Tagged
Lebanon


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Here’s what’s going on in Syria and why America should not intervene

02:25 pm: uzairm5 notes
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Wikileaks: Israel Plans Total War on Lebanon, Gaza

The Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten has summarized an Israeli military briefing by Israeli Chief of Staff Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi of a US congressional delegation a little over a year ago and concludes that

‘ The memo on the talks between Ashkenazi and [Congressman Ike] Skelton, as well as numerous other documents from the same period of time, to which Aftenposten has gained access, leave a clear message: The Israeli military is forging ahead at full speed with preparations for a new war in the Middle East.

The paper says that US cables quote Ashkenazi telling the US congressmen, “I’m preparing the Israeli army for a major war, since it is easier to scale down to a smaller operation than to do the opposite.”

Read more

04:53 pm: uzairm31 notes
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Web helps revival of old Arabic poetry in Lebanon >>

Zajal, an old form of improvised Arabic poetry that enjoyed its heyday in Lebanon before the 1975-1990 civil war, is making a tentative comeback with thousands of fans on Facebook and YouTube.

Hat Tip: DAWN

05:05 am: uzairm
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Ibrahim al-Amine, the hawk-eyed editorial chairman of Al Akhbar, describes his newspaper’s founding ambitions this way: “We wanted the U.S. ambassador to wake up in the morning, read it and get upset.”

He succeeded. Earlier this month Al Akhbar became the only Arab newspaper to obtain its own substantial batch of WikiLeaks cables and gleefully cataloged various embarrassments to the region’s kings, princes and politicians. Soon afterward, the paper’s popular Web site came under a cyberattack that became a story in its own right, and provided more free publicity.

It was the latest coup for a five-year-old paper that has become the most dynamic and daring in Lebanon, and perhaps anywhere in the Arab world. In a region where the news media are still full of obsequious propaganda, Al Akhbar is now required reading, even for those who abhor its politics.

They are a remarkable blend: the paper champions gay rights, feminism and other leftist causes, even as it wholeheartedly supports Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Shiite movement. Al Akhbar’s access to Hezbollah allows it to scoop other papers on Lebanon’s biggest continuing story, but it also publishes muckraking exposés on the abuse of domestic workers, prison overcrowding and other delicate subjects. Add splashy full-page color photos and witty tabloid-style headlines, and you have an alluring product.

11:04 pm: uzairm3 notes
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Robert Fisk:: Freedom, democracy and human rights in Syria >>

Ribal al-Assad doesn’t look like the son of a war criminal; fluent English, fluent French, fluent Arabic (of course), fluffy black hair and brown eyes, a youngish 35, Boston graduate, self-assured, a member of the Damascus elite, sitting in a Marble Arch hotel, turning down my offer of coffee, talking about freedom and democracy and human rights in Syria, denying – gently but forcefully – that his father, Rifaat, is a war criminal.

Funny that. Back in February 1982, on the banks of the Orontes river, I stood next to one of Rifaat’s tanks as it shelled a mosque in the blood-boltered battle between the Assad regime and the Sunni insurgents of Hama. The tank crew and many of the soldiers around them were wearing the pink uniforms of Rifaat’s Special Brigades.

The Sunni uprising – as ferocious as the Algerian war or Iraq, regime party families slaughtered in their homes – was real enough. So was the brutality of Rifaat’s lads. Up to 20,000 souls were reported killed in the streets and underground tunnels of Hama.

Read more at The Independent

03:23 am: uzairm2 notes
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Robert Fisk: US troops say goodbye to Iraq >>

You can read as many articles as you want, but no one puts a situation into perspective like Robert Fisk does.

Let’s say it together: we have not won and we are not leaving.

Hat tip: Robert Fisk

01:31 am: uzairm
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Entelechy

Image reblogged from nickkahler & afghanipoppy

This piece was first penned in 2006. The above image reminded me of it.

How do you fall in love with a city you have never visited? A city that you are scared to even dream about.  You’ve never even set eyes on it, what if your dreams are nothing more than just a microscopic glimpse into a world that is eons deep in history and culture? You don’t dream because there could be so much more and you’d have no idea. It’d lack purity, its essence would never be captured. What if you are scared of all this, yet you sit around and day dream about the city you love all day?

How do you fall in love with a city just from hearing about it? From reading articles and newspaper stories about it? Just from walking along with fictional characters as they traverse its cobbled-stoned alleyways? How do you feel jealous of someone from there when you’ve never even been within a hundred miles of it?

How and more importantly, why am I so connected to this city- a city I wish I was in, every minute of my days? It has dawned upon me that it won’t do to just visit, I want to live in this city that I have heard so much about, am excited about more than any other place in the world- a city where I know my life will lead me to at some point. It has to, it would be punishment for a past life if it didn’t.

The music, the food, the people, the land; I feel it all calling my name.
I wish I was there in the heart of its streets, protesting last year. I wish I had stood among the millions and declared, in my own connected way, my will to live, my hope for freedom, my ability to love, accept and understand all that this city has learnt through the ages. Its name on someone’s tongue, even a stranger, is cause enough for a friendship.Its name on someone’s tongue, even a stranger, is cause enough for a friendship. Its mere mention sets my senses ablaze.

