There are two sets of American misconceptions here. The first is to play up Mansouri as representative of the UAE as a champion of gender equality, when in fact the UAE is objectively quite bad on women’s rights, and the fact that we allow them such a lowered bar represents a soft bigotry of lowered expectations. The second is to repeatedly contrast the UAE with Saudi Arabia in a way that explicitly frames Saudi gender restrictions as the default for Arab and Muslim societies, when in fact Saudi restrictions are freakishly unique and widely reviled in the Muslim world.
“Much of the praise starts with the assumption that Arab societies are inherently backward”
What these misconceptions have in common is to endorse the idea, which originates with ultra-conservative Islamists and Islamophobic racists, that Muslim and Arab countries will naturally set a lower standard for women’s rights. It buys into the condescending assumption that there are Western women and there are Arab women and they should expect different tiers of liberation because the latter’s societies are inherently less advanced. Read the rest of this entry »
Wake Up and Smell The Daesh: France is Rejecting the ‘Islamic State’ Name, Replacing it with a Label the Beheadng Bastards HatePosted: September 18, 2014
The Washington Post uses DAIISH, but DAASH, DAIISH and DAISH are also used. However it’s spelled, the group hates it.
“This is a terrorist group and not a state. I do not recommend using the term Islamic State because it blurs the lines between Islam, Muslims and Islamists. The Arabs call it ‘Daesh’ and I will be calling them the ‘Daesh cutthroats.’ ”
— Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius
From the start, exactly what to call the extremist Islamist group that has taken over much of Syria and Iraq has been problematic. At first, many called it the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). However, due to differences over how the name should be translated from the Arabic, some (including the U.S. government) referred to them as ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant).
“The Associated Press recently reported that the group were threatening to cut cut out the tongues of anyone who used the phrase publicly, and AFP have noted that the term “Daeshi” has been used a derogatory term in some parts of the Middle East.”
To make matters more complicated, the group later announced that it should simply be called the “Islamic State” – a reference to the idea that the group was breaking down state borders to form a new caliphate. A number of media groups, including The Post, the Associated Press and, eventually, the New York Times, adopted this name, while others stuck with ISIS and ISIL.
“‘Daeshi’ has been used a derogatory term in some parts of the Middle East. Some analysts have suggested that the dislike of the term comes from its similarity to another Arabic word, دعس, or Das. That word means to trample down or crush.”
Now the French have added another complication. On Monday, the French government released a statement that included a reference to the group under a different name: “Daesh.”
France had hinted that it would begin using this term – how the group is referred to in much of the Arab world – before, but this week appears to be the first time that the country has used it in official communications. Read the rest of this entry »
— Andreas Fagerbakke (@afagerbakke) September 6, 2014
The Islamic State runs a self-sustaining economy across territory it controls in Syria and Iraq, pirating oil while exacting tribute from a population of at least eight million, Arab and Western officials said, making it one of the world’s richest terror groups and an unprecedented threat.
“Can you prevent ISIS from taking assets? Not really, because they’re sitting on a lot of assets already.”
That illicit economy presents a new picture of Islamic State’s financial underpinnings. The group was once thought to depend on funding from Arab Gulf donors and donations from the broader Muslim world. Now, Islamic State—the former branch of al Qaeda that has swallowed parts of Iraq and Syria—is a largely self-financed organization.
Money from outside donors “pales in comparison to their self-funding through criminal and terrorist activities,” a U.S. State Department official said, adding that those activities generate millions of dollars a month.
“So you must disrupt the network of trade. But if you disrupt trade in commodities like food, for example, then you risk starving thousands of civilians.”
For Western and Arab nations that are striving to stop Islamic State, the group’s local funding sources pose a conundrum: A clampdown on economic activity that helps fund the group, counterterrorism officials and experts said, could cause a humanitarian crisis in the already stressed areas it controls. Read the rest of this entry »
Actor calls on ‘peers who signed that poison letter’ to avoid inciting anti-Semitism
The war raging in the Middle East has divided observers all over the world regarding the actions of Israelis and Palestinians. The entertainment industry is no exception, as a wide range of celebrities have publicized their own opinions. They include Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, who earlier this week signed a letter published in a Spanish newspaper condemning Israel, only to issue statements days later clarifying their own distaste for anti-Semitism. But those actions weren’t enough for veteran actor Jon Voight, a staunch longtime supporter of Israel who penned his thoughts below on this controversial subject.
