The Happy Arab News Service

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Happy Ashoura to Our Shia Friends

Frogs and rabbits breathed a collective sigh of relief today as the Arab/Muslim world has temporarily abandoned its courage parades for the sake of Ashoura's celebrations, the holiest day of the Shia. In Iraq it was the usual mess with an exception of a strange Shia messianic sect that apparently tried to carry out an attack on Najaf:

Assailants struck Shiite worshippers in three Iraqi cities Tuesday, killing at least 39 people in bombings and ambushes during the climax of ceremonies marking Ashoura, the holiest day in the Shiite calendar. In apparent retaliation, mortar shells slammed into predominantly Sunni neighborhoods in Baghdad hours later, killing at least five people and wounding 20, officials said.

Tens of thousands of Shiites Muslims converged on the holy city of Karbala — where the 7th-century battle took place that cemented the schism between Sunnis and Shiites — beating their chest and heads to mark the death of the Prophet Muhammad's grandson. The entire city was sealed off, all vehicles were banned, and pilgrims were searched at numerous checkpoints, a day after the Iraqi army said it had foiled a plot by a messianic Shiite group to storm the nearby city of Najaf.

The bloodiest attack Tuesday occurred when a suicide bomber blew himself up among a crowd of worshippers entering a Shiite mosque, killing 19 people and wounding 54 in Mandali, a predominantly Shiite city northeast of Baghdad and near the Iranian border.

. . .

Iraqi police and military official questioned hundreds of suspects rounded up after a weekend battle near Najaf aimed at preventing a major attack against leading Shiite clerics and pilgrims coinciding with Ashoura.

The U.S. military said Iraqi security forces went to the area on Sunday after hearing that gunmen from a messianic Shiite cult were disguising themselves as pilgrims in order to carry out a surprise attack on the holy city.

Iraq's army said it killed the leader of the cult, called "Soldiers of Heaven," in a 24-hour battle that was ultimately won with the support of U.S. and British jets and American ground forces.

The U.S. military said more than 100 gunmen were captured but it did not say how many were killed. Iraq's Defense Ministry, by contrast, raised its figures on Tuesday to say 263 militants were killed, 210 wounded and 392 captured.

Ministry spokesman Mohammed al-Askari said those detained included 35 women and 31 children following reports that the gunmen had brought their families with them to make it easier to infiltrate the city.

. . .


In Lebanon our old friends held their own celebrations that nicely and symbolically followed the latest Sunni Shia infighting in Beirut:

In the southern Lebanese town of Nabatiyeh, thousands of Shiite men walked in circles in the town square, many slashing their heads with swords and then pounding the wound with the palm of their hand. They wore white sheets as symbolic shrouds, which also served to absorb the blood.

Men brought their young sons, parts of their heads shaven, to a hall in Nabatiyeh where a man cleansed a pocket-knife with alcohol before striking each boy several times on the head. Some boys cried and resisted, but the cutting proceeded.

"We're used to it," said Mahmoud Jaber, 43, who brought his five boys to slash their heads. "We've been doing this since we were kids. I started when I was three. It doesn't hurt because the cry of pain goes away with the faith."

Another participant, Abbas Mahmoudi, an engineer, explained why he cut himself by saying: "If the intention is sincere, then I will be rewarded (by God)."

Mahmoudi, 24, said he was not worried about the hostility between the leading Shiite and Sunni political parties in Lebanon. "Al Hamdulillah, (praise be to God), the Shiites are always victorious," he said. (I consider optimism a highly commendable personal quality. NB)

. . .


I would like to use this opportunity and in the good old tradition of our peace movement practiced these days on countless Israeli blogs, to congratulate our Shia friends and others with the Ashoura festival. After all all of us .. we are all just human beings ... mmmmm ... something is wrong here... AHH !!! ... sorry, loonies ... i meant to say ordinary human beings. And so after all we are all just ordinary human beings trying to go on with our ordinary human lives.

And here it goes ... Happy Ashoura to everybody !!! Gmar Hatima Tova !!! Good slashing and nice self flagellation or whatever you are doing there. Enjoy yourselves.
Ashoura celebrations in Iraq


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Monday, January 29, 2007

Advertising Kills

The Jerusalem Post

Haaretz reported Sunday that helium balloons from a promotional event by Ha'ir, a chain of local newspapers, had floated north over the border into Lebanon.

. . .

. . .

After the balloons were first discovered Saturday in the southern Lebanese town of Nabatiyeh, the Lebanese army issued a statement warning residents not to touch them, pending an investigation. Pictures of the green, orange and black balloons were splashed across newspapers over the weekend and on Monday.

The state-run National News Agency and the Al-Manar TV channel of the Hizbullah guerrilla group claimed the balloons contained toxic gas and had been dropped by Israeli military aircraft, further stoking public fears.

At least five people were hospitalized in southern Lebanon complaining of nausea, dizziness and low blood pressure following contact with the balloons, Lebanese newspaper reports and hospital officials said.

Khalil Malli, a resident of Nabatiyeh, was the first to discover the balloons, finding a bunch tied together with ribbon in his backyard. He told Lebanese media that a "suspicious smell" emanated from them and when he spotted the Hebrew writing he alerted police and journalists in the area.

Not long after, Malli and other members of his family began feeling lightheaded and nauseous and were taken to a hospital for treatment.

Rana Jouni, a journalist in southern Lebanon, reported feeling the same symptoms after a visit to the Malli home during which she took pictures of the balloons. She reported the same suspicious smell.

"About a half an hour after taking the pictures I began feeling dizzy and out of breath. Soon I couldn't breathe and then I felt my arms become numb," she told The Associated Press Monday from her bed at the Najda al-Shaabiya hospital in Nabatiyeh where she was admitted Saturday.

Dr. Samer Suleiman, an intensive care doctor at the hospital, said that although Jouni and the other patients complained of symptoms that are consistent with exposure to toxic gases, blood and urine tests did not reveal exposure to such gases.

"We have no explanation for it," Suleiman said of the contradiction between the patients' symptoms and test results.


Given the severe mass poisoning our advertising balloons have produced in Lebanon the next logical step would be to discover that the huge destruction of the Lebanese infrastructure last summer was caused not by our bombs but by the propaganda leaflets our pilots were dropping on Beirut and elsewhere calling on the Lebanese to stop supporting Nasrallah.


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Sunday, January 28, 2007

New Blog . . .

a new blog in the links . . .

Jeha's Nail (Lebanon) . . . Lessons of Past Wars . . .

