Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Saudi Prince doesn't want US to find alternatives to oil

The Saudis want to keep the price of a barrel of oil between $70 and $80, because if it's much more than that, the incentives to finding alternatives to oil will be greater. And the Saudis don't want that!

"BIN TALAL: The stiff position of Saudi Arabia, we want the price to be between $70 and $80. Not only to help the West, but also to help ourselves. We don’t want the West to go and find alternatives, because, clearly, the higher the price oil goes, the more you have incentive to go and find alternatives. So, really, our interest coincides with American interest, to have the price for around $70, $80 which is a price good for consumers and producers."

Israel is a socialist country

I found this Media Matters clip of Glenn Beck saying that the "western way of life is under attack" and implying that capitalism is being "thrown under the bus by Obama" and that Obama is a socialist who is "stabbing Israel in the back". It is ironic because Israel is a socialist country.

PS: It turns out most Americans love socialism, especially universal healthcare for old people. In the American state of Vermont, healthcare is now a human right: "Vermont’s health care unions and grassroots activists celebrated Thursday as the governor signed into law the nation’s first bill authorizing health care for all residents as a human right."

Two Iraqis arrested in Kentucky on terrorism charges

"Two Iraqis, including one allegedly involved in attacks with improvised explosive devices on U.S. troops in Iraq, have been arrested in Kentucky on federal terrorism charges, the Louisville Courier-Journal."

PS: "Two Iraqi nationals who came to the US as refugees have been arrested in Kentucky on charges that they conspired to provide money, weapons, and other support to Al Qaeda in Iraq, federal officials announced on Tuesday."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

American Jews in DC flashmob sing: Free Free Palestine!

This is so cool!

Thanks Evita for posting on fb!

They sing to AIPAC:

AIPAC is meeting

We have a greeting

Cuz they're not speaking

for any of us

...AIPAC doesn't speak for me

Apartheid is not my cup of tea

we want democracy!

If you do not know, American Jews (at least on the left) have been a big part of the "Free Palestine" movement for decades. Google "Jews for Justice" - I have linked to and quoted their publications many times over the years.

Obama's position on Israel closer to Netanyahu's

than is perceived by conservative Americans?

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The more I realize that the US and Israel want a Palestinian state to look like this, the more I want to see a one state solution. Go ahead Israel, annex the West Bank and give the Palestinians living there the right to vote. Make them Israeli citizens, please.

PS: I remember Obama saying that a Palestinian state should be contiguous. This does not look contiguous to me.

No Western condemnation of Saudi & Bahraini royals

From an article published on May 14 in The Independent: 'Christopher Hill, a former US secretary of state for east Asia who was ambassador to Iraq – and usually a very obedient and un-eloquent American diplomat – wrote the other day that "the notion that a dictator can claim the sovereign right to abuse his people has become unacceptable".

Unless, of course – and Mr Hill did not mention this – you happen to live in Bahrain. On this tiny island, a Sunni monarchy, the al-Khalifas, rule a majority Shia population and have responded to democratic protests with death sentences, mass arrests, the imprisonment of doctors for letting patients die after protests and an "invitation" to Saudi forces to enter the country. They have also destroyed dozens of Shia mosques with all the thoroughness of a 9/11 pilot. But then, let's remember that most of the 9/11 killers were indeed Saudis.

...Bahrain has never had a reputation as a "friend" of the West, albeit that is how it likes to be portrayed. More than 20 years ago, anyone protesting the royal family's dominance risked being tortured in the security police headquarters. The head of it was a former British police Special Branch officer whose senior torturer was a pernicious major in the Jordanian army. When I published their names, I was rewarded with a cartoon in the government newspaper Al-Khaleej which pictured me as a rabid dog. Rabid dogs, of course, have to be exterminated. It was not a joke. It was a threat.

