Showing posts from June, 2008

Hassan Sabra Analysis of Lebanon events

Haykal's Monolgogues- Boring and Wrong

I am not one of those who listen to Mohamed Hasanyn Haykal's monologues on al Jazeera as if it is revealed truth of the sage of sages. I tried to listen for more than ten painful minutes and failed miserably. My graduate education had me sit through many many lectures- some quite boring. Haykal gets the cake with his boring run on sentences and monotnous monologues.

The man, however, is considered one of the best analysts in the Middle East. This is understandable if his competition is the Baath and Thawra newspapers- papers that are only good to wrap street vendors goods.

I think this reputation is a legacy of the dismal history of Arab media. However, the internet and satellite tv changed the rules of the game creating what one scholar called Arab Public Space. The quantity and quality available now makes Haykal's analysis pale in comparison.

The worst analysis he provided- according to Hassan Sabra of Lebanese weekly Al Shiraa- is on the May 2008 conflict in Lebanon. It's …

Lebanon's Divided Public Opinion

Pew Global Attitudes Project titles its report on Lebanon "Lebanon's Precarious Politics
Many of the Country's Sectarian Differences Do Not Run along a Straight Muslim-Christian Fault Line" -November 15, 2007.

The Precarious Republic is a title of a book by Michael Hudson that was written before the breakout of the civil war in Lebanon. The book pointed out the weaknesses of the Lebanese consociational political system and its increasing stresses, due to internal and external pressures, that made him call Lebanon a "precarious republic."

Today Lebanon is divided on issues of importance- perceptions of itself and regional and international powers.

On favorable views of foreign powers, PEW reports:

Christians: 82 % favorable views of the US- 14% favorable views of Iran

Sunnis 52%- 8%

Shia- 7%-86%

The most remarkable of these are the favorable views of the US held by Lebanese Sunnis- 52%. The Iraq war, the Palestine conflict and the war on terrorism made the US have a…

Sex, the City and Dearborn Arab Women

I went to the movies with my wife. I wanted to see "You Don't Mess with the Zohan," my wife wanted to watch Sex and the City.

Sex and the City turned out to be as good as she expected. My wife and I spent three of our precious free time to watch this movie. Once you have children, their needs make it almost impossible to have free time.

One scene in the movie reminded me of Dearborn Arab women.

Carrie was about to move in with her boyfriend. She expressed anxiety that the place she would call home, in the event of a falling out she would have no legal rights to.

Then they decide to get married.

As an attorney who practices family law, I have come across a number of Arab Muslim women who put themselves in a situation that Carrie wanted to avoid.

A number of local couples opt to have a religious marriage but not a civil marriage. (This is a phenomenon worthy of a systematic study).

They go to an Imam who marries them, does Katb al Kitab for them.

Imams, as well as other clergy, h…

Advice for Muslim Women: The Maid or the Partner?

Today three entries in the Islamist website Islam Memo in the "Happy home" section show why the Islamists raise serious concerns about gender equity and gender equality.

The three entries are:

"If you do not take care of your husband, he will find someone else who will"

"clean house= happy home"

"obedience and marital happiness."

Sounds like a wife is considered a maid and not a partner.

The Imam, the Danish Cartoons and Piss Christ

In today's Al Arabiya website there is a news item on the suicide bombing against the Danish embassy in Islamabad.

The PM of Denmark called it an "unjustified attack."

The Danish Deputy PM called it "an attack on Denmark and the values it defends."

The Muslim League denounced it as an act of "violence and terrorism."

The Aljazeera Arabic news channel reported on this issue interviewing Pakistanis on the subject. The interviewees basically said that "Denmark is to blame for publishing the insulting cartoons and then for not apologizing for them."

Going over the comments' section in Al Arabiya website, a number of commenters said that the Danish deserve it for "insulting the prophet," others said that it is wrong to use violence. Some blamed Israel and the US for the bombing. One commenters accused Denmark of bombing its own embassy so that the Muslims are placed in the position of apologizing to Denmark instead of the opposite.

Most v…