal - The Arab American News -->

Youtube Muslim Voters in the US- CNN clip

Hassan Sabra's "Second Invasion"

In this week's Al Shiraa, the Editor of the magazine Hassan Sabra analyses the new developments in Lebanon:

It's al Nakba, Just Like It's the Holocaust

The Israelis are mad that the UN Secretary General used the word al nakba.

Strange is the logic of the Israeli government.

The Palestinians were uprooted and transformed into refugees, their homes and land taken forcefully.

Palestinian heritage, many parts of it, is being stolen and called Jewish Israeli heritage. Even the Middle Eastern dish of Hummus they want to call it "Israeli dip."

1948 is the year of the Nakba/national catastrophe for the Palestinians.

This fact does not negate the need for a political solution to the conflict. This does not mean that peace is not achievable. This does not mean that the Palestinians are not ready for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

The Israelis and their friends and supporters can celebrate all they want- and call the creation of Israel any and all they want- a miracle, the best thing to ever happen to humanity, etc.

But for the Palestinian people it was and is a catastrophe. For the refugees living in camps and for the occupied colonized Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza it is nothing other than an ongoing nakba that happened in 1948.

By going after the word Nakba the Israelis are attempting to rewrite history for the Palestinians- trying to steal the memory and the name of the event.

That they can never succeed at. It is itched in the collective conscience of the people and no declaration will change that. The Palestinians live the Nakba every day.

Does the name al Nakba put Israel in a negative light? Yes it does. But it is the truth and the reality of what happened to the Palestinian people. Israeli historians have written about it. Those who read these Israeli historians will agree that the term Nakba is fitting.

Historian Ilan Pappe in his book Ethnic Cleansing in Palestine calls what happened in Palestine "ethnic cleansing." This cleansing, he argues,happened long before Slobodan Milosovic and his murderous Serbian thugs, driven by religious and ethnic hate, made ethnic cleansing a household term and endured a sustained bombing campain by the US for it.

The Israelis asking the Palestinians to call the loss of 1948 other than a Nakba is a travesty on par with the Germans asking the Jews to change the name of the Nazi slaughter of the Jews from Shoah/Holocaust to "the Unfortunate Incident."

Neither will happen.

Rightly so.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Debbie Schlussel: Lone soldier Pollard is better than Served her country with Honor Prouty

Kudos to the American legal system.

Today in the Free Press, reporter David Ashenfelter writes that the Judge in the case of ex-agent Nada Prouty “blasted [her] depiction as Hizbullah agent” by “one national media outlet.
Judge Avern Cohn stated that she had served her country with distinction in Iraq and imposed a minor fine on her.

On the other hand, Michigan’s resident Islamophobe and spy apologist, missing even an ounce of honesty or patriotism, has the gall of favorably comparing convicted spy Jonathan Pollard to Ms Prouty.

Ms Prouty violated her oath by making unauthorized inquiries in the FBI database. But-evidence was offered from other agents that she "repeatedly placed herself in harm's way and never compromised national security," the Free Press reported.

However, clearly Jonathan Pollard stole over one million classified documents and called himself a lone soldier for Israel in enemy territory [the nation of his birth and generous feeding, the USA].

Pollard is hugely popular in Israel- Israel recognized him as an agent and gave him Israeli citizenship. Israel uses any opportunity to pressure the US into releasing this man- to the great anger of the US intelligence community.

And- according to “conservative commentator” Schlussel, Prouty is worse than Pollard! Good God.

And they say conservatives are strong on defense!

Our federal judges are not elected. They have lifetime tenure because our Constitution sought to insulate them for political and popular whims. Judge Cohn is a courageous and honorable man. He refused to be influenced by the right wingers who have dishonorable motive and spread lies with no shame or moral inhibition.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Schlussel Spy Apologist: Obsession with the Lone soldier Jonathan Pollard

Convicted spy Jonathan Pollard is serving a lifetime sentence in jail for spying for Israel.

Israel has tried to secure his release to no avail.

Israel tried to tie the peace process to his release but Clinton refused due to the admant opposition of the intelligence community. This opposition was communicated forcefully to Clinton by ex- CIA Director George Tenet as told by Tenet's book in In The Eye of the Storm.

Pollard calls himself a lone soldier.

He is not.

Debbie Schlussle is a soldier in his army. Any chance she gets she raises his issue.

Poor Pollard, he "rots in jail" because he spied for "an ally."

A spy is a spy is a spy- he betrayed the US and then called himself a lone soldier in enemy territory.

It is common to have certain women fall in love with convicted killers. Schlussel is a spy apologist/lover who is obsessed with this convicted spy and any opportunity to defend him from rotting in jail.

There is a website for the defenders of Pollard.

The website reads "On November 21, 2007 Jonathan Pollard entered his 23rd year of a life sentence for his activities on behalf of Israel."

How lovely?

Activities is the new euphemism for spying.

The site reads that "on May 11, 1998, Israel formally acknowledged Jonathan Pollard had been a bona fide Israeli agent" and "in November 1995, Israel granted Jonathan Pollard Israeli citizenship."

The man is hugely popular in Israel. No wonder, he spied for them.

Wikipedia has the quote below on Pollard:

"Ron Olive, the agent in charge of counterintelligence for the Naval Investigative Service at the time of Pollard's arrest, published a book about the case in 2006.[4] Olive told the BBC that the incident was "one of the most devastating cases of espionage in US history" during which Pollard stole over "one million classified documents".[5]"

In Defense of Dr. Nawal Saadawi

Dr. Nawal Saadawi is a controversial figure.

