Adonis Diaries

Archive for the ‘Islam/Moslem/Islamic world’ Category

Coprolalia on Syria, European pseudo-Leftists, and Žižek

I was a bit disappointed when I read Žižek´s article on Syria.

It is true that the people in Syria have no excuse for not making a revolution, but compassion is a virtue.

Maybe if “comrade” Žižek could´ve taken the time to scribble them a manual of “Revolution 101″ they could´ve been brought to their senses.

Possibly a syllabus of recommended readings? Žižek has a lot to teach the people in Syria and Egypt.

The European Left as a whole has much to share itself. I mean, Europe has been revolting for decades and the victories of the European Left are a source of global envy.

Žižek himself has lead the barricades and put a stake to the heart of neo-liberalism in his own country.

Leil-Zahra Mortada posted this Nov. 12, 2013

Zizek 1 

Only if the people in Syria could read Žižek!  Only then they´d see how mistaken they have been.

They´d see that revolution is not about survival.

It is not about teaching your kids that their life does matter despite the international silence that hollowly echo the atrocities they have been witnessing for over three years; let alone the terror of the decades before.

Revolution is not about reminding yourself and those around you that it is ok to continue living though your friends are either killed or are being tortured in detention camps as we speak.

Revolution is not about carving the walls of your city with “Down with the Regime” knowing that you are not risking your life only, but also the lives of your family members.

Revolution is not about making a song that resonates in the voices of hundreds of thousands across the country, then have the regime forces slit your throat open and distribute a celebratory video of your dead body.

Revolution is not about women taking to the streets after hearing the constant stories of gang rapes of both men and women by Assad´s thugs.

Revolution is not about thinking how to get food to the besieged towns and villages.

Revolution is not a small activist group working to deliver/smuggle vaccines to counter the outbreak of polio in northern Syria.

Revolution is not about all the creative direct actions in Damascus.

Revolution is not about the Local Coordination Committees (LCCs) organizing and working under bombardments, detentions, shortage of basic needs, the Assad regime, Islamic fundamentalism, and constant pressure to prove that they are “revolutionary enough”.

Revolution is not about not-writing leftist communiques because your people are refugees jumping on the first ship to sink, and you don´t have the time nor the energy to prove to Europe that you are “revolutionary enough”.

Revolution is not about dreaming and plotting about the future while all you see around is hunger, pain and death. Revolution is not about still believing that another Syria is possible despite Assad, the Islamic fundamentalists, the international meddling, and the international hypocrisy; plus the constant reproach of the European/International Left.

Revolution is not what Syria is doing. This is what Žižek wants us to know.

I wonder if Žižek took the effort to google for an hour or two before he wrote his opinion. If he bothered to check the hashtag #Syria on Twitter while he is waiting for his turn to speak on some academic conference.

I wonder if he tried to get the contacts of Syrian activists and rebels for some firsthand accounts on what is happening while he is on his way from his hotel to his BBC interview.

Or maybe acted like a revolutionary would and headed there on a solidarity field trip, or maybe volunteered for a week or two at a refugee camp in Turkey and recorded all the “social theories” he´d witness there!

Maybe then he could´ve read Kafr Nabl´s banners that would put him to the shame he deserves.

Maybe then he could´ve relayed to the European Left the communiques of some LCCs; or maybe the photos of the courageous media collective “Lens of a Young Homsi“, or those of “Lens of a Young Woman on a Summer Vacation“.

He could´ve heard of the Spray Guy, or the smuggling of tape-recorders into governmental buildings in Damascus then blasting revolutionary chants from within.

People would´ve told him about Damascus waking up to find the fountains in its squares spilling red water in protest against massacres committed by the regime.

If Žižek took the time to use google he could´ve heard about the “Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression” and its detainees; he could´ve read about the “Violations Documentation Center in Syria” and the inspiring work of Razan Zaitonah.

There are so many names and groups and organizations to come across, it is easy to see how much revolutionary work is being done if he could´ve just went through the names of the detainees and what they were doing before getting arrested.

I wonder if he ever heard the name Bassel Shehadeh! I wonder if he spoke to some activists or refugees which can be found all over European streets, before he decided that Christians (in such ignorant generalization) are siding with the regime.

Yet, Žižek decided without the minimal respect for the lives of those killed, to flamboyantly disseminate a whole uprising! He had the “Leftist” audacity to sit on his European academic pedestal and wipe these people off the revolutionary map.

It is quite impressive how many Europeans feel entitled to dictate on other people what they should or should not do.

I don´t remember Tunisian leftists telling the Occupy movement what to do.

I don´t remember texts from Bahrain telling Acampada Barcelona that what they are doing is not changing a thing.

It is only Europeans and North Americans that feel that it is perfectly normal for them to judge and intervene in the smallest details of other political movements, to tell the world how to talk and where to walk, without doing the indispensable research ahead.

In the same way Žižek laid misinformed and misrepresented “facts” about Syria, he did about Egypt.

To consider that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt were ever “surprised impassive observers” shows great ignorance. When were they “surprised impassive observers”?!

When they met with Omar Suleiman (intelligence agency chief) even before Mubarak stepped down?

Or when they were playing on various fronts sending their youth to Tahrir Square while they were striking deals with SCAF?

Or when they were actively supporting and defending the same military regime that is killing them now?

To consider that the “agents of Tahrir Square” are passively supporting the crimes of the military is another blatant sign of lack of touch with revolutionary reality. Or maybe it is all built on what is coming out in the European mainstream media?

Activist groups and revolutionaries in Egypt, despite having suffered the brutality of Morsi´s regime, have been actively and loudly denouncing Sisi´s massacres.

They too are worn out from the immense revolutionary weight yet still carrying out the Not-so-glamorous tasks of dealing with the detainees, military trials, the injured, the housing problems, the families of the martyrs, sectarian violence, the attack on liberties, the writing of the constitution, the attack on women´s bodies and rights…and the list can go on longer than Žižek´s scheduled appearances on magazine covers.

They are working day and night to stop the further division of their society, to fight against the stigmatization of even their enemies (Muslim Brotherhood) so that they can build a country where a woman can´t be arrested and tortured for wearing a veil and protesting for someone she believes was the democratically elected president.

