The Happy Arab News Service

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Arabs vs Badgers

Last updated: July 21, 2008

July 17, 2007

New sections on the side-bar

Due to the lack of time and severe intoxication after yet another friend's birthday party, posting is temporarily suspended. Meanwhile I have started reorganizing my side-bar, something I did not succeed to achieve before because of the buggy Google software. I hope that the new version of the blogspot stands firm and rock solid under the pressure of new HTML tags.

The first section added: Selected Posts: Hugo Chavez/Left


You can also amuse yourselves with another (and as always) brilliant post by the IraqPundit on the Arabs obsession with conspiracy theories: The Sworn Conspiracy.


I just cannot keep myself from quoting one section of his post, because here he captures with a few lines the entire mindset of this Arab nation:

. . . Arabs have long seen themselves as the targets of a series of complex – and always successful -- international conspiracies. Supposedly, nobody will allow even a single successful Arab country to emerge. Why not? Because we Arabs are really important and we represent a mortal threat to the degenerate West. For that matter, we are a threat to the delusional East, too! That’s why we have to be immobilized. Of course, because we are such victims, we can’t do a damn thing to improve our own lot. Not that it's our fault. Nothing is our fault.

July 18, 2007

A car bomb goes off in a parking lot near the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad.


July 19, 2007

All sections are now on the side-bar:

Selected Posts: Hugo Chavez/Left
Selected Posts: Israel
Selected Posts: Jews/Israelis
Selected Posts: Israeli Arabs/Palestinians
Selected Posts: Arabs/Muslims

Jews/Israelis is probably the most important one. This is because many posts in this section deal with the Israeli vs Jewish vs Arab identity. Of course the fact that Jews/Israelis are one section and Israeli Arabs/Palestinians are another is not coincidental. This is what I am saying.

In his incredibly powerful last post Faysal from the Thinking Lebanese said:

But the truth remains that any country whose citizens follow men rather than principles and belong to a tribe rather than a nation has no future in a region as merciless as the Middle East.

Source: Reap What You Sow

In the case of Israel it would be correct to say that any nation that substitutes its national identity with the hollow and void of essence universalism of political correctness, that confuses belonging to a nation with holding a passport (or a conversion certificate for that matter), is sure looking for troubles. Neither the backwardness of tribalism, nor the lunacy of political correctness have any future in a region as merciless as the Middle East.

July 31, 2007

The New York Times on the latest paranoia gripping Basra

Published: July 31, 2007

Take a Western army wearing out its welcome in the ancient land of Mesopotamia. Add a sharp-toothed creature with the claws of a bear and a reputation here to rival the Hound of the Baskervilles. Simmer in the 120-degree temperatures of summer and sprinkle with provincial Iraqi newspapers eager to fill newsprint gaps left by vacationing officials.

The result? Many residents of the city of Basra in southern Iraq have convinced themselves that the British Army has loosed savage cattle-eating badgers onto its unsuspecting populace as a final gesture of ill intent before it departs this summer.

Throw in, for good measure, the fervent belief that British soldiers have planted snake eggs in waterways and unleashed bomb-sniffing dogs purposely infected with rabies.

All three stories have been manufactured by Iraq’s tireless rumor mill, the only machine in the country seemingly capable of functioning day and night without need of electricity or generators.

. . .

One Basra farmer claimed the beasts attacked his cattle. Panic spread, with other reports of it killing children.

The alarm was heightened by the rapid circulation of a cellphone video showing one fearsomely clawed and apparently dead animal surrounded by nervous villagers.

The British were soon blamed, perhaps aided by the unfortunate coincidence that one of the British Army units is named Badger Squadron.

Maj. Mike Shearer, a British military spokesman in Basra, rebutted all animal-related allegations with a straight face: “Of course we categorically deny that we have released badgers into Basra.

. . .

A spokeswoman for Britain’s Foreign Office was more succinct in denying the rumor. “Don’t be silly,” she said.

At the British headquarters, commanders have weightier matters to consider. On senior officers’ desks sit copies of Carl von Clausewitz’s 1832 treatise, “On War,” and David Galula’s colonial-era French manual, “Counterinsurgency Warfare.”

Asked whether coalition forces were ever likely to have been as welcome in Iraq as prewar optimists hoped, one senior British officer shook his head wearily. “It would have been difficult, given the conspiracy mindset,” he said. “Just look at the badgers.”


July 21, 2008

Rats and Arabs

According to the Palestinian news agency Wafa, Israel has dramatically escalated the biological warfare it wages on the Palestinian people with rats having become its weapon of choice.

The Palestinian Authority's official news agency Wafa says Israel is using rats to drive Arab families out of their homes in the Old City of Jerusalem.

In the past the news agency, which is controlled and funded by PA President Mahmoud Abbas's office, has accused Israel of using wild pigs to drive Palestinians out of their homes and fields in the West Bank. In the reports, Palestinians were quoted by the agency as saying that they had seen Israelis release herds of wild pigs, which later attacked them.

But this is the first time that Palestinians have spoken of rats being used against them.

So what? There is a first time for everything in the world.

"Rats have become an Israeli weapon to displace and expel Arab residents of the occupied Old City of Jerusalem," Wafa reported under the title, "Settlers flood the Old City of Jerusalem with rats." The report continued: "Over the past two months, dozens of settlers come to the alleyways and streets of the Old City carrying iron cages full of rats. They release the rats, which find shelter in open sewage systems."

Wafa quoted unnamed Arab residents as saying that they had tried to eliminate the rats with various poisons, but to no avail.

Silly Arabs. Of course they can do nothing against the rats. We give our rats special training that makes them highly resistant to virtually all known poisons in the world.

Israel's goal was to "increase the suffering of the [Arabs] in Jerusalem by turning their lives into a real tragedy and forcing them to evict their homes and leave the city," Hasan Khater, secretary-general of the Islamic-Christian Front in Jerusalem, was quoted as saying.


Oh it's nothing guys. Wait until we release into the wild our next generation flies and mosquitoes preprogrammed to attack only Arabic speaking targets.

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Oil and Free Market Fundamentalism

Last updated: January 11, 2011

October 25, 2006

New York Times has two articles about Sudan that give two different perspectives on Sudan. If you need to be a registered user to read the articles, you can become one for free.

War in Sudan? Not Where the Oil Wealth Flows

Grim New Turn Likely to Harden Darfur Conflict

The first article claims that Khartum is booming. Oil money is transforming fast the capital of the country. Curiously the article claims that the economic policy is in the hands of western educated technocrats who are implementing hardcore IMF-style neo liberal reforms, like monetary discipline, deregulation and privatization. A double digit economic growth is expected this year. The World Bank is impressed. If Sudan is a fundamentalist regime (actually i have no idea how much it is one now), then it's a free market fundamentalism.

The article claims that Sudan easily overcame American sanctions by reorienting itself on East Asian countries, like China. Asians are both investing in Sudan and buying Sudanese oil.

The second article reports that the Darfurians are fighting back. When you look at the pictures though (the article is provided with a short photo gallery), you can't comprehend how any guerilla warfare can be possible in this desert with its flat landscape. The Khartum government is spending 70% of its oil revenues to organize local manufacturing of weapons (possible sanctions in the future are a matter of big concern) and has an air force. Hard to understand how they manage to lose battles to Darfurians rebels.

Since 2003 millions of Darfurians fled their homes and hundreds of thousands were killed or died from hunger. Nevertheless the backbone of the Darfurian 'Intifada' is not broken apparently. The rebels are getting new weapons from outside allies and fighting back with increasing efficiency.

July 30, 2007

New Sudans

Map of Sudan

Red is south Sudan, blue - Darfur.

By no means the map provides a comprehensive illustration of Sudan ethnic conflicts.

Sudan - 2003


On 25 March, the rebels seized the garrison town of Tine along the Chadian border, seizing large quantities of supplies and arms. Despite a threat by President Omar al-Bashir to "unleash" the army, the military had little in reserve. The army was already deployed both to the south, where the Second Sudanese Civil War was drawing to an end, and the east, where rebels sponsored by Eritrea were threatening the newly constructed pipeline from the central oilfields to Port Sudan . . .

At 5:30 am on 25 April 2003, a joint Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and JEM force in 33 Land Cruisers entered al-Fashir and attacked the sleeping garrison. In the next four hours, four Antonov bombers and helicopter gunships, according to the government, (seven according to the rebels) were destroyed on the ground, 75 soldiers, pilots and technicians were killed and 32 were captured, including the commander of the air base, a Major General . . .