The al-Khalifas have no problems with the opposition newspaper, Al-Wasat, however. They arrested one of its founders, Karim Fakhrawi, on 5 April. He died in police custody a week later. Ten days later, they arrested the paper's columnist, Haidar Mohamed al-Naimi. He has not been seen since. Again, silence from CamerClegg, Obama, La Clinton and the rest. The arrest and charging of Shia Muslim doctors for letting their patients die – the patients having been shot by the "security forces", of course – is even more vile. I was in the hospital when these patients were brought in. The doctors' reaction was horror mixed with fear – they had simply never seen such close-range gunshot wounds before. Now they have been arrested, doctors and patients taken from their hospital beds. If this was happening in Damascus, Homs or Hama or Aleppo, the voices of CamerClegg, and Obama and La Clinton would be ringing in our ears. But no. Silence. Four men have been sentenced to death for killing two Bahraini policemen. It was a closed military court. Their "confessions" were aired on television, Soviet-style. No word from CamerClegg or Obama or La Clinton.

What is this nonsense? Well, I will tell you. It has nothing to do with the Bahrainis or the al-Khalifas. It is all about our fear of Saudi Arabia. Which also means it is about oil. It is about our absolute refusal to remember that 9/11 was committed largely by Saudis. It is about our refusal to remember that Saudi Arabia supported the Taliban, that Bin Laden was a Saudi, that the most cruel version of Islam comes from Saudi Arabia, the land of head-choppers and hand-cutters. It is about a conversation I had with a Bahraini official – a good and decent and honest man – in which I asked him why the Bahraini prime minister could not be elected by a majority Shia population. "The Saudis would never permit it," he said. Yes, our other friends. The Saudis.'

Thanks Ammu for forwarding.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Gates says US should stay in Iraq to balance Iran's influence

"U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday that the United States should maintain a troop presence in Iraq after the scheduled full withdrawal at the end of this year, in part, to balance Iran's influence in the region."

Monday, May 23, 2011

Iraq to buy natural gas from Iran

"Iraq signed an initial agreement to buy natural gas from former foe Iran to fuel power plants, a spokesman for the Iraqi electricity ministry said Monday, as the government seeks to ease the electricity shortages that last year provoked a wave of nationwide protests."

Sunday, May 22, 2011

KSA & UAE funded jihad in Pakistan

"Islamic charities from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates financed a network in U.S. ally Pakistan that recruited children as young as eight to wage holy war, a local newspaper reported on Sunday, citing Wikileaks.

A U.S. diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks said financial support estimated at $100 million a year was making its way from those Gulf Arab states to a jihadist recruitment network in Pakistan's Punjab province, Dawn newspaper reported."

Bombings kill two dozen in Baghdad

"A wave of bombings hit the Iraqi capital on Sunday, killing nearly two dozen people in a spate of violence that rocked nearly every corner of Baghdad and renewed questions about whether the country’s security forces can repel future internal threats.

In a 90-minute period shortly after sunrise, at least seven explosions ripped through the city, a succession of blasts that unnerved Iraq and U.S. officials who had been heralding the overall decline in violence here in recent months.

...No U.S. troops, who currently serve in non-combat roles in Iraq, were killed or wounded in any of the incidents. Instead most of the explosions were directed Iraqi police officers and government officials, both of whom have become favored targets of terrorism and insurgency groups in recent months."

Saturday, May 21, 2011

'Anti-Israeli sentiment growing in Arab spring'

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Syrian security forces fire on mourners

"At least four people were killed and dozens more were injured on Saturday when security forces in the restive Syrian city of Homs Saturday greeted anguished mourners with brute force, an activist told CNN.

The latest confrontation rattled a country on edge after at least 44 people died in Homs and other cities Friday when Syrian security personnel fired at demonstrators, according to the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria.

