Archive for Arab World

Man in the Arab Street

Let’s walk among the common people, shall we, and see what our Arab brethren think. And I use “think” in its broadest possible sense:

Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed, the imam of a gay-friendly mosque in Paris, said: “I believe that it was Allah who created homosexuals… Allah does not speak against homosexuality in the Quran.”

Wow! How enlightened!

Who else?

In a statement posted on the Internet on December 18, 2014, Jordanian preacher Sheik Yassin Al-‘Ajlouni said that the Jews should be given a place of worship on the Temple Mount.

I call upon the Islamic world and upon the Hashemite sovereign to allocate for the peaceful among the Jewish Israelites a house of prayer within Beit Al-Maqdis.

Beit Al-Maqdis is the place sanctified by Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, as well as by Jesus son of Mary and by the Muslims. There should be a special place of worship for the Jews among the Israelites under Hashemite and Palestinian sovereignty, and in agreement with the Israeli regime.

I might quibble a bit—Israel should have complete control of the Temple Mount, and allow free access to pious Muslims to their holy site—but even I have to admit this is a refreshing change from the typical “apes and pigs” rhetoric.

Which, we must admit, is never far from the surface:

In a recent Hamas TV children’s show, a young boy recites a song titled “I Do Not Fear the Gun”

Abd Al-Rahim Al-Zarad: I do not fear the gun. I do not fear the gun.

You are all nothing but herds of deluded idiots.

Jerusalem is my land, Jerusalem is my honor, Jerusalem is my life and my dew-covered dreams.

Oh you slayers of Allah’s pious prophets, you who have been raised on the shedding of blood – humiliation and suffering have been decreed upon you.

Oh sons of Zion, oh the most evil of creatures, oh barbaric apes, Jerusalem rejects you and vomits your filth.

Oh impure ones, Jerusalem is like a pious virgin.

Oh filthy ones, Jerusalem is pure and clean.

I do not dread barbarism, as long as I have my holy book and my city in my heart, as long as my arms [can throw] stones, and as long as I am free and do not sell out the cause.

I will not dread your masses and will never fear the gun. I will never fear the gun.

Let’s not leave it there. How about something a little happier:

In an Al-Arabiya TV interview, Egyptian playwright Ali Salem said that Hamas and ISIS, and not Israel, were Egypt’s enemy.

Amen to that, brother.

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Random Thoughts While Waiting for Obama to Bring Down the Hebrew Hammer on Israel

So, The US is considering sanctions against Israel.

I think. Sort of.

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS: There were reports that the administration is considering sanctioning Israel over the settlements issue. I wonder if you could say true or false.

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE: Well, uh, I’ve been informed of some of these reports. What I can tell you is that I’m not going to talk about any sort of internal deliberations inside the administration and certainly not inside the White House. But I will say something that I have said many times before, which is that Israel is a close and strategic partner of the United States. And I don’t need to remind you…zzzzzzz

What? Huh? Sorry, where was he?

That being said, we have also been crystal clear about our view of settlement activity. That view has not changed. We believe that settlements are illegitimate, and we have deep concerns about highly contentious planning and construction activities that the Israeli government is…

And if you order now, you’ll get a second Swiffer at no extra cost!

Again, sorry. Just wanted to see what else was on.

HENRY: So very clearly you are not denying that sanctions are on the table against even an ally?

EARNEST: I am very clearly not denying we have strong concerns about that settlement activity that’s underway in Israel. But it has not and will not affect the…

Rondo to Olynik for three…got it!

Just checking the Celtics. Where were we?

HENRY: But how can you be telling Congress don’t issue more sanctions against Iran at the same time you’re considering sanctions against an ally in Israel?

EARNEST: Again, I’m not going to comment on those reports about our discussions as it relates to Israel.

HENRY: But you are talking about sanctions. You’re leaving that door wide open here.

EARNEST: I’m not saying I’m not willing to talk about those conversations.

HENRY: So you’re not considering sanctions?

EARNEST: I’m not saying I’m not willing to talk about those kinds of conversations. But what I am saying is that we have been clear about what our strategy is against Iran….

Oy. Can we just bail now?

Anyway, while we’re talking about illegitimate activities in Middle Eastern countries, perhaps we can start here:

Two Saudi women activists have been detained for nearly a week for defying the kingdom’s ban on women driving, family members and an activist said Sunday.