. . . in the middle months of 2003, the rebels won 34 of 38 engagements. In May, the SLA destroyed a battalion at Kutum, killing 500 and taking 300 prisoners and in mid-July, 250 were killed in a second attack on Tine. The SLA began to infiltrate farther east, threatening to extend the war into Kordofan.


. . .

. . .


Sudan - 2007

South Sudan

Jul 26th 2007 | NAIROBI
From The Economist print edition

IN MANY respects, south Sudan is already its own country. It issues its own visas, decides most its own policies and mishandles its own budget. Of course, tricky deals over the ownership of oil and the Nile waters must be negotiated before full independence. And there is always a small chance that the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), which runs the south, may do well enough in elections for all of Sudan (due to be held in 2009) to alter the shape of Sudanese politics overall, the north included. But as things stand, almost all southerners believe that, after a referendum promised by the central government in Khartoum, south Sudan will become a sovereign country by 2011.

That raises new questions. For one thing, what would the new country be called? The betting is on New Sudan, the name favoured by John Garang, the SPLM's charismatic leader killed in a helicopter crash in 2005. But establishing the new country's identity will be harder. Even SPLM zealots accept that the largely Christian and animist south cannot define itself just negatively, in opposition to the Muslim north.

Many leading lights in the south Sudanese government, including the president, Salva Kiir, want the new country, whatever it is called, to become part of east Africa rather than a southern spin-off from the rest of Sudan, which is mainly Arab and Muslim and looks more to the Arab world . . .

. . .

. . .


And it's not only in the South where a new Sudan is being created these days.


The Independent
By Steve Bloomfield, Africa Correspondent
Published: 14 July 2007

Arabs from Chad and Niger are crossing into Darfur in "unprecedented" numbers, prompting claims that the Sudanese government is trying systematically to repopulate the war- ravaged region.

An internal UN report, obtained by The Independent, shows that up to 30,000 Arabs have crossed the border in the past two months. Most arrived with all their belongings and large flocks. They were greeted by Sudanese Arabs who took them to empty villages cleared by government and janjaweed forces.

One UN official said the process "appeared to have been well planned". The official continued: "This movement is very large. We have not seen such numbers come into west Darfur before."

. . .

. . .


January 11, 2011

As South Sudan is voting on independence here is a couple of impressive maps from BBC. First, Sudan's great climatic divide.

The great divide across Sudan is visible even from space, as this Nasa satellite image shows. The northern states are a blanket of desert, broken only by the fertile Nile corridor. Southern Sudan is covered by green swathes of grassland, swamps and tropical forest.

Source: BBC

Next, Sudan's ethnic map. The outstanding feature of this map is the landlocked and dry as a bone Arab heartland (Yellow)

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Arabism as Anti Zionism

Last Updated: July 28, 2007

May 23, 2007

The most brilliant bullshit i was reading recently.

. . .

One myth about "Arabism" is that some believe that it implies Arabic language as a united factor of Arabs. And here I ask the question: are all Arab speakers are Arab? Do I have to be an Arab to be an Arab? What about the Kurds, Armenian and the Sharkas, they live with us since the Turkish occupation to the Arab World, they are part of Arab culture and the Arab civilization, furthermore, they are the contributors to the term "Arabism."

. . .

So my understanding to Arabism shakes off both DNA and Arabic language as unified factors to Arabs or as elements to defining Arabism.

Another thing I think it was historically true but I believe it is dangerous to go on adapting such factor as part of the definition of "Arabism" which is Islam:

Arabs are atheists, Jews, Christians, Muslims, agnostic, Buddhists…religion should not shape Arabism, Arabism is not religiously oriented, but rather, in my understanding to it, it is an ideology, a solution against the imperial neo-Zionism in the region . . .


They don't need Islam any longer. Neither speaking Arabic is strictly necessary. Just be anti Zionist and you are Arab. This bizarre preoccupation with Israel has become an ethnicity. Though i think that in strictly medical language it's called obsessive compulsive disorder. God forbid, if we go from here - we will rob these people of their very identity.

May 23, 2007

Another timeless classic . . .

No Dignity - No Hope

The international zionist movement, invades countries, pumps their resources, murders people all around, and defames those who resist it. Yet, this is not enough (OMG !!! What more conspiracies are these Zionists scheming ??!! NB), it also finances "artists" like this sick retard called Spencer Tunick whose sole occupation is to gather as many naked people in one place in order to take a couple of pictures of them. Today, he gathered 18000 Mexicans in the Zocalo, the historical center of Mexico City (see photo, I spare you the other photos with details).

. . .

. . .


:D :D :D

July 28,2007

Political Science at Cairo University


12 - 18 July 2007
Issue No. 853

In his second article on key principles of Zionist strategy, Hassan Nafaa* describes how keeping Egypt weak is a lynchpin of Israel's regional ambitions

* The writer is professor of political science at Cairo University.

Egypt and the Zionist plan of division

In the first instalment of what I intended would be a short series of articles, I wrote that Oded Yinon's 1982 study entitled "A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s" is the most detailed account so far of the Zionist mindset; how it works and how it aspires to manage conflict with the Arab world in a way that leads to the creation of a dominant Jewish state in the region. My contention is that Yinon's study should be regarded as a practical manifesto of the Zionist movement, and not just the opinion of an obscure Jewish writer or a former Israeli diplomat.

Yinon's study appeared in Hebrew in Kivunim (or Directions), a publication dedicated to Jewish questions and the Zionist movement in general. The Association of Arab American University Graduates took a special interest in this study following Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982. It asked Professor Israel Shahak, a well-known Israeli activist, to translate it into English. The study was republished with a foreword and epilogue by Shahak and given the title "The Zionist Plan for the Middle East", in order to show that Yinon wasn't just expressing a personal opinion.

The most disturbing thing about the Yinon's paper is Egypt's central role in the Zionist movement's strategy to dismember the Arab world. Although the study was written about five years after former President Anwar El-Sadat visited the Knesset, four years after Egypt signed the two Camp David agreements, and three years after the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty went into effect, and although Yinon was fully aware that Egypt's signing of a peace treaty with Israel had cost it dearly, isolating it from the rest of the Arab world and undermining its standing in the international arena, this didn't change in any way how the Zionists regarded Egypt.

Yinon was clearly convinced that no strategy to divide the Arab world would succeed without first weakening the one country that has one-third of the Arab population and that is the region's acknowledged leader. So Yinon makes a point of proving that Egypt is weak, divisible, and nothing more than a paper tiger. Egypt, he maintains, won't be able to protect the Arab world against dismemberment and ultimate downfall. To prove his point, Yinon proffers three assumptions.

The first assumption concerns the nature of the Egyptian political system. Yinon tries to prove that the Egyptian regime is incompetent, bankrupt and generally hapless. The state apparatus in Egypt is so bureaucratic and complex, according to Yinon, that it couldn't possibly take any initiative or achieve anything significant in any field. Although Yinon admits that the Egyptian army is an exceptional case, as it can sometimes break from the terrible grip of Egyptian bureaucracy, as it did in 1973, he claims that the rest of the country's sectors are in a miserable shape, fighting for mere survival and reproducing past mishaps in a manner that renders the entire country semi-incapacitated.

The second assumption concerns the nature of Egypt's socio-economic system. Yinon argues that Egypt is overpopulated, short of resources, and technologically and scientifically backward to the point that it cannot provide for its population who live on a tiny geographical slice of the country's total territories. US aid has helped Egypt stay afloat, but this aid is linked to the peace process and therefore temporary. Yinon claims that the Egyptian social system is class-based and so discriminatory that a small part of the population is getting richer while the rest is getting poorer. Because Egypt's system of services, especially in education and health, is barely functioning, the country is unlikely to achieve real development in the foreseeable future, he notes.

The third assumption concerns Egypt's stability and sectarian coexistence. Egypt, Yinon claims, is unstable because a significant Coptic minority is persecuted, marginalised, and excluded from any participation in public life. The Copts make up almost 10 per cent of the population. They are a majority in some parts of the south and have developed a tendency for isolation following the rise of fundamentalist Islam. The Copts are mostly ready for secession and would consider independence a good option, he concludes.

