Angry Corner

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Israel: The propaganda tour

A few months ago, PBS aired what it dubbed a documentary titled: “Israel: The Royal Tour.” It has been made available on DVD and is distributed around the country as an education tool for classrooms. When it comes to coverage of Israel in the US, you know what to expect but you never know the extent to which Israeli propaganda is going to be serviced in any particular project.

Americans in Yemen

In the US press, the story is clear: two armed Americans were innocently getting a haircut in a barber shop in Yemen when they suddenly shot two “armed” Yemeni civilians who they said were about to kidnap them. As is usual in such stories, US media merely copy the propaganda talking points of the US military-intelligence apparatus. Some US newspapers actually printed the account that was fed to them by US intelligence: that two armed Americans were simply getting a haircut in Yemen when they shot and killed two Yemeni “civilians”—who are armed, we are told, although the two Yemenis did not shoot at all.

Mahmoud Abbas and the most heinous crime

There is something unpleasant about the sudden declaration by Mahmoud Abbas that the Holocaust was “the most heinous” crime against humanity in modern times. The announcement was suspicious not only in timing but also in its wording. Anyone who has watched Abbas speak English knows full well that “heinous” is not part of his very small vocabulary. Of course, Arab acknowledgement of the Holocaust and the understanding of Jewish suffering in the West throughout history (in which Arabs had no hand), can’t be unwelcomed. Knowledge of history and its facts is a humane obligation but the Palestinians should not be exclusively requested to recite facts of Jewish suffering when they were not the ones who afflicted suffering and atrocities on the Jewish people. If anything, the Palestinian problem can’t be solved through knowledge of history by either side but by changing of the actual political realities in the land of Palestine.

Guidelines for the formation of a leftist stance on Syria

It has become trendy among the Western left to meet with the right over Syria. There is actually no debate on Syria in Western countries. In fact, debate is highly discouraged. Debate is seen as a political sin. Only one point of view is permitted on Syria; you may search American newspapers over a three-year period to find no trace whatsoever of any critique of the Syrian “revolution”.

I was eagerly hoping for the outbreak of the Lebanese Civil War

I don’t know about you but I was not one of those who now claim that they were opposed to the Lebanese Civil War all along. That was not my story at all. I did not hold candle vigils and I never chanted for peace in my life. I never admired Gandhi. I was 15 when the war broke out back in 1975 (to the day). It was a Sunday and my parents were at a social event in Aynab in the mountains of Lebanon. They came home reporting an eerie sense in the deserted streets of Beirut. The war that I was eagerly expecting finally broke out.

Political nostalgia

People of my generation of Arabs have fallen in the worst era: those of us who came of age after the 1967 war are said to be full of despair and pessimism. It is true that those who witnessed, even as children, the news and public mood that followed the 1967 defeat suffer from a complex. They tend to be cynical and often look for the worst aspect of things. If Arabs of a previous generation insisted on turning all defeats into victories, people of my generation seem to insist on turning hope into despair, and even military accomplishments (as was the case in the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance to the Israeli occupation of Lebanon) into defeats.

House of Saud’s musical chairs

The announcement of the recent change in the line of succession in the House of Saud is unusual, even by the standards of the House of Saud in the wake of the death of King Fahd. The family is now as disunited as it was back in the period prior to the 1964 coup by King Faysal (people forget that the manager of the coup was King Fahd himself). Yet, there is a big difference thus far: the family factions in the early 1960s pursued different political options. King Saud — having been a typical Saudi reactionary back in the 1950s — had assumed a progressive cast and relied on a group of progressive Saudi intellectuals to implement his, or more accurately their, vision. He compensated for the lack of family support by advocating policies that were more in tune with Saudi, and even Arab, youth at the time.

The Arab Summit: who will attend and why?

The UAE is taking the Arab summit very seriously: it sent the ruler of its Fujayrah emirate to represent the state. It is not clear which Saudi prince will represent the kingdom or whether any prince will be dispatched at all. The Syrian government won’t be permitted to send any representative but the Syrian National Coalition won’t be permitted either: no one will represent Syria, or presumably the sponsors of Syrian armed groups will speak on behalf of the Syrian people.

Beyond Yabrud

It is now settled, the war in Syria has not gone according to plan from the perspective of Western governments. They are all responsible for diverting the path of a civilian protest movement in Syria toward the track of foreign-controlled armed groups. It is not that — as Western journalists often robotically state that the civilian non-violent movement turned into a sectarian war by virtue of the repression by the regime-no one ever explains how that actually and concretely happened — armed groups were not active in Syria from the very beginning; they were. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Israel, and the US had their own armed agents in Syria and they were all ready to strike at a moment’s notice.

Saudi Arabia’s grumpy foreign policy

Saudi Arabia’s royal family is not happy and wants the world to know it. The royal family has been more tight-lipped and diplomatic over the years. It would often hide its anger behind smiles in photos and vapid rhetoric about Arab brotherhood, even when it conspired against various Arab regimes.

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