Today, the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez, decided to halt diplomatic relations with Spain unless the Spanish king, Juan Carlos apologises for his behavior early this month when he called on Chávez to "shut up".
The video below is from that incident
I can understand Zapatero's plea for respect, and I tend to agree with him, but I don't think it is appropriate for a king to interfere in such a way - far from protocol and diplomatic attitude!
I can't but to compare this incident to ... this below
The video is of Arab Summit, on Saturday 1 March 2003 (a couple of days before the invasion of Iraq). It contains a heated and public exchange of insults between Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi and Saudi King Abdullah (when he was Crown Prince). This was broadcasted live by most Arab satellite television stations, Gaddafi said that during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, he had spoken with former Saudi King Fahd about Libya’s concern over the presence of US troops in the kingdom. “King Fahd told me that his country was threatened and that he would cooperate with the Devil to protect it,” Gaddafi said. such an attribute or a remark to King Fahd – who holds the revered position of custodian of Islam’s two holiest shrines – would be particularly offensive. Before the live feed was cut off, King Abdullah angrily responded: “Saudi Arabia is a Muslim country and not an agent of colonialism like you and others.” Wagging his finger at Gaddafi, Abdullah said: “You, who brought you to power? Don’t talk about matters that you fail to prove. Your lies precede you, while the grave is ahead of you.” A bewildered Gaddafi replied: “By God, I don’t know how I am going to answer this man.”
Monday, November 26, 2007
Today, the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez, decided to halt diplomatic relations with Spain unless the Spanish king, Juan Carlos apologises for his behavior early this month when he called on Chávez to "shut up".
Friday, November 23, 2007
According to the Guardian and New York Times, around 60% of all foreign militants who entered Iraq to fight over the past year came from Saudi Arabia and Libya. The information is based on files seized by American forces during a raid at a desert camp, in Sinjar, North-West of Iraq. The files listed the nationalities and biographical details of more than 700 fighters who crossed into Iraq from August last year, around half of whom came to the country to be suicide bombers. In all, 305, or 41%, of the fighters listed were from Saudi Arabia. Another 137, or 18%, came from Libya. Both countries are officially US allies in anti-terrorism efforts. The list goes on to count 68 Yemeni nationals, the third-biggest source, in addition to 64 from Algeria, 50 from Morocco, 38 from Tunisia, 14 from Jordan, six from Turkey and two each from Egypt and France.
The US claims that there are at the moment around 25000 suspected militants in custody in Iraq.
The entire article here
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Dul Mush Habayeb ( released 2000) in my opinion is the worst produced and mixed album the legendary Syrian singer, George Wassouf has ever made. However, it remains one of my favorite albums ever and it makes me feel horribly sad when listening to the way the end result of mixing the album came out! It made these great songs on the album sounds so lame, no power, but when someone hear them live, these songs easily illustrated with their perfect melodies and powerful musical structure, in addition, of course to Sultan Al Tarab's (Wassouf's nickname in the Arab World) remarkable singing that no one can beat.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Ali Hatem Ali Seliman: We must distinguish between the noble and courageous resistance and those reckless, filthy people, who have come here – each with hair down to his knees. Brother, we must distinguish between black and white. In Iraq, the word "resistance" has become derogatory, because of the confusion in terms. It's best to speak out so that everybody in Iraq knows: The Al-Anbar Salvation Council, the Al-Anbar tribes and their military wing, and all the good people of Al-Anbar have never brandished their weapons against any patriot fighting the occupation. By Allah, this has never happened. We have used our weapons only against those extremist, filthy people, who have created this confusion, and made the world view us with contempt. Our role is to deal a blow to Al-Qaeda and the militias, wherever they may be. The militias, by the way, also play a role in Iraq, when it comes to the displacement of people and mass murder.
Ali Hatem Ali Seliman: Let the American president know that when the heroes of the Iraq tribes... Neither he nor Rice – that sheep who drove our people out of their homes – nor anybody else will be able to enter Al-Anbar, when the people of Al-Anbar get the province and all of Iraq on their feet.
Ali Hatem Ali Seliman: [The Americans say]: "Our forces liberated Al-Anbar." What, your forces liberated Al-Anbar?! With all due respect, that is disgraceful. What, your forces are capable of liberating Al-Anbar? Your forces got into trouble, just like us. The American army got into several problems: It should be in charge of traffic, it should be in charge of building, whatever. We all got into trouble because of the democracy of the "effendi" Bush. [Bush] was not welcome in Al-Anbar. No one knew he was coming for a visit. It does not honor us in any way to host someone like that. We have nothing to do with him. Politically, we have people who represent us on the Al-Anbar Awakening Council and the Al-Anbar Salvation Council. Let them reach understandings with [the Americans]. We have nothing to do with any politician – not the president and not politicians of lower rank.
