Thursday, November 14, 2013

Hezbollah and Bashar Al-Assad

Ahmadinejad, Assad, and Nasrallah (leader of Hezbollah)

Hezbollah is recognized by the US and other governments as a terrorist organization. Hezbollah has been a strong ally of Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad, who claims that the revolutionaries he is fighting are terrorists. It seems that the two fighting factions in Syria have terrorist elements. ISIS (Islamic State of Syria and Iraq) on the rebel's side, and Hezbollah and some elements of Iran's shadier groups on the Syrian government's side. There is one glaring difference between both groups. The difference is sectarian, with Hezbollah, Assad and Iran being Shi'a and ISIS and the rebels being Sunni.

It appears that the conflict in Syria is devolving into a sectarian conflict with serious ramifications for the region. Aside from this issue, another issue of concern is the international communities lack of action concerning the disturbing relationship between Assad and Hezbollah. What if the Saudi monarchy allied with Al-Qaeda to quell an uprising? It is unlikely that the United Nations and the international community would idly sit by and watch it unfold, even with the backing of some of the permanent members UN's Security Council.

It makes one wonder who Assad is talking about when he says he is fighting terrorists?

Here are some additional links about the relationship between Assad and an interesting video about the Hezbollah fighters in Syria.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Anonymous Syrian Activist Confesses He Wants Assad to Win

Recently, I read an enlightening article on Buzzfeed about a Syrian activist was was involved in the revolution from the beginning and who has witnessed the uprising shift from a democratic revolution to a radical Islamist revolution, reminiscent of the Iranian Revolution of the 70s.

Syrian Rebel Commander Interview on Political Objectives for Syria (Link to video below)

VIDEO: MEMRI: Syrian Rebel Commander Ahmad 'Issa: Iran Will Always Be Our No. 1 Enemy, Syrian People Will Decide about Israel

I remember the early days of the Syrian revolution, when the revolutionaries were unarmed civilians desperate for a say in the matters that affect them most. Following the killing of countless unarmed civilians, the Syrian "rebels" were in dire need of weapons to protect themselves. President Obama was in the midst of an election, the United Nations was virtually held hostage by Russia's unwillingness to allow any meaningful resolution regarding Syria to pass and Syria was in a state of chaos.

A chaotic environment is one that radicals love to infiltrate and it's the perfect environment for radicalism to flourish. So, when the radical Islamist group ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, a Al-Qaeda linked group) began to descend upon Syria, providing weapons for the defenseless revolutionaries, it was not a surprise that the revolutionaries accepted the "help." It is not hard to see why they would do that. If you had to find a way to save your own and your children's lives by arming yourself, would you question who the weapons came from in the heat of battle? I dare to say most people probably would not.

The anonymous Syrian activist who claims he now wants Assad to win, feels this way because Assad is the lesser of two evils. The activist reasons, whereas the radicals will use religion to justify taking away the freedoms of the people, Assad will have to make some concessions or changes if he is to be accepted by the people.

However, there is a possibility that Assad would crack down even harder, (using the excuse that he is fighting against terrorists) and all the innocent people who died in the pursuit of freedom would have died in vain. Then again, if the radicals take over and restrict people's freedoms as well, then those same victims would have also died in vain. This leads me to a few questions ... Has the Syrian revolution failed? Is there hope that the moderates can gain influence in Syria? Or will Syria become another Egypt, where the only options are secular oppression or radical repression?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Kuwaiti Royalty Arrested Over Tweets

Sheikh Meshaal

KUWAIT: A Gulf rights group and a Kuwaiti MP yesterday criticized the arrest of a member of the Kuwait ruling family for expressing “political views” deemed offensive. “Freedom for Sheikh Meshaal Al-Malek Al-Sabah who was arrested by the state security police,” the Gulf Forum for Civil Societies, an organization of liberal activists, said on its Twitter account. It said Sheikh Meshaal was arrested “because of his courageous views that opposed the policies of the Kuwaiti ruling family.”
Islamist opposition MP Waleed Al-Tabtabai deplored the arrest of Sheikh Meshaal “for his political views,” and criticized what he called the return of a government policy of harassing activists who use social media. Tabtabai said Sheikh Meshaal has been detained by the secret service for the past three days. Activists said he was arrested on Thursday on his return from Saudi Arabia where he met the governor of Riyadh. So far, there has been no official comment on his arrest. Sheikh Meshaal is a member of the Al-Sabah family which has ruled the oil-rich emirate for the past 250 years without challenge.
In tweets he wrote over the past few days, he said he will contest the next parliamentary election to become the first royal in Kuwait to do so, and also vowed that if he becomes an MP, he would expose corruption among top officials. He also complained that the Kuwaiti constitution entrusts power to only one branch of the Al-Sabah family-the descendants of Mubarak Al-Kabeer who ruled Kuwait from 1896 to 1915. Sheikh Meshaal, who is not descended from Mubarak Al-Kabeer, called for the constitution to be amended and the introduction of political reforms.- AFP
This report is via

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Salafi or Salafreaky?