The violence erupted after as tens of thousands of people marched in a funeral procession and went to a graveyard to bury some of the Friday's victims, the activist said. The assault began after mourners were filing out of the cemetery, the activist said."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Obama's speech on the Middle East

I thought it was pretty good, although he didn't mention Saudi Arabia. He mentioned Bahrain, and I guess that's good enough. He also talked about Palestine and Israel, and he tried hard to be fair. Actually he fit a lot into a speech that lasted less than an hour.

US did not press Iraqi authorities in Kurdistan

NYT: 'After more than two months of daily protests, the demonstrations were quashed last month when the regional government ordered the security forces to occupy the central square. The security forces opened fire and detained protesters, actions that registered sharp rebukes from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

The crackdown has presented an unexpected challenge to American diplomats who have relied on the region to be a stable counterpoint to the continued violence and political dysfunction that roils the rest of Iraq.

“Kurdistan is the only place in Iraq that the United States can be proud of,” said Airy Hirseen, a leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, which governs the region along with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.

Mr. Hirseen said that he had been in contact with American officials during the protests, and that they did not press the authorities to end their aggressive response.'

Bahraini court sentences Shiite cleric to 20 years

"A security court has sentenced a prominent Shiite cleric and eight others to 20 years in prison for kidnapping a police officer. The sentences were announced by the state-run Bahrain News Agency on Thursday, during the crackdown by the ruling Sunni dynasty against Shiite-led protesters. The prominent cleric who was sentenced, Muhammad Habib al-Saffaf, is known to his followers as Sheik Muhammad Habib al-Moqdad."

Palestine's history of non-violent protests

YOUSEF MUNAYYER wrote an excellent article titled Palestine's Hidden History of Nonviolence in FP: "You wouldn't know it from the media coverage, but peaceful protests are nothing new for Palestinians. But if they are to succeed this time, the West needs to start paying attention.

...We tend to think of nonviolent resistance as an active rather than passive concept. In reality, even though the majority of the native inhabitants were depopulated during the Nakba, thousands of Palestinians practiced nonviolent resistance by refusing to leave their homes when threatened. Today, through its occupation, Israel continues to make life unbearable for Palestinians, but millions resist the pressure by not leaving. This is particularly notable in occupied Jerusalem, where Palestinians are being pushed out of the city. For those who have never lived in a system of violence like the Israeli occupation, it is hard to understand how simply not going anywhere constitutes resistance, but when the objective of your oppressor is to get you to leave your land, staying put is part of the daily struggle. In this sense, every Palestinian living under the Israeli occupation is a nonviolent resister."

Thanks to Coco for posting the link on fb.

Bombings in Kirkuk kill 29

"BAGHDAD -- A series of bombings killed at least 29 people Thursday in the disputed northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk amid a growing debate over security in the oil-rich area ahead of the planned withdrawal of U.S. forces at year's end.

Two coordinated explosions targeted the police headquarters in Kirkuk, 140 miles north of Baghdad, killing 25 people and wounding at least 65, security officials said. A third blast struck the motorcade of the city's chief counterterrorism official, killing four security guards and seriously wounding nine others."

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/05/19/2224545/deadly-iraq-bombings-add-fuel.html#ixzz1MpWO6hpe

Obama supports Palestinian state based on pre-67 borders

NYT: 'Seeking to harness the seismic political change still unfolding in the Arab world, President Obama for the first time on Thursday publicly called for a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that would create a non-militarized Palestinian state on the basis of Israel’s borders before the 1967 war that led to the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

“At a time when the people of the Middle East and North Africa are casting off the burdens of the past, the drive for a lasting peace that ends the conflict and resolves all claims is more urgent that ever,” he said.

Although Mr. Obama said that “the core issues” dividing Israelis and Palestinians remained to be negotiated, including the searing questions of Jerusalem and the fate of Palestinian refugees, he spoke with striking frustration that efforts to support an agreement had so far failed. “The international community is tired of an endless process that never produces an outcome,” he said.'