Jeha sold his house for a ridiculously low price. But he had one condition; “on one of the walls there is a Nail I do not want to sell". The buyer agreed; after all, what did he need the nail for? After a few days, Jeha came back to the house “to visit his nail”. He soon hung his coat on it, then brought his bed and started to sleep there, to stay close to the nail. Then he brought his family to visit the nail… In the end, the only way the new owner could get rid of him was to buy the nail for a price many times higher than that of the house...

This goes to tell you; we may leave Lebanon, but we will NEVER sell that nail.

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

IraqPundit Strikes Back

absolutely brilliant ... by IraqPundit ...

What's Susan Sarandon Thinking Right Now?

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Friday, January 26, 2007

The Show Must Go On

Night curfew was imposed on Beirut as clashes between government and opposition supporters subsided. Since, as the foreign minister Livni claims, stagnation is never an option, from another side the Palestinians contributed today their part to keep the show going by massively celebrating the anniversary of Hamas-led government:

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP)

Ten people died in the latest clash between the Hamas and Fatah factions on Friday.

. . .

Fatah spokesman Maher Mekdad said his group announced suspending coalition talks with the rival Hamas movement to protest a flare-up in factional fighting.

"Fatah will not go to dialogue with killers," said Mekdad.
(I always had a great respect for people with principles ;) NB)

. . .

A Hamas operative was shot while calling residents to particpate in a parade celebrating the anniversary of the Hamas government.

Meanwhile, Al-Aqsa brigade operatives kidnapped nine Hamas operatives near Nablus.

Earlier Friday, Hamas operatives killed a wounded Fatah fighter in a gangland-style slaying, Fatah officials said, capping a night of factional clashes in which a Hamas militiaman died in a bomb attack and each side took captives.

Hamas supporters surrounded by their captors from Al-Aksa Martyrs' brigades

Fatah said a Hamas force firing rockets launched a predawn attack on the home of Nabil Jarjir, a member of the Fatah-affiliated Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades in the northern Gaza Strip, wounding him. As neighbors were taking the injured man to hospital the Hamas raiders stopped the car and killed Jarjir with a shot to the head, Fatah said.

Local Al-Aksa official Samih Madhoun vowed revenge. "Those who executed Jarjir will be punished," he said.

The attack on Jarjir's home came just hours after a roadside bomb was detonated as a squad of Hamas militiamen drove by. One militant was killed in that attack and seven were wounded, Hamas and hospital officials said.


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Sheep in Wolf's Clothing

Last updated: August 7, 2009

December 20, 2006

The Big Pharaoh was writing on December 9, 2006

The secular opposition in Egypt has received two massive blows in the last couple of months. First, several high profile members in Ayman Nour's party resigned from their posts. A friend who is also a member of Al Ghad party (Nour's party) told me that the resignations came after "they complained about the way the party is being run and the way Gamila Ismael, Nour's wife, wants to monopolize all decision making." My friend presented his resignation a month ago.

Yesterday 7 founders of Kifaya parted from the activist movement (Arabic link). They cited how the group turned into a prisoner inside conference and meeting rooms with no actual influence on the street. The 7 members also came against Kifaya's official statement on the Farouk Hosni hijab row. They said the statement, which defended Hosni's right to express his views, shocked the Egyptian public and they were not consulted before it was issued.

To make things worse, Kifaya's youth chapter also announced their breakaway from the mother organization.

Al Ghad and Kifaya, in spite of the media enthusiasm they received during the political upheaval of 95, are still with very limited influence on the Egyptian public. These blows will weaken them even further.


It goes without saying that when the so called secular liberals start playing in fundamentalists, one should have no illusions about the commitment of these people to their principles or about their desperate situation. It says a lot as well about the intellectual qualiity of this opposition, large chunks of which are apparently cherishing illusions that they can beat Muslim Brothers on their own ground. Neither it makes any sense for sheep to disguise themselves as wolves, since the main point about being a wolf is having teeth and knowing how to bite.

The West, and the US/Israel in particular, should get realistic about this opposition. To be realist does not mean negotiating with rogue regimes or running away from Iraq. It means cultivating not all sorts of wishful thinking, and when it comes to the so called secular liberals, it means to see them for what they are - a handful of dreamers disconnected from the rest of the population and who probably hardly represent anybody in Egypt except themselves and in the best case their families.

The Big Pharaoh's own blog is a good example of the situation of the secular liberals in Egypt. One may think that this is a progressive and popular Egyptian blog. Yet on a closer look it becomes suddenly very clear that this is a very progressive and popular Western blog run for some reason by an Egyptian from Cairo, since 90% or more of people who comment there are Westerners.

It should be also noticed that many so called secular liberals are liberal no more than was Salvador Allende, who during his presidency in Chile used leftist militias to carry out his nationalization and land redistribution projects. Many, if not most of the so called liberals, are actually Chomskists, or at least fans of Robert Fisk. These people share with the rest of their societies that paranoic anti Western mindset powered by wild conspiracy theories. These people may be secular, and maybe even liberal because they want democracy, but most of them are hardly what we understand by liberal in the West. Most of these people practice a bizarre mix of radical leftist/anti globalist ideology combined with verbal commitment to democracy. And it goes without saying that the fact, that somebody hates his dictator, does not make him automatically a democrat.

It's not hard to understand the reasons that push the desperate secular liberals into trying to play other people's games. They are trying to find a favor with that proverbial Arab street, but the end result will be that they scare away even those few secular supporters they still have. The Arab street is very important in Arab societies since in countries like Egypt and elsewhere there is not so much of the middle class because of the lack of economic development. And the importance of the Arab street grows in proportion to how restless it gets. And it got very restless recently.

The so called liberals may be more vocal because many intellectuals and men of arts tend to identify with this movement. Since these people also usually know to speak some English they are vastly overrepresented in the Western media, creating the impression that the Arab world is teeming with normal people.

But this is a wrong impression and, as the recent elections in Bahrain and Egypt show, the secular liberals are more like a virtual entity. From the 20% of seats in the Parliament that the opposition managed to wrestle away from Mubarak's candidates, all went to Muslim Brothers. In Bahrain a Shia religious party took 40% of seats, the rest went mostly to Sunni Salafists. In both cases secular liberals hardly won one single seat.

The West should know that these people are just a sheep skin on the shoulders of the wolves who manipulate the sheep into all sorts of bizarre coalitions of convenience (did I mention that the sheep are severely lacking in commitment to principles?). The primary purpose of this game is to trick the US into applying more pressure on the allied regimes to liberalize their political systems. But the US should have no illusions as to who is going to come on top here if free elections are held. It's not the sheep. The sheep are here only to provide a facade of normality. They can deliver nothing. But the wolves are all behind their backs.