My name is Jon Voight and I am more than angry. I am heartsick that people like Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem could incite anti-Semitism all over the world and are oblivious to the damage they have caused.
“I am asking all my peers who signed that poison letter against Israel to examine their motives. Can you take back the fire of anti-Semitism that is raging all over the world now?”
They are obviously ignorant of the whole story of Israel’s birth, when in 1948 the Jewish people were offered by the UN a portion of the land originally set aside for them in 1921, and the Arab Palestinians were offered the other half. The Arabs rejected the offer, and the Jews accepted, only to be attacked by five surrounding Arab countries committed to driving them into the sea. But the Israelis won. The Arabs tried it again in 1967, and again in 1973, launching a sneak attack on the holiest Jewish holiday. Each time the Jews prevailed but not without great loss of life. And when Israel was not fighting a major war, it was defending itself against terrorist campaigns. Read the rest of this entry »
AP 5/8/2014 7:44:07 PM
JERUSALEM (AP) — The Roman Catholic official in charge of the Vatican‘s properties in the Holy Land on Thursday urged Israel to safeguard Christian holy sites, following a number of vandalism attacks on churches and monasteries ahead of a visit by Pope Francis.
Vandals have recently scribbled anti-Arab and anti-Christian graffiti on several Christian holy sites and properties, including an attack this week on the Vatican’s Notre Dame Center in Jerusalem.
Israel’s Shin Bet internal security agency says it fears there could be similar attacks as the pope’s visit approaches at the end of the month. He is scheduled to visit Jordan, the West Bank and Israel from May 24 to 26.
The “Custody of the Holy Land” issued a statement expressing concern about the attacks and said the uptick in violence appeared to be connected to the visit. It called on Israel to “work urgently against extremist elements” to ensure peace and safeguard Christian holy places. Read the rest of this entry »
As the Arab Spring enters its third year, events in the region remain fluid. Still, enough time has now passed that some preliminary conclusions can be reached.
Zachary Keck writes: The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is one institution certainly drawing lessons from the Arab Spring. It is well known that the CCP studies political unrest in other parts of the world in search of lessons it can use to maintain stability at home. The most notable instance of this was the massive study the CCP undertook into the causes of the Soviet Union’s collapse. The lessons the CCP drew from its more than decade-long study into the Soviet bloc have since been incorporated into the curriculum at party schools, and are regularly referred to by senior Chinese officials.
Although the CCP’s study of the Arab Spring won’t be nearly as massive, the events in the Arab world are of significant interest to the party for a number of reasons. The first is simply their size and magnitude. Additionally, in its early days the Arab Spring inspired some Chinese to call for a Jasmine Revolution in China. Although nothing much came from these calls, there were a tense couple of weeks in China that saw the CCP on high alert.
Finally, Chinese leaders should be particularly interested in the Arab Spring simply because it provides an excellent case study. Although the protests seemed to be motivated by similar causes, they quickly diverged in terms of how each government responded, as well as their ultimate outcomes. Thus, the protests offer valuable lessons for how the CCP can maintain power in China. Four points from the Arab Spring seem particularly pertinent:
1) Get Ahead of Events
The regimes that have best weathered the Arab Spring have gotten ahead of events on the ground. At the first sight of unrest in Egypt, Saudi Arabia sought to preempt protests by significantly increasing subsides. The Gulf Cooperation Council contained unrest in Bahrain by using overwhelming force to smother the then-nascent protests. Only after order had been restored did the government begin offering small concessions. In other countries like Morocco and Jordan, governments quickly appeased protesters by offering at least cosmetic concessions, such as removing especially unpopular leaders. The new Chinese leadership seems to be pursuing a similar course by initiating highly publicized anti-graft and mass line campaigns that are partly aimed at reducing public anger over the party’s excesses.