Even if this ex-president has blood on his hands and favored neoliberal economical policies.

The same way Europe is obsessed with secularism, it is obsessed with “democracy”. But did anyone stop and ask  the European Illuminati what democracy are they talking about?

The votes bought with sugar and flour “donations”? Or the political affiliation paid for with medicines for those who can´t afford a loaf of bread?

Or the democracy that is built on fueling sectarian violence and telling people that voting for one party would make you a better Muslim?

The democracy that made the votes for Mursi modern-day indulgences!

Žižek then moves to reduce popular dissidence and rebellion against Mubarak to a “predominantly the revolt of the educated middle class, with the poor workers and farmers reduced to the role of (sympathetic) observers”.

Does anyone truly believe that the middle class (to which I belong) is capable of holding up nonstop on the barricades for days and nights?

Does anyone really believe that if it wasn´t for the youngsters from Egypt´s slums and their bravery on the frontlines, the middle class could´ve ousted Mubarak?

Does anyone really believe that without the Bedouins in Sinai, the workers in various factories, the strikes and the workers descending on the square, any of this would´ve been possible?

Do people truly still believe that this all happened thanks to Twitter and Facebook?

Of course activists from the middle class played an important role in this, but it was in no way more important than those from the crushed classes of the society.

Go over the names of the martyrs, the names of the injured and the names of the detainees, and scan their economical backgrounds, then come talk about the poor being “sympathetic observers”.

zizek 2 

Žižek´s article is the perfect example of every European leftist (prick) sitting in some bar drinking beer and talking about entire populations fighting in ways he only saw in books and movies.

The story of our lives, immigrants in Europe.

His/their portrayal of the options we have as

A) supporting Assad or

B) supporting the Islamists is the typical and historical mistake of a big section of the European Left.

With all his/their “social theory” expertise they didn´t come across options C, D, E, F and the numerous combinations.

It is like talking about the USA and saying that the only two options we have, as radical leftists, are between the Republicans and the Democrats, completely dropping the extensive network of activist groups who are doing inspiring work.

Since when did we measure European activism according to the major political forces on the scene?

Yes, superficially these are two options we have, but not if we did our revolutionary homework and looked for people who are too busy getting up every morning to face both A and B instead of sitting on their computers and write letters of self-validation to the European Left.

But of course, it is the duty of Syrian leftists to clarify these issues for the European Left.

I mean, “comrade” Žižek and other “comrades” are busy setting up the EU on fire, attacking US military bases, World Bank headquarters are under siege, and immigrants are welcomed into the fortress by revolutionary committees. They are too busy to google Syria.

It is important for social movements, and revolutionaries, to communicate, debate and discuss what is happening in the world and in their respective movements.

This is what true solidarity is all about. But communication shouldn´t be a simplex circuit, it shouldn´t be one directional, else it will be another form of political colonialism and cultural superiority!

Communication should be interactive and opinions should be informed. It should be based on equality, on built and informed trust, and on respect.

Unfortunately this is not what is happening, all the effort is being put into a condescending patriarchal lecturing and continuous ignorant yet firm discrediting.

So what is happening in the majority of the European (& academic) Left these days? Nothing really special, except that Lady Gaga is one step closer to becoming the world’s new superpower while its competitors are eagerly weakening each other.

Note: From 2011 to 2013, the Syrian regime bombed every town where secular activists locally organized the community. Its sustained bombing allowed the extremist Islamic factions to step in and control all these towns and cities. With the total support and aid of Saudi Kingdom,Arab Gulf Emirate, Europe, USA  and Turkey Moslem Brotherhood ideology.


Notes and tidbits posted on FB and Twitter. Part 143

Note: I take notes of books I read and comment on events and edit sentences that fit my style. I pay attention to researched documentaries and serious links I receive. The page is long and growing like crazy, and the sections I post contains a month-old events that are worth refreshing your memory.

The Aramaic language was the language of the Middle East for over 3,000 years; it was spoken by the people of all Empires in that region from current Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, and the western part of Iran known as Ilam in ancient history or (Arabestan for late Saddam Hussein regime).  Aramaic is the root language of Arabic; the Arab nomads spoke several Arabic dialects but wrote in Aramaic as all the urban centers in the Middle East.

Every period has its main litmus test of patriotism and progressive positions, especially for public figures of intellectuals and politicians.  “What is your stand on the Palestinian cause” was the main litmus test for decades. It has come back after Trump pronouncement on Jerusalem

Genetic predisposition, upbringing, education, levels of hormones, brain structure, attractive features, stature, social status… all contributed to what you are and were capable of achieving.

Sure, most Lebanese families ruin themselves to have their children graduate. From my experience, at best 3% of the students are serious and dedicated to learning at universities. Most probably, they never witnessed any one of their parents read or write at home or show much of intellectual activities and engagement to study seriously.

The third level in considering “performance” should answer: “How these various performances criteria correlate?  Can we sort them out between basic performances and redundant performance criteria?”.

The Omayyad dynasty, founded by Mu3awiya, selected Damascus for the Capital of the Arab Empire and the people in the Near East spoke Aramaic as well as most of the “Arabic” tribes that settled in and around the urban centers of Syria, Jordan, Palestine, and Lebanon.

If there is an Arab civilization then it was created during the Omayyad period since the people in that part of the Near East could comprehend and write Aramaic.  The classical Arabic language was established and spread during the Omayyad dynasty. After this period, we can call it Islamic civilization

For the Arab Nations (about 22 States) to exist in the future they have to mind their classical language and enrich it with various modern “Arabic” slang words and expressions to be viable among the Arab people.

Al sokhra bte7lo2 7elakat. Al 7ejjat: 3am netmarran lal competition in 2 weeks, bayn ba3dna. Whatever that means: khod forssat

Ma badkon tabko qawaneen al club? Bass waa7ed yeste7eh wa yekoun 3endo laba2at ye3zom elleh ba3d ma le3eb. wa bikoulo bmashkelha

Maskharat al masakher: mo3zamhom yastakbiroun ennahom al afdal, bidoun jadarat ma7ssoussat

Kenna 12-1. The game finishes at 13 points. wa7ed min farikeh 7ered wa karrar yekhssar. le72o al tani. Team 3edo some potential tan7ar baddo yekhssar.