Long time before Oprah spoke about her sexual abuse- Dr Saadawi broke all kinds of taboos when she wrote about being sexually abused by a relative- I think it was her grandfather if I recall right.

In the 1980s, during one of Lebanon’s civil war episodes of insanity, we had to seek refuge in Sidon. Our neighbor was a fan of Dr. Saadawi. She spoke highly of her and her writings. She lent me her copy of the book, Woman and Sex. I was fascinated by Dr. Saadawi’s writing on this taboo subject.

Today her writings, given what most people around the globe see on TV and on the web, seem very tame.

Alquds Al Arabi of London writes that someone sued Dr. Saadawi for insulting God and asking to have her denaturalized and denied the right to travel. It’s amazing that a lawyer would do that to this doctor.\13z34.htm&storytitle=ffمحكمة%20ترفض%20اسقاط%20%20الجنسية%20المصرية%20عن%20نوال%20السعداويfff&storytitleb=&storytitlec=

She is outspoken, controversial and in your face. But to be dragged in court, by a private party, to face loss of citizenship and the right to travel for offending God is outrageous.

And what kind of law is that in this day and age?

The time and energy that attorney spent suing Dr Saadawi could have better been spent providing free legal aid to Egypt’s poor, for example.

Kudos to the Egyptian courts for throwing this case where it belongs- in the garbage.

Of all the problems facing Egypt- the least of anyone’s worries is Dr. Nawal Saadawi.

Even Mr. Hoss Says: Stop Harassing the Beirutis

Ex Prime Minister Salim El Hoss is a gentleman.

I met him one time along with a schoolteacher friend who was appealing to him her tenure case. He was Minister of Education at the time.

What I recall about him is that he is a good listener, and a polite man. He listened to her patiently and promised to see what he can do about it.

However, as a politician representing the Sunnis in the government, many see him as a disappointment. In the last election he was unable to win a seat for himself or for any other member of his electoral list.

The reasons are many.

One of them is his gentle demeanor, perceived in the jungle of Lebanese politics as passivity.
When the Amal Movement militia in the 1980s was attacking the Beirutis, a group of Beirutis went to meet him to complain and ask for guidance. His response was the Shia and Sunnis are brothers. Let us be the brother that is being killed and not the brother doing the killing. This story was relayed to me by a number of people including the affable Hassan Jaber, the publisher of the Dearborn Arab American publication Al Sabeel.

Of course, most Beirutis were not too happy with this attitude and when they had the chance they communicated their unhappiness by soundly voting him out of any political office. [ Occasionally during the past months, a number of Beirutis stop by his house to hurl epithets].

Today- Mr. Hoss fancies himself as representing a third way between the pro government and Opposition forces. In reality, his record shows he is solidly pro-opposition.


Today Mr. Hoss had an appeal reported by Elaph and translated by me into English. His appeal echoes MP’s Saad Hariri’s to a certain extent:

“Mr. Hoss explained in his press release that a number of young men [supporters of Shia militias who put their weapons home] are gathering in some areas and stopping [the Sunni residents] pedestrians [and asking for their IDs]. This practice [meant to harass and humiliate Beirutis] should not be continued. He also urged the removal of partisan flags, pictures and slogans meant to challenge and antagonize the [Beiruti] residents. "

How these hate- and- resentment producing transgressions against Beirut are supposed to serve the cause of "the resistance" only God and Ahmadinijad know.

Below is the Arabic excerpt:
واوضح الحص في تصريح صحفي قائلا ان بعض الشبان يتجمعون في بعض الاحياء ويعترضون سبيل المارة وهذا لا يجوز استمراره داعيا الى ازالة بعض معالم الاستفزاز من مخلفات يوم الاشتباكات وبينها الاعلام الحزبية وبعض الشعارات والصور.ا

Unholy Silencing of the Future: SSNP Flags, Hizbullah's Hand

While the flags hoisted on the attacked, looted and closed Future TV are the flags of the quasi- fascist Syrian Social National Party, those who shut down Future TV are the Hizbullah as the quote below from a Lebanese reporter shows:

“On Friday morning, Future TV, a pro-government private channel owned by family of Sunni leader Saad Hariri family, was prevented from broadcasting by Hezbollah, the Shiite militia. After warning the employees to evacuate in a well-calculated operation, men entered the station and cut key cables to prevent the channel from broadcasting.”

The pro- Hizbullah editor of Al Safeer, Talal Salman, wrote against this closure:

"We must raise our voices to protest and condemn the unjustified and unacceptable attacks on some of the media and cultural institutions in Beirut and specifically our colleague the Future newspaper and Future television," the editor in chief of Assafir newspaper, Talal Salman, wrote in a fiery editorial.

MP Saad Hariri on the War on Beirut

Einstein, God and Israel

Today the French agency AFP had a story on Einstein. “Belief in God 'childish,' Jews not chosen people: Einstein letter”

The story reads:

“Albert Einstein described belief in God as "childish superstition" and said Jews were not the chosen people, in a letter to be sold in London this week.”

“In it, the renowned scientist, who declined an invitation to become Israel's second president, rejected the idea that the Jews are God's chosen people.”

"For me the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions," he said.