Meanwhile the sheep appear to have got so dumb that they are now trying to play wolves in a vain attempt to win sympathies of the Arab street. Even in a highly improbable case they succeed, this will be an achievement of a very dubious value. It's not for nothing that the Pharaoh has decorated one of his last posts with this:

January 26, 2007

The Arab Reform

The opposition's coup d'etat in Lebanon was timed to coincide with the donors conference in Paris and with the plan of sweeping economic reforms announced by Sanyora. Apart from more of the old good taxes in an attempt to keep the budget intact and to service the debt, Sanyora's plan also includes privatization of indebted state utilities such as the ailing electricity company and selling off two mobile phone companies. Lebanon's phone bills are among the highest in the world. As to electricity most Lebanese are hooked up to a private generator and pay one more bill at the end of every month and this is of course not because the state electricity company excels at providing an uninterrupted supply of power. In fact, Nasrallah's timing was perfect. Not only the protests almost succeeded in derailing the Paris conference, they also allowed Nasrallah to put to good use the trade unions enraged by the proposed reforms.

On the other side of the Arab world the Libyan government announced a plan to lay off more than a third of its workforce - 400,000 people, to drastically cut public spending and to give a boost to the private sector. This is by far one of the most radical economic programs ever enacted by an Arab state. There should be little surprise if Libya becomes the leading Arab reformer since whatever one may think about Gaddafi, nobody can deny that he is a man who does what he preaches. When Gaddafi was a socialist he organized the Libyans a full scale cultural revolution that could put to shame Mao himself. These days the eccentric Libyan leader assembled a new government from western educated technocrats and started pushing the country towards free market economy with the same enthusiasm with which he was once building communism in Libya.

In Egypt an able team of free market oriented technocrats is trying to dismantle the legacy of decades of the socialist economy and in general it appears that in many parts of the Arab world the political elites are finally bidding farewell to all sorts of outdated notions and ideologies and trying their hands at genuine economic reform. This contrasts sharply with the growing radicalism and extremism of the Arab street that views the reforms imposed from above with deep mistrust and apprehension.

The irony of the situation is that all this is happening at the time when the political elites in many Arab countries reached the state of a total disconnect from the masses. Too many Arab leaders have lost the last trace of credibility in the eyes of their populations and some of them are apparently living through their last decade, if not years. In Egypt for example the relationships between the ruling elite and the population have long ago degenerated into a combination of mutual distrust and brutal oppression from one side, to which the other side pays by muted hostility and deep resentment.

Actually there is very little irony in this situation and even if it's an irony then it's a tragic one. With the old guard in many countries belatedly trying to do the right thing, there is a positive danger that many of these elites are now approaching the end of their life span. What is lost in the usual stereotyped black and white picture of good ordinary people ruled by vicious and corrupt politicians, is that awakening of the Arab street and gradual spreading of political activism among the masses may put an abrupt end to the economic reform. This possibility seems to be even more real given how much many in the so called democratic opposition are committed to cheap populism which in case of reversal of political fortunes may reveal itself as a lack of fiscal and budget responsibility leading to quick economic meltdown.

One just cannot help noticing that after decades wasted in all sorts of blind alleys the Arab world, and to some degree the whole Muslim world, is now facing a situation in which either the economic reform or the political reform wins as they just don't seem to be capable of making friends with each other. And when it comes to the political reform it is not at all sure that, while failing the economy, it will at least bring some tangible social and political benefits such as true democracy, moderation and tolerance. What is quite sure though is that the Arabs just cannot get it both ways and it is either the economic reform or the political one, but one of them will have to wait.

August 7, 2009

You don't send a cat to deliver creme

Fuad Ajami about Arab Human Development Report 2009 compiled by a group of Arab intellectuals under sponsorship of the UNDP (United Nations Development Program).

The simple truth is that the Arab world has terrible rulers and worse oppositionists. There are autocrats on one side and theocrats on the other. A timid and fragile middle class is caught in the middle between regimes it abhors and Islamists it fears.

Indeed, the technocrats and intellectuals associated with these development reports are themselves no angels. On the whole, they are unreconstructed Arab nationalists. The patrons of these reports are the likes of the Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi and the Palestinian leader Hanan Ashrawi, intellectuals and public figures whose stock-in-trade is presumed Western (read American) guilt for the ills that afflict the Arabs. Anti-Americanism suffuses this report, as it did the earlier ones.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

The afore mentioned report enumerates various evils responsible for the presumed current crisis of the Arab world from global warming to the possession of oil. The chief villains of course are outside meddling and local autocrats who by understanding are also a kind of implants of or at least supported by foreign powers. Widely commented upon is the absence in the report of stuff like the role of Islamic fundamentalism. Never mind the Arab intellectuals themselves or the half century long uninterrupted population explosion that's only now coming to an end.

This cannot be any other way given that the so called Arab intellectuals (This is a misnomer as very often there is very little intellectual or intelligent about these people) are up to their necks in responsibility for the existence of the same despotic regimes or bloodshed in Iraq and Darfur. Many current Arab regimes came to power or maintained it while cheered upon by the Arab intellectual elites, who often shared their socialist and anti Western orientation. The latest mess in Iran was another demonstration of how ambivalent Arab intellectuals can get when it comes to trading resistance for democracy. Some seem to be utterly unable to kiss goodbye to this darling of the anti Western resistance, which is Ahmalala, even for the sake of supporting democracy and popular will.

In fact, the very structure of the report betrays the crooked logic of the people who compiled it. The report's central thesis is a kind of "We have a problem because we have problems". "Human security is a prerequisite for human development, and its widespread absence in Arab countries has held back their progress," the report says and then identifies various political, economical and environmental threats to human security. The logic of the report is a kind of "Give us the first world's education and social security standards, democracy and please take away this global warming plague, so we can start with our human development". Guys, you don't need any human development after this. This IS human development.

The report bundles together "A lack of representative government coupled with human rights violations and sweeping powers for security agencies..." with "Threats to life and peace for millions of people as a result of the Palestinian occupation, the U.S. military intervention in Iraq,...". Has the US military intervention in Iraq not brought to the country a representative government and removed, or at least tried to remove, sweeping powers for security agencies? That the country was later flooded with hundreds of suicide bombers who volunteered for their missions inside Shia mosques and markets from all corners of the Arab world is also a fault of the intervention? By far the thing that impressed most many observers was how little the Arab intellectuals had to say about tremendous suicide attacks unleashed by the Sunni insurgents while they were busy decrying occupation and lauding resistance. In many ways the US intervention in Iraq was the best chance ever given to the Arab world to skip over many hurdles enumerated in the report and there can be no denying that many Arab intellectuals did their best to derail this experiment in forced democratization.