Based on these three assumptions -- which Yinon treats as indisputable facts (You want to dispute them, professor ?? NB) -- Yinon surmises that Egypt is superficially a strong country but is actually fragile and weak. The country's weakness became apparent in 1956 and a fact known to all after the 1967 defeat, which slashed Egypt's capabilities by at least 50 per cent. Yinon says that Egypt's restoration of Sinai, with its considerable natural resources, especially in oil and gas, gave it some respite. He adds that Israel should do everything it can to prevent Egypt from fully recovering.

As part of its quest to divide the Arab world, Israel should follow a two-pronged approach to Egypt. First, it should regain control of Sinai. Secondly, it should encourage the creation of a dominantly Coptic state in Upper Egypt, Yinon suggests.

Concerning the first objective, Yinon warns Israel against adopting a policy of compromise and territorial concessions. He advises Israel against giving up any of the land it occupied. Interestingly, Yinon makes none of the conventional arguments related to Israel's biblical claims. Instead, he offers arguments of a mainly economic nature. He says that Israel needs an increasing supply of energy, especially oil and gas, and some of the mineral resources of Sinai. Those resources, he argues, are essential to Israel's strategy and independence.

It is not hard, however, to see through this argument. Yinon points, both implicitly and explicitly, to a long-term strategy. Sinai is a sparsely populated area and suitable for urban development. Sinai is an area that could be used to absorb the population growth among the Palestinians of Gaza, or even to offer a lasting solution to the refugees' problem. Alternatively, Sinai could be used to house those Jewish immigrants who -- once Israel becomes the region's dominant power -- would start arriving from other parts of the world.

As to the Coptic issue, Yinon advises Israel to sow sedition between Egypt's Muslims and Copts with the ultimate aim of creating a dominantly Sunni Muslim state in the north and a dominantly Christian one in the south. Yinon sees this option as the best way to weaken the central state in Egypt and deprive the Arab world of the one country that could hold it together. Once Egypt is divided, Libya and Sudan would fall apart, even without foreign intervention, he says.

I would like the young generations of Arabs, especially in Egypt, to note the timing of Yinon's study. This study came out in February 1982, which is a few weeks after the assassination of Sadat and ahead of Israel's withdrawal from Sinai, which was completed on 25 April 1982. Israel withdrew from Sinai in the scheduled time but only after it created a phoney dispute over Taba; a dispute that it hoped it could use as pretext to recapture Sinai. A few months after Yinon's study was released, Israel invaded Lebanon on 5 June 1982. It besieged Beirut, installed one of its allies in power, and forced him to sign a peace treaty on 17 May 1983.

Had things gone according to plan in Lebanon, and had Israel been able to impose its hegemony on the Arab world, it would have turned against Egypt once more and found a pretext to recapture Sinai. Then it would have interfered in Egyptian domestic affairs and driven a wedge between Copts and Muslims.

I would like to remind the young people in this country that Israel's strategy was foiled only by the steadfastness of the Lebanese resistance, by the ability of that resistance to bring down the May 1983 treaty, and by subsequent Intifadas in Palestine. This course of events is what protected Egypt, however temporarily, from the designs that Israel had in mind. Israel's failure in Lebanon has saved the entire region from the partitioning Yinon talks about, and I will discuss this point further in my next article.

But Israel's failure didn't stop it from trying. So it tried its luck once again in Iraq -- also to no avail. Still, Israel hasn't given up, and it is not going to give up. So I urge all our young people to read what Yinon wrote. Read his exact words and not just the account I am giving here.



It's a shame the professor is not familiar with my blog. It could have served him as a much better Zionist manifesto. Especially my series on Arab Oil and global warming :D :D

My blog could have even become part of the official curriculum of Cairo University :D :D

:D :D

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Greed Kills

Last updated: July 27, 2007

July 24, 2007

Toronto Star

Jul 23, 2007 04:30 AM

Tyler Hamilton
Business Reporter

Capturing carbon dioxide can be done in several ways, but the most unusual approach by far is to literally feed the greenhouse gas to CO2-hungry algae.

Several companies have attempted over the years to develop algae bioreactor systems that can be attached to coal- or natural gas-fired power plants or big industrial facilities. The idea is that CO2 emissions from these operations can be directed to an algae "farm," where the tiny organisms feast on the gas until they're fat enough to harvest.

The mature, oil-rich algae can then be processed into a number of products, such as biodiesel, ethanol, animal feed and a variety of plastics. So you end up with a double benefit: keeping CO2 from entering the atmosphere, and producing renewable products that can reduce the need for fossil fuels.

But like most dream technologies, CO2-to-algae-to-oil systems would be great if designing them didn't present so many challenges.

Last month, Cambridge, Mass.-based GreenFuel Technologies, a leading developer of algae-to-biofuel systems, found that a pilot system it had built in Arizona was growing algae so aggressively that it couldn't harvest them fast enough. As a result, the algae began to die (about this Italians say: Gluttony kills more than the sword. NB).

The company also found out that the cost of its next-generation system was twice as much as it originally calculated, so it was forced to shut down the Arizona pilot and lay off nearly half of its staff.

. . .

So far so good. Those who think the algae are done are in for a big surprise though . . .

. . . earlier this month, a consortium of academics, scientists and businesses threw their hat into the algae pond, describing their collective goal of building a commercial "photo bioreactor" within three years and designing it for the needs of the Canadian market.

One company in that consortium is Ottawa-based Menova Energy Inc., which in other circles is known as a provider of solar hybrid systems that can provide both heat and electricity to schools, industrial facilities and other large buildings.

Another is Trident Exploration Corp., a natural gas exploration company looking at ways to reduce its CO2 emissions.

Menova president Dave Gerwing says Trident knew it was only a matter of time before the federal government began imposing penalties on CO2 emissions. Trident approached a number of companies looking for solutions, including GreenFuel Technologies, but it ended up teaming up with Menova last year.

So what does a solar company have to do with carbon sequestration in algae?

Gerwing, a determined engineer, says it's a combination of innovation and better economics. What Menova brings to the table that other companies don't is a combination of heat and light – both of which are crucial ingredients to algae cultivation.

Menova's Power-Spar system uses solar concentrators to focus the sun on photovoltaic solar cells, which produce electricity, and fluid-filled channels that capture the sun's heat. But the system goes one step further, capturing the sunlight and redirecting it where necessary through fibre-optic cables.

What this means is that an algae farm – or what Menova calls its "photo bioreactor" – can be designed in a way where heat and light are concentrated in a relatively more confined area, allowing for the high-density growth of algae without the need for acres and acres of land.

"Our initial estimates are that we're going to be able to recycle 100 to 150 tonnes of greenhouse gases into biomass a year, then convert it into biofuel, based on 70 square metres of collector area."

Keeping a constant temperature is key, Gerwing points out. "We've figured out a way to make stuff stay at 70-degrees C when outside it's minus 30C," he says. "It's something you can do all year, meaning you don't make green popsicles out of algae (in the winter)."

On top of this, any algae system using Menova's collectors can produce electricity that can be sold into the grid or, in the case of Trident, used for their own power needs.

Suddenly the economics, compared to other models on the market, begin looking attractive – even in Canada. Companies that purchase such a system can earn revenues generating electricity, producing raw material for making fuels and other bioproducts, and selling carbon credits into cap-and-trade markets.

In fact, Trident and Menova expect the system will reduce by half the amount of carbon emissions resulting from petroleum processing – welcome news, if do-able, to producers in the oil sands.

The pilot project is expected to begin shortly, and a working commercial system is being targeted for 2010.

Other consortium members include the National Research Council, Olds College School of Innovation-Biofuel and Technology Centre, and the University of Saskatchewan.

The photo bioreactor technology is currently in the process of being patented, so Gerwing wouldn't go into further detail about how the technology works. This, however, doesn't hide his excitement.

"I don't sleep much," he says. "If you saw some of the stuff on the drawing board ... it's just so rewarding."

Canada may be late in this race, but the Menova-Trident project, if successful, could quickly put us ahead of the pack.


The system combines solar and biofuel technology into one and, even more, it extends the range of application for the two much farther north than Brazil and the US corn belt. Never mind that this technology may be able to control algae growth and prevent algae from outgrowing the capacity of bioreactors by the simple act of reducing a few degrees in the temperature. As clouds keep gathering over Arab oil fields, one day the Arab/Muslim world may even discover that its oil resources and self acclaimed courage are perfectly matched by the voraciousness of these algae.

July 27, 2007

Lirun said...

. . .