One of the major arguments for intervention in Syria is that it will be a rescue mission for the credibility of the American presidency, if not for any other reason. John McCain has been making that point repeatedly over the last two weeks, insisting that a show of weakness now would be fatal to American interests in the region and to our alliances with the Arab world. Jake Tapper interviewed the newsman who got Barack Obama’s first televised interview in 2009 for Al-Arabiya, Hisham Melhem, who says that Obama’s credibility in the region has been on the wane for four years:
The biggest issue Israel faces today is not the garden-variety Arab Spring. It also is not whether equality and democracy reign in Israel. It’s also surprisingly not the Palestinian-Israeli conflict many associate as the bone of contention of the region. The mother-of-all-issues, as I learned Monday from Dr. Andy David, Israel’s Consul General of the Pacific Northwest in an American Jewish Committee-sponsored room of pro-Israel folks from across the political aisle, is that the Arab world has shifted from a conversation of nationalism and secularism to one subjugated to Islam. In other words, welcome to the Islamic Winter.
After blogging in 2010 about how Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s noticeably distanced and in many ways lessened his relationships with Western democracies like Israel and the US to fully embrace radicalized, Islamic-leftist countries like the Islamic Republic of Iran, David’s words caught my attention.
When the region had once dealt with the Pan Arabism model and the rest of the world still looked at the Middle East with “Lawrence of Arabia” lenses, Islam was not present in the conversation. Yet an exposure event occurred and it can be easily identified by analyzing something as inconsequential though colorful as the duds of a former dictator. Really.
For example, Libya’s former President Muammar al-Gaddafi donned European suits until he tossed those for a clownish collection of multi-colored (sometimes even the infamous Barney-purple) African-inspired Islamic garb. Remember those gold should-be-pajamas he wore at the UN? No doubt Gaddafi was a chided character, among other things, but his often-garish attire still didn’t clue anyone outside of the region into its significance.
When you look at the region from a panoramic lens, you can see where the exposure event occurred. Even when you examine maps of the Middle East its clear which lines are natural borders (represented by jagged lines) and those that were drawn in straight lines representing artificial borders (represented via straight lines) made by individual regimes or the flavor-of-day regional actors. Notice, Israel’s lines are unusually straight as are Jordan’s–and even some of lines representing the border between Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
So when Obama or his successor goes to bat for “1967 borders” we must discuss “natural borders” vs. “artificial borders” that the Arab region has chosen at random and sold to the world while refusing to aid those who identify (many times without merit) themselves as Palestinian. To date, no Arab nation has stepped forward with any viable plan to repatriate or aid those who consider themselves Palestinian in any real way. The incitement-filled UNWRA textbooks that America is bankrolling out the wazoo via US taxpayers (with Europe cutting the 2nd fat check) are not helping either.
So first, you’ve got to ask: why aren’t the Arab nations helping their beloved pals? Then you need to follow up with, “What is the one thing that people think about when the subject turns to Israel? And why?
David offered sacrificial examples. Paris, France is known for romance while Las Vegas, Nevada is known as Sin City, AKA “what happens there, stays there.” Israel on the hand is known for conflict instead of the amazing innovations that come out of Jewish nation-state daily whether it be agricultural, medical, technology or more specific milestones like leading in degrees per capita, patents per capita, Nobel prize winners per capita and so on. In essence, the world knows more misinformation about Israel than countries known for committing genocide. Yes, Syria is in that bunch.
Next, we need to look at the regional actors and their role in shaping the Middle East. The Saudis, for example, are best known as the region’s “fence-sitters.” The Gulf countries are weak. Jordan is not a big player. Syria has murdered some 32,000-plus people. Lebanon lost its focus via Iranian-backed Hezbollah and Egypt is struggling to maintain itself. Iran has not always been ruled by Islamic clerics and Iran and Turkey are not even traditionally Arab though they continue to push one thing: Islam. So today is good in Israel but Iran might change that and has a head-start with little deterrents (minus weak sanctions) in achieving its goal of gaining nukes.