The kingdom’s hard-line interpretation of Islam, known as Wahabbism, holds that allowing women to drive encourages licentiousness. No such ban exists in the rest of the Muslim world, including Saudi Arabia’s conservative Gulf neighbors.

That sure sounds like a War on Women to me. What are we, Switzerland?

How about another country that has Obama’s ear (for which they need both hands!):

In March, King Abdullah II reappointed Abdullah Ensour as prime minister. Authorities stepped up attacks on independent media, censoring over 260 websites that refused to comply with new government registration requirements.

Freedom of Expression and Belief

Jordanian law criminalizes speech deemed critical of the king, government officials, and institutions, as well as Islam and speech considered defamatory of others. In 2013, the authorities failed to amend the penal code to bring it into compliance with constitutional free speech guarantees strengthened in 2011, and continued to prosecute individuals on charges such as “insulting an official body,” using vaguely worded penal code articles that place impermissible restrictions on free expression.

On September 17, police arrested Nidhal al-Fara`nah and Amjad Mu`ala, respectively publisher and editor of the Jafra News website, after it posted a third-party YouTube video that authorities deemed insulting to the brother of Qatar’s ruler. Prosecutors charged both men with “disturbing relations with a foreign state” before the State Security Court, whose judges include serving military officers.

Jordan, a Palestinian state in all but name, is significantly more repressive than Israel. But do we hear about sanctions?

Oh yeah, what about Qatar?

Migrants continue to experience serious rights violations, including forced labor and arbitrary restrictions on the right to leave Qatar, which expose them to exploitation and abuse by employers.

Forced labor: does that mean slavery?

Workers typically pay exorbitant recruitment fees and employers regularly take control of their passports when they arrive in Qatar. The kafala (sponsorship) system ties a migrant worker’s legal residence to his or her employer, or sponsor. Migrant workers commonly complain that employers fail to pay their wages on time if at all, but are barred from changing jobs without their sponsoring employer’s consent other than in exceptional cases and with express permission of the Interior Ministry. Adding to their vulnerability, they must obtain an exit visa from their sponsor in order to leave Qatar. Migrant workers are prohibited from unionizing or engaging in strikes, although they make up 99 percent of the private sector workforce.

Sounds like it.

In February, an appeal court reduced to 15 years the life imprisonment sentence imposed on poet Mohammed Ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami, a Qatari national, in November 2012, by a court in Doha. The court convicted him of incitement to overthrow the regime after he recited poems critical of Qatar’s then-emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani. In June 2013, the emir abdicated, handing power to his son, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

Who’s a hell of a guy, I hear. Speaking of guys:

Provisions of Law No. 22 of 2006, Qatar’s first codified law to address issues of family and personal status law, discriminate against women. Article 36 states that two men must witness marital contracts, which are concluded by male matrimonial guardians. Article 57 prevents husbands from hurting their wives physically or morally, but article 58 states that it is a wife’s responsibility to look after the household and to obey her husband. Marital rape is not a crime.

So far, we’re not sanctioning Iran for trying to build an A-bomb; we’re not sanctioning Jordan for rampant censorship and repression; and we’re not sanctioning Qatar for slavery and the decriminalization of marital rape.

But we are sanctioning Israel.

This is fun!

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) continues to crack down on freedom of expression and association. The authorities are arbitrarily detaining scores of individuals they suspect of links to domestic and international Islamist groups. A court convicted 69 dissidents in July after a manifestly unfair trial, in which evidence emerged of systematic torture at state security facilities. The UAE made no reforms to a system that facilitates the forced labor of migrant workers.

More slavery!

Saud Kulaib, an Emirati national, spent five months in incommunicado detention between December 29 and May 27. In addition to enduring solitary confinement, extremes of temperature, and sleep deprivation, he told family members and other inmates that officers beat him, sliced his hand open with a razor blade, threatened to pull out his fingernails, and told him that his wife was in detention and on hunger strike.

Who else has been a bad boy?

Borders controlled by Iraq’s central government remained closed to Syrians fleeing civil war, while as of November, nearly 206,600 Syrians fled to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)-controlled area.

In December 2012, thousands of Iraqis took part in demonstrations in mostly Sunni areas, demanding reform of the Anti-Terrorism Law and the release of illegally held detainees. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki announced in January 2013 that he had created special committees to oversee reforms, including freeing prisoners and limiting courts’ use of secret informant testimony. At time of writing, there was little indication that the government had implemented reforms. Security forces instead used violence against protesters, culminating in an attack on a demonstration in Hawija in April, which killed 51 protesters. Authorities failed to hold anyone accountable.