Former MP Ali Wanees arrested for fondling woman in parked car. 

Let me begin by stating that I am not necessarily against a couple "hooking up" in a parked car. I mean, it happens a lot and they aren't hurting anyone so I don't find it to be an issue.

However, when you are a Salafi who is against such actions and may even criticize or criminalize such actions and then you get caught doing them, then you are fair game in my eyes.

According to Al Jazeera news:

"An Egyptian court has sentenced a former MP to a year in prison for public indecency, after police said they found him fondling a woman on his lap in a parked car at night.

Ali Wanees was sentenced on Saturday to a year in prison for the incident and six months for abusing the policemen, while the woman involved got a six month jail term.

Police said in a report that the man was touching and caressing the woman when they approached him while parked alongside an agricultural road outside Cairo last month.

Wanees has denied the charges, saying that he pulled the car over to assist his ill niece. Police claim that he is not her uncle.

The police report claims Wanees called the officers "sons of dogs" when they knocked on his window asking to see his license and registration.

Wanees' whereabouts are unknown and he was tried in absentia and is allowed a retrial.

The court sentenced the woman he was with, who has been in custody for about a month, to six months in jail. She also has the right to appeal.

Wanees once sat in parliament as part of a Salafi-led coalition headed by the Nour Party, which won 25 per cent of seats in the lower house before it was dissolved late last month."

I must say the "Sons of Dogs" comment sounds much better and less ridiculous when you say it in Arabic, but that's beside the point. The point that I hope this article will make is that hypocrisy, sexual repression and politics religion seem to go hand in hand (in hand). Need I remind you about the Catholic Church?

I find that the more sexually repressed people are, (especially sexually repressed people who want to sexually repress others), the more sexually deviant they become. I have no scientific evidence to prove this (maybe you can google Freud or Kinsey), it's just an observation I'm making based on events that occur. (Wait, that might be somewhat scientific?)

Also, before I get attacked in the comments, let me just say that I am not brushing all religious and sexually repressed people with the same stroke. I am just saying, if you are sexually repressed and this is due to religion and you try to push your views on others, you're probably less Salafi and more Salafreaky.

The United Nations and the Veto.

In the wake of many humanitarian crises the world frequently turns to the United Nations to uphold international law that deems human suffering and oppression by governments as a crime. The United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Right's first article states:

"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."

With such a declaration, one would assume that all the countries in the UN would have equal rights as well. Not so. In actuality the United Nation's Security Council has more power than all the other member countries. There are 5 permanent countries in the UN Security Council and 10 temporary members, whose membership lasts one year. The 5 permanent members are: The United States, the United Kingdom, France, China and Russia. These 5 nations have unmatched power that allows them to control which resolutions can pass or not, regardless of a majority or unanimous vote from all other members. This power is known as the veto.

The veto power has long been criticized by the people who suffer because of it. The most recent case of the devastating effects of the veto power is in Syria. Several resolutions that would allow stronger and more specific sanctions on individuals in the Syrian regime, which would in turn strangle the murderous regime of Bashar Al-Assad and subsequently reduce (if not end) the heinous bloodshed of his people, have been vetoed by Russia and China (allies of Assad).

Without the veto power of the UN Security Council, the aforementioned resolutions would have passed and the death toll in Syria may not be where it is today. As such, it is time to seriously consider the validity and usefulness of the veto power.

Just think, if you were being ruthlessly attacked and tortured by your government would you want the allies of your government to have the ability to block any resolution that may save your life? I think not.

I say, Veto the Veto!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Syrian Defections ... The More the Merrier!

Syrian army soldiers hold the Syrian revolution flags as they stand in front their armored personnel carrier shortly after they defected and joined the rebels at Khaldiyeh neighborhood, in Homs province, central Syria, Saturday, May 12, 2012. (AP / Fadi Zaidan)

Read more:

Reports have surfaced that high-ranking military officials of Assad's regime are preparing to defect. Hallelujah! This is a significant development because although many members of the Syrian regime have defected, most of them are low-ranking officials whose positions can be easily replaced. When higher-ranking officials defect, their actions have the ability to seriously cripple the Syrian regime, (here's hoping...).

Today The Telegraph is reporting, "Members of Bashar al-Assad’s inner circle are secretly making plans to defect to the opposition should the Syrian regime become critically threatened by the rebellion, US officials have told The Daily Telegraph.