In short, it may sound counter intuitive but Arab intellectuals are not the kind of people to be trusted with writing reports about the state of the Arab world for the very simple reason of "You don't send a cat to deliver creme".

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Never forget to say Thank You

One can only envy the Lebanese for their ability to create militias out of thin air. A few hours into the yesterday's mess, with the army miserably failing to enforce order, the LFers came out in full force as if the civil war has never ended. As Geagea was making his usual muted yet ominous threats through the day, dozens of opposition supporters were being evacuated with gunshot wounds from the roadblocks they struggled to defend. Nasrallah is plainly delusional if he thinks that he has a monopoly on crazy supporters in a country such as Lebanon.

It's a safe bet that yesterday millions of Sunnis across the world of Islam were watching the news and they did not like what they saw at all. This is because what they saw was a Shia militia, allied with a renegade Christian general, trying to topple a legitimate government led by a Sunni prime minister. It should be particularly true of Sunnis in those countries that have significant Shia minorities and even majorities (Shia are 60% in Bahrain). Those Sunnis were watching the whole thing and they were thinking something. I think I know what they were thinking.

With many quarters of Baghdad having been already ethnic cleansed from Sunnis by another hero of Shia resistance, one can only hope that the Shia religion does not discourage its faithful from watching TV. This is because if shit hits the fan, and this may happen, it will be good that the Shia know at least whom they should say 'thank you' for this.

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The Right Side of the Gulf

Pinchas Landau from Jerusalem Post was pondering a strange Saudi reaction to the recent drop in the price of oil. With oil apparently heading to the mid-$40s one would expect OPEC to follow with more production cuts. Yet all that Saudi oil minister had to say to reporters was, "There is no need to worry, because the market is in a very healthy condition."

Landau dismisses one explanation after another and eventually reaches a conclusion that may surprise some people:

Saudi Arabia is now engaged in the biggest expansion of its oil industry in decades and intends to add some 25% to its existing production capacity by 2010. To sell this additional oil, it needs prices to remain at levels that don't choke off demand on the one hand or spur huge investments in additional global production on the other.

But Saudi has another, even more pressing, agenda. It is no less concerned about Iran's aggressiveness and nuclear ambitions than Israel - and for the same reason: the Shi'ite fundamentalist regime in Tehran is an existential threat to the Wahhabi Sunni kingdom. But it is the oil price boom that is driving Iran's rise. Prices in the $40s would seriously incommode Iran and the resultant social and economic stress may help undermine the regime. In other words, whether the market is "in a very healthy state" as prices fall through $50 depends on which side of the Persian/ Arab Gulf you sit on.


Rumours that the Saudis are considering in serious to flood the market with their cheap oil to undermine the Ayatollahs have been circulating for months. Yet this is a first practical indication that it's indeed happening. By the way the Saudis will probably accidentally knock down Hugo Chavez too, but he is not that smart to figure out that his noble communist enterprise may fall victim to such a despicable cause as Middle Eastern tribalism.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Oil Misconceptions

This post is an after-thought of my conversation with Lirun. You can read the whole of it here. The debate started after I said that a move to low carbon economy will devastate the Middle East economically and plunge the region into chaos. Among several comments that we exchanged during this conservation the first one by Lirun in particular called my attention:

dude.. you under-estimate the tycoons of our region.. while we were sleeping they have been very diligent to store their nuts for the winters in the green pastures of europe..

any european change of direction will be well coordinated with arab money..

furthermore.. once solar farms take off.. guess where will be best to locate them.. some good empty arab desert with some good old israeli know-how.. we'll be energy magnates in no time..

the middle east isnt done with the energy trade just yet..

I regularly encounter misconceptions regarding oil, green energy and its potential effect on the Middle East. Lirun's comments contain a few of them and to reply to each and any of these misconceptions will take probably several posts. So I will relate here to only one of them and this is that the Middle East can reestablish itself economically as a trader in solar energy.

This misconception is based on another one - that the Gulf region grew prosperous as an energy trader, by selling oil. This is plainly wrong. To think that energy trading made the Gulf Arabs prosperous is to greatly overestimate the Arabs in general and the Gulf Arabs in particular. In general it's impossible to avoid overestimating Arabs. I am doing it all the time myself even though i have usually nothing good to say about them. So I don't blame people for committing this mistake, but Israelis should have it very clear that the prosperity of the Gulf Arabs has nothing to do with their managerial excellence or technical expertise. The Arabs don't prosper because they extract and sell their oil but because they are part of the cartel called OPEC in which the Gulf countries led by the Saudis have a decisive voice.

I have no idea at which profit margins the Arabs are selling their oil but it is sure out of any proportion to the actual costs. It is generally considered that the Saudi fields can still be profitable at $5-6 per barrel (not the state which will go bust immediately). This means that the ratio of profits to costs is above 10 to 1. So it is not oil as such that keeps the Arab/Muslim world on its feet but the manipulation of oil price by the OPEC cartel. The Arabs simply take advantage of the fact that unlike corn one cannot grow oil at will where one wants.

From the Gulf oil money flows to all corners of the Arab/Muslim world via different channels. One of these are remittances sent home by gastarbeiters to their home countries. Dozens and hundreds of thousands of Muslims from all parts of the Muslim world work in the Gulf and the money they send home accounts in some countries for from 1/4 to 1/3 of all currency inflows.

There are more ways for the oil money to get out of the Gulf. The Lebanese economy for example is based squarely on tourism from the Gulf. Each year the Khalidgees leave a few billions of dollars in Lebanon as tourists, many of them buying homes and yachts in Lebanon. The Saudis invest heavily in the Lebanese infrastructure but once again this is because this infrastructure serves tourists from the same Gulf.

Syria is reported to have up to 1/3 of its revenues coming from Lebanon. Apart from that bit of oil the Syrians sell themselves, another 1/3 of their revenues comes once again from the same Gulf region. And this is more or less the model of the economic development in the Middle East and to a lesser degree in the rest of the Muslim world. The Gulf states sell oil and their oil wealth then trickles in direct or indirect ways to the rest of the Arab/Muslim world. The fact that most of the Arab/Muslim world still didn't fall apart is because they are all feeding in one or another way from the Gulf region. Our region is very close to the Gulf region and so the Arab countries around us grew to be particularly dependent on the prosperity of the Gulf.

The OPEC can manipulate the price of oil in several ways but the most basic of them is that the Saudis and others are simply in no rush to develop their fields or to sell their oil for a lower price to push competitors out of the market. They know that they are seating atop of the world's biggest reserves and the rest of the world can hardly go elsewhere because the Arabs co-opted some other big producers like Venezuela and Mexico.