Hazards of Revolution

Patrick Cockburn London Review of Books Vol. 36 No. 1 · 9 January 2014
pages 25-27 | 3282 words

Note: recall that this article was was written 4 years ago. Wish that Cockburn has assimilated the new changes in the region.

Soon after the Libyan capital (Tripoli) fell to the rebels in August 2011 I got to know a 32-year-old man called Ahmed Abdullah al-Ghadamsi.

We met when he tried to evict me from my hotel room, which he said was needed for members of the National Transitional Council, in effect the provisional government of Libya.

I wasn’t happy about being moved because the hotel, the Radisson Blu on Tripoli’s seafront, (The capital is Not on the sea shore, but very far off) was full of journalists and there was nowhere else to stay. But Ahmed promised to find me another room, and he was as good as his word.

He was lending a hand to the provisional government because he was strongly opposed to Qaddafi – as was the rest of his family. He came from the Fornaj district of the city, and was contemptuous of the efforts of government spies to penetrate its network of extended families.

He derided Gaddafi’s absurd personality cult and his fear of subversive ideas: ‘Books used to be more difficult to bring into the country than weapons. You had to leave them at the airport for two or three months so they could be checked.’

He had spent six years studying in Norway and spoke Norwegian as well as English; on returning to Libya he got a job on the staff of the Radisson Blu. One of Gaddafi’s sons, Al-Saadi, had a suite in the hotel, and he watched the ruling family and their friends doing business and enjoying themselves.

Ahmed was a self-confident man, not noticeably intimidated by the sporadic shooting which was keeping most people in Tripoli off the streets. I asked him if he would consider working for me as a guide and assistant and he agreed.

Tripoli had run out of petrol but he quickly found some, along with a car and driver willing to risk the rebel checkpoints. He was adept at talking to the militiamen manning the barricades, and helped me get out of the city when the roads were blocked.

After a few weeks I left Libya; I later heard that he was working for other journalists.

Then in October I got a message saying that he was dead, shot through the head by a pro-Gaddafi sniper in the final round of fighting in Sirte on the coast far to the east of Tripoli. It turned out that there was a lot that Ahmed hadn’t told me.

When the protests started in Benghazi on 15 February he had been among the first to demonstrate in Fornaj, and he was arrested.

His younger brother Mohammed told me that ‘he was jailed for two hours or less before his friends and the protesters broke into the police station and freed him.’

When Gaddafi’s forces regained control of Tripoli, Ahmed drove to the Nafusa Mountains a hundred miles south-west of the capital to try to join the rebels there, but they didn’t know or trust him so he had to return.

He smuggled weapons and gelignite into Tripoli and became involved in a plot, never put into action, to blow up Al-Saadi Gaddafi’s suite in the Radisson.

Mohammed said Ahmed felt bad that he’d spent much of the revolution making money and, despite his best efforts, had never actually fought.

He went to Sirte, where Gaddafi’s forces were making a last stand, and joined a militia group from Misrata. He had no military experience, as far as I know, but he didn’t flinch during bombardments and was stoical when he was caught in an ambush and wounded by shrapnel from a mortar bomb, and the militiamen were impressed.

On 8 October his commander told Ahmed to take a squad of five or six men to hunt for snipers who had killed a number of rebel fighters. He was shot dead by one of them a few hours later.

What would Ahmed think of the Libyan revolution now?

An interim government is nominally in control but the streets of Tripoli and Benghazi have been full of militia checkpoints manned by some of the 225,000 registered militiamen whose loyalty is to their commanders rather than the state that pays them.

When demonstrators appeared outside the headquarters of the Misrata militia in Tripoli on 15 November demanding that they go home, the militiamen opened fire with everything from Kalashnikov to anti-aircraft guns, killing 43 protesters and wounding some 400 others.

This led to popular protests in which many militias were forced out of Tripoli, though it’s not clear whether this is permanent. Earlier the prime minister, Ali Zeidan, was kidnapped by militia gunmen without a shot being fired by his own guards to protect him. (He was released after a few hours.)

Mutinying militias have closed the oil ports to exports and eastern Libya is threatening to secede.

The Libyan state has collapsed, for the simple reason that the rebels were too weak to fill the vacuum left by the fall of the old regime. After all, it was Nato airstrikes, not rebel strength, that overthrew Gaddafi.

It’s a similar story elsewhere in the Middle East.

The uprisings of the Arab Spring have so far produced anarchy in Libya, a civil war in Syria, greater autocracy in Bahrain and resumed dictatorial rule in Egypt.  (All these failures thanks to US/Saudi Kingdom/Israel/France ) who don’t want changes and democracy in the region)

In Syria, the uprising began in March 2011 with demonstrations against the brutality of Assad’s regime. ‘Peace! Peace!’ protesters chanted. But ‘if there was a fair election in Syria today,’ one commentator said, ‘Assad would probably win it.’

It isn’t only the protesters and insurgents of 2011 whose aspirations are being frustrated or crushed. In March 2003 the majority of Iraqis from all sects and ethnic groups wanted to see the end of Saddam’s disastrous rule even if they didn’t necessarily support the US invasion.

But the government now in power in Baghdad is as sectarian, corrupt and dysfunctional as Saddam’s ever was. (Not true, even then. Obama dispatched ISIS to occupy Mosul because Maliki PM refused to have US military presence in Iraq)

There may be less state violence, but only because the state is weaker. (just witness what is happening by the end of 2017)

Its methods are equally brutal: Iraqi prisons are full of people who have made false confessions under torture or the threat of it. An Iraqi intellectual who had planned to open a museum in Abu Ghraib prison so that Iraqis would never forget the barbarities of Saddam’s regime (you mean USA occupation?) found that there was no space available because the cells were full of new inmates.

Iraq is still an extraordinarily dangerous place. ‘I never imagined that ten years after the fall of Saddam you would still be able to get a man killed in Baghdad by paying $100,’ an Iraqi who’d been involved in the abortive museum project told me. (Isis is now defeated in Iraq and US still claim it is Not in order to remain militarily in the region)

Why have oppositions in the Arab world and beyond failed so absolutely, and why have they repeated in power, or in pursuit of it, so many of the faults and crimes of the old regimes? (Simple: still confronting the colonial powers who refuse any change)

The contrast between humanitarian principles expressed at the beginning of revolutions and the bloodbath at the end has many precedents, from the French Revolution on. But over the last twenty years in the Middle East, the Balkans and the Caucasus the rapid degradation of what started as mass uprisings has been particularly striking.