"And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people."
And he added: "As far as my experience goes, they are no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything 'chosen' about them."


But no one takes their faith from a scientist.

Belief or disbelief is a matter of the heart, not the brain.

The abuses inflicted on the Palestinians- a great man like Einstein wanted no part of it.

As to religion and science they should be separate and apart- all attempts to use one to prove another are a great waste of time.

Bowing to no Militia: The Druze of Lebanon

Mount Lebanon in historically the home of the Druze and the Maronites of Lebanon. The Druze, while few in numbers, have been able to leave their marks on the histroy of Lebanon.

Though armed only with personal weapons they valiantly defended their homes, honor and dignity from the invading militias.

Today the Druze of the Mountain are awaking from the shock of Lebanese heavy weaponry used on them by fellow Lebanese- as the Lebanese al Akhbar reported.

Shaykh Naim Hassan, the spiritual leader of the Druze community of Lebanon said a few words words that capture the feelings of all the Lebanese that were attacked by the Hizbullah militia and its lesser allies.

"We are a people of peace not surrender, our sect does not bow except for God."

شيخ عقل الطائفة الدرزية: نحن دعاة سلم لا استسلام ولم تتعود طائفتنا على الخشوع إلا لله تعالى

Monday, May 12, 2008

Norton's Hezbollah: From Evolution to Devolution?

In his excellent book on the Hizbullah, Hezbollah(2007) , Augustus Richard Norton writes:

“Over the last fifteen years, Hezbollah has evolved from an Iranian influenced conspiratorial terrorist group rejecting participation in Lebanese politics, to a party with considerable autonomy and a talent for playing politics and winning elections.” (p. 6).

True until???

The 2006 July operation to capture Israeli soldiers in Israel provoked the July War or “Harb Tammuz.” The Hezbollah admitted miscalculating then and Israel unleashed a massive attack on Lebanon.

Did the Hizbullah miscalculate again by using their weapons in the ongoing May War "Harb Ayyar" against other Lebanese- regardless of the reasons?

Norton writes that the 1975-1990 Civil War in Lebanon resulted in 150,000 dead- in a country of a little more than 3 million people at the time.

What now?

Will the new version of Norton’s book have the same conclusion about the group’s evolution or is it going to write about a devolution?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Lebanese Al-Akhbar Reports from the Field: The Future Movement Has no Weapons

"Militia al Mustaqbal"-

A blatant lie that was spread in a manner that would make Paul Joseph Goebbels the German propaganda minister blush.

The opposition newspaper, not a friend of the Future Movement and its leader, reports from the Future- supporting- area of Tarik al Jadidah how the youth there are angry that MP Shaykh Saad did not provide them with weapons.

This is further testimony that refutes the grand lie of a Future Movement militia.

The citizens of Beirut were defenseless to the military attack of Hizbullah and its lesser allies.

The excerpt from the Al Akhbar, translated, reads:

"The youth of Tarik Jadidah are disappointed that their leader left them [defenseless] at such a historical juncture. They waited for him to provide them with weapons to defend their pride. He did not do so."

Of course he did not. The Movement is not a militia. The army and the police were supposed to defend the civilians.

يعتب شباب الطريق الجديدة على زعيمهم الذي تخلّى عنهم في ظرف مصيري. انتظروا منه أن يزوّدهم بالسلاح دفاعاً عن كرامتهم، إلاّ أنه لم يفعل ذلك، "ا».

Suggestion: Let Shaykh Tofaili Write in the Arab American News

Irony. What an irony?

Mr. Ali Mansour of the Arab American News defends the bloody sectarian tinged coup in Beirut from Chase Street-Dearborn, Michigan- USA.

And the previous leader of the Hizbullah- from Baalbeck condemns it and shows more sensitivity and tolerance of others!


Below is a translated excerpt from the Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar:

"The former leader of Hizbullah, Shaykh Sobhi al Tufaili stated that Hizbullah's directing its gunfire toward other Lebanese has made these weapons lose their sacredness- regardless of the excuses [for this internal use of these weapons]. Hizbullah did not need to escalate the situation. In addition, the military deploment of Hizbullah [fighters] in Beirut opened the gates of hell and no one knows how they will be shut. [One wonder why the Hizbullah would make such a move]unless there are other reasons for what happened, reasons that we do not know [Hizbullah is not stating].

For this position, let's name Shaykh Tofaili an honorary Dearborn Arab American and make him a writer in the Arab American News Arabic section to increase tolerance and reason.

وفي موازاة كل هذه التطورات السياسية والأمنية، برز أمس الحديث الصحافي للأمين العام لحزب الله الأسبق الشيخ صبحي الطفيلي الذي

قال من منزله في عين بورضاي في بعلبك إن : «توجيه سلاح المقاومة إلى صدور بعض اللبنانيين في بيروت أفقده قدسيته، رغم كل المبررات التي تساق»، وأضاف أن حزب الله «ليس بحاجة مطلقاً لأي تصعيد، فضلاً عن الانتشار العسكري في بيروت الذي فتح أبواب الجحيم، ولا نعلم كيف ستغلق، اللهم إلا إذا كانت هناك أسباب أخرى لما حصل ونحن نجهلها».

Snuffing the Future, Enabling AlQaeda?

The Future Movement is not a militia.

MP Shaykh Saad is not a militia leader.

His father was not either. Both are modern statesmen with visions of prosperity and development for the country of Lebanon.

