Saturday, January 12, 2013

Al-Jazeera Video: Al Jazeera's correspondent reports on Israel 'tent city' evacuation

Al-Jazeera Video: Palestinian politician Mustafa Barghouthi speaks to Al Jazeera

Al-Jazeera Video: Talk to Al Jazeera - Noam Chomsky: The responsibility of privilege


"Linguist and political activist Noam Chomsky remains as vigorous as ever at the age of 84. His popularity - or notoriety as some would say - endures because he is still criticising politicians, business leaders and other powerful figures for not acting in the public's best interest. At the heart of Chomsky's work is examining the ways elites use their power to control millions of people, and pushing the public to resist. In this episode of Talk to Al Jazeera, Noam Chomsky sits down with Rosiland Jordan to talk about the two main tracks of his life: research and political activism."

The US - alongside Saudi Arabia - fights for freedom and democracy in the Middle East

The ability to persuade people that the US opposes tyranny is a testament to the potency of propaganda,
In other words, the single most repressive regime in that region is also America's closest ally. Eakin also notes that while Saudi leaders have exploited the rhetoric of the Arab Spring to undermine leaders its dislikes (primarily in Syria and Iran), its only direct action was to send its troops into Bahrain "to stave off a popular revolt and prop up the Bahraini monarchy" and use "its influence in the Gulf Cooperation Council, the alliance of autocratic Persian Gulf states, to pull together support for the beleaguered royal houses of Morocco and Jordan." About all of this Saudi bolstering of tyranny, Eakin says: "The White House has remained silent."
Actually, that's not quite accurate. The US has been there every step of the way with its close Saudi allies in strengthening these same tyrannies. As the Bahraini regime has systematically killed, tortured, and imprisoned its own citizens for the crime of demanding democracy, the Obama administration has repeatedly armed it and trumpeted the regime as "a vital US partner in defense initiatives" and "a Major Non-NATO Ally". The US continues to be a close partner of the Yemeni dictator ("elected" as the only candidate allowed on the ballot). And it stands as steadfastly as ever behind the Gulf State monarchies of Jordan, Kuwait and Qatar as, to varying degrees, they repress democratic movements and imprison dissidents......

The US is not committed to spreading democracy and freedom in the world. "Freedom" and "democracy" are concepts it exploits to undermine regimes that refuse to serve its interests. Indeed, there is virtually an inverse relationship between how democratic a country is in the Muslim world and how closely allied the US is to it.
Yes, all of this is obvious and not novel to point out. Still, it needs to be pointed out because of how often the US government succeeds in leading people to believe that these are its goals. It's just extraordinary that so many people are willing to believe and advocate that the US ever acts in the world with the goal of undermining tyranny when "the US does more trade - overwhelmingly in oil and weapons - with Saudi Arabia than any other country in the Middle East". That this blatant sham is so widely accepted is a testament to the potency of propaganda, bolstered by the willingness of people to embrace self-flattering claims."

Friday, January 11, 2013

Al-Jazeera Video: Syria rebels speak out after capturing main Idlib airbase

"Syrian opposition fighters have overrun Taftanaz airbase, the largest in northern Syria, after several days of fierce combat, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said.

Anti-government activists said fighters from Jabhat al-Nusra and other groups opposed to President Bashar al-Assad seized control of buildings, ammunition and military equipment in the sprawling Taftanaz airbase in northern Idlib province on Friday.

Sue Turton reports."

"Failure of Epic Proportions": Treasury Nominee Jack Lew’s Pro-Bank, Austerity, Deregulation Legacy

Democracy Now!

"Former bank regulator William Black and Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi join us to dissect the career of Jack Lew, President Obama’s pick to replace Treasury Secretary Timothy Geither. Currently Obama’s chief of staff, Lew was an executive at Citigroup from 2006 to 2008 at the time of the financial crisis. He backed financial deregulation efforts while he headed the Office of Management and Budget under President Bill Clinton. During that time, Clinton enacted two key laws to deregulate Wall Street: the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 and the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000. Black, a white-collar criminologist and former senior financial regulator, is the author of "The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One." A contributing editor for Rolling Stone magazine, Taibbi is the author of "Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History."...."

