From his time in Cairo, Lawrence was aware of the extravagant promises the British government had made to Hussein in order to raise the Arab Revolt: full independence for virtually the entire Arab world..............His first act of sedition — and by most any standards, a treasonous one — was to inform Faisal of the existence of Sykes-Picot.....The True Story of Lawrence of Arabia
. Previously and Previously
A tale of a young woman in Lebanon, related in a manner that should resonate with many Americans.
"This story is an analogy to what the Shia, most of whom belong to Hezbollah culture, are like in Lebanon. I tell it because it presents things in familiar terms to many Western readers. When people ask me what it was like, to grow up in the lands where Hezbollah structured the predominant culture, I hesitate to answer, because I want them to understand."
In April 1961, the Haigazian College Rocket Society
, a group of students at the Lebanese-Armenian Haigazian University
in Beirut, led by 25-year old math teacher Manoug Manougian
(interview [Part 1
]), built and launched the first rocket made in the Middle East, a few months before Israel
. From 1961 to 1966, the group, now called the Lebanese Rocket Society
and assisted by the Lebanese military, launched several multi-stage solid fuel rockets
named Cedar 1 to Cedar 8 (Reuters)
. Lebanon's contribution to the Space Race (or surface-to-surface missile development) ended in 1966, seemingly for political reasons. This story is the subject of a documentary + installation
by Lebanese artists Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige
Syria Options Go From Bad To Worse
As reports have surfaced of possible use of sarin gas in the Syrian civil war, calls by long-time proponents of U.S. intervention on behalf of the anti-Assad rebels have grown to a fever pitch. These same voices, both at home and abroad, have evoked the administration’s previously stated “red line” on use of chemical weapons. But even assuming that reports of WMD usage in Syria turn out to be true, the Obama Administration’s position may be far more nuanced than previously thought. [more inside]
It's been five years
since the death
of Hezbollah terrorist Imad Mughniyeh
in Damascus. No one ever claimed responsibility for killing him. Hezbollah publicly blames
Israel's Mossad, a charge they unsurprisingly deny. So, who killed The Driver? [more inside]
I feel creatively emboldened to personally say something on the subjects that I am documenting. In terms of how it is produced, intellectually I am more excited than I have been in years. I am envisioning so many more possibilities for the work ... I feel for first time empowered on my own terms. We are calling our own shots and have created somewhat of our own institution.
with the six-woman Middle Eastern documentary photography collective Rawiya
, whose name means "female narrator" in Arabic. [more inside]
- In Search Of Lost Time - is a streaming mix of beautiful 78s from around the world, collected and curated by Ian Nagoski. "I started sifting through boxes of junky old 78s that no one else wanted about 15 years ago, and almost right away, I made a rule: Anything that wasn't in English, buy it." [more inside]
Syria vows to retaliate
after attack on police and security forces in the North West kills 120
However there is a big gap between the media in Syria and what is happening in the street.
It is reported that blogger Amina Abdallah (Previously
) has been kidnapped
The Portrait of a tortured, murdered and mutilated 13 year old boy
has become a rallying point for the uprising.
The Syrian regime has raised ghosts
that will not go away indicating Alawite hit squads protected by the army.
There are cracks
in the House of Assad and as is becoming normal in these situations communication with the outside world
There is also the danger of the unrest spreading
into Lebanon where the black-market price of an AK-47 rifle is now said to be $1,500.
The CBC has launched an interactive web documentary
with tonnes of videos that takes users inside Shatila refugee camp
(pop. 12,000) in Beirut, where Palestinians have now lived for more than 60 years.
A girl and her room.
Photographer Rania Matar has taken dozens of pictures of teenage girls in their bedrooms, in both the US and the Middle East. (Slightly NSFW
Lebanon has one tourist attraction
that's making money
, the Hezbollah financed "Landmark of the Resistance"
, a theme park commemorating multiple wars with Israel
Octavia Nasr Canned at CNN.
CNN's Chief Middle East correspondent for 20 years, Octavia Nasr tweeted “Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah
... One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot.” She was fired by CNN shortly afterward because they believed "her credibility in her position as senior editor for Middle Eastern affairs has been compromised going forward".