The Future Movement is a political grouping that is multconfessional and led by the Sunni MP Saad Al Hariri.

There were vile rumors that the Future Movement has a militia being trained in Jordan and Egypt.

These were blatant lies.

The Movement has no militia. It has a number of security personnel that guard its institutions. These security personnel are armed with light personal weapons. The suppporters of the Movement have personal weapons that they used to defend themselves and their homes. No heavy wepaons- no military training. What happened in Beirut was a one sided conflict- Beiruti civilians being run over by a trained and armed- to- the teeth military force driven with fervent exclusionist ideological zeal.

The rapid invasion and conquest of Beirut by the Hizbullah and its lesser allies should put the myth of a Future Movement militia to rest once and all.

There is no blood on Shaykh Saad's hands.

Still though an 'Islamist "thinker"' (some think this is a contradiciton in terms) Egyptian Fahmi Howeidi still alleges that the Future Movement had a militia training in Jordan and Egypt!

The Globe and Mail had a good piece on the conflict in Lebanon and the Future Movement that captures the reality and the fears- here are excerpts:

"Despite its popularity, the Future Movement had no fighting wing that could stand up to Hezbollah or Amal. Even as the government became more deeply embroiled in the escalating political standoff with the heavily armed Hezbollah, it directed its efforts – and the funding it received from the United States and its allies in the Sunni Arab world – into building up the national army as a military counterweight."

Counting on the army and the security forces did not work for the civilians of Beirut:

"That strategy failed last week, as the army, afraid of splitting along sectarian lines, stood aside as Hezbollah captured West Beirut and briefly made Mr. Hariri a prisoner in his own home."

The Hizbullah and supporters attacked and burnt Future Movement institutions- offices, tv station, radio station, newspaper. They shut down all the media outlets for the Future Movement. They closed all their offices. They pursued their supporters.

Even the Hariri Foundation, which educated more than 34, 000 Lebanese of all sects, some say the biggest group educated was the Shia Lebanese, did not escape the tribal wrath. It was also attacked and destroyed.

Who benefits from attacking a moderate secular group supported by Sunni Lebanese?
Who benefits from an attack that has taken a sectarian coloring?
Who benefits from the Sunnis of Lebanon feeling wronged and defenseless?

The bad old AlQaeda that has wrecked major havoc in Iraq.

Is it Lebanon's turn?

The Globe and Mail writes:

"With Sunni rage rising and Mr. Hariri discredited in the eyes of many, some now worry that al-Qaeda-style radical Islamists could fill the void and give deadly direction to the anti-Shia sentiment, as in Iraq. Last year, an al-Qaeda-affiliated group seized control of a Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon, prompting a 14-week battle with the Lebanese army that left 385 dead, nearly half of them soldiers."

Saturday, May 10, 2008

MP Jumblatt Insightful Analysis: Lebanon and Hizbullah

In an interview with Al Arabiyah TV MP Walid Jumblatt raises sharp questions about the role of Hizbullah and the relationship with the Lebanese State, the war and peace decision, and the national agenda.

At this time when Hizbullah committed the sin of using its weapons against defenseless Lebanese citizens, this analysis is as relevant as ever.

Lebanese Future TV anchor appeal

Sahar Alkhatib from Future TV, a tv station destroyed by Hizbullah and supporters, speaks of the experience of the attack.

Appeals from Lebanon

Appeal of the Mufti of the Republic regarding the attack on Beirut.

Aoun's sour Grapes

Listening to MP Aoun cheer the bloody coup in Lebanon as a new beginning reminded me of a quote from Khalil Gibran I read in Barriers to Democracy- The Other Side of Social Capital in Palestine and the Arab world by Dr. Amaney Jamal of Princeton.

“The Tyrant calls for sweet wine from sour grapes.” Khalil Gibran

Friday, May 9, 2008

Arab American News Writer Shameless Cheerleader for the Hizbullah Bloody Coup in Lebanon

In Beirut, Hizbullah supporters engaged in a bloody coup against the legitimate government of Lebanon.

The Opposition looted and burned the offices of the Future Movement. The Hizbullah and its allies burnt the Future TV station and the Future Movement newspaper.

The Hizbullah militants and supporters walked the streets of Beirut flashing victory signs and shooting their rifles in the air.

All that in the capital of Lebanon- Beirut.

Such a development has been widely condemned.

The US government condemned it. All other governments, except Syria and Iran, condemned this development.

The media coverage of the events in Lebanon showed chaos, shootings, frightened civilians, bullet holes on house walls, burnt cars, stone throwing, and groups of Sunni youth and Shia youth exchanging epithets.

Not a pretty picture.

Across the board condemnation of this ugly development?

And in Dearborn?

In Dearborn, in The Arab American News, these tragic developments were defended by a local writer , Ali Mansour, in the Arabic section of the Arab American News.

The Arab American News is published by veteran Arab American activist Osama Siblani. Its Arabic section is completely independent from its English section. It is fair to say that the Arab American section is the English section only. Oddly, Ms Kay Siblani, who is not Arab herself, has succeeded in keeping her section above the fray of petty Arab conflicts.

Not the Arabic section.

In fairness, the Arabic section has very good writers. For example, Mr. Adnan Beydoun’s columns, while they have a certain point of view, they provide superb analysis that is devoid from blatant sectarianism, the modern disease of the Arab world.