Al-Jazeera Video: Syria rebels capture key Idlib airbase

"Syrian opposition fighters have overrun Taftanaz airbase, the largest in northern Syria, after several days of fierce combat, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said.

Anti-government activists said fighters from Jabhat al-Nusra and other groups opposed to President Bashar al-Assad seized control of buildings, ammunition and military equipment in the sprawling Taftanaz airbase in northern Idlib province on Friday.

Al Jazeera's Jamal Elshayyal reports."

Al-Jazeera Video: Syria rebels capture key Idlib airbase

"Syrian opposition fighters have overrun Taftanaz airbase, the largest in northern Syria, after several days of fierce combat, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said. Anti-government activists said fighters seized control of buildings in the sprawling Taftanaz airbase on Friday. Al Jazeera's Rula Amin reports from Beirut."

AlJazeera at the US Media Gates, by Khalil Bendib

Syria rebels capture key Idlib airbase

After days of fierce fighting, Jabhat al-Nusra and other rebels groups storm Taftanaz airbase in northern province.


"Syrian opposition fighters have overrun Taftanaz airbase, the largest in northern Syria, after several days of fierce combat, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said.

Anti-government activists said fighters from Jabhat al-Nusra and other groups opposed to President Bashar al-Assad seized control of buildings, ammunition and military equipment in the sprawling Taftanaz airbase in northern Idlib province on Friday.

"The fighting at Taftanaz military airport ended at 11:00 am (09:00 GMT) and the base is entirely in rebel hands," said Rami Abdel Rahman, the director of the UK-based rights group, on Friday.

"Many regime forces have been killed and most of the soldiers and officers fled at dawn," he told the AFP news agency by phone."

Thursday, January 10, 2013

الأسباب الموضوعية للحراك الشعبي


إذن، نلمس الآن أن "غير السياسي" هو الذي يقوم بالفعل السياسي الأهم: إسقاط السلطة، لأن الشعب يصل إلى لحظة يحسّ فيها أنه لم يعد قادراً على تحمّل الوضع الذي هو فيه، الأمر الذي يدفعه إلى التمرّد الهائل الذي يقوم به ضد السلطة التي خافها طويلاً، والذي يعتبر أنها السبب في كل الظروف السيئة التي يعيشها، حيث يتحوّل -هنا- السكون إلى ثورة، والخوف إلى جرأة وبطولة، والخضوع إلى تمرّد.. ينقلب الواقع من أساسه، ونشهد ما لم تكن النخب تتوقعه أو تحلم به، وأيضاً تخافه.
هذه اللحظة هي التي تظهر "أصالة" الشعب، وتعبّر عن "روح" الشعب، وهي اللحظة التي تحقق التغيير العميق في مسار التاريخ، والتي بدون فهمها لا يمكن فهم الشعوب ومعرفة دورها الهائل في التاريخ، وبالتالي فهم أن الشعوب هي التي تصنع التاريخ.
إذا كان السياسي يبدأ من الدولة فإن الشعب يبدأ من "العيش"، من الوجود ذاته، حيث إن الشعور بالعجز عن العيش، وبالتالي الشعور "بالموت"، هو الذي يكسر السكون والسلبية، ويؤسس للتمرّد على الوضع الذي هو فيه لأنه لم يعد يستطيع التحمّل.