I was in Moscow at the start of the second Russo-Chechen war in October 1999, and flew with a party of journalists to Chechnya to see the Chechen president, Aslan Maskhadov, in his headquarters in Grozny, where he was desperately trying – and failing – to avert the Russian assault by calling for a ceasefire.

We were housed in a former barracks which seemed worryingly vulnerable to Russian air attack. But it soon became evident that the presidential guard’s greatest anxiety was that we would be abducted by Chechen kidnappers and held for ransom.

The first Chechen revolt in 1994-96 was seen as a heroic popular struggle for independence. (An extremist Islamic regime, as the one ISIS was trying to install?)

Three years later it had been succeeded by a movement that was highly sectarian, criminalized and dominated by warlords. The war became too dangerous to report and disappeared off the media map. ‘In the first Chechen war,’ one reporter told me, ‘I would have been fired by my agency if I had left Grozny. Now the risk of kidnapping is so great I would be fired for going there.’

The pattern set in Chechnya has been repeated elsewhere with depressing frequency. The extent of the failure of the uprisings of 2011 to establish better forms of governance has surprised opposition movements, their Western backers and what was once a highly sympathetic foreign media.

The surprise is due, in part, to a misunderstanding of what the uprisings were about. Revolutions come into being because of an unpredictable coincidence of forces with different motives targeting a common enemy. (Never confuse long-term causes with instant catalysts)

The political, social and economic roots of the upsurges of 2011 go deep. That this wasn’t obvious to everyone at the time is partly a result of the way foreign commentators exaggerated the role of new information technology. Protesters, skilled in propaganda if nothing else, could see the advantage of presenting the uprisings to the West as nonthreatening ‘velvet’ revolutions with English-speaking, well-educated bloggers and tweeters prominently in the vanguard.

The purpose was to convey to Western public that the new revolutionaries were comfortingly similar to themselves, that what was happening in the Middle East in 2011 was similar to the anti-communist and pro-Western uprisings in Eastern Europe after 1989.

Opposition demands were all about personal freedom: social and economic inequality were rarely declared to be issues, even when they were driving popular rage against the status quo. (Wrong. Personal freedom was the slogan, Not the real demands)

The centre of Damascus had recently been taken over by smart shops and restaurants, but the mass of Syrians saw their salaries stagnating while prices rose: farmers ruined by four years of drought were moving into shanty towns on the outskirts of the cities; the UN said that between two and three million Syrians were living in ‘extreme poverty’; small manufacturing companies were put out of business by cheap imports from Turkey and China; economic liberalization, lauded in foreign capitals, concentrated wealth in the hands of a politically well-connected few.

Even members of the Mukhabarat, the secret police, were trying to survive on $200 a month. ‘When it first came to power, the Assad regime embodied the neglected countryside, its peasants and neglected underclass,’ an International Crisis Group report says. ‘Today’s ruling elite has forgotten its roots. It has inherited power rather than fought for it … and mimicked the ways of the urban upper class.’

The same was true of the quasi-monarchical families and their associates operating in parallel fashion in Egypt, Libya and Iraq.

Confident of their police-state powers, they ignored the hardships of the rest of the population, especially the underemployed, over-educated and very numerous youth, few of whom felt that they had any chance of improving their lives.

The inability of new governments across the Middle East to end the violence can be ascribed to a simple-minded delusion that most problems would vanish once democracies had replaced the old police states. (No delusion here. Cannot construct anything in the presence of extremist violent factions created by the US and its allies)

Opposition movements, persecuted at home and often living a hand to mouth existence in exile, half-believed this and it was easy to sell to foreign sponsors. A great disadvantage of this way of seeing things was that Saddam, Assad and Gaddafi were so demonized it became difficult to engineer anything approaching a compromise or a peaceful transition from the old to a new regime.

In 2003  Iraq former members of the Baath Party were sacked, thus impoverishing a large part of the population, which had no alternative but to fight. The Syrian opposition refuses to attend peace talks in Geneva if Assad is allowed to play a role, even though the areas of Syria under his control are home to most of the population.

In Libya the militias insisted on an official ban on employing anyone who had worked for Gaddafi’s regime, even those who had ended their involvement 30 years before. These exclusion policies were partly a way of guaranteeing jobs for the boys. But they deepen sectarian, ethnic and tribal divisions and provide the ingredients for civil war.

What is the glue that is meant to hold these new post-revolutionary states together?

Nationalism isn’t much in favour in the West, where it is seen as a mask for racism or militarism, supposedly outmoded in an era of globalisation and humanitarian intervention. (everything but capitulation is Not favored by the Western colonial powers, even now)

But intervention in Iraq in 2003 and Libya in 2011 turned out to be very similar to imperial takeover in the 19th century. There was absurd talk of ‘nation-building’ to be carried out or assisted by foreign powers, who clearly have their own interests in mind just as Britain did when Lloyd George orchestrated the carve-up of the Ottoman Empire.

A justification for the Arab leaders who seized power in the late 1960s was that they would create powerful states capable, finally, of giving reality to national independence. They didn’t wholly fail: Gaddafi played a crucial role in raising the price of oil in 1973 and Hafez al-Assad created a state that could hold its own in a protracted struggle with Israel for predominance in Lebanon.

But to opponents of these regimes nationalism was simply a propaganda ploy on the part of ruthless dictatorships concerned to justify their hold on power. But without nationalism – even where the unity of the nation is something of a historic fiction – states lack an ideology that would enable them to compete as a focus of loyalty with religious sects or ethnic groups.

It’s easy enough to criticise the rebels and reformers in the Arab world for failing to resolve the dilemmas they faced in overturning the status quo. Their actions seem confused and ineffective when compared to the Cuban revolution or the liberation struggle in Vietnam. (Simply because one people  in Syria, one people in the Nile river and one people in north Africa were artificially divided in pseud-States by colonial powers)

But the political terrain in which they have had to operate over the last twenty years has been particularly tricky. The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 meant that the endorsement or tolerance of the US – and the US alone – was crucial for a successful takeover of power.