An Artist's Guide to Human Types
"If I needed to draw someone from [a] specific part of the world, what would I need to know about his or her physical characteristics?" The author
, a well-traveled
Lebanese artist, also has a graphic novel
The Digital Archaeological Atlas of the Holy Land
is a comprehensive spatially-referenced database of current archaeological knowledge of all periods of Levantine history and prehistory. Spatial search
is a good entry point, as are the Palestine Exploration Fund historic maps
. You can also search by time period
or dig into the many ancient Empires of the area
. Or just look at everything
in the database. The site is a work in progress, but a cool one powered by a consortium of over 30 professional archaeologists. May require Google Maps. via
Iraq was just the beginning
. According to retired General Wesley Clark
, a top-secret memo
detailed a plan for “taking out
” seven countries in five years, ending with Iran
. [more inside]
Robert Fisk on post war Lebanon
explains the reality on the ground and critiques US media coverage of the Middle East. via juan cole & icga contains YouTube
22 basic suggested readings on the Middle East
from history professor and informed commenter on Middle Eastern affairs Juan Cole
"Syria's Lebanese allies are trying to undermine the Hariri investigation from within, and are expected to escalate their efforts very soon, maybe even this week
Human Rights Watch, Watched
"Who will guard the guardians?" asked Roman satirist Juvenal. Now we must ask, who is watching Human Rights Watch, one of the world's best-financed and most influential human rights organizations? It turns out that they cook the books about facts, cheat on interviews, and put out pre-determined conclusions that are driven more by their ideology than by evidence.
These are serious accusations, and they are demonstrably true.
In the days after Hezbollah crossed from Lebanon into Israel, on July 12th, to kidnap two soldiers, triggering an Israeli air attack on Lebanon and a full-scale war, the Bush Administration seemed strangely passive... The Bush Administration, however, was closely involved in the planning of Israel’s retaliatory attacks. President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney were convinced, current and former intelligence and diplomatic officials told me, that a successful Israeli Air Force bombing campaign against Hezbollah’s heavily fortified underground-missile and command-and-control complexes in Lebanon could ease Israel’s security concerns and also serve as a prelude to a potential American preëmptive attack to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations, some of which are also buried deep underground.Test Case
Not just another news blip; UN Security Council passes Lebanon cease-fire resolution
. The resolution calls for a "full cessation of hostilities" and tells Hezbollah to stop all attacks immediately and Israel to end "all offensive operations". Let's hope this brings about an end to all the madness.
This Saturday, an aid convoy of internationals and civilians plans to make a political statement
by risking their own lives to deliver desperately needed aid
from Beirut to the south of Lebanon in defiance of the Israeli military. Israeli threats to bomb any moving traffic have put a halt to aid convoys through traditional channels
and curtailed the ability of journalists to cover the conflict
. But the activists are hoping extensive media coverage
of their "non-violent direct action" generates political pressure to protect them as they head for the "no-drive" zone
without any guarantee of safety from the Israeli government.
What peace did Hezbollah Shatter?
asks Anders Stringberg in the Christian Science Monitor
, a paper that has won the Pulitzer seven times and is particularly well-known for its in-depth coverage of the Middle East
. Relying on the most recent United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon (UNIFIL) report
, Strindberg believes that Hezbollah's attacks stem from Israeli incursions into Lebanon. In the same publication, another commentator says that the latest Levantine crisis is a 'moment of opportunity' but only if the U.S. asks Israel the hard questions.
(Tactical High Energy Laser) is an anti-missile weapon jointly developed by the US and Israel (at great expense) to track and destroy incoming Katyusha
rockets. It had even been recently suggested to deploy it in Iraq
. Unfortunately, it seems that the program was shelved in September 'cause it doesn't work
. You know the rest
How To Put Your Thumb on the Scales of World Opinion.
In the past week nearly 5,000 members of the World Union of Jewish Students
(WUJS) have downloaded special “megaphone
” software that alerts them to anti-Israeli chatrooms or internet polls to enable them to post contrary viewpoints. A student team in Jerusalem combs the web in a host of different languages to flag the sites so that those who have signed up can influence an opinion survey or the course of a debate.