Assad's Speech, by Emad Hajjaj

Are Israel and the U.S. Becoming Fascist States?

by , January 10, 2013

"......The only area in which Israel and the United States are demonstrably not fascist is their avoidance of dictatorship, though even that is not as clear cut as it might be. The United States has, to be sure, two major parties that alternate in power, but both are wedded to a similar statist agenda, which is particularly evident in the area of foreign policy, where there is a national consensus in support of aggressive militarism. The concept of the unitary executive, embraced by both Democrats and Republicans, is intrinsically dictatorial in nature and there are legitimate concerns that another major terrorist attack inside the United States could well tip the balance to presidential rule by fiat with a complaisant congress, media, and supreme court following along behind. Israel likewise has a number of viable political parties, but the movement politically speaking has been to the right and one might argue that the national consensus is clearly hard right wing with Likud dominant. The only question decided in elections is just who the other players might be in the government coalition and lately they have been even more extreme than Likud.

So it would appear that the answer to the question whether Israel and the U.S. are developing into fascist-style states would have to be a qualified yes, meaning that they are not quite there yet but all the indicators are pointing that way....." 

Syria's rebels form their own secret police

"(Reuters) - Just the mention of the word would send shivers down the spine of Syrians: "mukhabarat", or secret police.
Abuses by President Bashar al-Assad's feared security units were among the reasons Syrians took to the streets in March 2011, leading to an uprising that has become a civil war.
But now some of the rebels fighting Assad say they have set up a mukhabarat of their own to "protect the revolution", monitor sensitive military sites and gather military information to help rebels plan attacks against government forces.
"We formally formed the unit in November. It provides all kind of information to (opposition) politicians and fighters. We are independent and just serve the revolution," said a rebel intelligence officer who goes under the name Haji......."

Guardian Video: Syrian refugees endure terrible weather conditions

"Difficult weather conditions in Lebanon and Jordan are threatening the welfare of Syrian refugees. Tens of thousands are sleeping in flooded tents, with only cardboard and nylon to shelter them from the elements. Since violence broke out in Syria, over 250,000 people have fled to Jordan and 170,000 have escaped to Lebanon."

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

Do you see a place for Assad in a likely transitional government in Syria?

With about 500 responding so far, 92% said no.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Part 2: Al Jazeera’s Sami Al-Hajj on His 438-Day Hunger Strike in U.S. Detention at Gitmo Prison

Democracy Now!

"In part two of our exclusive interview, Sami al-Hajj — the Al Jazeera journalist imprisoned and tortured at Guantánamo for six years — describes how he waged a 438-day hunger strike to protest his detention. Al-Hajj was arrested in Pakistan in December of 2001 while traveling to Afghanistan on a work assignment. Held for six years without charge, al-Hajj was repeatedly tortured, hooded, attacked by dogs and hung from a ceiling. Interrogators questioned him more than 100 times about whether Al Jazeera was a front for al-Qaeda. Al-Hajj waged his hunger strike from January 2007 until his release in May 2008. Click here to watch Part 1 of this interview......"

أسئلة الثورة السورية مع نهاية عامها الثاني

"بعد أسابيع سيكون بوسع شبيحة بشار الأسد والتحالف المساند له، الاحتفال بمرور عام آخر على الثورة السورية دون أن يسقط "نظام المقاومة والممانعة"، معتبرين ذلك دليلا على سخف التحليلات التي ما برحت تؤكد سقوطه خلال وقت قريب، أو قرب سقوطه بين شهر وآخر.
وبينما تطرح هذه المعضلة أسئلة كبيرة -سياسية وعسكرية- على الأطراف الداعمة للثورة، ومن ضمنها المجموعات المنخرطة فيها، فإن استمرار الثورة وتطورها يطرح في المقابل أسئلة لا تقل حرجا وخطورة على النظام والأطراف الداعمة له، فضلا عن الأبواق التي تتخصص في الشماتة في قوى المعارضة والمساندين للثورة، وكأننا أمام رهان حول مباراة لكرة القدم، أو رهان حول المدى الذي سيصمد فيه أحد اللاعبين في مباراة للملاكمة قبل وقوعه بالضربة القاضية، مع تجنب مقصود لسؤال: من سيحقق الفوز بالنقاط في نهاية المباراة؟