In fact in some cases to claim that the Arabs/Muslims manipulate the price of oil is really to think too much of them. Iran for example is projected to stop being an oil exporter at the beginning of the next decade. But this has nothing to do with OPEC cartel trying to inflate the price of oil by creating shortages. The oil production in Iran is declining because of years of chronic under-investment. And another reason is macro-economic mismanagement. Inside Iran the price of oil is kept intentionally low as part of populistic economic policies. This encourages domestic oil consumption at such a scale that it undermines the position of the country as an oil exporter.

In short it's not energy trading that made the Gulf Arabs prosperous. It's not for the fact that the Arabs have lots of oil, that the Gulf region is what it is. Otherwise i will have to acknowledge that there is at least one thing that the Arabs can do properly. But this is not the case at all. The economic backbone of the Arab/Muslim world is based on a combination of OPEC's cartel practices and overall economic and technological backwardness. It's one of those rare cases when the Arabs' backwardness play into their hands. It would be more correct to say that the Arabs grew rich not by trading energy but rather by intentionally or unintentionally not trading it.

At one point after i explain why the solar industry won't establish itself in Saudi Arabia, Lirun asks:

dont you think saudi arabia would be cheaper?

This is precisely the point. Because that means that the Saudis will attract some foreign investors, like us for example, and will start competing on the world market by price. Such a situation will be roughly equivalent today to the Saudis opening their oil fields for foreign companies. The multinationals will come with their technology and will try to produce as much oil as possible. The price of oil will go down pushing out of the market other competitors since many currently active oil fields will stop being profitable if the price of oil goes below $10-15.

This would be considered a huge achievement in a normal country. But the Saudis are not a normal country. They are an Arab country. The Saudi budget will be wiped out with dozens of thousands of gastarbeiters being sent back home for lack of employment. This will start a chain reaction across the region that will reverberate all over the Arab/Muslim world. It will be an economic collapse on a regional and even wider scale. And the main reason is because the Arabs didn't grow prosperous by competing at the energy market, but by expanding profit margins through direct or indirect price manipulation. Solar energy may be more expensive than oil but its because it's economically less efficient. In terms of profit margins none of the green energies will ever resemble oil even remotely.

But it is on these insane profit margins of today's oil market that the Arab/Muslim world survives economically. Even if some of green energies become as economically efficient as oil, the competition will immediately drive the prices down since unlike oil nobody has a monopoly on sunlight. That's why even in a highly improbable case of most of the world's solar plants being located in the Gulf this will fail reproduce the oil effect.

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Friday, January 19, 2007

One Inch Closer

Jan 18, 2006

The House of Representatives voted to take back billions of dollars in tax breaks for big oil and gas companies, and channel the funds instead into alternative energy investments.

By 264 to 163, the House voted to shift some 14 billion dollars from the fossil fuel industry into a fund for alternative and renewable energies.

If it passes the Senate it's a huge step and the Arabs should bettet start checking in advance if they still remember how to ride their camels. Yet the democrats' initiative is lacking a crucial element without which this program will hardly deliver a thing. A tax, even a symbolic one, should be imposed on gasoline to signal to everybody that regardless of the situation on the world market, inside the US it will always be as if the price of oil continues to hover around $50 per barrel. Until the democrats take a concrete step to ensure that at the domestic market oil remains expensive forever, the move to low carbon economy won't start in serious.

Nevertheless it's a step forward. Curiously it comes almost at the same time as the recently proposed European energy program. We are now one inch closer to the world free from the oil of the Arabs, Chavez and Ahmadinejad.

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Make Mistakes - Grow Wiser

Al Franken:

Mistakes are a part of being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way. Unless it's a fatal mistake, which, at least, others can learn from.

Niels Bohr:

An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.

Ehud Barak apparently reached conclusion that he is not yet an expert and he needs another opportunity to make some mistakes to invigorate his learning process. Otherwise it's impossible to explain how after such a disastrous premiership he is now asking Israelis to give him another chance.

During his meeting with elderly members of Kibbutz Afikim in the Jordan Valley Barak had to face some tough questions:

"That's nice that you say you want to work as part of a team now, but you forgot to work together with people last time and you left us a party in shambles," Oded Gafni told him.

. . .

"You are the father of the policy of unilateral disengagement, which you started in Lebanon and, in my opinion, has been proven mistaken," said a woman named Smadar.

Barak responded to Gafni that he "did not say that he had changed, just that he had learned lessons."

It appears that having secured that he properly learned the lessons of his old mistakes Barak is now after new lessons.

To Smadar, he (Barak) made a point of not ruling out future unilateral steps.

"I would want to reach an agreement with the Palestinians, but you can't force an agreement on the other side and it takes two to tango," Barak said. "If there is no partner, Israel might have to ask the international community to help the Palestinians prepare themselves for a diplomatic solution in which there will be two states for two peoples. (!!! NB)"

This means what? That the international community will send an occupation force to Gaza to crash Hamas and setup a Christian Democrats party for the Palestinians? How exactly the international community will help the Palestinians to prepare themselves for a diplomatic solution if they don't want to be a partner?

You can understand what you want from this and probably Barak himself has a very vague idea of what he is talking about but practically it will look like this: After having failed to stop Kassams attacks from Gaza, Israel will try to unilaterally pull out of parts of the West Bank counting on some kind of a UN force to do the IDF's job. Of course the force will probably fail to stop weapons smuggling or rocket attacks but it will keep filing complaints about the IDF overflying the West Bank airspace and other shit.

Yitzhak Rabin and I got elected because we were perceived as coming from the Center," Barak told the crowd. "Some of the candidates are considered radical leftists. You cannot win an election in the State of Israel with leftist policies."

Though Barak is right that these days it may be hard to win elections with leftist policies, it is probably even harder to achieve with Barak himself.

Regarding Iran, he (Barak) said an Arab leader had told him that Israel remained the strongest weight against Iran in the region.


An Arab leader? Should we understand from this that Barak was not sitting idly all those years but he was busy making friends with Arab leaders? And so he is not coming back empty-handed but with some kind of an Israeli Arab anti Persian alliance?

Actually I really want to know if Olmert and Barak are seriously planning to take part in a big anti Iranian coalition together with Sunni Arab states. Because until now I was sure that our integration into the region was dependent on how diligently we'll be learning Arabic (see previous post).

Basically what comes out is that it's not enough that we are supplying weapons to Abu Mazen against Hamas. We are now invited to take part in the great Sunni Shia civil war as well?

And in exchange for this dubious honor we will be allowed to unilaterally withdraw from the West Bank and to evacuate the Golan heights? Did I get it right?