Nasser was able to turn to Moscow to assert Egyptian independence in the Suez crisis of 1956, but after the Soviet collapse smaller states could no longer find a place for themselves between Moscow and Washington. Saddam said in 1990 that one of the reasons he invaded Kuwait when he did was that in future such a venture would no longer be feasible as Iraq would be faced with unopposed American power.

In the event, he got his diplomatic calculations spectacularly wrong, but his forecast was otherwise realistic – at least until perceptions of American military might were downgraded by Washington’s failure to achieve its aims in Afghanistan as well as Iraq.

So the insurgencies in the Middle East face immense difficulties, and they have faltered, stalled, been thrown on the defensive or apparently defeated. But without the rest of the world noticing, one national revolution in the region is moving from success to success.

In 1990 the Kurds, left without a state after the fall of the Ottomans, were living in their tens of millions as persecuted and divided minorities in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. Rebellion in Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-88 failed disastrously, with at least 180,000 killed by poison gas or executed in the final days of the conflict. (The Shah of Iran and Saddam resolved this conflict in a single day)

In Turkey, guerrilla action by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), who combined Marxism-Leninism with Kurdish nationalism, began in 1974 but by the end of the 1990s it had been crushed by the Turkish army; Kurds were driven into the cities; and three thousand of their villages were destroyed. (Western media never covered these atrocities)

In north-east Syria, Arab settlers were moved onto Kurdish land and many Kurds denied citizenship; in Iran, the government kept a tight grip on its Kurdish provinces.

All this has now changed. In Iraq the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), though it shares power with the central government in Baghdad, is close to becoming an oil-rich independent state, militarily and diplomatically more powerful than many members of the UN. Until recently the Turks would impound any freight sent to the KRG if the word ‘Kurdistan’ appeared in the address, but in November the KRG president, Massoud Barzani, gave a speech in the Turkish Kurd capital of Dyarbakir and talked of ‘the brotherhood of Turks and Kurds’.

Standing with him was the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who spoke of ‘Kurdistan’ as if he’d forgotten that a few years ago the name had been enough to land anyone who uttered it in a Turkish jail. In Syria meanwhile, the PKK’s local branch has taken control of much of the north-east corner of the country, where two and a half million Kurds live.

The rebellion in the Kurdish heartlands has been ongoing for nearly half a century. In Iraq the two main Kurdish parties, Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party and Jalal Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, were expert at manipulating foreign intelligence services – Iranian, Syrian, American and Turkish – without becoming their permanent puppets (Crappy pronouncement on these expertise)

They built up a cadre of well-educated and politically sophisticated leaders and established alliances with non-Kurdish opposition groups. They were lucky that their worst defeat was followed by Saddam’s self-destructive invasion of Kuwait, which enabled them to take control of an enclave protected by US airpower in 1991.

At this point, despite having gained more independence than any previous Kurdish movement, the KDP and PUK embarked on a vicious civil war with the Iraqi state. But then they had another stroke of luck when 9/11 provided the US with the excuse to invade and overthrow Saddam. The Kurdish leaders positioned themselves carefully between the US and Iran without becoming dependent on either.

It isn’t yet clear how the bid of thirty million Kurds for some form of national self-determination will play out, but they have become too powerful to be easily suppressed. Their success has lessons for the movements of the Arab Spring, whose failure isn’t as inevitable as it may seem. The political, social and economic forces that led to the ruptures of 2011 are as powerful as ever. Had the Arab opposition movements played their cards as skilfully as the Kurds, the uprisings might not have foundered as they have done.

None of the religious parties that took power, whether in Iraq in 2005 or Egypt in 2012, has been able to consolidate its authority. Rebels everywhere look for support to the foreign enemies of the state they are trying to overthrow, but the Kurds are better at this than anyone else, having learned the lesson of 1975, when Iran betrayed them to Saddam by signing the Algiers Agreement, cutting off their supply of arms. The Syrian opposition, by contrast, can only reflect the policies and divisions of its sponsors.

Resistance to the state was too rapidly militarised for opposition movements to develop an experienced national leadership and a political programme. The discrediting of nationalism and communism, combined with the need to say what the US wanted to hear, meant that they were at the mercy of events, lacking any vision of a non-authoritarian nation state capable of competing with the religious fanaticism of the Sunni militants of al-Qaida, and similar movements financed by the oil states of the Gulf. But the Middle East is entering a long period of ferment in which counter-revolution may prove as difficult to consolidate as revolution.


Would this article be behind the burning of “The Tourist” Library in Lebanon (Maktabat al sa2e7)?

The article was published by Father Ibrahim Sarrouj, the library’s curator. Sarrouj has lived in Tripoli all his life and is known to being an encompassing person of the city’s diversity.

The article is about how Aicha, the most educated and beloved wife of Prophet Mohammad (one of 8), described the relationship with her husband who was about 48 years her elder.

Aicha tells of the hypocritical practices of Mohammad that didn’t match was he proselytized… I might translate this article in a separate post:

Aren’t you claiming to be the messenger of God?

Srour article

The country is burning, let’s not worry about a library.


Chronicler of Islamic State ‘killing machine’ goes public

The historian carried secrets too heavy for one man to bear.


He packed his bag with his most treasured possessions before going to bed: the 1 terabyte hard drive with his evidence against the Islamic State group, an orange notebook half-filled with notes on Ottoman history, and, a keepsake, the first book from Amazon delivered to Mosul.

He passed the night in despair, imagining all the ways he could die, and the moment he would leave his mother and his city.

He had spent nearly his entire life in this home, with his five brothers and five sisters. He woke his mother in her bedroom on the ground floor.

“I am leaving,” he said. “Where?” she asked. “I am leaving,” was all he could say.

He couldn’t endanger her by telling her anything more. In truth, since the IS had invaded his city, he’d lived a life about which she was totally unaware.

He felt her eyes on the back of his neck, and headed to the waiting Chevrolet. He didn’t look back.

For nearly two years, he’d wandered the streets of occupied Mosul, chatting with shopkeepers and Islamic State fighters, visiting friends who worked at the hospital, swapping scraps of information.