. . .

i wish we were more proactive in energy technologies in israel.. we have every incentive i reckon..

even if we were to develop and "open source" the methodologies we would potentially stand so much to gain just on the back of the potential to reduce the military equipment buying power of our neighbours and the conversion of that into a lower need for us to spend..

yeah bla bla bla.. did anyone understand me?


Amir Ben David
Published: 07.26.07

Israeli company Solel, which develops and implements solar thermal technology, has signed a contract with Pacific Gas and Electric Company to build the world's largest solar plant in California's Mojave Desert.

The project will deliver 553 megawatts of solar power, the equivalent of powering 400,000 homes, to PG&E’s customers in northern and central California.

Solel CEO Avi Brenmiller told the Channel 2 that he spent five years trying to persuade the government to open Negev for similar projects. The deal Solel signed in California is absolutely huge. It's worth 4 billion of US$. The project will employ thousands of people. Because of the intransigence of state bureaucrats the money and workplaces will now go elsewhere and Brenmiller seems to be close to giving up on ever seeing such a project designated for Negev.

Meanwhile, plans to develop a similar project in Israel, where sunlight is abundant, have so far been stalled due to bureaucratic hurdles, and despite efforts by Solel and Greenpeace Israel to promote such a project.

Only recently the Infrastructure Ministry and the Ministry of the Environment decided that a solar plant would be built near Dimona.


This is not to say that the government is doing nothing to promote low carbon economy and reduce Israel's dependence on imported oil.

The Jerusalem Post
Jul. 24, 2007

The Environmental Protection Ministry announced this week that there was a significant rise in the import of hybrid cars into Israel over the last six months. The number of such vehicles sold in the first half of 2007 is double the amount sold all last year.

To make the purchase of hybrid vehicles more appealing to consumers, the ministry promoted the lowering of sales tax on the environmentally friendly vehicles to 30%, compared to 84% in regular cars.

"Hybrid family cars are the cleanest vehicles being imported to Israel today," said ministry vehicle pollution supervisor Avi Moshel. "We're talking about between 30-50% less emissions compared to regular gasoline driven vehicles of the same size."


These are indeed excellent news for the heavily jammed Tel Aviv where every single person seems to think that he has to have a car. Until today the sales tax on vehicles was the only thing preventing the situation on the roads from degenerating into a total disaster. Never mind that whether you run your car on gas or electricity, it does not change the fundamental fact that in both cases you have to burn something to get your energy. And whether you burn fuel in the engine of your car or a power station does it for you by generating electricity to charge your car, in both cases this fuel has to be imported !!!

The amazing in all this is that some Israeli companies such as Solel and Ormat are world leaders in their respective fields for producing renewable energy. Yet while projects of these companies span the globe, it's Israel that's lagging behind others on everything from biofuels to solar plants.

Shimon Peres, when he was a minister a while ago, solemnly announced that he would push for more alternative energy projects to lay economic foundations for his new Middle East (never mind that more alternative energy projects will destroy our neighbors more than they will create a new Middle East). That's why he came up with his peace corridor and even co-opted Jordanians to take part in a joint venture for manufacturing electric cars.

Unfortunately Solel seems to have seen very little from Peres peace making. This is because Shimon Peres projects are always huge, multinational and positioned at the border between Israel and another country in such a way that at the first sign of trouble mobs sack the whole place leaving nothing intact. In economic terms Peres peace ventures also tend to be such that if a peace process fails (say Muslim Brothers take over Jordan) the whole project immediately collapses sending both countries into a deep recession.

Peres sure studied Solel's proposal to set up solar farms in Negev but there was nothing in this idea that could allow him to involve international investors, employ Palestinian labor or relocate the whole thing to Jordan. And so while Solel is running the world's biggest solar projects in California and Spain, Israel still has no solar plant.

While the frail and more delusional than ever Peres is now blissing out after winning a presidential race against another perennial loser, another genius from the Labor party is working tirelessly to solve Israel's energy problems.

The Jerusalem Post
Jul. 21, 2007
By Jonatan Ferziger

National Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer met with BG vice president Nigel Shaw in Tel Aviv this week, ministry spokeswoman Hanit Ganish said in Jerusalem. "The negotiations are still going on," she said.

Commenting on an article in The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that said a deal with BG was "imminent," Ganish said it could be a few months away. "The purpose is to reach a deal, and so we're going to continue talking."

BG wants to develop the Gaza Marine gas field and build pipelines to sell gas to Israel. Under the initial proposals, BG would transport gas by pipeline to Ashkelon Port, without crossing the Gaza Strip. Should the deal fail, BG has said it would consider selling the gas to Egypt instead.


When the government defies the whole world by refusing to transfer funds to the Hamas government in Gaza, one should really have a nerve to try to sign a deal to buy gas worth of $100m. each year from the same Hamas government in Gaza !!!

Meanwhile Ormat has set up a joint project with Evogene, a small start-up founded in 2002. Evogene claims to possess a proprietary genetic know-how capable of increasing oil yields in crops used for producing biodiesel.

The Jerusalem Post
Jul. 26, 2007

The two Israeli companies agreed on the terms for a $2 million, three-year project that will seek alternatives to soy and canola and, if successful, will then form a joint venture to market the crops, Evogene said in a statement to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange Wednesday.

"The big increase in the use of biodiesel in recent years has caused soy and canola prices to rise, increasing the need to develop crops dedicated to biodiesel use and not for human consumption," Rehovot-based Evogene said in the statement.

Use of biofuels in the US and Europe has grown to about 4.5 billion liters a year, and the European Union is targeting growth to 19.5 billion by 2010. Ormat's board last September approved a plan to spend about $13.5m. over five years developing technology to turn plant oil into fuel and as much as $50m. for a facility to make the fuel.


Evogene was wise to seek a private sponsor instead of trying to secure government's support for going on its own, because otherwise Evogene would have quickly discovered that the government is as helpful when it comes to designing second generation biofuels as it was when Solel was pushing for setting up solar farms in Negev.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

The French and the Necromongers

This post is an update to Linguistic Totalitarianism

Carolle Ziton is making Aliyah to Israel together with her husband and two small children. She is in the first wave of 3,000 French Jews expected to arrive over next few weeks. The immigration from France has peaked this year and reached levels unknown over the last three decades. In an interview to Ynet Carolle said:

We don’t feel at home in France. I bought a house with a private backyard because we have Arab neighbors and I want my children to play in a safe place. We haven’t encountered any expressions of anti-Semitism, but there is a feeling that something is about to happen. The murder of Ilan Halimi only substantiated this feeling.


There are a few problems with this interview.

First of all, Carolle, what does it mean you had to buy a house with a private backyard because you have Arab neighbors? Are you saying, Carolle, that having Arab neighbors is in some way different from having Jewish neighbors or French neighbors?

Let alone what does it mean you want your children to play in a safe place ? Are you implying that having Arab neighbors is dangerous for children? Do you think it's fair to stigmatize a whole community in this way? Carolle, these people are just the same simple human beings like you and me. They spend their lives trying to live them as normally as they can. These people pass their days mostly worrying over how to make the ends meet. The last thing they have on their mind is stalking your children with a view to harming them.

Or maybe you want to say that Arab children can harass Jewish children? Children cannot be Jewish or Arab, Carolle. Children don't have sectarian or religious identities, because they are . . . you know ... they are just children. You are not trying to say that Arab children can be particularly mean to other children just because these other children are Jewish children, are you? What an awful thing to say.

You see, Carolle. It's true that Israel is a country of refugees. But probably you don't know how much we have changed since Israel was created. Some sections of our society have now reached the next level of evolutionary development as they have evolved into a new and vastly more advanced race, the race of necromongers of diversity and political correctness. I should better explain.

The necromonger code of speech and thinking requires total obedience and compliance with certain rules. Petty worries for your personal safety or the safety of your children, Carolle, are not a good enough reason for violating the necromonger code of speech. While the majority of Israelis will certainly excuse your language as some of them or their parents had fled even worse situations, you should bear in mind that in some sections of our society this kind of talk is no longer tolerated.

The Necromonger leader Lord Marshall

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Obituary: Mullah, Dadullah and Obaidullah

Last updated: July 25, 2007

May 18, 2007

Taliban's chief of staff, Mullah Dadullah is dead. Within 24 hours after he crossed the border into Afghanistan from Pakistan, US forces have tracked him down. The one-legged corpse of Dadullah (Dadullah has lost one leg in the war with the Soviets. NB) was identified among a group of Taliban militants killed by NATO forces in the province of Helmand a few days ago.