Actually I am one of the few Israelis who will be excited to take on Iran together with Sunnis. I just don't know what to do with these two thousand kilometers that separate the two countries. Had Barak and Olmert ever checked the map? Olmert is reported to have been genuinely surprised to hear during the last war that Haifa was attacked by a Hezbollah rocket unit stationed near Tyre. I have no idea what it means that he was surprised. It's as sure that Tyre is in Lebanon as that neither him nor Barak are good at calculating distances.

Actually we do have some Iranian friends right here. We can help Sunnis enormously in this respect. But the thing is that these friends are Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas and Jihad in Gaza and maybe I missed something but I never noticed Sunnis showing any enthusiasm whenever we tried to stop these monkeys from shooting their rockets.

Or maybe the things are changing and we are going to receive an official invitation from the Saudis to take on Hamas and Hezbollah next summer (most Israelis hate to have wars in winter . . . too cold)?

Who knows. The world has grown so complicated and I sure did not commit enough mistakes for getting wise enough to be able to figure it all out.


I was thinking recently that maybe there is nothing we can do about our politicians and we should just sit and wait until the current generation of our leaders dies out.


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Sunday, January 14, 2007

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

Yaakov Katz from The Jerusalem Post reports that there is a growing concern in Israel about the stability of Mubarak's regime and the possibility of an Islamic takeover.

Egypt has created an enormous army of 450,000 regular troops vs Israel's dozens of thousands. In numbers Egypt achieved superiority over Israel in anything from tanks to F-16's.

"What is going on in Egypt is certainly a point of concern," said a defense official, who asked to remain unnamed due to the sensitivity of the issue. He wondered out loud why Egypt needed such a strong military when, except for Israel, its neighbors - Libya and Sudan - barely had functioning militaries.

As long as Mubarak remains in power, the official said, Israel doesn't need to worry. "But the moment he falls and the Muslim Brotherhood takes over we could find ourselves facing a new front," he warned.


Probably, unless you are an Israeli military genius, you just won't be able to be wondering why Egypt needed such a strong military when, except for Israel, its neighbors - Libya and Sudan - barely had functioning militaries and at the same time to reach conclusion that as long as Mubarak remains in power Israel doesn't need to worry.

Any sane person (this automatically excludes Israel's political and defensive establishment) can easily figure out that if Egypt needs such a strong military when, except for Israel (with which Egypt has a US sponsored peace treaty), its neighbors - Libya and Sudan - barely had functioning militaries, then Israel has a good reason to start worrying even before the Muslim Brothers take over Egypt.


Related Posts and Links:

Lame Tigers and Broken-Leg Gazelles

The Darwinian Evolution in the Middle East

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Lieberman: A strong, stable government

Some Lieberman's articles published on The Jerusalem Post. . . give some insight into his style of thinking . . . Lieberman is counted among Israel's most hardline right wingers

A capable government

We need to be part of EU and NATO

Lieberman responds to UN chief

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Proclaimed un monstruooo muy monstruoso at 12:03 PM


Funny Comments

Funny comments. . . from the Pharaoh's blog

In reply to this:

” I honestly believe that Europeans, or the Dutch as I am one myself, know a little bit more about the world than for instance a Texan.”

An American writes:

Of course you do. Other people love to tell Americans how naive and untutored they are. There are so many terribly important things about the world that Americans just do not understand.

Americans, in their way, are specialists. It is true that Americans in general have no taste for history. They don’t know a lot about all the little, bitty, scab-picking, endless conflicts held so dear by so many raggedy tribes in this world, not even the ones they came from. The reasons is, they have decided to focus on useful information.

Do you want to know how to get something accomplished? Build something? Make money? Govern large numbers of people from all sorts of countries without killing your politicians? Keep Grandma from dying during a heat wave in the summer? Ask the Americans. They can tell you how it’s done.

And if you are European, I can guarantee that you either won’t like, or won’t believe, the answers. I know this, because I have been in those conversations.

But don’t bother asking the Americans why the Serbs and Croats could find nothing better to do with their new freedom than to start killing one another, or why the Irish were still killing each other in the ’70s. Americans love excellence and accomplishment. They find the study of human stupidity an unworthy pursuit.

Comment by valerie — January 11, 2007 @ 2:06 pm

Of course, soon an idiot appears to demonstrate what it means to know a lot about all the little, bitty, scab-picking, endless conflicts held so dear by so many raggedy tribes in this world:

This has got to be the most depressing exchange I have ever seen, but despite my inclination to ignore it, I have been sucked in by Valerie’s comment #38 about the Irish still killing each other in the 1970s.

What she is talking about is a terrorist war largely funded by Irish Americans of the Teddy Kennedy ilk and Libyans. Nice bedfellows you found for yourselves.

All things considered I think most of the English do remember the help receieved from America in the 20th century, most recently being in 1982 when we had a bit of trouble down in the South Atlantic, but we also remember bombs going off in London and other cities that were almost certainly funded by American donations to the Irish Republican cause.

Welcome, somewhat belatedly to the war on terrorism.

Comment by Anonymous — January 11, 2007 @ 10:56 pm

And another American intervenes:

What she is talking about is a terrorist war largely funded by Irish Americans of the Teddy Kennedy ilk and Libyans. Nice bedfellows you found for yourselves.


Some of us may have funded it. But you idiots did it.

Comment by At the back of the hill — January 12, 2007 @ 1:32 am


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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Discover the Real Jesus

Hugo Chavez has celebrated his re-election in Venezuela by announcing that the transitional period is over and a new era has arrived. Telecoms, refineries and electricity industries are all earmarked for the next stage of nationalization. Chavez revealed his intentions to refuse renewing the broadcasting license of the largest opposition-run television channel. Central Bank is going to lose its autonomy. Provincial governors will lose much of theirs too. The bar on the indefinite re-election of the president is going to be removed of course. More is in stock.

Basically Chavez is not going to be messing with political procedures to push through his radical program because, as he explained, he would ask the Assembly, now under a total control of his supporters, to pass a law that will enable Chavez to rule by decree. He promised that a new package of socialist reforms he is preparing will be much more radical than that of 2001 which provoked a failed military coup against his presidency.

At a ceremony to swear in the new government held on January 8th, Chavez gave a clue to what it's all about and surprised many, including London's Economist, by announcing that he is no pussy mussy socialist but a full scale hardcore communist. The Economist reports:

. . . Behind Mr Chávez as he spoke was a 10-metre-high close-up of his own face and hands, reminiscent of a bishop blessing his flock. Along with the mounting personality cult is a change of language. The president sneered at those, including Catholic church leaders, who have wondered aloud what his much-trumpeted plan for “21st century socialism” really consists of.