لا ننكر بطبيعة الحال أننا -ومعنا كثيرون- عوّلنا على سقوط النظام خلال وقت قريب بعد وضوح تقدم الثوار بشكل جيد على الأرض، بينما توقعنا أكثر أن يكون هناك حل سياسي يقصي بشار الأسد، ويبقي على الدولة السورية ومن ضمنها الجيش الذي يمكن أن يكون جزءا من التسوية باستثناء كبار مجرميه.
لكن ذلك لا يعني أننا لم نتوقع أن تطول الحرب أكثر مما طالت حتى الآن، بدليل أننا قلنا منذ مطلع العام الجاري إننا أمام مشهد أفغاني بامتياز، وهو ما يعكس التكهن بإمكانية أن تطول الحرب على نحو ما حصل مع المقاومة ضد الغزو السوفياتي لأفغانستان، وإن اختلف المشهد في ظل الدعم الأميركي للثوار الأفغان، مقابل موقف معاكس في الملف السوري يتبنى إطالة المعركة من أجل تدمير البلد لحساب الكيان الصهيوني.

سياسيا، يبدو الوضع سيئا بالنسبة للمعارضة، ذلك أن اطمئنان نتنياهو على مصير الأسلحة الكيمياوية بوجود فرق قوات خاصة (في الأردن) جاهزة للسيطرة عليها لحظة سقوط النظام، مع تطمينات روسية في هذا الصدد، قد أعاد الموقف إلى مربعه القديم الذي لا يمانع في إطالة المعركة بهدف التدمير، دون الخوف من اليوم التالي وشكل الحكم إثر قرار بناء الجدار في الجولان.
ومعلوم أن موقف نتنياهو هو الذي يحرك الموقف الأميركي، وتبعا له الغربي، بل يؤثر على مواقف تركيا والعرب الداعمين للثورة، بدليل أن الدعم المالي والتسليحي أخذ يتراجع خلال الأشهر الأخيرة

وبينما تعبنا من التعويل على رشد إيران التي تبدو الوحيدة القادرة على إقناع بشار بالتنحي لأجل تسوية سياسية، فإن الحل هو التعويل على بعد آخر يؤدي إلى حسم سريع للثورة. وهذا البعد يتمثل في اندفاعة عربية وتركية (سلاحا ودعما متعدد الأشكال) خلف الثوار تؤدي إلى حسم سريع، بدل هذه المراوحة أو التقدم البطيء.
بعد عامين من اندلاع الثورة السورية، يمكن القول إن الشعب السوري خسر الكثير على صعيد الأرواح والممتلكات، لكنه ربح في المقابل ثورة نبيلة رائعة ستظل تلهم الأجيال، في ذات الوقت الذي لم يؤد ما جرى إلى تشكيكنا لحظة واحدة، في أن النهاية هي النصر بإذن الله، مهما طال الوقت وكثرت التضحيات.

Al-Jazeera Video: Al Jazeera World - Gaza: Left in the Dark

"The constant power outages caused by limited electricity supplies mean the people of Gaza have no choice but to live much of their lives off the grid. This film portrays the many obstacles and complications caused by the power shortage in Gaza."

Real News Video (with Transcript): Hagel Nomination Defies Neo-Cons and AIPAC; Brennon at CIA will Expand Drone Assassinations

Ray McGovern: Hagel may help restrain forces that want war against Iran; Brennon will help Obama more directly control CIA 

More at The Real News

Syria conflict: prisoner swap - live updates

The Guardian

"Exchange confirmed

The head of a Turkish aid agency that helped broker the prisoner exchange has confirmed that 48 Iranian hostages have been freed in exchange for the release of more than 2,000 civilians.
Bulent Yildirim, head of humanitarian aid agency IHH, told Reuters that the exchange was underway: "The 48 Iranians have been released and are being taken to Damascus, accompanied by Iranian and Syrian officials."
CNN's Arwa Damon says it is the biggest prisoner swap since the uprising began.....

Reaction to prisoner swap

Initial reaction to news of the prisoner swap has focused on how much more highly the Assad regime appears to value Iranians compared to imprisoned Syrian activists.