Dadullah was one of the top three deputies to the reclusive Taliban's leader, the one-eyed Mullah Omar (Muslim fundamentalists have a weakness for asymmetrically crippled leaders. Or at least a leader should be blind or paralyzed like Sheikh Yassin. NB)

Two other deputies, Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Osmani and Mullah Obaidullah, are currently out of office for various reasons. Osmani was killed last December by a US air strike and Obaidullah was captured by the Pakistani authorities.

Obituary: Mullah Dadullah

Mullah Dadullah was well known for his passion for slaughtering Shia civilians. His another famous hobby was film making. Dadullah had recorded numerous clips of beheadings carried out by him and his followers. Unlike Abu Mussab Zarkawi, Dadullah saw little need to cover his face while sawing off other people's heads.

A few months ago Dadullah took over the headlines in Western media after he boasted of having got 6,000 volunteers for suicide missions against the Nato and government's targets in Afghanistan. The dreaded spring offensive failed to materialize as shortly after this there has happened a massive fallout between the Taliban and Al Kaida forces in Pakistan's tribal areas, in which hundreds of Uzbeks, Bin Laden' loyalists, were killed by Waziri tribesmen, supporters of the Taliban.

Despite the atrocious shortage of eyes and legs experienced now by the Taliban's leadership, it's sure as hell that the war in Afghanistan will continue. And even if the leaders of the Taliban never learn to grow back eyes and legs, they will still retain their capacity for mounting fierce spring offensives, if not this year, then the next one.


Mullah Osmani's obituary will follow when I have more time, that of Obaidullah - when he is dead.

June 6, 2007

Dead and Deadly

. . .

Meanwhile, a purported Taliban spokesman said the militant group had killed one of five kidnapped Afghan health workers because the government had not handed over the body of slain Taliban commander Mullah Dadullah by a Tuesday morning deadline.

A Public Health Ministry spokesman on Monday said President Hamid Karzai had ordered the body of Dadullah, who was killed during an operation in southern Afghanistan last month, to be traded for the five workers.

The claim by the purported Taliban spokesman, Shuhabuddin Athul, could not be verified. Athul said the Taliban would kill the other workers if Dadullah's body was not handed over.

Taliban fighters kidnapped a doctor, three nurses and a driver in Kandahar province in March. It was not clear which of the five was killed.

The demand that Dadullah's body be given to the Taliban came from the former commander's brother, Dadullah Mansoor, who now heads the militant operations in the country's south. Kandahar Gov. Asadullah Khalid has said that Dadullah was buried at a secret location near Kandahar.

. . .


Seems as if even after he is dead, Dadullah is still quite deadly.

July 25, 2007

Another Leg is Gone

I mean another Taliban leader died.

By ABDUL SATTAR, Associated Press Writer Tue Jul 24

QUETTA, Pakistan - A Taliban veteran of Guantanamo Bay who became one of Pakistan's most-wanted rebel leaders killed himself with a hand grenade Tuesday after he was cornered by security forces, officials said.

The death of Abdullah Mehsud, a stout, round-faced man in his early 30s who lost a leg years ago fighting for the Taliban, was a boost for Pakistani authorities under pressure from the U.S. to crack down on Taliban and al-Qaida militants fighting on both sides of the Afghan border.

. . .

. . .


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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Palestinian Nationality?

Last updated: July 25, 2007

July 22, 2007

Though an avid reader of this blog and a personal fan of nobody, I have very little knowledge of the Middle East . I would like to ask some questions.

We all know the theory that the Palestinians didn't exist as a nation before Israel was formed. But this raises several questions:

  1. Before 48 - what did the average Arab in Gaza saw himself as ? If the answer is just 'an Arab' then this raises more questions.

  2. Before 48 – did Arabs differentiate between Jordanians , Syrians and Palestinians? they must have differentiated between those three and Egyptians.

  3. If there is no ethnic difference between Palestinians and Jordanians (is there?), why did the Jordanians put the Palestinian refugees in refugee camps rather than integrating them into society?

  4. If there is no Palestinian identity , just an Arab identity, why didn't Egypt incorporated Gaza into Egypt instead of keeping it in sort of a limbo state.

July 25, 2007

Black Ubuntu said...

Great answer. Thank you

I will remember your tip next time i'm in a bar with a Lebanese. Though to be honest I haven't been to a bar in years and never met a Lebanese in my life!

Nobody - is there any way you can copy Nizo's answer into the main body of the blog. I would like to link to it sometimes but the fact that it's in the comment's section makes it difficult to link...

July 24, 2007 10:46 AM

Nizo's Answer

Nizo said...

Here are my two agorot (for those who care):

To start, it’s important to note that identities are fluid and can include different facets. I for one view myself as Palestinian, Arab-Christian, Galilean, Canadian etc... That said, I’m an amalgam of all of the above. Identity, for Palestinians and others also depends on the strata of society one belongs to and is affected by factors such as education, mobility, religion, urban/rural localization etc…

“ 1. Before 48 - what did the average Arab in Gaza saw himself as ? If the answer is just 'an Arab' then this raises more questions. “

A Palestinian in Gaza prior to 48 probably didn’t view himself as a Palestinian in the modern sense of the word, since contemporary Palestinian identity was created and was reinforced in the refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria crystallizing in the 1960s with the formation of the PLO. A pre-48 Gazan, depending on his education level probably identified as a member of his clan or tribe and as a member of “Arab Falasteen” or the Arabs of Palestine (an early 20-century term which came to being when the Arab inhabitants started fighting the Ottomans and later the Brits). The word “Arab” can have many meanings depending on the context. For example, an urban resident of pre-48 Yaffa (Yaffo) might refer to himself as a Yaffawi (Yaffa-ite) while referring to the Bedouin outside his town as “Arabs”. Levantine-Arab folklore holds that the descendants of the only true Arabs are the Bedouins and that the other inhabitants of the Levant were Arabized (and Islamisized) “______” (insert one of the following Turks, Kurds, Greeks, Egyptians, Jews, Byzantines, Crusaders, Assyrians, Egyptians, Circassians, Africans, etc… )

Again, the term “Arab” is not monolithic, and it can have a whole spectrum of meanings depending on context and era


“2. Before 48 – did Arabs differentiate between Jordanians , Syrians and Palestinians? they must have differentiated between those three and Egyptians.”

Arabs instantly identify one another based on dialect (and other factors such as dress, complexion). Arabs can be divided into 5 main blocks with a shared set of dialects and cultural elements.

Al-Khaleej (The gulf): Saudi, Oman and the other emirates and kingdoms.

Misr (Egypt) is it’s own block, it’s a stand-alone country culturally and linguistically speaking.

Iraq is stand-alone to a degree, although it’s the least truly “Arab” country, with significant Persian/Turkish influences.

Al-Maghreb (Greater Morocco) is made up of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia. Libya is sometimes defined as a Maghreb country as well.

Al- Mashriq (Levant): Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan.

The Levantine family of dialects can be divided into 2 major branches, northern (Lebanese and Syrians) and southern (Palestinians and Jordanians). There are hundreds of varieties and permutations within the above groupings.

For example, all Palestinians speak using a variation of the southern-Levantine dialect, a West Banker would speak the “Daffawi” sub-dialect, a descendent of Galilleans (like me) would speak “Akkawi”. However when a West-Banker and a Galiliean communicate they would speak in a neutral Palestinian accent. A Lebanese would immediately recognize the above two as Palestinians even if he could not pin-point where in Palestine they hail from. A Moroccan might not be able to tell the difference between a Palestinian from a Lebanese but would immediately know that both are from the Levant. Gaza is on the fault-line of two blocks, the Levant and Egypt. So it displays elements of both. It does remain mainly Levantine however.

Although I was not alive in 1948, I would safely assume that the region’s inhabitants used the same linguistic methods we use today to identify one another.


“3. If there is no ethnic difference between Palestinians and Jordanians (is there?), why did the Jordanians put the Palestinian refugees in refugee camps rather than integrating them into society?”