I’d like to see Israel get away with that! Not really, just a figure of speech.

Are we done? Not hardly:

Kuwait continues to exclude thousands of stateless people, known as Bidun, from full citizenship, despite their longstanding roots in Kuwaiti territory.

The government has aggressively cracked down on free speech, often resorting to a law forbidding any offense to the ruler (emir).

Kuwait has no laws prohibiting domestic violence, sexual harassment, or marital rape. In addition, Kuwaiti women married to non-Kuwaiti men cannot give their spouses or children Kuwaiti citizenship. Kuwaiti law does not let women marry a partner of their choice if their father will not grant permission.

In May, the Kuwaiti authorities announced that Saudi Arabian women would not be provided with drivers’ licenses while in Kuwait without the permission of their male guardians.

The United States, in its 2013 US State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons report, classified Kuwait as Tier 3—among the most problematic countries—for the seventh year in a row. The report cited Kuwait’s failure to report any arrests, prosecutions, convictions, or sentences of traffickers for either forced labor or sex trafficking, and weak victim protection measures.

Even more slavery—and sex trafficking! Do Kuwaitis know how to party, or what? No wonder Saddam wanted a piece of the…action. (What did you think I was going to write?)

We haven’t exhausted the region, but it’s doubtful we’ll be able to top that. And I’m sure we’ll get around to tsk-tsking them as soon as we ding Israel for putting a spare bedroom over the garage.

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Why Don’t You Hummus a Few Bars?

Very good. But is it better than his earlier oeuvre on the subject?

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Toward a Kinder, Gentler BTL

In an attempt at self-improvement, to drag myself out of the La Brea tar pits of ignorance and prejudice, I have attempted to engage with the contemporary world.

Hence my following of Lena Dunham on Twitter:

Bitch is so stupid she doesn’t even know her favs are public

(Nothing yet on the refutation of her spurious rape charge while in college, but I’ll keep checking!)

And, of course, my ongoing and uphill battle to understand contemporary Islam.

The role of women, for example:

The Jordanian parliament is no stranger to screaming matches but a recent incident was so controversial that it provoked people to poke fun at their MPs online.

Earlier this week, during a heated argument over the Muslim Brotherhood, independent MP Yehia al-Saud was cut off by one of his female colleagues, Hind al-Fayez.

“Sit down Hind!” al-Saud yelled several times.

When al-Fayez ignored him, al-Saud turned his gaze and hands upwards and shouted “May God have his revenge on whoever brought quota to this parliament!” – a reference to female parliamentary quotas.

Local media reported that al-Saud later made another comment that women were created to put on make-up and cook for their husbands.

The earlier, unevolved BTL would have made a juvenile remark about an attractive woman named Hind, but that’s…behind me now.

Good for Jordan, as this al-Saud fellow is now a national joke.

Or is he?

Women’s rights groups responded angrily Tuesday to comments by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that women and men are not equal “because their nature is different.”

Eight groups signed a statement condemning his remarks as violating the national constitution and international agreements, saying he aimed to “denigrate decades of effort by women’s movements for gender equality.”

“Equality is turning the victim into an oppressor by force or vice versa. What women need is to be able to be equivalent, rather than equal, so it is justice. That is what we need,” he said.

“You cannot bring women and men into equal positions; that is against nature because their nature is different.”

Erdogan also told the event, organized by the Women and Democracy Association, that a woman cannot do every job that a man can do because “it is against her delicate nature.”

According to Turkey’s semiofficial Anadolu news agency, Erdogan also insisted his government has always been behind women in their struggle for equal rights….

I’ll bet you have, you randy old goat!

What?! So I made a little joke. There’s only so evolved I can get. You feminists need a sense of humor.

Stay with me for the further adventures of BTL trying to get hep to the modern age. This’ll hurt me more than it will you.

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IS is as IS Does

Let’s give them a state!

A poll carried out by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies in Doha gauged opinion on the Arab street regarding the current US-led campaign to “rollback” and ultimately defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. 5,100 respondents from seven Arab countries (Lebanon, Iraq, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, “Palestine”, as well as Syrian Arabs in Turkish refugee camps) were asked about their views both of the operation and of ISIS itself.