Rafif Jouejati, spokeswoman for the activist group the Local Co-ordination Committees of Syria, tweeted:

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Exclusive: As Gitmo Turns 11, Al Jazeera’s Sami al-Hajj on 6-Year Ordeal of U.S. Detention, Torture

Democracy Now!


"On the 11th anniversary of Guantánamo Bay’s use as a prison for foreign detainees, we air a Democracy Now! exclusive interview with Sami al-Hajj, the only journalist held at Guantánamo. The Al Jazeera cameraman was arrested in Pakistan in December of 2001 while traveling to Afghanistan on a work assignment. Held for six years without charge, al-Hajj was repeatedly tortured, hooded, attacked by dogs and hung from a ceiling. Interrogators questioned him over 100 times about whether Al Jazeera was a front for al-Qaeda. In January 2007, he began a hunger strike that lasted 438 days until his release in May 2008. Now the head of Al Jazeera’s human rights and public liberties desk, al-Hajj sits down for a rare interview with Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman in Doha, Qatar......"

Obama's Coporate-Sponsored Inauguration, by Khalil Bendib

One million Syrians in need of food aid: U.N.

"(Reuters) - About one million Syrians are going short of food, most of them in conflict zones, due to government restrictions on aid distribution, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

The U.N.'s World Food Programme (WFP) is handing out rations to about 1.5 million people in Syria each month, still short of the 2.5 million deemed to be in need, WFP spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs said.
Bread and fuel particularly are in short supply.

The WFP is unable to step up assistance as only a handful of aid agencies are authorized to distribute relief goods in Syria, where more than 60,000 people have been killed during 21 months of conflict.
"Our main partner, the (Syrian Arab) Red Crescent, is overstretched and has no more capacity to expand further," Byrs told a news briefing in Geneva.

Long lines in front of bakeries are now normal in many parts of Syria and there are reports of shortages of wheat flour in most parts of the country due to damage to mills, most of which are located in the embattled Aleppo area, she said......"

Syria conflict: refugee numbers near 600,000 - live updates

The Guardian

".....The total number of refugees fleeing the violence in Syria has reached almost 600,000 - an increase of close to 100,000 in less than a month. The UN refugee agency said the total number of registered refugees and individuals awaiting registration has reached 597,240 as of 6 January. Last month it put the figure at 509,559 people....."

President Mohamed Morsi has consolidated the Muslim Brotherhood's grip on power with a cabinet reshuffle that includes few outsiders, according to the Arabist blog.

The Guardian

"The absence of any prominent non-Muslim Brotherhood figure is hardly surprising. Morsi is clearly not interested in reaching out, as we saw in the recent constitutional debacle, and I doubt he’d find a taker among opposition leaders. Even though I think that is what should happen....."

Monday, January 7, 2013

Obama taps Hagel with combative speech– following outreach to AIPAC

link via mondoWeiss
Update: President Obama just nominated former Senator Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense. Obama's speech was combative. It emphasized Hagel's military service, his injuries in Vietnam, and said that Hagel was his choice because he could work with those on the ground, "the guy at the bottom, who's doing the fighting and the dying." Obama repeatedly struck an assertive tone as if daring neoconservative chicken hawks to criticize Hagel. Hagel said as little as was possible...
The media are all reporting that President Obama has chosen Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense. Update: From ABC:
Obama will nominate former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel to be the next Secretary of Defense at a formal White House announcement later today, administration officials said. 
The media are generally lukewarm on the pick; Martha Raddatz and George Stephanopoulos agree there's no guarantee the nomination will be approved, many predict a battle from Republicans. The good news is that the Israel angle is getting a lot of play, even if the reporters aren't being very straightforward about the lobby's role. Though Slate's Fred Kaplan is very straightforward: Criticism of Israel is the third rail in our foreign policy.
And notice thoughout the coverage that the White House and its friends are pushing back, saying that Hagel loves Israel. The White House preempted AIPAC's potential opposition by lobbying it, according to Jeffrey Goldberg on twitter:
Sources tell me White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew called AIPAC Executive Director Howard Kohr last week to argue case for Chuck Hagel. White House lobbying of AIPAC may explain why group is not going great guns so far against Hagel nomination.