I knew President Obama would eventually do the right thing and support a Palestinian state based on pre-67 borders. Let's not forget that President Bush also called for a Palestinian state, but he did not say it should be based on pre-67 borders. Obama's speech is courageous and this is a necessary step towards peace. The right wing in America is surely to blast Obama for "betraying" our ally Israel, as if we are supposed to agree with whatever Israel wants.

I don't know if this will lead to peace in Israel/Palestine, but it was a necessary move, at least to show the world that the US is trying to be fair, that the American President can push Israel to do the right thing. Thank you President Obama!

Update: Netanyahu Rejects Obama Call for Palestinian State Based on 1967 Borders <---That was predictable. Republicans will no doubt side with Netanyahu. I wonder how many Democrats will. PS: Mona Eltahawy gives excellent critique of Obama's speech:

Spelling it "Mona" leads to Americans mispronouncing her name. It's pronounced MUna.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Shiite militias behind recent assassinations

Reuters: "Shi'ite militias rather than Sunni Islamist al Qaeda are behind a recent wave of assassinations of Iraqi government, police and military officials in Baghdad, security officials said.

Militants have used silenced guns and bombs stuck to their targets to kill more than 38 officials in the last five months, according to Baghdad security operations. Interior Ministry sources have reported at least 51 such killings to Reuters in the same period."

Arab Spring comes to Israel

"The Arab Spring came to Israel this weekend. Thousands of Palestinians - not just from the Palestinian territories but also from Syria and Lebanon - marched on Israel's borders from all sides. Israel's military met them with bullets, killing more than a dozen and injuring many more."

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/05/16/EDMU1JGQ6I.DTL#ixzz1MZOg4r8U

Friday, May 13, 2011

Head of Bahrain Defense Force accuses Iraqi "agents" of orchestrating protests

"Sunni monarchs determined to maintain control after crushing opposition protests in the kingdom of Bahrain may soon face a new threat from increasingly alienated youths in the majority Shiite nation.

On Thursday, Bahrain’s state news agency reported that troops from the Gulf Cooperation Council are expected to stay on even after the country’s state of emergency is lifted June 1.

Sheikh Khalifa Al Khalifa, head of the Bahrain Defense Force, told the state news agency that the forces, known as the Peninsula Shield, were sent to Bahrain after protests erupted in February to defend against foreign threats, including Iran. He said Iranian, Iraqi and western agents helped orchestrate the anti-government protests."

Misinformation on FOX News

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Wahhabism is a terrorist cult

From an excellent article by Thomas Friedman:

'The Saudi ruling bargain is an old partnership between the al-Saud tribe and the Wahhabi religious sect. The al-Saud tribe get to stay in power and live however they want behind their palace walls, and, in return, the followers of the Wahhabi sect get to control the country’s religious mores, mosques and education system.

The Wahhabis bless the Saudi regime with legitimacy in the absence of any elections, and the regime blesses them with money and a free hand on religion. The only downside is that this system ensures a steady supply of “sitting around guys” — young Saudi males who have nothing other than religious education and no skills to compete — who then get recruited to become 9/11-style hijackers and suicide bombers in Iraq.

No one explains it better than the Saudi writer Mai Yamani, author of “Cradle of Islam” and the daughter of Saudi Arabia’s former oil minister. “Despite the decade of the West’s war on terror, and Saudi Arabia’s longer-term alliance with the United States, the kingdom’s Wahhabi religious establishment has continued to bankroll Islamic extremist ideologies around the world,” wrote Yamani in The Daily Star of Beirut, Lebanon, this week.'

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Iraqi leaders exchange insults

LAT: "Six months after agreeing to form a national unity government, Prime Minister Nouri Maliki and his secular rival Iyad Allawi are again exchanging insults and cannot agree on such basic issues as who should run the nation's police and army.

The rift, though unlikely to send Iraq back into sectarian violence, does have Iraqi and Western analysts concerned that the country will continue on a dysfunctional path as American troops move to complete their withdrawal by year's end, nearly nine years after the invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Who killed the electric car?