So when David analyzed what the world had often raved about when highlighting the Great Arab world known for its astute philosophers, intellectuals, and innovators all he saw were dirty cities, underdeveloped towns, sewage left in the open, largely uneducated masses with no clear access to education or jobs. The hoopla didn’t match the reality on the ground. Arab nations were not achieving the hype they had once been touted for by their global admirers. The cunning regional rulers had become expert at silencing their deprived masses until one dude lit himself on fire in Tunisia via his rooftop to rattle the cage, setting the Arab Spring-turned-Islamic winter into motion. Those same Arab “intellectuals” were not sharing their knowledge and certainly they were not job creators or even educating their youth or offering sustaining career paths. Something had changed. An exposure event had occurred and it had little to do with Israel…
- Whichever of Obama or Romney wins, US dealings with the Arab world will change (independent.co.uk)
- Christian Arabs Targeted Throughout the Middle East (papundits.wordpress.com)
- Arabs must be realistic (ynetnews.com)
- Next US president will have to deal with a new Arab world (dawn.com)
- ‘Tragedy Of Immense Proportions’: Millions Of Christian Arabs Targeted Throughout the Middle East (And The World Does Nothing) (midnightwatcher.wordpress.com)
For the third morning in a row, Arabs rioted on the Temple Mount, attempting to attack groups of Jews who sought to visit the holiest site in Judaism during the Sukkot holiday. Police again Thursday deployed large numbers of officers to keep the Arabs from attacking the Jews.
Police have reported that there were mild protests during recent days, but video footage showed dozens of young Arabs actively trying to attack Jews who were visiting the Mount. In one video, a Wakf official is seen threatening to break the camera of a Jew filming footage of the Arab rioters.
Earlier in the week, Arutz Sheva reported on a large Arab riot that greeted Jews who attempted to visit the Temple Mount on the first day of Chol Hamo’ed, the intermediate days of Sukkot. “When we went up on the Temple Mount, we were greeted with cries of ‘Allah is Great,’” said Asaf Fried, one of the members of a group that visited the Mount Tuesday. “The police again did nothing, even towards the end of the visit when the Arabs really came close to us and blocked our exit, shouting, ‘We will expel the Jews in blood and fire and will butcher Jews.’ The police still did nothing,” and the group of Jews escaped without harm, Fried said.
During the rioting, police arrested five Arabs for attacking a police officer. One Jewish worshipper was detained as well, police said, for failing to listen to their instructions.On Tuesday, police arrested Likud activist Moshe Feiglin, along with another Israeli, for attempting to pray at the site. On Wednesday, Rabbi Yehuda Leibman, director of the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva was taken into custody for allegedly praying at Judaism’s holiest site. Later in the day, 87-year-old Dr. Menachem Ben-Yashar, a long-time activist for Jewish rights on the Mount was arrested. Also detained was Elyashiv Sherlo, son of Rabbi Yuval Sherlo, head of the Petach Tikva yeshiva.
Jewish activists once again called on police to learn how to respond more effectively to Arab riots, and to establish a procedure at the Temple Mount similar to that at the Machpelah Cave – allowing Jews access to the site, at least on Jewish holidays.
By David Lev >> via Security – News – Israel National News
- Israel: Islamists Riot On Temple Mount, ‘We Will Expel The Jews In Blood And Fire And Will Butcher Jews’ (midnightwatcher.wordpress.com)
- Arabs Riot for Third Day on Temple Mount (menorahblog.typepad.com)
- Arabs riot at Temple Mount for third consecutive day (israelnationalnews.com)
- Video of Muslims harassing peaceful Jews on Temple Mount (ifaynsh.wordpress.com)
- Confrontation on Temple Mount leads to arrests of five Arabs, one Jew (timesofisrael.com)
- Temple Mount Closed to Jews (jewishpress.com)
- More Jews Arrested for Praying on Temple Mount (jewishpress.com)