The bishops, he said, should read Marx, Lenin and the Bible (!!! NB). “Christ was an authentic communist, anti-imperialist and enemy of the oligarchy (!!! NB),” he said. He added that he himself had been a “communist” since at least 2002 (at the time he claimed to want to “improve capitalism”.) It is the first time that he has publicly assumed that description. He signed off with a slogan (“fatherland or death, we shall prevail”) coined by his friend, Cuba's Communist president, Fidel Castro.


One can only keep laughing when reading this because the Economist published a special report on Venezuela not so long ago in which it urged the US to be less confrontational with Chavez. In fact the Economist repeatedly commented on Chavez's 21st century socialism, demonstrating this subtle and nuanced approach so characteristic of the European political thinking. Specifically, as the Economist argued, there is no communism there, and Chavez may be a nasty guy, but this hardly makes him a communist dictator. The Economist deplored the Yankees' love for oversimplifications and their inability to perceive subtleties.

Now, when the gloves are off, suddenly the Economist went surprisingly low profile on what the Yankees and Chavez's neighbors should do about this raving idiot. Just when all of them are in the most dire need for a good advise, the embarrassed Economist has switched from generously throwing out free advises all around to strictly bare reporting on anything related to Venezuela. One just can't help noticing that while George Bush and his team are certainly no geniuses, it is the highly sophisticated and refined Economist who ended looking a total idiot.


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Palo-Circus is Live and Kicking

Fatah was celebrating its 42nd anniversary in Gaza. The Jerusalem Post covered the event. Read it here.

Now this is what I saw it on TV:

Orating before a huge crowd of Fatah supporters Abu Mazen lashed at Hamas and its Iranian backers.

"Hamas are Shia!! Hamas are Shia!!" roared the crowd back.

Yet without blinking the chairman proclaimed, "There are no traitors here!! We are all brothers!!""

"Saddam Hussein!! Saddam Hussein!!" exploded the crowd.

There is one thing that I adore about the Palos and this is that they are so fucking funny. I am almost ready to forgive them everything for this. . . Dozens of suicide attacks in one of which I almost got hit myself. . . The fact that they twice blew up the bus I used to go to my work just 30 minutes before I was about to leave my home for work. . . My friends whom I had to visit in hospitals . . . Whatever they did to us. . . Because in terms of making me laugh they squarely beat any peace roundtable I have ever read on the net.


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To Boom or Not to Boom ?

Last updated: January 11, 2007

January 11, 2007

BBC News, Dublin
By James Helm
Wednesday, 10 January 2007

Cocaine on 100% of Irish euros

Scientists in the Republic of Ireland have found traces of cocaine on all the banknotes they tested.

The team used the latest forensic techniques that would detect even the tiniest fragments to study a batch of 45 used banknotes.

The scientists at Dublin's City University said they were "surprised by their findings".

. . .

One newspaper editorial said that the trend of cocaine use showed that there is something rotten at the heart of Ireland's economic boom.


I would just say that the economy is booming :D :D

:D :D


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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Wild South

The incident in Rehovot in which a Bedouin car thief drew a screwdriver through the neck of a police officer shocked many Israelis. Yet as The Jerusalem Post writes the surprise is misplaced. This is because:

When lawlessness is allowed to reign over an entire region, no other part of the country can expect to remain immune. The nature of violence is to spread if it is not stemmed at the point of origin. If criminals are allowed to get away with felonies in one area, they feel encouraged to expand operations elsewhere - in this case, to Rehovot.

The situation in Negev has become so lawless that it's referred to as Israel's Wild South even by police. The author of this blog has a friend from Dimona and had a short trip through the area a year ago. The thing that impresses itself most on the mind are obvious signs of a demographic bomb going off. Israeli towns in the area are encircled by makeshift Bedouin camps. The impression is that the region goes through a demographic explosion in its Bedouin sector.

And the criminal situation in the area, according to my friend, is worsening every year. It's not only about nomads stealing cars and breaking into homes. Even road signs are torn away for reasons not clear but probably because they play some role in the nomadic interpretation of the home automation's concept. The situation in Beer Sheva and elsewhere in Negev as described by the Post is shocking both by the scale of the crisis and its slide into violence. Daily robberies, thefts and stolen cars are the least of the troubles. It's the scale of protection rackets operated by Bedouins that is most shocking. It is not only entrepreneurs who are harassed but even regular homeowners. Those who refuse to pay protection fees risk to have their homes ransacked and their businesses set on fire.

In Beersheba's Emek Sarah industrial zone, stores are reportedly being raided openly, without hesitation, during daylight business hours. Pick-ups are driven through showroom windows and loaded with merchandise. Some establishments - most popular are those selling electrical appliances and building supplies - have suffered a dozen such attacks.

Insurance firms are said to be refusing to offer their services to Emek Sarah entrepreneurs. . .

The situation seems to be particularly severe because while the residents accuse police of apathy, police complains on lack of cooperation. The Post reports that a recently planned protest failed to materialize because people are just too scared to be identified and punished by the extorters. The same goes about entrepreneurs who mostly prefer to pay rackets fees than standing up to racketeers. The Post provides no statistics but it's reasonable to assume that such a situation could not have developed without people fearing direct physical violence and with a good reason.

The Knesset Interior Committee recently heard harrowing accounts from southern farmers of their plight. Some told the MKs they feel so abandoned and unprotected that they are contemplating leaving agriculture altogether. They said everything from irrigation equipment to ripe produce packed for distribution is being stolen by perpetrators who are becoming alarmingly brazen. They are also becoming increasingly violent.

Still more troubling is the evidence that some of these same Bedouin gangs, with this increasing proclivity to violence, are responsible for much of the smuggling across the border with Egypt.

The farmers told the Knesset committee that the rolling fields of Israel's south seem to be outside the law and beyond control. They warned that if the scourge is not quickly addressed, it will spread northwards.


In fact, as the Post reasons, what happened in Rehovot signals that the situation is already getting out of control and spreading northwards. The fact that Israelis may feel so massively threatened in their own homes without the authorities moving a finger about it or the issue becoming a central debate in the media indicates in what a disarray this society currently is.

Yet the apathy and indifference with which Israeli society and its political establishment treat the growing problem of Bedouin unlawfulness in the South is just a part of the general indifference to all kinds of threats, mostly of demographic nature, coming from Israel's Muslim/Arab sector. Israel has grown to become so paralyzed by the politically correct that discussing such issues at the national level is close to impossible now and those who try to do it are immediately attacked with accusations in racism by leftist watchdogs.