Al-Jazeera Video: Syrian opposition forms chemical weapons unit

Al-Jazeera Video: ما وراء الخبر - أبعاد خطاب الرئيس الأسد

State of Fear

By Chris Hedges

"The security and surveillance state, recently released FBI documents show, monitors even mainstream dissenters and is determined to shut down all organized resistance to corporate rule. The goal: an encompassing system of pervasive fear and overt intimidation......"

Israel’s Anti-Black Pogrom

Is the Jewish state becoming Klan country?
by , January 07, 2013 

"A screaming mob of whites gathers in a public square, their placards proclaiming their hatred of blacks, their shouts of "N—-r!" reverberating and bouncing off the walls of nearby shops and homes like the ominous thunder of a coming storm. They loot shops that cater to blacks, and a prominent elected official is at the head of the mob, declaring that blacks are "a cancer" that must be eradicated.

Mississippi in the Sixties? A neo-Nazi rally? A Klan conclave?

No, it’s a recent scene in southern Tel Aviv, Israel, where Likud member of the Knesset Miri Regev – a former IDF spokesperson and prominent political figure – led a well-organized march of ultra-nationalists demanding the expulsion of all blacks from Israel. Just look at the ugliness of these people – listen to them screaming "White Power"! And here are the Jewish Hitlers, proclaiming their desire to set up a "Jewish monarchy." A few extremists? No. Israel’s Interior Minister has pledged to ship all blacks back to Africa, and the issue of the African refugees has become the major issue in Israel’s election campaign......."

Head of Alex Jewish community: Nasser did not expel Egyptian Jews

Al-Masry Al-Youm

"Yousef bin Gaon, the head of the Jewish community in Alexandria, condemned statements made by Essam al-Erian, vice president of the Freedom and Justice Party, in which he accused the regime of former President Gamal Abdel Nasser of expelling Egyptian Jews from Egypt.
Bin Gaon claimed that Nasser only expelled some Jews who had other nationalities and who were proven to have not been loyal to Egypt.
"We lived in Egypt and grew up in it, and our properties remain as they are. We use them to support the elderly members of the community, such as the revenues from the real estate surrounding the Nabi Daniel Synagogue, which dates back to 1910," Bin Gaon, 50, told London-based Asharq al-Awsat on Monday
Erian, who is the majority leader of the FJP's parliamentary bloc in the Shura Council, sparked controversy last month when he issued a call for the Egyptian Jews who live in Israel to return to Egypt.
Bin Gaon dismissed claims that Jews in Egypt are determining their properties' values to request compensation. He added that Jews who currently live in Egypt will not give any help to the Jews who left Egypt, alleging that they chose to leave Egypt and to sell their possessions or leave them to the Egyptians who worked with them.
He added that the statements made by Erian did not evoke the interest of any member of the Jewish community in Egypt because none of them was stripped of his or her possessions. He also said that he has the Egyptian nationality certificate of his grandfather's grandfather and the Egyptian nationality certificate of his father, which was signed by King Farouk.
"I have a national identity card, and my passport has not had the name of any country for dozens of years. I used to live in the Immobilia building in Cairo. All members of the Jewish community have Egyptian IDs".
He added that few Egyptian Jews have remained in Egypt, and that all of them have Egyptian fathers and grandfathers, and that is why they did not leave Egypt.
"My father was Nasser's tailor and he made him all his formal suits," he said, adding that he still has pictures of Nasser and his father together."

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

Do you see in Assad's latest speech a way out of the Syrian crisis?

With about 1,000 responding so far, 88% said no.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Video: A Summary of the Assad Speech, January 6, 2013

Palestinians, Egyptian Jews and propaganda

Despite claims to the contrary, it isn't all sunshine and rainbows when Jewish Egyptians reflect on Egypt.