He grew out his hair and his beard and wore the shortened trousers required by IS.

He forced himself to witness the many beheading and deaths by stoning, so he could hear the killers call out the names of the condemned and their supposed crimes.

The blogger known as Mosul Eye kept his identity a secret as he documented Islamic State rule.

He wasn’t a spy. He was an undercover historian and blogger .

As IS turned the Iraqi city he loved into a fundamentalist bastion, he decided he would show the world how the extremists had distorted its true nature, how they were trying to rewrite the past and forge a brutal Sunni-only future for a city that had once welcomed many faiths.

He knew that if he was caught he too would be killed.

“I am writing this for the history , because I know this will end. People will return, life will go back to normal,” is how he explained the blog that was his conduit to the citizens of Mosul and the world beyond.

“After many years, there will be people who will study what happened. The city deserves to have something written to defend the city and tell the truth, because they say that when the war begins, the first victim is the truth.”

He called himself Mosul Eye . He made a promise to himself in those first few days: Trust no one, document everything.

Neither family, friends nor the Islamic State group could identify him. His readership grew by the thousands every month.

And now, he was running for his life.

But it would mean passing through one Islamic State checkpoint after another, on the odds that the extremists wouldn’t stop him, wouldn’t find the hard drive that contained evidence of IS atrocities, the names of its collaborators and fighters, and all the evidence that its bearer was the man they’d been trying to silence since they first swept in.

The weight of months and years of anonymity were crushing him.

He missed his name.

From the beginning, Mosul Eye wrote simultaneously as a witness and a historian.

Born in the midst of the Iran-Iraq war in 1986, he had come of age during a second war, when Saddam Hussein fell and the Americans took over.

At 17, he remembers going to a meeting of extremists at the mosque and hearing them talk about fighting the crusaders. “I should be honest, I didn’t understand.”

As for the Americans, whose language he already spoke haltingly, he couldn’t fathom why they would come all the way from the United States to Mosul. He thought studying history would give him the answers.

The men in black came from the north, cutting across his neighborhood in brand new trucks, the best all-terrain Toyota money could buy. He had seen jihadis before in Mosul and at first figured these men would fade away like the rest.

But in the midst of pitched fighting, the extremists found the time to run down about 70 assassination targets and kill them all, hanging enormous banners announcing their arrival in June 2014.

By then a newly minted teacher, the historian attended a staff meeting at Mosul University, where the conquerors explained the Islamic State education system, how all classes would be based upon the strictest interpretation of the Quran.

To a man who had been accused of secularism during his master’s thesis defense just the year before, it felt like the end of his career.

In those first few days, he wrote observations about IS, also known by the acronym ISIS, on his personal Facebook page — until a friend warned that he risked being killed.

With the smell of battle still in the air, he wandered the streets, puzzling over its transformation into a city at war. He returned to find his family weeping. The smell of smoke and gunfire permeated the home.

On June 18, 2014, a week after the city fell, Mosul Eye was born .

“My job as a historian requires an unbiased approach which I am going to adhere to and keep my personal opinion to myself,” he wrote. “I will only communicate the facts I see.”

By day, he chatted with Islamic State fighters and vendors, and observed. Always observed. By night, he wrote in his native Arabic and fluent English on a WordPress blog and later on Facebook and Twitter.

The city turned dark, and Mosul Eye became one of the outside world’s main sources of news about the Islamic State fighters, their atrocities and their transformation of the city into a grotesque shadow of itself. The things IS wanted kept secret went to the heart of its brutal rule.

They were organized as a killing machine. They are thirsty (for) blood and money and women.”

He attended Friday sermons with feigned enthusiasm. He collected and posted propaganda leaflets, including one on July 27, 2014, that claimed the Islamic State leader was a descendant of the Prophet Mohammed’s daughter. (Muhammad had 2 sons who died in childhood)

Back home, writing on his blog in his other, secret identity, he decried the leaflet as a blatant attempt “to distort history” to justify the fanatics’ actions.

He drank glass after glass of tea at the hospital, talking to people who worked there. Much of the information he collected went up online. Other details he kept in his computer, for fear they would give away his identity. Someday, he told himself, he would write Mosul’s history using these documents.

The most sensitive information initially came from two old friends: one a doctor and the other a high school dropout who embraced the Islamic State’s extreme interpretation of religion. He was a taxi driver who like many others in Mosul had been detained by a Shiite militia in 2008 and still burned with resentment. He swiftly joined an intelligence unit in Mosul, becoming “one of the monsters of ISIS” — and couldn’t resist bragging about his insider knowledge.

Once he corroborated the details and masked the sources, Mosul Eye put it out for the world to see. He sometimes included photos of the fighters and commanders, complete with biographies pieced together over days of surreptitious gathering of bits and pieces of information during the course of his normal life — that of an out-of-work scholar living at home with his family.

“I used the two characters, the two personalities to serve each other,” he said. He would chat up market vendors and bored checkpoint guards for new leads.

He took on other identities as well on Facebook.

Although the names were clearly fake, the characters started to take on a life of their own. One was named Mouris Milton whom he came to believe was an even better version of himself — funny, knowledgeable. Another was Ibn al-Athir al-Mawsilli, a coldly logical historian.

International media picked up on Mosul Eye from the first days, starting with an online question-and-answer with a German newspaper.

The anonymous writer gave periodic written interviews in English over the years. Sometimes, journalists quoted his blog and called it an interview. In October 2016, he spoke by phone with the New Yorker for a profile but still kept his identity masked.

Intelligence agencies made contact as well and he rebuffed them each time.

“I am not a spy or a journalist,” he would say. “I tell them this: If you want the information, it’s published and it’s public for free. Take it.”

First the Islamic State group compiled lists of women accused of prostitution, he said, stoning or shooting around 500 in the initial months.

Then it went after men accused of being gay, flinging them off tall buildings.

Shiites, Christians and Yazidis fled from a city once proud of its multiple religions.

When the only Mosul residents left were fellow Sunnis, they too were not spared, according to the catalog of horrors that is Mosul Eye’s daily report.

He detailed the deaths and whippings, for spying and apostasy, for failing to attend prayers, for overdue taxes. The blog attracted the attention of the fanatics, who posted death threats in the comments section.