Senior military figures are understood to be laying down “exit strategies” and establishing lines of communication with the rebels to discuss how they would be received if they deserted.
On Thursday a Syrian air force colonel became the first senior officer to defect in an aircraft after he abandoned a mission to attack the city of Dera’a and landed his MiG 21 fighter jet in Jordan.

The Daily Telegraph also reports that the pilots of three other MiGs on the mission also considered defecting, but were worried about being turned away.
Mr Assad is under intense pressure over the 15-month uprising, with world leaders considering offering the Syrian president an immunity deal to ensure he relinquishes power."

Another report from CBS News is claiming that a Syrian activist group said that four senior army officers have defected and joined the opposition.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights provided a video Friday purporting to show two brigadier generals and two colonels. They declared they were defecting. Watch the video above (it's in Arabic btw). 
Fun Fact: The Syrian flag behind them has been altered with the word "freedom" in Arabic on the top green portion. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Elections Under Siege

In this photo taken during a government-organized tour, Syrian campaign workers wait outside a polling station during the parliamentary elections, in Damascus, Syria, Monday, May 7, 2012. Syrians cast ballots Monday in parliamentary elections billed by the regime as key to President Bashar Assad's political reforms, but the opposition dismissed the vote as a sham meant to preserve his autocratic rule. (AP Photo/Muzaffar Salman)
Elections in Syria were held on May 7, 2012, amidst the continual barrage of bullets and tanks. The Syrian opposition had boycotted these elections, especially since the areas with the strongest opposition to Assad's regime, such as Dar'a, Homs and Hama, are under siege. U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Monday that balloting in the current atmosphere in Syria "borders on ludicrous." 

The Syrian government, on the other hand, hailed the multiparty elections, Syria's first, as marking a historic step toward comprehensive political reform in a country that has been ruled by the same family and political party for more than four decades.

In February, Syrians voted for a new constitution that abolished the one-party system long controlled by the Baath Party. That election was also boycotted by the opposition, which said it did not offer real reforms and came after President Bashar Assad's crackdown on dissent had already resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians. 

The video below illustrates how many Syrians feel about the current elections. It's a spoof of the supposed "free and fair" elections the Syrian regimie claims to be holding:

However, State media on Monday showed Syrians eagerly voting at polling stations and, in interviews on the street, extolling the importance of casting a ballot. Judicial supervision "ensures fairness, freedom and democracy for the electorate in choosing their representatives," the Syrian Arab News Agency reported. 
An activist in Damascus countered the state media reports, saying that residents were boycotting the polls. In addition, activists were calling on businesses to remain shuttered for the day.
"No one is in the streets, and no one is coming or going," the activist said. "It's all empty talk."
The National Development Party registered earlier this year, saying its goal was to establish a democratic society in Syria through political and legal means. Yet it did not participate in the election. Mohammad Samman, one of its founders, said his party didn't have enough time to select candidates.
It was not clear if any other political parties besides the Baath Party placed candidates on the ballot.
Another activist in Aleppo said there was some voting in a few neighborhoods but that many of those at the polls were government workers forced to participate, or supporters of the regime.
Omar Hamzah, an activist from the Damascus suburbs, said in a Skype interview that there were several instances of people having their ID cards confiscated at a checkpoint and being forced to go to election centers to cast their votes before getting their IDs back. 
In some Syrian cities, activists staged protests. Others used cyberspace to mock the polling: In the video above, said to have been shot in Idlib, activists staged a skit about the elections, depicting voters getting money from pro-government thugs as they enter a polling station, then being given ballots already filled out with the names to vote for. (The state media video did not appear to have been uploaded to the Internet).
Another video, seen below, made fun of the rhetoric used on Syrian state television, extolling the "great participation" in the elections over footage of chickens pecking at feed:

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Occupy the World

The Occupy Wall Street protests have inspired other "Occupy (insert location here)" protests in countries all over the world. Recent reports state that the Occupy movement has spread to 82 countries so far.

Occupy protests have taken place in London, Rome, Chile, Tokyo, Madrid and Berlin, to name a few. The world's spirit of revolution was awakened in 2011. Starting with the protests in the Arab world that turned in to the Arab Spring to the protests in New York City that spread everywhere; we are the 99% and we have had enough.

The protests in Rome attracted more media attention than any other city. This was due to the protest's violent nature. The protest organized by the Occupy movement was peaceful until anarchists (known as the "Black Block") appeared and began tearing up pieces of cobblestone from the street to hurl at buildings and the police, reports TIME. Furthermore, the anarchists burned several buildings and cars with Molotov cocktails. Occupy protesters were forced to barricade themselves in side streets or run for cover.