By Joseph Massad

"......Concomitant with these rumours is the Egyptian government's and the opposition's race to please the United States and its Zionist lobby. While the very same Issam al-Aryan spoke about the tragedy of the Jewish holocaust while in the US on a Muslim Brotherhood promotional trip in May 2011, the naïve and charisma-less Mohamed el-Baradei upped the ante by telling a German newspaper that elected Salafi and Brotherhood members of parliament should not be trusted to draft the Egyptian constitution because they allegedly deny the holocaust! 

Al-Aryan's recent pronouncements on Egyptian Jews are part of this campaign of who can prove to the Americans and the Zionists that they can better serve US and Zionist interests.

This unfortunate level which the post-revolutionary Egyptian protagonists have reached tells us how successful counter-revolutionary forces in Egypt have become, and how they are undermining revolutionary gains and distracting Egyptians from the real economic, social and political challenges facing the country."

Al-Jazeera Video: Syrian National Coalition: Assad has no desire to relinquish power

"In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera, Louay Safi of the Syrian National Coalition dismissed Assad's address to the nation as "empty rhetoric." 

"He has shown that he is a dictator that cannot be negotiated with.""

Al-Jazeera Video: Inside Syria - What does 2013 have in store for Syria?

"The conflict in Syria has been going on for nearly two years now. And as we enter 2013, we look at what the future may hold for the country. Where do things stand right now, and what is likely to happen in 2013? Inside Syria, with presenter Hazem Sika, is joined by guests: Patrick Seale, a leading British writer on the Middle East, and the author of The Struggle for Syria and Asad of Syria: The Struggle for the Middle East; Joseph Bahout, a professor of Middle East politics at the Institute for Political Studies in Paris; and Andrew Tabler, a senior fellow with the Program on Arab Politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy."

Al-Jazeera Video: حديث الثورة- الحصار على حمص والسيطرة على المطارات

Real News Video (with Transcript): Overcrowded Schools in War-Torn Besieged Gaza

Nearly half a million children in Gaza attend dilapidated schools, adding to emotional traumas resulting from wars and siege 

More at The Real News

Syria's Bashar al-Assad calls on foreign countries to end support for rebels

Opposition denounces president's peace plan as 'empty rhetoric' as Assad pledges to stay and continue fighting 'terrorist' violence

, Middle East editor,

The Muslim Brotherhood and Egyptian Jewry

Close inspection of Essam El-Erian's problematic statement calling Israelis of Egyptian ancestry to return to Egypt reveals Brotherhood leader's true motives

Khaled Fahmy , Sunday 6 Jan 2013
Ahram Online

".......The last problem is not about El-Erian’s futuristic predictions but about his interpretation of the past. El-Erian did not even attempt to deny or refute the common belief that those responsible for the departure of Jews was not Gamal Abdel-Nasser’s regime alone but also the policies and activities of the Brotherhood, an organisation El-Erian himself belongs to.

During the 1930s and 1940s, the Brotherhood did not view Egyptian Jews as full-fledged citizens and always doubted their loyalty to Egypt. Dozens of articles published in Brotherhood magazines were outrightly anti-Semitic and utterly failed to distinguish between Jews and Zionists.

Example of anti-Semitic pronouncements and publications by Brotherhood members are too numerous to cite, however, one telling example is the article titled ‘The Threat of Jews on the Islamic and Christian Worlds’ published in the Brotherhood’s Al-Nadheer magazine in 1938 which claimed that Jews were the real colonisers of India, not the British.
Brotherhood youth groups also carried out a series of attacks on Jewish synagogues and shops, even against those businesses not owned by Zionists on the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration on 2 and 3 November 1945.