I have written before about a writer in the Arabic section that had a vicious sectarian attack on MP Walid Jumblatt [the fact that the dean of Arab prisoners in Israel, Sameer al Qintar, belongs to the same sect as MP Jumblat escaped that writer's notice]. She does not seem to write in the paper any longer.

Below are translated excerpts from Mr. Mansour’s column in the May 10-16 paper:

“Hizbulah Breaks the Wall of the Threat of a Fitna/Sectarian Conflict:”

“Hizbullah has for long feared a Fitna that the [Saniora] government of Lebanon has threatened him with and promised him in case it resorted to the street option [violence?] to bring down the government of Lebanon and change the status quo.”

“The government put two options before the Hizbullah. The first option is remaining silent before the government decisions and limiting itself to political protest and popular protest that neither effective nor efficient. Taking this option means the Resistance has submitted to threats and opened the door for its disarming. Hizbullah’s accepting the removal of its private communication system would whet the appetite of the government to disarm Hizbullah in return for avoiding the threat of Sunni-Shia conflict.”

“The second option Hizbullah had is the violent confrontation in the streets to make the government understand that the Resistance’s weapons are untouchable. Nothing is taboo when the weapons are threatened. If one group of Sunnis in Lebanon [he means the multi confessional Future Movement block led by the Sunni Shaykh Saad Al Hariri] is against the Resistance and tacitly allied with Israel, that party is responsible for what might happen in Beirut and other areas of Lebanon. And if the [Sunni]Mufti Qabbani allows himself to feed the conflict then he and his followers [the Sunnis of Lebanon?] are responsible for the consequences[ as seen on TV].”

“Hizbullah,with the participation of Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri, took the second option to protect the Resistance’s weapons and to confront the threat of a Sunni-Shia conflict."

“Hizbullah did not use its heavy stick [against the defenseless Beirutis] but offered the government and the Future Movement a sample of what would happen if the Resistance’s weapons are touched.”
“Hizbullah broke the sectarian Fitna and proved that it can control most of the Sunni area of Beirut without a Sunni-Shia Fitna [the Sunnis have no militia to counter the Hizbullah]. This way it removed the threat of blackmail and threat of Fitna that the government used to make.

The Hizbullah has new rules for the [political] game and the outlines of these rules will be clear in the following days [As Chris Mathews would react, HA, and how does he know, one might wonder?].

The most important rule is that the time of marginalization and carelessness[ in dealing with Hizbullah] from the government are gone and that the government parties have to deal with a new status quo.”

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Lebanese Attacked By Iranian Weapons- Iraq Style

Future Movement offices in Beirut have been attacked by Hizbullah mobs using Iranian weapons.

Beiruti civilians have been attacked. Beirut's streets closed by burning tires. The airport shut down by hoodlums and thugs.

This is open blackmail of the government of Lebanon.

There should be one army and one State- the Lebanese state and the Lebanese army.

This is a watershed event in Lebanon's history.

Either the state wins or a foreign sponsored militia wins. We will see.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Lebanese state or the Ministate? This is the question

There is widespread chaos in Beirut today. The Lebanese state is facing the might and fury of the Syro-Iranian axis.

Seemingly alone.

MP Aoun at one of his rare lucid moments, while confronting the Christian Lebanese militias, asked the Christians of Lebanon an existential question:

Do you want the Lebanese state or the Christian ministate?

Years have passed on that rare lucid moment.

Now the question is for the Shia of Lebanon- about 30% of the population and the only community with a heavily armed militia:

Do you want the State or the Hizbullah ministate?

The steps the government of Saniora has taken that infuriated the Syro-Iranian axis are:

1. Removing the Shia head of airport security at the airport for suspicions of illegally collaborating with Hizbullah.

This relationship makes the airport a de facto Hizbullah run airport. The man could have easily been replaced by another Shia if the issue is whether a Shia heads that vital institution of the state. However, the violent reaction of the Hizbullah to this removal is irrefutable evidence of this unacceptable relationship between the head of airport security and the Hizbullah.

2. Deciding to remove the illegal phone network that the Iranians built for the Hizbullah and prosecute those responsible for this flagrant aggression on state power.

3. Investigating the army intelligence reports, shared with the media by MP Walid Jumblatt, about Hizbullah surveillance cameras that have been illegally installed to monitor airport traffic of the runway that is used by state dignitaries.

MP Jumblatt raised the possibility of this suveillance being a part of assassination plots against allies of the Saniora government and friendly foreign dignitaries.

These steps are supported by all the communities in Lebanon- most importantly by the Maronite Patriarch, the Sunni Mufti of the Republic and the Druze religious leadership- of course, except for the main leaders of the Shia community who rotate in the Syro-Iranian axis.

The international community should declare Lebanon a country facing open Iranian and Syrian aggression through their proxies and take any and all steps needed- including military intervention- to rescue the country from the plans to make it another Iraq.

This is an open conflict that the Lebanese State must win.

It will.

How big the cost is going to be is the question.

The Problem with Islamists- Palestine example II

Ex- President Carter met with Hamas leaders in Damascus. During these meetings, the exiled leaders reportedly indicated to ex President Carter their willingness to be part of the peace process and to accept all the elements it entails from renouncing violence to recognizing Israel.

After the meeting, not surprisingly, followed clarifications and follow ups on what Hamas really said and meant.

Mr. Carter should have known better.

Hamas is incapable of meeting the internationally accepted requirements of peace with Israel.