Less than a year into their rule, in March 2015, he nearly cracked. IS beheaded a 14-year-old in front of a crowd; 12 people were arrested for selling and smoking cigarettes, and some of them flogged publicly. Seeing few alternatives, young men from Mosul were joining up by the dozens.

The sight of a fanatic severing the hand of a child accused of stealing unmoored him. The man told the boy that his hand was a gift of repentance to God before serenely slicing it away.

It was too much.

Mosul Eye was done. He defied the dress requirements, cut his hair short, shaved his beard and pulled on a bright red crewneck sweater. He persuaded his closest friend to join him.

“I decided to die.”

The sun shining, they drove to the banks of the Tigris blasting forbidden music from the car. They spread a scrap of rug over a stone outcropping and shared a carafe of tea. Mosul Eye lit a cigarette, heedless of a handful of other people picnicking nearby.

“I was so tired of worrying about myself, my family, my brothers. I am not alive to worry, but I am alive to live this life. I thought: I am done.”

He planned it as a sort of last supper, a final joyful day to end all days. He assumed he would be spotted, arrested, tortured. The tea was the best he had ever tasted.

Somehow, incredibly, his crimes went unnoticed.

He went home.

“At that moment I felt like I was given a new life.”

He grew out his hair and beard again, put the shortened trousers back on. And, for the remainder of his time in Mosul, smoked and listened to music in his room with the curtains drawn and the lights off. His computer screen and the tip of his cigarette glowed as he wrote in the dark.

The next month, he slipped up.

His friend the ex-taxi driver told him about an airstrike that had just killed multiple high-level Islamic State commanders, destroying a giant weapons cache. Elated, Mosul Eye dashed home to post it online. He hit “publish” and then, minutes later, realized his mistake. The information could have come from only one person. He trashed the post and spent a sleepless night.

“It’s like a death game and one mistake could finish your life.”

For a week, he went dark. Then he invited his friend to meet at a restaurant. They ate spicy chicken, an unemployed teacher and the gun-toting ex-taxi driver talking again about their city and their lives. His cover was not blown.

The historian went back online. Alongside the blog, he kept meticulous records — information too dangerous to share.

His computer hard drive filled with death, filed according to date, cause of death, perpetrator, neighborhood and ethnicity. Accompanying each spreadsheet entry was a separate file with observations from each day.

“IS is forcing abortions and tubal ligation surgeries on Yazidi women,” he wrote in unpublished notes from January 2015. A doctor told him there had been between 50 and 60 forced abortions and a dozen Yazidi girls younger than 15 died of injuries from repeated rapes.

April 19, 2015: “The forensics department received the bodies of 23 IS militants killed in Baiji. They had no shrapnel, no bullets, no explosives and the cause of death does not seem to be explosion. It is like nothing happened to the bodies. A medical source believes they were exposed to poison gas.

July 7, 2015: “43 citizens were executed in different places, this time by gunfire, which is unusual because they were previously beheadings. A source inside IS said that 13 of those who were executed are fighters and they tried to flee.”

He noted a flurry of security on days when the Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, seemed to be in town.

Many in Iraq, especially those who supported the Shiite-dominated leadership in Baghdad, blamed Mosul for its own fate.

Mosul Eye freely acknowledged that some residents at first believed the new conquerors could only be an improvement over the heavy-handed government and the soldiers who fled with hardly a backward glance at the city they were supposed to defend.

But he also wrote publicly and privately of the suffering among citizens who refused to join the group. He was fighting on two fronts: “One against ISIS, and the other against the rumors. Trying to protect the face of Mosul, the soul of Mosul.”

He tested out different voices, implying one day that he was Christian, another that he was Muslim. Sometimes he indicated he was gone, other times that he was still in the city. “I couldn’t trust anyone,” he said.

In his mind, he left Mosul a thousand times, but always found reasons to stay: his mother, his nieces and nephews, his mission.

But finally, he had to go.

“I had to run away with the proof that will protect Mosul for years to come, and to at least be loyal to the people who were killed in the city.”

And he did not want to become another casualty of the monsters.

“I think I deserve life, deserve to be alive.”

A smuggler, persuaded by $1,000 and the assurances of a mutual acquaintance, agreed to get him out. He was leaving the next day. Mosul Eye had no time to reflect, no time to change his mind.

He returned home and began transferring the contents of his computer to the hard drive. He pulled out the orange notebook with the hand-drawn map of Mosul on the cover and the outlines of what he hoped would one day be his doctoral dissertation.

Into the bag went “Father Bombo’s Pilgrimage to Mecca,” an obscure American satirical novel from 1770 that he had ordered from Amazon via a new shop that was the only place in town to order from abroad online.

It was time to leave.

He wanted to make sure his mother would never have to watch the capture and killing of Mosul Eye.

On Dec. 15, 2015 he left Mosul, driving with the smuggler to the outskirts of Raqqa, a pickup point that alarmed him. From there he and other Iraqis and Syrians were picked up by a second set of smugglers and driven by convoy to Turkey.

They had no trouble crossing the border.

In Turkey, Mosul Eye kept at it: via WhatsApp and Viber, from Facebook messages and long conversations with friends and relatives who had contacts within IS. From hundreds of kilometers away, his life remained consumed by events in Mosul.

By mid-2016, deaths were piling up faster than he could document.

The IS and airstrikes were taking a bloody toll on residents. His records grew haphazard, and he turned to Twitter to document the atrocities. In February 2017, he received asylum in Europe with the aid of an organization that learned his backstory. He continued to track the airstrikes and Islamic State killings

He mapped the airstrikes as they closed in on his family, pleading with his older brother to leave his home in West Mosul. Ahmed, 36, died days later when shrapnel from a mortar strike pierced his heart, leaving behind four young children.

It was only then that Mosul Eye revealed his secret to a younger brother — who was proud to learn the anonymous historian he had been reading for so long was his brother.

“People in Mosul had lost hope and confidence in politicians, in everything,” his brother said. Mosul Eye “managed to show that it’s possible to change the situation in the city and bring it back to life.”

As the Old City crumbled, Mosul Eye sent coordinates and phone numbers for homes filled with civilians to a BBC journalist who was covering the battle, trying to get the attention of someone in the coalition command. He believes he saved lives.