I do not belong to this city. I have only read about it and heard about it from friends. I have only pondered what my life would be like were I in it. I don’t know anyone there, I have no clue what I would do for work when I am there. But, it calls out to me, everyday now. Its on my mind all the time. I have thought about it more than the one girl I have ever loved. I long for its sounds more than I long for her voice. I long to touch its buildings, trips upon its potholes, eat while walking its alleys, and above all, to breathe its air.

How is such a love possible? How can a man love the idea of something so deeply? I know now what men must feel when they fight for freedom without a second thought, without an inch of doubt. They are focused on something greater than them, something precious that has haunted them since they learnt of its existence. I know now what it must feel like to love an idea, to live your life in the hopes of it one day becoming a reality. I know now what it is like to love in the hope of living.

Beirut, I’m coming.

07:55 am: uzairm1 note
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Israel-Lebanon tensions flare after skirmish leaves four dead

Can a tree start a Middle East war? It almost did yesterday.

It was a miserable, scrawny thing, probably a spruce and – after a 46-degree heatwave in Lebanon – its foliage blocked the Israeli security cameras on the Israeli-Lebanese border near Addaiseh. The Israelis decided to use a crane to rip it out. But there’s a problem. No one is exactly sure where the Israeli-Lebanese border is.

Read more at The Independent

06:07 am: uzairm
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picture HD
If today’s clashes between Israel and Lebanon had descended into a full-scale war, instead of the limited skirmish resulting in 4 deaths (3 Lebanese and 1 Israeli), the above image would have been tipped as the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Yes indeed, this image shows an Israeli Defense Force soldier being dangled into Lebanese territory. What the lone soldier is doing dangling in Lebanese territory is up for for debate though: the Haaretz reports he was trimming hedges while the Jerusalem Post provides credence to reports that say the Israelis were planting cameras.
Either way, one thing is clear: war is coming. Israel is just looking for a reason now. They will make one up soon enough.
Hat tip: War In Context

If today’s clashes between Israel and Lebanon had descended into a full-scale war, instead of the limited skirmish resulting in 4 deaths (3 Lebanese and 1 Israeli), the above image would have been tipped as the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Yes indeed, this image shows an Israeli Defense Force soldier being dangled into Lebanese territory. What the lone soldier is doing dangling in Lebanese territory is up for for debate though: the Haaretz reports he was trimming hedges while the Jerusalem Post provides credence to reports that say the Israelis were planting cameras.

Either way, one thing is clear: war is coming. Israel is just looking for a reason now. They will make one up soon enough.

Hat tip: War In Context

10:57 pm: uzairm9 notes
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They're all grovelling and you can guess the reason

Robert Fisk: at his best when lambasting.

12:06 am: uzairm
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Robert Fisk: CNN was wrong about Ayatollah Fadlallah

I might have guessed it. CNN has fired one of its senior Middle East editors, Octavia Nasr, for publishing a twitter – or twatter in this case, I suppose – extolling Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah of Lebanon, calling him “one of Hizbollah’s giants whom I respect a lot”.

Well, he wasn’t Hizbollah’s man, but no matter. He was definitely a giant. A man of immense learning and jurisprudence, a believer in women’s rights, a hater of “honour crimes”, a critic of the theocratic system of government in Iran.

Read more at The Independent

04:48 am: uzairm
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CNN Fires Middle East Affairs Editor

dominickbrady:

excerpt via NYTIMES:

CNN on Wednesday removed its senior editor of Middle Eastern affairs, Octavia Nasr, after she published a Twitter message saying that she respected the Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah.

Parisa Khosravi, the senior vice president of international newsgathering for CNN Worldwide, said in an internal memorandum that she “had a conversation” with Ms. Nasr on Wednesday morning and that “we have decided that she will be leaving the company.”

For her coverage of events like last year’s protests in Iran, CNN had previously called Ms. Nasr a “leader” in integrating social media Web sites like Twitter within its newsgathering process.

So, CNN does not support the right of a media journalist having a nuanced view about a person who lived for more than 80 years? Sure some people say that Fadlallah was the spiritual leader for Hezbollah during its nascent years and yes, the cleric did support the Islamic Revolution in Iran, but over the years the man has made many progressive speeches and shown a much wider depth of knowledge than just those two events. In particular he was seen as one of the most progressive cleric in the Muslim world on the issue of women in Islam. He had also been distancing himself from Hezbollah for more than a decade, and found serious problems with the Iranian regimes recent acts. So, if a person of such polarizing effect can have such nuanced view, why can a journalist not have the same?

Trust me, Ms. Octavia, its better that they let you go. Working for CNN is definitely an infringement on your human rights.

01:09 pm: uzairm
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A hot summer in Israel

I personally think that Israel is gearing up for a war with Hezbollah this summer; whether that happens in Lebanon via ground forces or in Syria via rockets, or in both, is a whole different matter. But I think the Israelis are getting ready for a war. They are still smarting from the thrashing they got last time and though it may not have been outright victory for the Hezbollah, the Israeli army was severely embarrassed and that kind of feeling just doesn’t dissipate away. Combine that with an upcoming election in November where Obama needs the support of powerful Jewish lobbies and you the makings of a perfect scenario where Israel can once again get away with murder.

My recommendation? Stay the hell out of the Levant region this summer.

via The Call

09:33 am: uzairm
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