Hamas got invovled in elections in an entity, the PA, that was the product of Oslo. By participating in the electoral process, Hamas de facto accepted the process that produced this entity.

However, Hamas wants to have its cake and eat it too. They want to rule over Oslo's creation while refusing the premises of the Oslo agreements. This is disingenious.

Detaching themselves from modern political and diplomatic language, insead of peace, they offer a long term Hudna/truce with Israel.

Well, Hudna did not create the PA.

The Islamists of Hamas have put themselves in an untenable situation. They have participated in a process that is built on premises that they fundamentally reject due to their conception of Sharia.

But getting into the political process, they have known all along what it involves. If their political ideology makes the necessary compromises impossible, they should have stayed away from the process and saved everyone the wasteful mental gymnastics of deciphering what they are saying about modern political problems in order to remain Sharia compliant.

However, the Islamists of Hamas could not resist the opportunity to rule over people and impose Sharia rule on them. This is why they got into the process.

It is not for Palestine, it is for political ideology alone that they wanted political power.

The Problem with Islamists- Palestine example

There are many problems with the Islamists.

One of them is their lack of recognition of the nation state. Their goal is the implementation of Sharia on society.

If any foreign power rules over with Sharia- then this power is more legitimate than a Palestinian national secular authority. Sharia is above everything else- nation, country, language, customs, traditions, etc.

This explains the relationship/coexistence of Hamas and Israel up to the beginning of the Intifada. Some observers note that Israel nurtured or at least looked away when Hamas was being formed and activated in the hope it weakens the PLO and injects conflict into the Palestinian movement.

To Hamas, with its origins and political ideology rooted in the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, secular rule is unIslamic/Kufr [some Muslims scholars have challenged labeling secular rule as Kufr- Ali Abd al Raziq and lately Imam Ali Al Ameen of Tyre in Lebanon], whether it is Israel or the PLO/PA that is ruling. From an Islamist point of view, having a secular Palestinian governmet is not an improvement over the Israeli rulers.

The Islamists cite the verse that reads that those who do not govern by Sharia are kafiroon/infidels. This is the Mulsim Brotherhood concept of al Hakimiya, which means the supremacy of Sharia as a governing set of laws/rules. Kafiroon are also the rulers that do not apply the Sharia regardless whether the rulers are Muslim by religion/faith or not. [Sharia is Muslim scholar made common law and not the rigid unambigious laws it is believed/promoted to be]

The irony is that the goal of the Palestinian national movement was return of the refugees and the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Neither goal is a particularly Islamic/Islamist one. They are both quintessentially secular.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Iran and the Shia Iraqi Militias

President Bush is right on Iran.

Iran should stay away from Iraq and stop aiding and abetting, plus arming to the teeth, the sectarian Shia militias of thieves, thugs and killers.

President Khatami in a way echoed President Bush’s statements. Khatami’s remarks about Iranian meddling in the affairs of others created a firestorm inside Iran- some questioning his Iranian patriotism.

If Khatami and President Bush are raising the same issues about Iran- it’s time the regime should start rethinking its foreign policy.

Today in the Wall Street Journal World News an item on Iraq reads:

“Iran called off further Iraq security talks with Washington until US forces stop their crackdown on Shiite militias.”

The item also reads:

“Washington has long accused Iran of arming and training some Shiite militia factions. The accusations were sharpened Monday as the military said detainees described being trained at bases outside Tehran by militants from Hezbollah, an Iranian-aided faction based in Lebanon.”

The Shia militias and the Alqaeda Sunni bloodthirsty terrorists are two sides of the same coin- both a threat to Iraq and its people.

Iraq the state cannot function again unless the Shia as well as the Sunni extremists are soundly defeated- whether Iran likes it or not.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Between Khatami and Jumblatt: Questioning the Iranian Regime's Foreign Policy

Yesterday Lebanese leader Walid Jumblatt dropped a bombshell on the Lebanese political scence by making a number of sensational accusations backed by documents issued by the Lebanese army intelligence.
Jumblatt asked for the eviction of the Iranian ambassador and the ban of Iranian flights to Beirut. He accused Iran of sending armaments to Lebanon in violation of international resolutions and basic international norms.
Mr. Jumblatt’s comments are neither anti Shia nor anti Iran the people and the Persian civilization.
Incidentally, these comments, in a way, were echoed by former Iranian President Khatami, a charismatic man.
As an Arab and a Muslim, I want good relations with our important neighbor Iran.
But the hardline rulers of Iran have not been helping.
Criticizing Iran’s policies does not mean hate of the Iranian people or the Shia.
The French agency AFP reports from Tehran that “[f]ormer Iranian president Mohamad Khatami was under fire from hardliners on Monday after comments interpreted as accusing the country's clerical leaders of supporting insurgents in the Middle East. The hardline Kayhan newspaper accused the reformist Khatami of tarnishing the Islamic republic's reputation by implying it was carrying out "sabotage" work in other countries through insurgent groups.”
It’s not?
Mr Khatami was quoted:

"What did the imam (Khomeini) mean by exporting the revolution?" he asked in the speech Friday to university students in the northern province of Gilan, according to the Kargozaran newspaper.
"Did he mean that we take up arms, that we blow up places in other nations and we create groups to carry out sabotage in other countries? The imam was vehemently against this and was confronting it," he added.