The results showed that a full 85% of Arabs hold a view of ISIS that is either “Negative” or “Negative to some extent,” whereas just 11% saw them as “Positive” or “Positive to some extent.”

The Arab group with the highest level of support for ISIS were Palestinians, with nearly a quarter (24%) of Palestinians polled viewed ISIS in a positive light.

4% of Palestinians viewed ISIS as purely “Positive,” in line with the average response rate of other Arab groups – only Saudi Arabia (5%) and Tunisia (7%) had higher percentages in that category. However, a full 20% viewed ISIS as “Positive to some extent” – well over the overall average of 7%. Additionally, even those Palestinians with negative views of ISIS were more ambivalent than other Arabs; just 36% held a wholly negative view of ISIS (compared to an average of 72%), and a further 36% were only “Negative to some extent” (compared to just 13% overall).

The results contradict Palestinian Authority claims that Palestinian Muslims are far more “moderate” than Muslims elsewhere.

You take that back!

Why don’t we just call it PalISIStine and be done with it?

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The Louse That Roared

Shell Jewish kindergartens, win valuable prizes!

A donor conference in Cairo to raise money to rebuild the Gaza Strip after this year’s war between Hamas and Israel ended with pledges of $5.4 billion for reconstruction there, Norway’s foreign minister said Sunday.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende offered the figure at the end of Sunday’s one-day conference, far beyond the $4 billion initially sought by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

In the Peter Sellers movie, The Mouse That Roared, the Grand Duchy of Fenwick declares war on the United States because they know they will lose without a shot being fired, and profit immeasurably from America’s generosity to its vanquished opponents (such as through the Marshall Plan).

As ever, farce plays out as tragedy in Arab-occupied Israel.

Qatar pledged $1 billion toward the reconstruction, once again using its vast wealth to reinforce its role as a regional player as Gulf Arab rival the United Arab Emirates promised $200 million.

The pledges followed US Secretary of State John Kerry earlier announcing immediate American assistance of $212 million. The European Union pledged 450 million euros ($568 million), while Turkey, which has been playing a growing role in the Middle East in recent years, said it was donating $200 million.

Let me see what I have in my pocket: a green Life Saver, a gas station receipt, some lint. They can have the lint.

The Kurds, true heroes in the fight against the Islamofascists of ISIS, can’t get a pea-shooter from Turkey. Heck, Turkey won’t even let its own Kurds go fight with Syria’s Kurds. Yet they give the Islamofascists of Hamass $200 million. We’re even worse—thank you, John Kerry—at $212 million.

Who’s up for insult to injury?

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon blamed last summer’s Gaza war on Israel’s “occupation” of Palestinian territories, as he called on both parties to finalized an agreement for a two-state solution.

“We must not lose sight of the root causes of the recent hostilities: a restrictive occupation that has lasted almost half a century, the continued denial of Palestinian rights and the lack of tangible progress in peace negotiations,” Ban said.

I really owe Kofi Annan an apology. I used to shred him for statements like these. But it’s not him, it’s not even Banki. It’s the UN. Hamass planned the kidnapping and murder of three Jewish Israeli teens, then let fly with thousands of missiles, mortars, and rockets across Israel. They violated every “rule” of war, deliberately targeting civilians and even more deliberately putting their own civilians at risk of death. And they still came in at 35% over their fundraising budget. What lesson would you take away from this except that war pays—handsomely?

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Hope and Change

Well, change anyway.

President Obama, September 3rd:

“We can continue to shrink ISIL’s sphere of influence, its effectiveness, its financing, its military capabilities to the point where it is a manageable problem.”

President Obama, September 5th:

“You can’t contain an organization that is running roughshod through that much territory, causing that much havoc, displacing that many people, killing that many innocents, enslaving that many women. The goal has to be to dismantle them.”

“Dismantle” is a little closer to “gates of hell” than “manageable” is, for which much thanks. But he needed David Cameron’s balls to get even that far.

I happened to hear the week-in-review roundtable on NPR’s On Point this morning. The Atlantic’s former editor, Jack Beatty, a five-star general among Obama apologists, first tried to paint Russia’s invasion as merely “exerting power on its border”. Tell that to Crimea. Tell that to Donetsk. David Ignatius chimed in that Putin’s territorial gain came at great cost: a hostile government in Kiev, a united Europe against him. He claimed Putin was playing a weak hand. Tell that to Putin. This sounds like the same tone deaf talk that appeased Hitler. Not one person mentioned Obama’s Chamberlain-esque pose.