A-There is no ethnic difference between Palestinians and Jordanians. However, modern day Jordanians include a significant portion of Circassians and Bedouin, both featuring less prominently among Palestinians.

b- Trans-Jordan was a sparsely populated land with some tribes both urban and rural. Those tribes had ties of kinship to the ones on the other side of the Jordan river (pre-48 Palestine), some tribes spanned areas that covered modern day Israel and Jordan. The wars of ‘48 and ‘67 bought an in influx of Palestinians. Jordan did integrate the Palestinians, more so than any other Arab state. There are different levels of integration however, most ‘48 refugees where given Jordanian citizenship and a “full” 5-year renewable Jordanian passport. The 1967 refugees faced a mixed fate, middle and upper class got the 5-year passport, while the poorer refugees got the lesser 1-year renewable passport. Palestinians (in Jordan and otherwise) remain in camps today for a host of reasons that include economic, political etc..


“4. If there is no Palestinian identity , just an Arab identity, why didn't Egypt incorporated Gaza into Egypt instead of keeping it in sort of a limbo state.”

There are over 10 million people around the world who identify themselves as Palestinians and who differentiate themselves from other Arabs based on that identity and most importantly the way it was formed. I don’t buy the silly rhetoric about a homogeneous and long-standing Palestinian nation that dates back to the era of the Canaanites, nor was Palestine an independent state with its capital in Tal el Rabi before it was suddenly occupied by alien invaders. At the same time, you have to watch out from those who claim that Palestinians were *purely* an Arab creation for the sole purpose of fighting and destroying Israel. These people (and Procyonidae) have their own agenda, which includes gnawing furtively at the foundations of our case for a Palestinian state. But that’s another story. :--)

That said, the contemporary Palestinian identity-construct in its current form is a modern nationalistic creation, of this century, just like other identities that crystallized around the same time. It is no less natural or artificial than other labels such as Lebanese, Jordanian, Israeli, etc… Each label evolved in response to historical events that include war and bloodshed as well as “shared experiences”. The 2 main “shared experiences” for the Palestinians happens to be the refugee saga and the occupation.

As for Egypt not absorbing Gaza and keeping it under military occupation. I can’t say I’m an expert on that particular issue. I personally think it’s a mixture of the three reasons below, rather than an issue of identity:

a- Gaza, shortly after 1948 contained hundreds of thousands of non-Gazan refugees from other regions of the Palestine mandate. It was an unstable place with a large refugee-population, hardly an apple you want to bite into.
b-To use as a launching pad for attacks against Israel and be able to claim that attacks didn’t come from Egypt proper.
c-To limit the movement of certain militants in Gaza including the Islamic Brotherhood


More points:

1-While we are busy talking about Arabs and Palestinians, those same people are increasingly identifying as Muslims. Not that all three labels are mutually exclusive of course.
2-Pan Arabism is dead, except in the realm of a couple of bloggers.
3-Greater Syria is a vulgar joke, most Arabs would say “Let them liberate the Golan first”, (followed by their regime and economy). No non-Syrian Arab (except for the 3 SNSP-followers in Lebanon) would identify as a citizen of fictional Greater Syria.
4-My impression is that Egyptians are moving away from the Arab label by embracing “Egyptian” as in descendant of the Ancient Egyptians and in many cases highlighting their Muslim identity.
5-Never call a Lebanese Christian/rich-Sunni an Arab. They are Phoenicians marinated in French perfume (both literally and figuratively). A sure-fire way to pick up Lebanese chicks or dudes at a club is to tell them you thought they were Italian or Greek. Then they’ll undress lay on the bar and lift up their legs in eternal gratitude for not calling them Arabs.

July 23, 2007 11:42 PM

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Majed vs Logic

Do you remember that asshole Lisa interviewed in Beirut ?

. . .

At a café called Torino Express in Gemmayzeh, Beirut’s trendiest neighbourhood, I met Majed, a 28 year-old Shi’a who grew up in Dahiyeh. He moved to Gemmayzeh a few years ago, and has managed the café for years. He told me proudly that Torino’s was the only café that stayed open during the war.

. . .

“In Dahiyeh, there is a square. There is a security square for Hezbollah. Israel was just pointing in this area. Besides that, they didn’t hit the rest of the Dahiyeh. But those 500 buildings in the security zone, they look as though they were hit by an earthquake that registered 9 on the Richter scale.

Majed, who studied architecture, explained his theory to me as to why Hezbollah hasn’t rehabilitated the neighborhood and it still stands in ruins.

“Now they are waiting.”

For what? “Maybe because they already know there will be another war.”

. . .

“It’s already planned in their book, the holy book for the Jewish,” he explained to me solemnly. “They said 2000 years ago there is a plan to make the big country of Israel starting from the Nile River to the Euphrates River in Iraq.”

And you think that Israel is going to attack again?

“I think so because in the last war they failed in their plans.”


Now, the guy has been apparently deeply moved by the scandal that erupted around Lisa's trip to Lebanon and so he paid a visit to the comments section of her post:

majed :

hay lisa,u remember me?im majed,the manager of torino,u fooled me,and i really thought that i know every single journalist comes to my place,but really u were clever.but if i knew that u were israeli reporter,i wud've arrest u and catch ur butt.i have the right to suit u now,and i'll do,no body cud get me into troubles.and its not ur fault,its the fault of the general security,how they cud'nt recognized u?u r famous as i saw..dont ever think u cud come back to gemmayze or my caffe or anywhere in beirut or in lebanon.this is not ur place u cud make ur reports..i trust no body now, im blaming my self how u told me u work for europian newspaper,i cud felt something wrong,but u were clever and u knew how u played it..i really wanna suit u coz u didnt respect anything,coz u r israeli..and what u wrote,is not what i said,i said that i dont trust israel,but of course u wanted to write a good things,coz its ur country.'ah plz,give me a cappuccino'.u r not cool at all to fool ppl..dont ever come back to lebanon.


!!! For god's sake, and from what she wrote one could think that he trusts Israel ??!!

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Last updated: July 21, 2007

May 1, 2007

The Jerusalem Post

May. 1, 2007

Sheik Ahmad Bahr, acting Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, declared during a Friday sermon at a Sudan mosque that America and Israel will be annihilated and called upon Allah to kill Jews and Americans "to the very Last One." Following are excerpts from the sermon that took place last month, courtesy of MEMRI.

Ahmad Bahr began: "'You will be victorious' on the face of this planet. You are the masters of the world on the face of this planet. Yes, [the Koran says that] 'you will be victorious,' but only 'if you are believers.' Allah willing, 'you will be victorious,' while America and Israel will be annihilated. I guarantee you that the power of belief and faith is greater than the power of America and Israel. They are cowards who are eager for life, while we are eager for death for the sake of Allah. That is why America's nose was rubbed in the mud in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Somalia, and everywhere."

Bahr continued and said that America will be annihilated, while Islam will remain. The Muslims "'will be victorious, if you are believers.' Oh Muslims, I guarantee you that the power of Allah is greater than America, by whom many are blinded today. Some people are blinded by the power of America. We say to them that with the might of Allah, with the might of His Messenger, and with the power of Allah, we are stronger than America and Israel."

The Hamas spokesperson concluded with a prayer, saying: "Oh Allah, vanquish the Jews and their supporters. Oh Allah, count their numbers, and kill them all, down to the very last one. Oh Allah, show them a day of darkness. Oh Allah, who sent down His Book, the mover of the clouds, who defeated the enemies of the Prophet, defeat the Jews and the Americans, and bring us victory over them."


I am not sure about the intellectual contents of this shit, but for its literary style I would nominate the guy a candidate for Nobel prize in literature.

July 21, 2007

The point is of course that their preachers rock. This is no lousy rabbi.

:D :D

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Freaking Dresdens

Last updated: July 15, 2007

July 12, 2007

Our Little Dresden is Live and Kicking

The declaration of victory was premature . . .

NAHR AL-BARED, Lebanon (AFP) - Six Lebanese soldiers were killed Thursday during a heavy assault on a refugee camp the army says signals the "first step" in a final battle against Islamist fighters holed up there for almost eight weeks.

. . .

. . .

Lebanese artillery was in action since daybreak, striking positions of the Al-Qaeda-inspired Fatah al-Islam militia in the south of the camp, where a few hundred people are still believed to be living although water and food are in short supply.

. . .

. . .

Almost all of the camp's original population of about 31,000 people fled during lulls in the battle.

At the nearby Beddawi camp, to where most of the displaced have been evacuated, Jumana Wehbe who fled Nahr al-Bared on Wednesday described conditions in the besieged shantytown.

"The few people remaining in the camp have been drinking from an artesian well, and from water tanks," she said. "They eat the remains of what people leaving the camp left behind."