The AFP story continues:

"His speech has been seen by some observers as accusing the Iranian authorities of encouraging militants to destabilize the Middle East, in particular Iraq and Lebanon.
The controversy comes at a particularly sensitive moment.
The United States has stepped up accusations that Shiite-majority Iran is arming and training Shiite militias in Iraq and is working to destabilise Lebanon through the Shiite militant group Hezbollah.
Iran vehemently denies the charges it is destabilising Lebanon and Iraq saying that foreign intervention in both nations are the root cause of their crises.”

Former President Khatami is an enlightened man and makes a great job as the public face of Iran and the world's Shia. One wishes he ran things in Iran- that would greatly help regional peace and relations with the West.

Khatami would bring normal relations with the Arab neighbors and the West.

Secretary Rice and the Israeli stranglehold over Palestine

Israeli roadblocks- in addition to the brutal occupation that involves massive theft of land and other resources- are a major source of Palestinian aggravation in the West Bank and Gaza.
The US has been trying to persuade the Israelis to remove them.
Israel yells “security,” the excuse for all the violations of human rights as well as basic decency in dealing with the colonized Palestinians.
If the Israelis could, they would put a roadblock inside each Palestinians’ home in the West Bank and Gaza. Israel hopes to make life so miserable to push the “undesirables” away from the land.
Dream on.
News flash for the Israelis and their crazed American supporters- the Palestinians are not going anywhere.
An item in the Wall Street Journal reads that Secretary Rice “leaned on Israel to lift restrictions such as roadblocks that anger West Bank residents and stifle the economy.”
Leaning won’t do it.
Only serious pressure would make the supremacist colonizers change their ways.
No peace while economic life is strangled.
The Palestinians are waiting for the US to deliver.
This is not new- the talk of removing roadblocks.
The weird inability of the US to adequately pressure Israel on the roadblock issue is undermining what’s left of US credibility in the region.

Debbie Almontaser, Ali Jawad and Daniel Pipes' "battle that's just really begun"

Ali Jawad. Imad Hamad. Debbie Almontaser.
They are all Arab and Muslim Americans.
They all have been the targets of anti Arab anti Muslim bigots. These bigots want to marginalize American Arabs and Muslims. Any political or economic empowerment of politically involved Arabs and Muslims is considered a threat.

The Ali Jawad episode with the McCain campaign reminded me of the vile conspiracy that led to the resignation of Debbie Almontaser as principal of the Khalil Gibran School in New York City
In “Battle in Brooklyn, a principal’s rise and fall- critics cost Muslim Educator Her dream School,” The NYT 4/28/08, by Andrea Elliott.

The hate mongers and the pro- Israel crazed crowd got its way with Ms Amontaser..

“Ms. Almontaser, a teacher by training and an activist who had carefully built ties with Christians and Jews, said she was forced to resign by the mayor’s office following a campaign that pitted her against a chorus of critics who claimed she had a militant Islamic agenda. In newspaper articles and Internet postings, on television and talk radio, Ms. Almontaser was branded a “radical,” a “jihadist” and a “9/11 denier.” She stood accused of harboring unpatriotic leanings and of secretly planning to proselytize her students. Despite Ms. Almontaser’s longstanding reputation as a Muslim moderate, her critics quickly succeeded in recasting her image.”

“The conflict tapped into a well of post-9/11 anxieties. But Ms. Almontaser’s downfall was not merely the result of a spontaneous outcry by concerned parents and neighborhood activists. It was also the work of a growing and organized movement to stop Muslim citizens who are seeking an expanded role in American public life. The fight against the school, participants in the effort say, was only an early skirmish in a broader, national struggle. “

Google Imad Hamad or Debbie almontaser and what comes up is a number of website that feed from the same cesspool of hate of Arabs and Muslims.

The Times writes:
“Mr. Pipes was joined in the monitoring effort by other self-declared watchdogs of militant Islam. Their Web sites are often linked to one another and their messages interwoven. One critic, David Horowitz, founded Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, a campaign aimed at college campuses. He noted in an interview that monitors of radical Islam have increasingly trained their sights on nonviolent Muslim-Americans.”

Ms Almontaser sued to get her job back. The Times states:
“This was a situation where she was subject to sanction not for anything she said, not for anything she did, but because a newspaper reporter twisted what she said and the result of it was negative press for the city and the Board of Ed,” Federal Appeals Judge Jon O. Newman told a city lawyer at a hearing in February.”

Daniel Pipes, a leading figure in the vile conspiracy, stated that “It’s a battle that’s really just begun.”

The question is: are the Arab and Muslim Americans ready to face down these sworn enemies?

So far, not.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Defending America's Spies Kadish and Pollard; attacking American Patriot Ali Jawad: The Strange "Patriotism" of Debbie Schlussel

The Ali Jawad I know is a great asset to America.

He works tirelessly to be a force for integration of Arab Americans – economically, educationally and socially.

Think scholarships. Think Ali Jawad.
Community events. Ali Jawad’s name comes up.

A man of a humble background, a self- made man, who personifies the American dream. He is a living Horatio Alger story.
He opens his offices, at no charge, to community meetings that promote political participation and engagement.

The Fourth of July fireworks in Dearborn last year were sponsored by Ali Jawad and his friend and business partner Ali Berri, a man who enjoys many of the noble qualities of Mr. Jawad.
This is why he caught the attention of our state resident Islamophobe, Debbie Schlussel.
Debbie Schlussel et al want to marginalize Arab and American Muslims. This is why they target community activists especially those who are politically involved and help others get involved.