Yet demographics are very important especially given the tremendous Sunni Shia civil war unfolding in Iraq and the fact that two of our neighbors, Lebanon and the Palestinians, may be sliding into their own civil wars. As far as the Palestinians are concerned they are almost there already. Given the utter failure of the Arabs, when left to their own devices, to live peacefully with each other, it's highly intriguing why so many Israelis are so sure that they can do it any better with the same Arabs. The real danger for Israelis is not only to lose their majority but to get a civil war with their Arab minority emboldened by its swelling numbers.

In fact it's not for nothing that the Arab share of Israel's population has been always hovering around 20% since 1948. It testifies to the extreme demographic robustness of the Arab sector that holds out against all 'aliyot', big and small, whether they are from Morocco or from Russia. More than one million 'Russians' came to Israel over the last 15 years. Yet the Arab sector survived them all, stuck at 20%. It's hard to believe that the coming decades will bring massive Jewish immigrations as apart from the US heavily assimilated community, there are left not so many Jews in the world. This means that the following decades may be critical and if nothing is done we will be soon talking about something much more than 20%.

On the bright side Israeli Arabs are apparently experiencing a sort of demographic downtrend. High living and education standards are detrimental for demographics. Israeli Arabs may be lagging behind other sectors, but Israel grew so prosperous that even lagging behind in this country is a lot. I did not see any statistics recently but it's reported occasionally that the growth rates are dropping in both the Jewish and Arab sector which means that the demographic race is getting less intense though the Arab sector is still ways more demographically robust than the Israeli one.

Yet I suspect that the statistics may be misleading since they treat the Arab sector as a whole ignoring the hardcore demographically intensive nucleus forming itself in Negev. Next years may bring a gradual increase in the population growth of the Arab sector with the nomads reversing the trend. As the Bedouins' share of the general Arab population is increasing the overall growth rate will start moving closer to the Negev standards. Anyway it's only my guesses because to expect from the media an honest discussion and analysis of the demographic situation is really too much these days.

In fact it's not only the media, but at the personal level too, too many Israelis live now firmly in grip of political correctness. Yet, however hard some Israelis may try to suppress disturbing thoughts about their demographic situation, the existential fears swarming under the surface of the brave and nonchalant appearance put on by many people, are all too palpable.

The author of this blog had an interesting discussion of the demographic problems with Tsedek here. Tsedek started by expressing concern for the Jewish majority in Israel. She followed 'Nobody' all the way until 'Nobody' redefined the problem from a Jewish majority problem into an Israeli majority problem. 'Nobody' did it approaching the problem from the other side by defining who is not Israeli. The author of this blog considers Israel's Muslim Arab minority a primary source of demographic worries because of its split loyalties which largely go either to the Arab nation or to Islamic Umma. I am also of the opinion that Israeli Arabs largely cannot become Israelis because .. well.. because they are Arabs. From the moment Tsedek heard that 'Nobody' suspects Israeli Arabs in split loyalties she immediately declared that she never saw such a thing in the nature and ran away apparently in a hope that the demographic problems will somehow sort themselves out by themselves.

Well. They may.

Or they may not.

:D :D

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Peace Talks

Israeli peace loonies are trying to talk Arabs into peace. Enjoy.

1) Negotiation room

2) Results from the negotiation room

The Arab side was represented mostly by Lebanese. I find it really cool that while teetering on the brink of a civil war some Lebanese still have time to be preoccupied with the Israeli Palestinian conflict.

I was a sort of amazed that in the end they pissed off Lirun all over. Apart from being a lunatic (well... in my view), he is apparently a very nice and interesting person and I read his blog from time to time. It's in my links. Lirun deserves a better treatment.

Israeli loonies live by the principle - smile and the world will smile back to you and if you still get slapped in the face, then try to smile even harder. Lirun's commitment to this principle is nothing short of amazing. I would have pulled out after the first Rhiannon's insult. Or at least after seeing that Mirvat stays comfortable with this. There is such a concept called self respect. I would say that I never saw so many pearls cast before swine.

The funny thing is how Chas is popping up here and there and, despite insults, wild accusations and the Jewish world domination conspiracy theories flying all around, is praizing the participants: Hey. What a great job all of you are doing here. . . Ha Ha Ha ...

In the end Mirvat says:

i find it absolutely hilarious that rhiannone manages to find a variation of lirun's name every time.

This is after Rhiannon wipes the floor with Lirun in her closing comments !! Great !! Ha Ha Ha !!

Rhiannon is a kind of deranged personality. Apparently with zero control over her emotional reactions. Just the right type of person to invite to peace talks ;-). And her obsession with the presumed Jewish sense of supremacy is matched only by the obsession of Lirun and other Israeli participants with peace negotiations. Let's say that if Mirvat calls her blog Passing for Normal, Rhiannon is not even passing. A sexually frustrated female leftist is the worst psychological disorder I've seen in my life.

Probably many Israelis would find this peace roundtable infuriating but i just did not laugh so much in weeks. Thanks, Lirun.

I would say after reading the both threads that the Arabs are a hopeless case. And our peace loonies are probably too. ;-)


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Sunday, January 7, 2007

Peace Talks - II

My own attempts at peace negotiations with the Lebanese ;-). Enjoy.

1) On the Origins Of The Shebaa Farms and Much More

2) Foreign Agents

The first one comes from the time when I just started blogging. My understanding of Lebanon was not even rudimentary and so I took these virtual peace negotiations for the real thing. Later Faysal and others from The Thinking Lebanese' blog explained me why the Lebanese should avoid negotiating with Israel, unless they want to end up with another civil war, and I got the idea. But before this I did not understand that the Lebanese were just bluffing themselves and other people and so I was participating in serious ;-).

The second one happened spontaneously, was not intended to be peace negotiations and was more like an attempt to test the limits of Faysal's patience ;-). Anyway Faysal is a friend and a potential host if I ever happen to be in Beirut. I may do it one day. I only need to get a Russian passport.


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Thursday, January 4, 2007

77% of Israelis dissatisfied with Olmert

The Jerusalem Post

Jan. 3, 2007

According to a poll taken by the Dahaf Institute for the Knesset Channel, 77 percent of Israelis are dissatisfied with Olmert's performance as prime minister.

Forty seven percent of the 420 respondents asked to grade Olmert on his performance gave the prime minister a grade of "very poor," 30% gave him a grade of "fairly bad," and 20% graded him as "good."


Like many others who left comments on this article, I am deeply intrigued by these remaining satisfied 20%. This is because I just cannot recall meeting somebody satisfied with this government in months.

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Monday, January 1, 2007

Blog on Hold

Posting will resume in a few days after I recover from the new year's celebrations . . .

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