Wehbe, in her mid-30s, who survived in a security zone set up by the mainstream Palestinian group Fatah, described the Fatah al-Islam militants as "fanatics" who regarded a loud woman's voice as contrary to Islam.

. . .

. . .

Samar Hindi, 18, who arrived in Beddawi more than a month ago to seek refuge in a packed room with more than 10 others, said: "When we left, we carried nothing with us. We thought, like our parents did in 1948, that we were going back in two or three days."


Lieberman would have said: straight from the horse's mouth.

July 14, 2007

This is how Fatah al-Islam fights its wars

by Michel Moutot

NAHR AL-BARED, Lebanon, June 21, 2007 (AFP) - . . .

"They're fighting like rats -- it's very hard to see them," a Lebanese army sergeant resting behind the lines told AFP on condition of anonymity on Thursday.

. . .

"Their firing points are camouflaged. They are in several, and run from one to the other," the sergeant said.

"When they open fire from one position we spot them and reply with everything we've got. But it's often too late -- the shooter has already gone."

Motivated, trained, well-armed and mobile, the Sunni Islam militants of Fatah al-Islam are thought to contain veterans of the anti-American insurgency in Iraq among their ranks.

The army has been taken aback by the ferocity of their resistance.

"They made holes in the walls of the houses so they can pass from one to the other without coming out into the open," the sergeant said. "We think they also have tunnels. They're operating in rapid reaction teams of two or three. That's why the fight is so hard."

Lebanese army heavy guns have concentrated their fire for weeks on the northern sector of Nahr al-Bared -- the "new" camp which is a spillover of the original Palestinian refugee camp whose boundaries were set in 1948 by the United Nations.

It was there that Fatah al-Islam chief Shaker al-Abssi, a Palestinian, had set up his command post. The northern part of the camp is now a blasted wasteland, devastated by tonnes of high explosive shell bursts.

The soldiers are advancing slowly as they secure the northern area, fearful of mines and booby traps that have already killed several of their number.

De-mining teams precede them as large bulldozers, protected by sandbags and metal plates, wait in the rear, ready to go into action.

The surviving militants have now withdrawn into the southern part of Nahr al-Bared, which is in principle controlled by more moderate factions such as the Fatah of Palestinian president Amhmud Abbas.

Fatah officials have said the order was given to prevent such a move, but clearly this has not been obeyed everywhere.

"It is impossible that they could hold out for more than a month without the help of at least some local fighters," said Mustafa Adib, director of the Centre for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies in nearby Tripoli.

"Their cause is a popular one among some of the younger people in the camps, but also among radical jihadists who are well established in the area," he told AFP.

. . .


July 15, 2007

If It's Not %$%^~, Then It's &*^>@*#

Jean said...

haha.... good memory work !!

yeah well, if it's not Syria, it's HA. If it's not HA, it's fatah al-islam. If it is not fatah al-islam, it's jund al-cham. if it's not jund al-sham, it's ansar al-cham. if it's.... ok ok, i'll soon reach the message size limit, so I'll stop here.

Where does it end ? is there a fanatics factory somewhere, working overtime ?? (swear it's not me :D )


Jul. 15, 2007

Meanwhile, heavy fighting continued at Nahr el-Bared as the army pounded suspected militant hideouts with artillery shells and tank fire.

The fighters responded with machinegun fire and rocket-propelled grenades, according to the officials. They said two soldier was killed in Sunday's fighting.

The army was making progress toward Fatah Islam positions, they said. Witnesses also reported seeing a few Lebanese flags hoisted on the roofs of destroyed buildings inside the camp where the army appeared to be in control.

. . .

. . .

In a separate incident Sunday, gunmen killed a Palestinian militant in what appeared to be a revenge attack in the Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp in southern Lebanon, Lebanese and Palestinian security officials said.

Darar al-Rifai, 27, a militant from the Jund al-Sham group, was hit by four bullets fired by masked gunmen who ambushed him as he left his home in the Safsaf neighborhood inside the Palestinian refugee camp. Al-Rifai was reportedly involved in the killing of two guerrillas of the mainstream Palestinian Fatah movement more than a month ago.

Jund al-Sham is believed to be a splinter faction from Asbat al-Ansar, one of the over a dozen Palestinian groups based in Lebanon.


Despite Jean's claims of innocence I will probably hold him personally responsible for all this Jund al-Shmams al-Asbat shit.

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LONDON, July 4 -- The 39-page memo recovered from an al-Qaeda laptop computer in Pakistan three years ago read like an Idiot's Guide to Bombmaking. Forget military explosives or fancy detonators, it lectured. Instead, the manual advised a shopping trip to a hardware store or pharmacy, where all the necessary ingredients for a terrorist attack are stocked on the shelves. 

"Make use of that which is available at your disposal and . . . bend it to suit your needs, (improvise) rather than waste valuable time becoming despondent over that which is not within your reach," counseled the author of the memo, Dhiren Barot, a British citizen who said he developed his keep-it-simple philosophy by "observing senior planners" at al-Qaeda training camps. 

 Barot, who was later captured near London and is serving a 30-year sentence, had envisioned an attack with multiple car bombs that would detonate liquid-gas cylinders encased in rusty nails -- a strategy with striking similarities to an attempt last week by a suspected terrorist cell to blow up three vehicles in London and Glasgow, Scotland. . . . . . . . . .

Reloading MatriX . . . Please Wait


The article in the Washington Post provides a very clear insight into the ways el-Kaida is thinking and what it is trying to become. At the technical level, el-Kaida approach is similar in many respects to that of Hezbollah, which survived one month long onslaught of the IDF while continuously lobbing rockets into northern Israel. All this was achieved while using pretty straightforward and simple techniques and ammunition such as tunnels and bunkers, well hidden launching pads and avoiding facing the IDF face to face while firing anti tank missiles at IDF troops from a safe distance of a few hundreds meters to a few kilometers.

In their reliance on simple low-tech both el-Kaida and Hezbollah show their lack of fear before Western societies and their armies equipped with the latest technology, reasoning (and they have a point) that what they lack in means they more than compensate by the strength of their spirit, their compelling vision and clarity of purpose. Both view the technological sophistication of Western armies as another proof of the vulnerability and lack of toughness of the enemy who is hiding its soft spiderweb behind the iron wall of tanks and firepower.


And the low-tech weapons designed by el-Kaida for launching attacks on soft civilian targets serve their purpose as well as Hezbollah anti tank and Katyusha crews who were waging their war on IDF and Israel from underground bunkers and tunnels.

The makeshift bombs lack the destructive potential of the conventional explosives that rake Iraq on a daily basis. They are also less reliable, as demonstrated by the car bombs that failed to go off in London last week after the culprits tried to ignite them with detonators wired to cellphones. But other attempts have generated plenty of mayhem and damage, including the kitchen-built backpack bombs that killed 52 people in the London public transit system on July 7, 2005. . . . 

 The advantages of homemade explosives are that they are easy and cheap to manufacture, as well as difficult for law enforcement agencies to detect. According to one expert, the peroxide-based liquid explosives that an al-Qaeda cell allegedly intended to use to blow up nine transatlantic airliners last summer would have cost as little as $15 a bomb. It is technically simple to make such explosives. Instructions are widely available on the Internet. Experts added, however, that it takes skill and sophistication to construct a viable bomb by adding timing devices, detonators or secondary charges.  


So far about technology. At the more global, call it even metaphysical, level, el-Kaida seems to be striving to mutate out of a terrorist network, its headquarters hidden somewhere in remote mountains of Pakistan's tribal regions, into a Matrix style virtual reality creature that lives and breathes in bits and bytes of the Internet. It as if the network is leaving its mountains and cages and withdraws into the digital MatriX of the Internet, escaping American special forces, unmanned drones and F-16's hunting it around the globe.

With its ideology transformed into bits and bytes and with its simple yet effective 'Make Yourself' approach to manufacturing iweapons, the MatriX of the Internet is all el-Kaida needs. El-Kaida does not appear to be interested in expanding itself as much as to learn to clone itself in the manner of agent Smith who was eventually duplicating himself by merely touching people of Matrix. How many el-Kaidas can be created in this manner? Neo would have said: A Lot More. 

More and more Western born Islamists experience el-Kaida as a virtual entity that exists primarily on the Internet. Hi-tech sophistication and the dream of dirty bombs are abandoned for the sake of simple no-nonsense and down-to-earth methods of manufacturing bombs that can be easily replicated in kitchens and living rooms. El-Kaida is becoming less and less about moving people and resources across borders and more and more about spreading digitalized ideology and know-how that seem to have taken a life of their own on the Internet.