When talk turned to the Middle East, Beatty got his second wind. He quoted an administration source as saying that “avoiding another Iraq is his guiding principle”. Beatty followed with “it seems to me that’s also the guiding principle of the American people…. We don’t want this.”

Don’t we? Of course we don’t, if you put it in those terms. Who wants “another Iraq”? But do we want our reporters getting their heads chopped off (other than the 75-80 we could all agree on)? Do we want to see their unrivaled savagery (too savage for Al Qaeda) rip asunder whole countries and regions? Do we want what’s happening over there to be happening over here?

No wonder Obama looks uncertain, Beatty declared, uncertainty is the reality. That’s one way of looking at it.

Another way is that you can’t run your affairs by trying to be different from the other guy. Avoiding “another Iraq” is a dog whistle for George Bush; so is “don’t do stupid stuff”. But the world Bush had to deal with, for better or worse, is five and a half years in the past, an eternity. Most of his big decisions are a decade old by now. Facing today’s realities with policies based on rejecting the previous president’s policies is almost too idiotic to write, let alone implement. And now that Obama is in Bush’s shoes (several sizes too big for him), he should have the decency and maturity to acknowledge that maybe he sees things a little differently.

Lastly, ISIS is not really “another Iraq”, but Iraq II:

On the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, a 36-year-old Jordanian who called himself “the Stranger” slipped into the suburbs of Baghdad armed with a few weapons, bags of cash and an audacious plan for starting a war he hoped would unite Sunni Muslims across the Middle East.

The tattooed ex-convict and high school dropout had few followers and scant ties to the local population. Yet, the Stranger — soon to be known widely as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi — quickly rallied thousands of Iraqis and foreign fighters to his cause. He launched spectacular suicide bombings and gruesome executions targeting Americans, Shiites and others he saw as obstacles to his vision for a Sunni caliphate stretching from Syria to the Persian Gulf.

Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. airstrike in 2006, but the organization he founded is again on the march. In just a week, his group — formerly known as al-Qaeda in Iraq and now called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS — has seized cities and towns across western and northern Iraq at a pace that might have astonished Zarqawi himself. Already in control of large swaths of eastern Syria, the group’s black-clad warriors appear to have taken a leap toward realizing Zarqawi’s dream of an extremist Sunni enclave across the region.

The mission is still not “accomplished”, President Obama. It’s been your responsibility since you took the oath of office.

No fair leaving it for the next guy:

“This, as the President has said, is going to have to be a sustained effort. … It’s going to take time, and it will probably go beyond even this administration to get to the point of defeat.”

Do your effing job.

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President Obama Speaks Nonsense

Part MDCCLXVII:

“Netanyahu is too strong (and) in some ways Abu Mazen is too weak,” US President Barack Obama said in a comprehensive interview with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman Friday, commenting on the balance of power between Israel and the Palestinians.

However, President Obama also noted that the high percentage of support for Prime Minister Netanyahu among the Israeli public proves to be a weak point for him. “If he doesn’t feel some internal pressure, then it’s hard to see him being able to make some very difficult compromises, including taking on the settler movement. That’s a tough thing to do.”

Of course he spoke nonsense. Look whom he was speaking with.

Somehow, Obama considers an Israeli PM—a wartime PM—popular among his own people for stating their case and pressing their cause, as weak? Maybe among those (like me) who think Netanyahu didn’t go far enough. But who else? And why the f**k is he using Mahmoud Abbas’s nom de guerre, Abu Mazen?

And what do the “settlers” (better known as population growth, young families, homesteaders) have to do with Hamass’ racist and genocidal ideology? With their myriad war crimes? What a non-sequitur! He might just have illogically blamed global warming.

The American president told Friedman in the interview that the combination of the two leaders’ strengths and weaknesses makes it difficult “to bring them together and make the kinds of bold decisions that Sadat or Begin or Rabin were willing to make.”

Let’s dismiss Rabin, shall we? Does anyone think Oslo is worth a tinker’s dam? It cost him his life, and damn near his country. As for Begin and Sadat, could either have been in a position of greater strength? Sadat was the definition of a political strongman (for a few years more, anyway), and Begin had already taken by force, the Sinai, what Sadat wanted back. Hard to see how “weakness” brought about the Camp David accord.

