Archive for July, 2012

Proxy war in Syria

The nature of the conflict in Syria now is very clear, from an IR point of view. It is a proxy war, pure and simple: or pure and complicated.

Posted on July 31, 2012 by As'ad

The Berri clan in Syria

The Berri clan in Syria is unrelated to the Birris of South Lebanon.  They are Sunnis although some sectarian Syrian opposition sites and Saudi sites are referring to them as Shi`ites.  I asked a keen observer of the Syrian situation to expla…

Posted on July 31, 2012 by As'ad

Bander has NOT been assassinated

I beg you. Stop sending me links and emails to tell me about the assassination of Bandar. The story started with a website funded by the Syrian regime.  The Syrian regime propaganda also fabricated a story that Shaykh `Ar`ur was kidnapped.  I…

Posted on July 31, 2012 by As'ad

This guy wants to kill

Amer sent me this:  “”On the language and tone of the Syrian activists nowadays (this is from a discussion among ‘moderates’): Aksam Barakat أنا اللذي لا استطيع ان انظر. الى نقطة دم ! سوف اقتل من قتل

Posted on July 31, 2012 by As'ad

What will be left of Syria?

What will be left of Syria?

Posted on July 31, 2012 by As'ad

Maura Connelly, the US ambassador in Lebanon, is a fan of homophobia

Please write to US ambassador in Lebanon and express your outrage at her endorsement of homephobia and racism.  Connelly is known as a staunch supporter of MTV station in Beirut and she is unusually paid a special visit to the station to demonstra…

Posted on July 31, 2012 by As'ad

women and children first?

“According to a recent study by two Swedish economists, that brand of gallantry is not only dead, it was buried at sea long ago.  Keen to test humanity’s capacity for selflessness in times of scarcity and duress, the students of the “dismal sci…

Posted on July 31, 2012 by As'ad

The best insight from Paul Wolfowitz: Syria is NOT Iraq. Repeat. Syria is NOT Iraq, news to the contrary notwithstanding. He added that Tartus is not Honolulu

“I think Iraq and Syria are almost completely different situations,” said Wolfowitz in response to a question about the mistakes from Iraq’s post-war period.” (thanks Laure)

Posted on July 31, 2012 by As'ad

New York Times correspondents and Arabic

When New York Times lists Arabic as one of the languages of its correspondents, it only means that this person has taken either a semester or two of Arabic.  My understanding is that now the “best” Arabic learner of the Times is someone who took o…

Posted on July 31, 2012 by As'ad

racist attacks in Israel

“An attacker stabbed three Eritrean men in a southern Tel Aviv video store on Tuesday in what police said they were initially treating as a racist attack.  “All three people that were stabbed were taken to hospital with light to moderate injuries,…

Posted on July 31, 2012 by As'ad

The strange case of Mahdi Al-Harati and his struggle in Libya and Syria

Yesterday, the New York Times had this passage:  “Not all foreign fighters are jihadists, either. One Libyan-Irish fighter, Mahdi al-Harati, who helped lead the battle for Tripoli, Libya, organized a group of volunteers for Syria, noted Thomas Pie…

Posted on July 31, 2012 by As'ad

a new military government for Syria

“But Western diplomats are taking the council less seriously, since it lacks credibility in Syria, and are shifting their focus to the FSA and internal groups.”  The FSA now wants half of the new government to be from military ranks.

Posted on July 31, 2012 by As'ad

The Economist on Syria

The Economist on Syria is indistinguishable from all other Western media.  Its reporter in Beirut gets all her clues and contacts from the Hariri press office.  She uses language of the Free Syrian Army in her articles:  “the rebels havi…

Posted on July 31, 2012 by As'ad

Top Syria diplomat defect

Yesterday, I went to the Washington Post World section.  I was greeted with a big headline: “Top Syria diplomat defects.”  I kid you not.  I immediately thought that this must be the foreign minister, as the headline implied.  I cli…

Posted on July 31, 2012 by As'ad

Al-Qa`idah reporter to the rescue

Syria must be a big story for Aljazeera.  It recalled its Al-Qa`idah sympathizer reporter, Ahmad Zaydan, from Pakistan to cover Aleppo.

Posted on July 31, 2012 by As'ad

Barry Obama seeks the advice of top Iran expert

“Several months ago, President Obama invited me to the Oval Office to discuss his Iran strategy.”  So we now know that Barry Obama really seeks the opinion of top Iran scholars like this guy.  Good to know.

Posted on July 31, 2012 by As'ad

Egyptian presidency

According to Egyptian presidency, the stories in the Israeli press about exchanges of letters between Mursi and Peres are fabricated.

Posted on July 31, 2012 by As'ad

Al-Arabiyyah on Lebanese hostages in Syria

Yesterday, Al-Arabiyyah interviewed the Free Syrian Army hostage taker, Abu Ibrahim.  He told her that the Lebanese hostages are “guests”.  The lousy anchor told him: oh, that means they are in good conditions?  So hostages are not hosta…

Posted on July 31, 2012 by As'ad

FLASH: IRAQI WMDS FOUND. FINALLY

I am not making this up.  John Bolton has found Iraqi WMDs in…Syria and wants the US to move to secure them. (thanks Laure)

Posted on July 30, 2012 by As'ad

Activists on Skype

Of course, the word “activist” in Syria has no meaning anymore. There is an armed conflict.  Activists have either been killed by the regime, or imprisoned, or they have been marginalized by the armed conflict.  And when Western media refer t…

Posted on July 30, 2012 by As'ad