Then, with his beloved Old City destroyed, Mosul Eye launched a fundraiser to rebuild the city’s libraries because the extremists had burned all the books. None of his volunteers knew his identity.

An activist who helped co-found a “Women of Mosul” Facebook group with Mosul Eye describes him as a “spiritual leader” for the city’s secular-minded.

“He was telling us about the day-to-day events under ISIS and we were following closely with excitement as if we were watching a movie. Sometimes he went through hard times and we used to encourage him. He won the people’s trust and we became very curious to know his real personality,” said the activist, who spoke on condition of anonymity because she believed she was still in danger.

From a distance, finally writing his dissertation on 19th century Mosul history in the safety of a European city, he continued to write as Mosul Eye and organize cultural events and fundraisers from afar — even after Mosul was liberated.

The double life consumed him, sapped energy he’d rather use for the doctoral dissertation and for helping Mosul rebuild. And it hurt when someone asked the young Iraqi why he didn’t do more to help his people. He desperately wanted his mother to know all that he had done.

He felt barely real, with so many people knowing him by false identities: 293,000 followers on Facebook, 37,000 on WordPress and 23,400 on Twitter.

In hours of face-to-face conversations with The Associated Press over the course of two months, he agonized over when and how to end the anonymity that plagued him. He did not want to be a virtual character anymore.

On Nov. 15, 2017, Mosul Eye made his decision.

“I can’t be anonymous anymore. This is to say that I defeated ISIS. You can see me now, and you can know me now.”

He is 31 years old.

His name is Omar Mohammed.

“I am a scholar.”


The Lone Ranger: Massive strong catalyst for upheaval

Note: You may read part one: City of All Evils

Trump must demand that Israel conduct a referendum with this question: “Do you agree for Jerusalem to become the Official and Formal Capital of Israel? ” I bet Israel government Won’t Dare run this referendum.

Unilaterally and in a single declaration, Trump smashed 4 decades of a strategy to creating an imaginary enemy between the Sunnis-Shias divide.  The people, in a flash, re-adjusted their direction toward their Existential enemy: Zionism/USA establishment

Israel government wants to still believe the Palestinians are stupid: They allowed for the first time Palestinian youths to enter the Grand Mosque. They assume that the Palestinians will believe that no more constraints on movements will be imposed once Jerusalem is the Capital of Israel.

The day Trump declared his statement on Jerusalem, unilaterally, Israel declared it will be build 14,000 more units in Jerusalem for the settlers.

In a single day, Israel forces killed 3 and injured 1,100 Palestinian youths with live bullets. Most of them were hospitalized with concentrated and poisonous gas canisters in 10 Palestinian cities and villages.

A great event: Lebanon Parliament met for deputies to express their opinions on the Jerusalem crisis: this is a message for all States to convene their parliaments and let the representatives of their people to share their positions.

The Palestinians in Lebanon refugee camps are starting to side with Hezbollah strategy: Zionism/USA establishment are the Existential enemies

That’s what is called a strong and major Catalyst: Trump in a single declaration awakened the majority of the “Arabic” people, and in a flash, to their existential enemy: Zionism/USA establishment

Israel mindless traditional apartheid tactics of militarily confronting Palestinian mass civil disobedience is backfiring: After over 1,100 Palestinians injured with live bullets within 24 hours, escalation is quickly transforming into missile launching from Gaza and readiness of Palestinian factions into military confrontation.

Unless Trump retracts on his declaration, events are escalating into an all out war from various sides: Gaza, West bank, Lebanon and most probably Jordan.

This Lone Ranger of Trump will quickly find himself isolated and impotent to weight in in any cease fire or share in any deal in the Middle-East.

Israel is about to pay the heaviest of prices for exiting this clownish Trump and his close family circle.

Although Saudi Kingdom was let into this decision 2 weeks ago, it didn’t measure the enormousness of this blunder. Not only they officially condemned this declaration, they feel totally helpless to mitigate this declaration in the face of the massive uprising in the “Arabic” and Islamic world. Monday, the Arab Summit will meet in Cairo: This time around, Saudi Kingdom will shut up and let the condemnation fuse.

States are coming forth and convoking US ambassadors to lambaste them and decry the outrageous declaration that goes counter to the UN resolutions and world community position.

This Wednesday, the Islamic Summit will meet in Turkey to condemn this infamous declaration. Erdogan has already condemned Israel as a violent terrorist State that occupies other people lands

The head of parliaments will meet on Thursday to send a strong message to Trump of the representatives of the people

The US is warning its citizens Not to exhibit themselves in 12 countries and soon, many of its embassies will be vacated until events cool down.

This Pence, smug Vice-President, is to tour the region to meet Islamic high clerics in Egypt, Palestine… They all declined to meet with him. What the hell is he to tell them anyway.

This Not 1948 or 1967. Events won’t be the blank kinds.

Note: Again, read the previous article City of All Evils


What the “Islamic Empire” did a thousand-year ago?

I say Islamic Empire because it is Not the “Arabs” who came from the Peninsula who brought civilization and culture to the vast empire: They were the Syrians, Iraqis, Iranians, Egyptians with education and knowledge with different languages and sciences that translated all the previous knowledge into the Arabic language and added immensely to human knowledge.

“A thousand years is a long time; the first book published in French wasn’t until 1476.

Goodness knows what an Islamic caliphate would have been doing 1,000 years ago? They bought rare books in various languages with gold and swapping prisoners.

They built the House of Wisdom in Baghdad, one of the first universities in the world;

they asked scholars of all faiths to translate every text ever written into Arabic;
they demanded the first qualifications for doctors,

founded the first psychiatric hospitals and invented ophthalmology.

They developed algebra (algorithms are named after their Arab father) and a programmable machine … a computer.
They introduced Aristotle to Europe,

Al-Jahiz began theories of natural selection,
they discovered the Andromeda galaxy,

Classified the spinal nerves and
Created hydropower using pumps and gears.

The Wahhabi terrorists of Saudi Kingdom in ISIS and Al Nusra want to destroy the knowledge that Islam is a beautiful, scientific and intelligent culture, and we are way ahead of them.”





March 2018
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