But Obama seems to be singing from my hymnal: namely that the so-called Palestinians are just Arabs by another (invented) name. Begin, Rabin, and Netanyahu are all Israelis, but the only thread connecting Sadat (Egyptian), Arafat (born in Cairo), and Abbas (born in Palestinian mandate, aka Israel, before it was Israel) is…what exactly? They’re Arabs, but that’s about it. Which has been my point all along: there is no distinct ethnic identity of Palestinianism, just Arabs cordoned off by colonial powers on a map.

But if Obama agrees with me, I must be wrong. Sadat was Egyptian, and Egypt is a country with a distinct history and culture. Similarly, Syria (Levant), Iraq (Mesopotamia), Iran (Persia), Lebanon (Phoenicia) have a long track record. All these countries have been largely at peace with Israel, however uneasy, for decades. Only the Arab occupiers of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza have actually acted out the ethnic hatred they all share. What makes them different, besides never, ever, ever in the history of the world having had a country? Maybe they do have a genetic difference, only the gene is not one to admire or replicate.

But mostly Obama is a fool, a dangerous fool, for not saying plainly that Israel is our ally, Israel is right and righteous in this battle, and Israel should win and impose a resolution wholly in its own interest. That should be American policy. Shame on him, on us, that it is not.

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Out of Africa

Our advice—and Africa’s demand—to Jewish people:

The opening ceremony for the 23rd African Union Summit in Malabo was to begin Thursday with a declaration of support for the three kidnapped Israeli teens by a number of participants, until bad blood brought tensions to a boil.

“I have never seen such racism, such anti-Semitism. We were humiliated,” said several of the Jews in attendance, who had left Equatorial Guinea in a fury after changing their flights.

“It all began when one of the Arab delegates, from Egypt, approached us at dinner the night before the opening and asked what we were doing here, pointing at the men wearing kippahs,” said Israeli businesswoman Yardena Ovadia, who had organized the invitation of the Jewish delegation to the summit.

Ovadia, who has close ties with Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang, said that she explained to the delegate that her and her friends were Jews from the US, not Israelis.

The following day representatives of the Arab League refused to enter the hall until all the Jews left, or as they called them, the “Israeli delegation.”

“We were already seated in the conference hall,” said Ovadia. “The heads of the Arab League announced a boycott of the conference until the ‘Israeli delegation’ left. We officially declared that we were Americans, not Israelis, but it didn’t help.”

“There was a representative of the US congress with us. She was shocked and said that there will be an official government statement,” Ovadia added.

Fourteen delegates from the delegation of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations stood up and left the hall, and the proceedings opened after an hour’s delay.

“The president of Equatorial Guinea called us to personally apologize and invited the Conference of Presidents’ delegation to a special dinner, but we had rescheduled their private flight and they had already left.”

Maybe I should have titled this post “Apartheid Continent Update”. Whoever were the organizers of this poxy conference, they had a choice to make: between the Jewish invitees (be they American or Israeli) and the bigoted Arab League. They chose, and may they dine alone (if they dine at all).

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Losing What George Bush Won

Like him or loathe him, President Bush toppled the Taliban and defeated Saddam Hussein and the Islamist insurgency that followed. The governments that followed those heinous regimes may have been weak, corrupt, and ineffectual, but Bush didn’t see it as America’s job to install one brutal strongman (or men) to replace another.

What Bush hath wrought, Obama hath put asunder:

A day after taking over Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, militants gained nearly complete control of the northern city of Tikrit, witnesses in the city and police officials in neighboring Samarra told CNN.

Heavy fighting erupted inside Tikrit — the hometown of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein — as the military tried to regain control, the sources and a police official in Baghdad said.

According to the witnesses in Tikrit and the Samarra police officials, two police stations in Tikrit were on fire and a military base was taken over by militants, believed to be from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, an al Qaeda splinter group also known as ISIS and ISIL.

The group was an offshoot al Qaeda in Iraq, responsible for the deaths of many U.S. troops in western Iraq. With American help, Iraqi tribal militias put ISIS on the defensive.

But when U.S. troops left the country, the extremist militants found new leadership, grew stronger while in Syria, and returned to Iraq, making military gains often off the backs of foreign fighters drawn to Syria’s conflict.