I always thought it was consumers who did not create the demand, until I saw this excellent documentary. Consumers are partially guilty, but so are the other major players, including the car companies. But this documentary was made in 2006, and a lot has happened since then. Today I saw a Nissan ad for its hybrids and all-electric. The Prius and Honda Civic Hybrid have been very successful. The end of the documentary, even though it's titled Who Killed the Electric Car, discusses the bright future of electric cars.

Since the federal government took over GM, the company has developed the Chevy Volt, which "is the most fuel-efficient car with an internal combustion engine sold in the United States."

Don't release photos of dead Usama

I just saw John Nichols of "The Nation" argue on the Ed Show that Obama should release photos to the public, after news of Obama's decision to set up a viewing room at the CIA for VIPs to view the photos.

Usama's fourth son is already pissed, and I bet many Saudis feel the same way. How do you think they would react to photos of their "vanished father" shot in the head? I think Obama is making the right decision.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Al Qaeda never attacked Israel

Angry Arab: "It is known that Al-Qa`idah never ever attacked Israel. In fact, it seems that Bin Laden did not adhere to boycott of companies that helped Israel. I read in the New York Times that he drank Coke."

Also read my post "12 times as many suicide bombings in Iraq as in Israel"

Usama condemned attacks on Shia?

I knew al Zawahri clashed with Zarqawi on AQI's attacks on Shia, but I did not know that Usama also disagreed with the attacks on Shia.

"The Egyptian-born al-Zawahri was long bin Laden's deputy, but has clashed in the past with Al Qaeda's front group in Iraq. Both bin Laden and al-Zawahri urged followers to focus attacks against U.S. and Israeli interests, and sharply condemned the network's Iraqi wing for targeting Shiite Muslims during the years that Iraq teetered on the brink of civil war."

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/05/09/al-qaeda-iraq-pledges-support-al-zawahiri/#ixzz1LuOMhO72

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Wahhabis destroy Shiite mosques in Bahrain

"In the ancient Bahraini village of Aali, where some graves date to 2000 B.C., the Amir Mohammed Braighi mosque had stood for more than 400 years — one of the handsomest Shiite Muslim mosques in this small island nation in the Persian Gulf.

Today, only bulldozer tracks remain."

Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/05/08/113839/while-bahrain-demolishes-mosques.html#ixzz1LoVgUgRo

Church murderer tries to escape, gets killed, en route to jehenem

to join Usama bin Ladin.

'A man accused of attacking a Baghdad church last year wrestled a gun from a guard overnight to free fellow Al Qaeda-affiliated detainees and launch an assault that killed at least 14 people, including a top counterterrorism officer, according to Iraqi officials and Associated Press reports.

Abu Huthaifa Battawi, who was being held in connection with an October church attack that killed 68 people, tried to drive out of Baghdad's Interior Ministry with fellow inmates when he was gunned down by guards Sunday, according to the Associated Press.'

Update: "The accused coordinator of a fatal Baghdad church siege last year was shot and killed yesterday after wresting a gun from a prison guard and launching an hourslong revolt that left 17 people dead, including a top Iraqi counterterrorism general."

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Minnesotan Muslim kills stepdaughter after she removed hijab and moved out

"He forced her to wear a traditional head scarf instead of allowing her to make that decision on her own, and when she stopped wearing a scarf, friends say he became furious."

I said on fb a week ago that too many Muslims have imposed their version of Islam and their backward culture on relatives, and this is another sad example.