Anthony Bourdain, chef, writer, and TV traveler, writes
about his experience in Beirut and his escape to the USS Nashville. Via
Who hates who in the Middle East.
An interactive chart from Slate. Click the graphic on the page to access the chart. Click on any cell for more details.
500,000 Lebanese citizens are now homeless.
That's out of a population of 3.8 million, according to Juan Cole. People in Southern Lebanon have received leaflets warning them to leave, but are trapped in their villages under Israeli bombings. The IDF has opened a 60-km front on the border, using tanks to probe Hezbollah. Meanwhile, a ceasefire remains... elusive.
I normally take the position that both sides are excessively violent, but this is a pretty sad picture of what's going on in Lebanon.
PINR presents a well educated guess over what is going to happen with the Israel - Hezbollah conflict
. They also offer significant background and insight into the mood and motives
of some surrounding states
By now most have seen the pics of the Israeli Girls
whom were said to be writing --english--messages on Israeli missles that would soon be headed into Lebanon. But how many know the details behind it?
Comments that didn't get quoted because they weren't made..
Prominent Liberals have been jumping into the fray about the crisis in the Middle East and the evacuation of Canadians from Lebanon. Here are some (parodied) comments from them.
a minimalist improvisation by:mazen kerbaj
the israeli air force / bombs
US Citizen in Lebanon?
The US State Department would like to remind
its citizens that they do not provide no-cost transportation. Want to leave
? Just sign this promissory note
, and we'll be happy to fly you out on our gunship
. We'll bill you
at standard commercial rates, plus interest. We simply do not have the resources
to pay for it ourselves.
In this episode of the George & Tony Show
the President and the Prime Minister are in Russia eating brie, discussing geopolitics, leaving their mics open
, and whatnot.
Who really killed Rafik Hariri?
Does it really matter? Is the current finger-waving at Syria really about an assassination, or the culmination of long-held US plans?
Former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was killed Monday in a massive car bomb attack in Beirut.
The billionare was
Lebanese PM from 1992 until 1998 and then again from 2000 until 2004 when he resigned
after Syria pressured the Lebanese parliament to amend the country's constitution to permit pro-Syrian president Emile Lahoud
to remain in office. The resignation of the once friendly Hariri, a Sunni, coupled with the alienation by Damascus of Druze leader Walid Jumblat
has isolated Syria in Lebanon and diminished the influence of France
Through the Hariri foundation
, Rafik Hariri was, as a Lebanese friend remarked "pretty much single handed in rebuilding Lebanon, making it a descent place to visit, developing programs from schools to hospitals, … much of it is his own money."
point at Syrian involvement
and the US has recalled it's envoy from Damascus.
Official confirms that Syria allowing Qaida to operate in Lebanon
Ok Israeli intelligence so I assume some will dismiss this as propaganda, though clearly US knows of this and works along with Israeli intelligence. And Syria occupies Lebanon with thousands of troops and thus runs the country. Meanwhile, we will (or will not) busy ourselves with Iraq.
Red Cross attacks exile of Palestinians
Mr Fisk (in occupied Lebanon) notes that the Red Cross believes it cruel to separate known terrorists from their families. Neglects to note that all international law opposes the targeting of civilians no matter what the reason or rationalization used.
Perhaps a lawsuit for "cruel and unusual" punishment might allow the terrorists to have family reunions and be compensated for emotional damages and deprivation of marital privileges.
Arab world has to change or wither away
Today's editorial from the Daily Star newspaper (Lebanon). "Arab countries are governed by systems and structures designed in another era, one that is never coming back ... It is a recipe for disaster whose results are on display for all to see." Is this just grass-is-greener longing, or a real argument for political and economic reforms?
Middle East war predictions
"..what we are witnessing looks like joint preparations by the Palestinian Authority, Syria, its Lebanese client, Iraq, and Iran, for war on a regional scale, against both Israel and U.S. interests. I fear we may face a major, sudden, external assault on Israel, meant to precede U.S. action against the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq, and indeed prevent the U.S. from going there by enmiring it in the defence of Israel. [From The Ottowa Citizen, lead link in today's Wall Street Journal Best of the Web]