Aside from the unfortunate incident in Rome, the other protests across the world were largely peaceful. I found some photographs of several of the protests that took place yesterday, October 15, 2011 the Global "Day of Rage".

Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy

Berlin, Germany

Berlin, Germany

Frankfurt, Germany

Julian Assange of Wikileaks in London, England

Brussels, Belgium

Madrid, Spain

Madrid, Spain

Vancouver, Canada

Tokyo, Japan

Santiago, Chile


Occupy Wall Street

Los Angeles, CA

Seattle, WA

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Egyptian Army Violently Disperses Coptic Protesters

In #Maspero, Cairo a group comprising mostly of Coptic Christians and some Muslims were protesting against the persecution of Egyptian Coptic Christians, they were then attacked by the Egyptian Army. The death toll is reported at 24 with 200 injured.  The video below shows the Egyptian Army attacking unarmed protesters.

Twitter has been erupting with images and videos of the attacks on the protesters in Maspero. Some of the pictures are below, follow the hashtags #Maspero, #EgyArmy, #SCAF or my personal fave, #FuckSCAF for live information.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Incredible Video of Protesters in Syria

It's graphic, yet inspirational but it's only inspirational once you get to the end of the video. If you stop halfway through its just straight up depressing. The video is in Arabic without subtitles but trust me, their actions speak louder (and clearer) than their words.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Massacre in Hama, Syria

On the night before Ramadan 2011, the Syrian regime demonstrated their moral bankruptcy and sheer desperation by massacring a staggering amount of people, mostly in the central Syrian city of Hama. Reports claim that at least 80-100 civilians were massacred in Hama alone, with several others killed in other Syrian cities. 

The massacre today has even caught the attention of President Obama; "The reports out of Hama are horrifying and demonstrate the true character of the Syrian regime," Obama said in a statement released by the White House.

News agency Al-Arabiya tweeted, "The Syrian army in Kiswa prevents people from performing Ramadan Tarawih night prayers #HamaMassacre #Assad."

For Tweets from the ground in Syria, some Tweeps to follow are @SyrianProtests & @MalathAumran 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Morocco's Protests in Pictures

Big banner reads: No to the joining between power and wealth
Sign reads: "The people want a new Morocco"

Monday, July 4, 2011

Egyptian Police Kill 14 Year-Old Boy

Reports are surfacing on Twitter that a 14 year-old boy was killed by an Egyptian officer in Abu Qarn area. The officer was from Manyal police department and today the family and neighbors of the young victim and some protesters went the Police station. Another report from Twitter claimed (in Arabic) "a 14 year-old boy was shot with a bullet in the head and his corpse is still in the street and the army and CSF (Central Security Forces) are protecting the police department." Another report from Twitter claims that tear gas is being used to disperse the crowd.

This is only a recent report of the police brutality in Egypt that has been going on for decades. We must not forget that the Egyptian revolution was started because of the outrage caused from the torture of Khalid Said by the Egyptian police.

Below is a video of another peaceful youth being gunned down by police for no apparent reason.

Some hashtags to follow for this story are #Manyal #14yob

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Palestinians Revolt Through Art

Many people are used to seeing Palestinians throwing stones at Israeli tanks as a symbolic form of resistance. What may be a less familiar image of a Palestinian, is one of the Palestinian artist using his or her art as a form of peaceful resistance.

Several creative Palestinians have used their own interpretation of art as a means of expressing their identity in a land where they have been robbed of an 'official' identity.

Khaled Jarrar, a Palestinian artist, has come up with an original way to express his identity. He created a passport stamp for Palestine and he offers to stamp the passports of people visiting the West Bank. Watch the video below to see Khaled in action.

Khaled Jarrar's Palestinian passport stamps
Instead of passport stamps, a young group of Palestinian guys have found another way to express themselves; Parkour. Parkour or Free Running is about physically overcoming obstacles in your own way, something Palestinians can definitely relate to. Watch the videos below to see Gaza Parkour in action.

The video below (which is also about Gaza Parkour) totally made me cry (happy tears). 
You have been warned.

In other Palestinian art news, a Picasso painting has been sent to a Palestinian art museum for the first time ever!

Palestinian security guards keep close to the "Buste De Femme" by Pablo Picasso.
It's on loan from a museum in the Netherlands.

Monday, June 27, 2011

More Cartoons of the Arab Spring

The Arab Spring marks a change, this change causes several things to happen.

1.) The Arab Spring marks the end of the past season.

2.) The Arab Spring gives some people allergies.

3.) The Arab Spring is a time for cleaning and gardening.