Thanks Heydar for posting on fb.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Saddam shoulda been killed Usama-style

I heard Bill Maher ask Irshad Manji tonight if Muslims appreciate it that the US didn't send a cruise missile to kill bin Ladin. Manji thought about it for a second and said "no". I don't know how other Muslims would answer that question, but I am one Muslim who appreciates the fact that the US did not bomb the place and kill a bunch of innocent civilians. I wish Saddam had been killed like Usama was. Catching Saddam and putting him on trial resulted in many problems. Sunni Arabs ended up sympathizing with him and thought his trial was unjust. Killing him and his sons with an elite Navy Seal team would have been much more preferable than weeks of bombing that caused collateral damage, and then a subsequent imprisonment and trial that further divided Arabs along sectarian lines. Many people, including non-Arabs, defended Saddam without understanding his crimes, and I believe that many people would have defended Usama as well had he been captured and put on trial.

Al Qaeda gets its revenge

on Iraqi Shia and Iraqi security forces, again! And it's not surprising, because it's happened so many times before! Iraqis have been the biggest victims of Al Qaeda's terrorism and assassinations in the world, I reckon.

"A suicide bomber driving an explosives-packed vehicle rammed his way into a barricaded police compound yesterday, killed 20 police officers, and wounded 40 others in the second major deadly blast in Iraq this week.

...There was no immediate claim of responsibility for this bombing or for another on Tuesday that killed nine people in a Shi’ite neighborhood in Baghdad. But the types of targets — Iraqi security forces and Shi’ite Muslims — indicate Al Qaeda in Iraq’s involvement."

Between 2003 and 2010, there were 1,759 suicide bombings in Iraq, according to this Wikipedia article.

PS: I hope Usama bin Ladin is burning in HELL now, and I hope the remainder of Al Qaeda follow him!!!

HRW speaks up on Bahrain


"Ex-Members of Parliament, Physicians Held Without Charge; Activist Reported Tortured"

HRW also spoke up on Iraq and Syria.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Amnesty International speaks up on Bahrain


'The Bahraini government must end its relentless crackdown on human rights, Amnesty International said today after the country's parliament voted to extend a repressive state of emergency amid continued arrests of dissidents.

"The Bahraini authorities must stop detaining anyone who opposes them and release protesters who have been locked up for peacefully demanding reform," said Philip Luther, Amnesty International's deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa.'

Is the end of the Saudi regime near?

I hope so.

Angry Arab quotes a Saudi colleague: "Yes so many Arabs hate the Saudis. I was in Morocco a couple of weeks ago and I couldn't believe how much they hate the regime. I had to conceal my identity and say that I am Lebanese to avoid hostility. Even among the Berbers who can hardly speak Arabic, I found anger. I am not surprised, the saudis have turned their country into a seasonal bordello for regime geriatrics, suffering from permanent impotency! Tunisians in paris hate our guts for sheltering their dictator. I think all this reveals good signs, the end is approaching."

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Pakistan is a terrorist state

When I heard the news of Usama's death, I was listening to a program on BBC World Service about Pakistan's blasphemy laws. If you are in Pakistan and if you are accused of blasphemy, you're fvcked, even if the courts acquit you. This is a country that has nuclear weapons and has received billions of dollars in US aid and yet in Pakistan Sufism is attacked and Sufi mosques are bombed, Christians are murdered. Shia are mass murdered. While Wahhabi terrorists live in fortified compounds.

"A day after Osama bin Laden was killed by US forces in Pakistan, Lucknow's Shia Muslim community has called on the international community to declare the country a terrorist state. "

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PS: Salman Rushdie agrees.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Obama not soft on defense

Lawrence O'Donnel pointed out the US raid on the Somali pirates happened under Obama. That was daring and successful. So was the mission that killed the founder of Al Qaeda.

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Usama bin Ladin buried at sea

According to Islamic standards. That was fast!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Usama bin Ladin killed north of Islamabad

The head of Al Qaeda, the organization that has killed tens of thousands of innocent people in the last decade, is DEAD.

I was driving when I heard the news, was listening to BBC World Service. XM Satellite service was interrupted with a message to tune in to news channels to hear major breaking news. It was the first time I heard an emergency message on XM-Sirius.

People celebrated in Washington:

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