She questions Mr. Jawad’s patriotism and savagely attacks him because of his Shia faith, his village, Hizbullah, and all the broken record charges she levies against the successful Dearborn community. All in the name of her being a “patriot”

But look how softly she goes, and her patriotism becomes more nuanced- she is worried about a spy who was described as having done immense damage to US national security for his “poor health” and wonders about the “strange case” against another Israel "allegd spy."

All of a sudden Schlussel discovers that indictments raise allegations and do not issue convictions. She artfully uses "alleged" with the accused spy for Israel but with cases of Arabs and Muslims accused of far lesser misdeeds there is no "alleged" there.

Of course she regales her readers with her being “absolutely against spying on America” while writing excitedly about “Zohan: the greatest Mossad agent ever.”

I bet that guy Zohan never spied against his country or went soft on those who spied on it!

Spying against one’s country is the worst offense ever. It’s called bad old treason.

Schlussel writes in "The Strange Case of the Alleged Israeli Spy

"I begin this by saying I am absolutely against spying on America. It's against the law and a betrayal. We are supposed to be loyal American citizens and support our country. We do not spy on it for third parties.
But America, sadly, has a very spotty--and biased--record with regard to whom we prosecute for spying and how tough a sentence we seek in relation to the damage to America's national security.

Jonathan Pollard--a man in very poor health--has been in prison for over two decades for spying for an ally, Israel. Much of the information he gave Israel was info America pledged to give Israel per treaties both countries signed, but which America didn't give. "

Say what? It's America's fault, not Pollard's!

Isn't that Pollard- a man US born raised and fed- the spy who said that he is a lone soldier[for Israel] left behind in enemy territory[the USA]?

It is.

This is the "lone soldier" for Israel that some have the gall to offer aid and comfort, like Schlussel does, or ask for his early release from "enemy territory."

But see how gung ho she gets with the Dearborn Arab community.

The Shia Lebanese community in Michigan is successful and integrated. Schlussel hates that the relatives and fellow villagers of those who defeated the Israelis in Southern Lebanon are thriving only minutes from her hood in Southfield.

Writing about Mr. Jawad, note how in the excerpt below she makes sure to mention the officials that are around Mr. Jawad. This is what feeds her hate- that there is successful engagement and that their voice is heard.

Debbie Schlussel writes:

“Who is Ali Jawad?: McCain Campaign Dumps Key Hezbollah Agent, Convicted Insurance Defrauder; Feds, MI GOP Should Follow S
Over the past week, I spent far less time writing for this website than planned. Instead, I spent hours on the phone with John McCain staffers and key supporters in Michigan to right a mistake.
And, unlike the Barack Obama who clings to anti-Semites and terrorism supporters, John McCain did the right thing: He dumped Ali Jawad--an open Hezbollah supporter and key agent of the terrorist group in the Detroit area. Jawad is also a federal insurance fraud convict.
On Friday, I received this written confirmation that Jawad was cut:
From: Danny Diaz - Communications
Date: Fri, Apr 25, 2008 at 6:14 PM
Subject: RNC Response
Ali Jawad is no longer participating in efforts - whether fundraising or otherwise - on behalf of McCain Victory 2008.
-Danny Diaz, RNC Spokesperson
Danny Diaz
Republican National Committee (RNC)
(Emphasis added.)
Ali Jawad (Standing), Treasury Dept. Terrorism Official Michael Rosen (to Jawad's Right), Michigan FBI Special Agent in Charge Andrew Arena (Smiling, to Rosen's Right)
"Former" Islamic Terrorist Imad Hamad, Ali Jawad, Michigan/Ohio ICE Special Agent in Charge Brian Moskowitz, Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for ICE Julie L. Myers, Abed "Aboudi" Bazzi (Brother of Hezbo-Allied Member of Lebanese Parliament Ali Bazzi).
But, despite all this, Ali Jawad remains "untouchable," say concerned citizens.
That might have something to do with the tight relationship both Jawad and his friend, the "former" Islamic terrorist Hamad, have with key feds. The photo above shows Ali Jawad at a recent banquet held by Hamad and a Nabih Ayad, a lawyer for Islamic terrorists. Jawad is shown sitting at the head table next to Michael Rosen, a lawyer and policy advisor with the U.S. Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes of the U.S. Treasury Department. To Rosen's right, the man who is laughing is Michigan FBI Special Agent in Charge Andrew Arena. Previous to his Michigan assignment, Arena was in charge of Counterterrorism for the New York FBI and told the Christian Science Monitor that, in that capacity, his job was to set the public--and agents--straight, after a poll showed 50% of Americans had a negative view of Islam.”

I think that Mr. McCain is the best and most qualified candidate for President. Mr. McCain is an independent man who sticks to principles despite what the polls say. If what Schlussel wrote is true, and as a rule her veracity is questionable at best, the removal of Mr. Jawad's name is troubling and disappointing.

Ms Schlussel is believed by many to be simply a pro- Israel anti- Muslim anti- Arab bigot. Mr. McCain is the virtual Republican nominee and he does not have any Republican opponent who is trying to compete with him in appealing to the intolerant and bigoted lunatic fringe of the Republican Party.

As for Debbie Schlussel- she deserves a new title- in addition to being a bigot and Israel crazed- she is a self- appointed spy apologist- apologist for American spies for Israel.