Finally it's a plausible suggestion that sooner or later Global Jihad would evolve beyond crude home made explosive devices. And not even so much because of their limited potential as because there are means even more effective and probably not much more difficult to produce. Chemical weapons should become weapons of choice of terrorists of the future, Islamic fundamentalists and others. Sunni insurgents in Iraq have been already experimenting for some time with chlorine canisters.

If and when an appropriate know-how becomes available it's a safe bet that it will spread via Internet and be adopted by terror cells in Britain and elsewhere in no time. The question is indeed whether the stage of home made chemical weapons will be ever achieved. Otherwise Jihadists will have to set up networks to organize logistics of assembling or buying such weapons in third countries and then smuggling them to the West. Once this stage is reached Britain and others may quickly find their defenses overwhelmed. Gases injected into air conditioning systems or released into closed spaces packed with people will make possible attacks with an elevated number of casualties running in hundreds and even thousands.

Anshel Pfeffer from the Jerusalem post was analyzing recently the British response to the latest attacks in Britain. The acute identity crisis experienced by the two main political parties goes hand in hand with the total loss of any touch with the reality on the part of the media and intellectual circles.

For Britons, the war on terror is not the same as it is for Israelis or Americans, facing a largely foreign enemy. Most of those who have carried out terrorist attacks in the UK, or are suspected of involvement in them, are indeed Islamist, but they are also homegrown. And it's hard to expect a real war on terror from a country whose peoples don't know who they are anymore, let alone who the enemy is. 


In fact, the leftist forces in the country, joined by renegade liberal elements, are running a campaign for discrediting the West in general and Israel in particular so atrocious that at times the impression is that many young British are no longer sure whether they possess anything valuable to defend at all. Recently various British organizations and trade unions were following one another with announcements of yet another 'Boycott Israel' or 'Divest from Israel' campaign. The moral and intellectual confusion gripping large parts of Europe is now such that it should come as no surprise if following this or next series of attacks the British society will respond by doubling and tripling its anti Israel initiatives.

  This is not say that the enemy Britain is facing is in confusion about its identity or whatever. This enemy enjoys determination and single mindedness of purpose proven time and again everywhere from the mountains of Afghanistan to the narrow alleys of Fallujah and Nahr el-Bared. And he has an insight of insider into the nature of its Western opponents which is basically one big soft underbelly of human gray mass, of people whose sense of identity is eroded by multiculturalism, whose moral and ethical compass is confused by the post modernistic relativism and whose ability to withstand stress and pressures of life are destroyed by a culture that cultivates senseless and pointless sentimentality which it calls emotional intelligence.

Too many times it looks as if people shaped by this culture are in a never ending obsession to recreate cheap psychological soap operas, they are daily fed via TV channels, by their own lives. And they do it while destroying themselves through pursuing hopeless relationships, through indulging in the most self destructive of human emotions just for the sake of feeling something. This is because this culture is fleeing from feelings of emptiness and lack of purpose into unbridled emotionality that it proclaims to be spirituality. It is a culture that worships life as insanely as the other side insists on practicing its gruesome cult of martyrdom and death, and, as everybody knows, death eventually takes every life. And the enemy is watching the destruction he sows and the increasing confusion it creates and he understands well what he sees.


When a Monkey meets a Monkey . . .

Muslim immigration meets radical left in Europe

This is a follow-up on my conversation with Roman Kalik in the comments section of this post. The point I was making is about the degree to which radical left in Europe and elsewhere has contributed to the recently observed phenomena of second generation Muslim immigrants turning to Islam and embracing the more extreme versions of it. While the exact contribution to this process on the part of radical left can be debated the following is worth considering. When we say el-Kaida is selling a very hardened version of radical Islam, this is only partially true since el-Kaida is clearly about more than Islam as such.

Theoretically it's quite possible (practically it apparently almost never happens) that a person would practice a very hardcore version of Islam and yet largely preserve his sanity. Because such a thing is rarely found in nature most people confuse the Islam of el-Kaida with el-Kaida's geopolitical doctrines. For most practical purposes it's one and the same thing but on some occasions, such as this one, it may be useful to differentiate between the two. In this sense, what el-Kaida stands for is not so much a very peculiar interpretation of Islam, but rather a very peculiar interpretation of the geopolitical situation of the world in general and the Middle East in particular, namely, that conspirazoid crap circulated by the Arabs and other Muslims in their media and on the Internet. In my opinion much of the Islamic terrorism has little to do with Islam as a religion but more with the warped perception of the reality for which Islam *is* apparently responsible, but in indirect ways.

Many cultures accept suicide attacks and even attacks against civilian targets can be tolerated under extraordinary circumstances. In this sense Islam is only half as original as it is credited to be. More important is the absolutely fantastic and surrealistic perception of the world and politics indirectly cultivated by Islam in which the stakes are hugely overstated. It is this chronic paranoia the world of Islam is living in, that's largely responsible for the extreme violence normally associated with Islam. It is this constant feeling of living on the edge, with everybody around plotting to destroy Islam, enslave Muslim countries and sterilize/corrupt Muslim populations that produces such grotesque and disproportionately violent reactions.

When I say that much of the ground for second generation Muslims in Europe turning Islamists was laid by the left, it is because radical left has become very paranoiac itself and in many cases is cultivating no less surrealistic and fantastic notions of the geopolitics. Muslims seem to be very susceptible to this kind of suggestions. I would also believe that under certain circumstances the whole thing works in reverse and it starts with leftist propaganda about multinationals conspiracy and the Western plot against the third world, including Muslim countries, that pushes young European Muslims to believe that if el-Kaida's reading of the geopolitics is true, then its Islam and radical violent approach should be also true. At any rate these days the leftist interpretation of the geopolitics is significantly overlapping with that of radical Islam and occasionally quoted by Islamists. Ahmadinejad's letters to Bush and Merkel read as if they were written by Noam Chomsky after he has converted to Islam.

 It can be said that radical Islam and radical left are undergoing a mild form of convergent evolution, the term used by biologists for unrelated species of different origin developing a similar featureset in the process of evolution. Radical left has been trying for quite a while to integrate Islamist movements into its vision of global resistance against the neocolonialist practices of the West. The support by Chomsky for Hezbollah, and Italian leftists organizing donation campaigns for Sunni insurgents in Iraq are examples of this trend. On the other hand the neo marxist socio economical analysis, in particular its interpretation of Western economic interests in the third world, has become permanently fused into the regular fundamentalist discourse on the role played by the West in the Middle East and elsewhere, enriched by regular Muslim paranoias about Jewish world domination conspiracies and the West waging a war on Islam.

As a matter of fact similar theories are common among radical leftists too in the form of the legendary Jewish lobby or multinationals taking advantage of the war on terror as a pretext to take over oil fields in Muslim countries. Large chunks of European youth seem to be very radicalized by the propaganda of radical left themselves. Most of them being spoiled welfare boys, their actions are usually limited to a very radical talk and nothing more. It is apparently different with Muslims, as I mentioned in my comments to the post, and for many second generation Muslims this leftist propaganda seem to serve as a catalyst to venture into radical Islam. Finally, as Bruno said in one of his comments to this post:

NB, there is a fundamental weakness in the 'jihadi way of warfare', which is that it cannot achieve any non-nihilistc goals. It cannot take or hold territory, it can't protect infrastructure from attack, it can't produce or protect wealth. HA performed relatively well in the last war precisely because it had no other goals except not getting annihilated and killing a few random Israelis. And even to achieve that they must rely on the crumbling Iranian economy, which is totally reliant on the oil rents paid by economies that actually produce something. On the short and medium term, they are scary. In the long term, it is not even a contest.

This is not to say that the outlook for radical left, largely synonymous with radical anti globalism, is much better. Borrowing from that peculiar slang used by the founders of Marxism Leninism, I would say that the place of the two is on the garbage pile of history. Yet, I would believe that the world may have to wait for quite a while and in the meantime eat truckloads of shit, before we see both of them there.


The animals, gracefully posing for the post, are famous Japanese snowmonkeys (Macaca fuscata). None of the monkeys, who kindly agreed to contribute their photos to my blog, has anything do with Islam or terror and appear here for illustration purposes only. Snowmonkeys are known as highly likeable and intelligent creatures, nothing to compare with either Muslims or radical leftists.

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