Barack Obama pissed away Afghanistan, and now he’s pissing away Iraq. He almost cared about Syria, but after lying down with a cold compress to his head, the feeling passed. He let Libyan Islamists kill four Americans and get away with it. He somehow managed to side with the Muslim Brotherhood, who would have imposed sharia law had not the Egyptian military deposed them. And his “peace” process in the Middle East managed only to bring peace (of a very limited sort) between the warring terrorist factions among the Arab occupiers of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. He couldn’t have screwed this up any worse if he tried, which I sincerely think he did.

Cindy Sheehan was very upset that her son, Casey, lost his life for a cause he believed in, but she didn’t. How must she feel now that Obama has desecrated her son’s memory by rendering his ultimate sacrifice moot? Even if she didn’t see the point to Bush’s adventures, there was change: terrorists and tyrants were removed, and a period of something resembling democracy reigned, however briefly. Now, this silly narcissist, who thought he could unite the world over love of him, a black American with a Muslim dad, has as good as defecated on the graves of thousands of American soldiers.

Cindy?

If Barack Obama came up to me and said, “Cindy, can you write me a check for $5k to help me buy another hellfire missile,” I would say, “hell no, take a hike,” so why should I funnel my funds through the IRS to be disbursed to the Military Industrial Complex?

That’s what I thought.

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Good News, Bad News

First, the bad news for the Arab occupiers of the West Bank: there’s growing talk of Israel annexing some or all of Judea and Samaria.

Oh wait, my bad—that’s the good news! [Hat tip: reader Jeanette]

According to a study by Professor Sammy Smooha of the University of Haifa, 63.5% of Israeli Arabs consider Israel to be a good place to live. The study, titled “The Index of Arab-Jewish Relations in Israel,” draws on 700 face-to-face interviews with a national representative sample of Israeli Arabs and 700 phone interviews with Israeli Jews. It has been conducted annually since 2003.

The Tower reports that, not only did nearly two-thirds of Israeli Arabs say Israel is a good place to live in 2013, this is an increase from 2012’s figure of 58.5%.

And that is not the only number that is up. The percentage of Israeli Arabs who accepted Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state rose to 52.8% from 47.4% the year before. That is a majority.

Further, the number of Israeli-Arabs who accept their identity as such without identifying as Palestinians increased from 32.5% in 2012 to 42.5% in 2013. That is a nearly 33% jump.

While the Israeli press in Hebrew and English has reported this news, no mainstream news outlets have deemed it worthy of coverage.

The fact that Israeli Arabs like Israel is an important element for news consumers to understand, yet it does not fit with the narrative promoted by the majority of the mainstream media so they don’t cover it. In fact, when there is just about anything positive to say about Israel… Where’s the coverage?

I don’t think you’d get 63.5% of American liberals saying they like to live here. So that nearly two-thirds of Israeli Arabs say they like being Israelis is a big deal.

And, yes, a story worthy of coverage.

My only question, then, is, why do these happy and satisfied Arabs elect such miserable schmucks to the Knesset? Maybe the rest of them are okay, but Tibi and Zoabi are complete a-holes.

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Arab Fizzle

I know how unbecoming it is to look upon the abject failure of the so-called Arab Spring, which promised so much to so many, and laugh. But…

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

Egyptians who voted in a referendum overwhelmingly approved a new constitution, official sources said, citing early results of a ballot that could set the stage for army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to declare his candidacy for president.

About 90 percent of voters approved the constitution, the state news agency and a government official said.

It comes as no surprise: the constitution won wide support among Egyptians who backed the army overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi in July, and there was little or no trace of a no campaign as the state presses a campaign on dissent.

The referendum is a key step in the political transition plan the interim government has billed as a path to democracy, even as it presses a fierce crackdown on the Brotherhood, Egypt’s best organized party until last year.

Oh yeah, democracy. Right, sure.

Sisi’s supporters see him as the kind of strong man needed to restore stability to a country in political and economic crisis for nearly three years. The stock market has rallied to three-year highs this week.

High turnout would be seen as a strong stamp of approval for the new, the army-backed order. A Sisi presidency would turn back the clock to the days when the post was controlled by military men – a pattern broken by Morsi’s one year in office.

“You could see the re-emergence of a domineering president,” said Nathan Brown, a professor of political science at George Washington University and an expert on Egyptian affairs.

At many polling stations across the Arab world’s biggest nation, the referendum at times appeared to be a vote on Sisi himself. Women chanted his name and ululated as they stood in line to vote, while a pro-army song popularized after Morsi’s overthrow blared from cars.

Sounds like the evening line-up on MSNBC and CNN.

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