There was even more violence against Jewish interests in Cairo and Alexandria that ended with the assassination of Prime Minister Nokrashi Pasha in 1948, when Brotherhood members marched to the Jewish Quarter in Moski district of Cairo chanting “Ennaharda el-sabt we bokra el-hadd” (Today is Saturday, and tomorrow is Sunday): a sinister reference to what was to await Coptic Christians now that the fate of the Egyptian Jews had been sealed.
Does El-Erian truly believe that his generous offer to Egyptian Jews will erase the Muslim Brotherhood’s bloody record?

Despite these problematic issues, it remains that El-Erian’s offer is based on a noble principle, namely that our conflict with Zionists is a moral one and that it is possible to imagine the end of Zionism.
But El-Erian, do you honestly expect Jews to leave the country they now live in for another that has just passed a Constitution that does not treat citizens equally, that has allotted a significant role for Egypt's highest Islamic authority Al-Azhar in interpreting the Constitution and that has laid down the first block of a religious state?"

Why We Hate Them: Arabs in Western Eyes

Neftali / 
 A new PBS documentary reveals how films and other media have shaped an anti-Muslim narrative.
Arabs were increasingly depicted in the cinema as lawless savages who mindlessly opposed the advanced civilizations of Europe, not unlike the American Indians who had stood in the way of manifest destiny. The possible motives for their savagery were strictly off limits, as they were in the American historical narrative. The good Arabs were the ones who were “obedient” and sought accommodation with the French and British. The bad Arabs were the “disobedient” who sought to maintain their traditional ways of life.
The rise of the Zionist movement and the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, with its forced relocation of most Palestinians — which Mearsheimer describes as “ethnic cleansing” — made further shifts in the narrative essential, particularly to demonstrate that Jews had a historic right to the land of Palestine and that the creation of the Jewish state was humanely carried out in a land that did not exist politically and was largely empty and undeveloped. Movies like “Exodus” and “Lawrence of Arabia” appeared, with the former omitting the Zionist terrorism that had led to the creation of Israel while also emphasizing historic Jewish claims to the land. The latter film expressed some sympathy for Arab nationalism but also demonstrated that savage and undisciplined Arabs could only triumph militarily under European leadership. The two films together largely completed the process of defining the Arab in Western popular culture. In “Lawrence of Arabia,” Peter O’Toole, playing Lawrence, described Arabs as “a little people, a silly people. Greedy, barbarous and cruel.” Nothing more need be said.
Read more(The American Conservative)

السؤال الفضيحة

فهمي هويدي

هل يعقل أن يتساءل أحد فى هذا الزمان عما إذا كان يجوز تهنئة الأقباط بعيدهم أم لا؟ لست أستهجن الذين أفتوا بكراهية تهنئتهم أو حرمتها، لكننى أستهجن مبدأ طرح السؤال، لأنه يفضح المدى الذى بلغه التردى العقلى والفكرى الذى وصل إليه البعض، ممن اعتبروا أن بغض الآخر والارتياب فيه هو الأصل. فى الوقت ذاته فإننى أزعم أن الفتوى التى ذاع أمرها فى الآونة الأخيرة تعد فضيحة أكبر. ذلك أن السائل إذا كان من عوام الناس الذين اختل وعيهم الدينى، فإن المجيب يفترض فيه أنه من أهل العلم، وهو ما يصدمنا حقا ويفزعنا. لأنه إذا كان ذلك شأن بعض أهل العلم فما بالك ببسطاء الناس وقليلى البضاعة من العلم. ولا تقف الكارثة عند ذلك الحد، لأننى وجدت أن الأمر أخذ على محمل الجد، وتحول إلى موضوع للمناقشة بين من يؤيدون الفتوى ويعارضونها، كأننا بصدد نازلة استجدت فى هذا العصر، فحيرت (المجتهدين) الذين تراوحت آراؤهم بين الحظر والإباحة. فى حين أن المشهد كله ينطبق عليه قول الجاحظ. من حيث إنه يعبر عن (سقم فى العقل وسخف فى الرأى، لا يتأتيان إلا بخذلان من الله سبحانه وتعالى).