Ali Hatem Ali Seliman: By Allah, shame on people who say that the Al-Qaeda members are Iraqis. Them, Iraqis? Who attacked us? Weren't we attacked from Dhahran and the other Saudi airfields? Weren't we attacked by American missiles and planes which came from Arab countries? Those despicable people should be ashamed of themselves. All they have learned is to say meaningless things. They should stop exporting their Salafis... Not Salifis, I mean those extremists, who were sent to Iraq to wage Jihad. Let them wage Jihad in their own countries. Syria is occupied by Israel, and the Arab countries are occupied by American and foreign bases.
Ali Hatem Ali Seliman: Listen, my friend, let me tell you one thing. I swear by God that whoever sets a foot on Iraqi soil and dares to insult us and our honor – we will wipe the floor with him, get it?
Interviewer: Sheik, from where do you get all your aid, money, and weapons?
Ali Hatem Ali Seliman: Oh, do me a favor! The Saudis know all about the weapons we have. Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Jordan have complained about [weapon] smuggling. In the days of Saddam, even helicopters were smuggled. Four-barrel and single-barrel missile launchers, mortar, rockets, PKCs – we tribes have all that. Brother, we don't have to beg anyone for these weapons. As for finances, what has the Iraqi government ever given us? I challenge anybody who says that I took a single dirham. Some time ago, on Al-Arabiya TV, or perhaps it was your channel, that black woman from the American embassy said that they were allocating 26 billion dollars to support the tribes. I don't want their billions, and we didn't get a single dirham from them.
I watched Sheikh Ali on a number of occasions and on different Arab channels. His concept is simple: the unity of Iraq, purging Al Qaeda elements from other Iraqi provinces, but this is new, by confirming that "the Awakenning" of Al Anbar province was independent from any US support, or let me say, it is the first time I hear / read Sheikh Ali mentioning the issue of US support in that context.
Update: below is another video interview with Al Jazeera
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
I found this picture on website. It is a tribute an Iraqi female graphic designer to her dead cousin. I thought I share this tribute with her and put the picture on my blog
God Bless her soul and of all innocent Iraqis, and may god protect Iraq and the Iraqis from any harm.
Courtesy: zahraa812graphic and deviantart
I read today a very article on the New Yorker I read today. In it, not a lot of new to what we know has been unveiled, but the most interesting part from that article is related to the interview with Sheikh Zaidan al-Awad, a tribal leader from Anbar. The Sheikh answered the questions about the purpose Iraqi tribes had a change of heart towards the Americans. He replied that "“We’ve already taken our revenge,” he said. “We’re the ones who’ve made them crawl on their stomachs, and now we’re the ones to pick them up.” He added, “Once Anbar is settled, we must take control of Baghdad, and we will.” There would have to be a lot more fighting before the capital was taken back from the Shiites, he said. “The Anbaris will take charge of the purge. What the whole world failed to do in Anbar, we have done overnight. Baghdad will be a lot easier.”
A couple of days ago, Khieu Samphan, the Khmer Rouge's former head of state of Cambodia, was arrested. He was taken from a hospital in the capital to a UN-backed genocide tribunal. He was in the hospital because of a heart stroke! Under the Khmer Rouge, more than one million people died from starvation or overwork as leaders strove to create an agrarian utopia. In addition, hundreds of thousands of the educated middle-classes were tortured and executed in special centres.
Iraq's former deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz, has suffered a mild heart stroke in 2005, while he was under the imprisonment of US forces. He is one of the high profile officials during the dictatorship rule of Saddam Hussain, which is accused of genocide and persecution of millions of Iraqis for almost three decades.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
I have many albums of the legendary Eric Clapton. I love Unplugged album and the more I listen to it the more I realize how superb that album still is. I can also say the same on From The Cradle album. However, the one and only album I consider ahead of its time made by this great guitarist and singer is 24 Nights.
It is the live album where Eric Clapton played his greatest hits in addition having great guitarists and musicians as guests, such as Phil Collins, Buddy Guy, Robert Cray, Nathan East, and more. The title of the album, by the way, refers to the number of times Clapton played at the Royal Albert Hall in London between 1990 and 1991.
Why this album is special to me and consider it good? The album comprises of all my favorite music genres; there is rock, blues, pop, and even classical music accompanying "slow hand" with his songs - Michael Kamen on helm for the orchestra parts. There are very little number of albums (and artists) that can acheive all that, with perfection.
There are many words I can describe this blog, but the one word flashes in my mind right now is "joyful". There is a feeling of peace in every picture, a sense of pride by this fellow blogger to reflect natural beauty of a country so rich with a lot of things; from history to religion, from simplicity of its buildings to vast landscapes consists of green and sand.
The link here
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
I don’t know if the the Anbar Salvation Council has its hand with the events in Al Adhamiya neighborhood in Baghdad, but according to Ahmed Abdul Ghafoor al-Samarai, head of the Sunni Endowment, all Al Qaeda elements have been drawn out from the neighborhood, after two nights of fierce fighting. Al-Samarai is also calling upon shop owners and people from the neighborhood to persume their normal daily life! The Anbar Salvation Council is well known for their success in fighting Al Qaeda and dislodge its members out of the whole westeren province of Al Anbar - it remains a point of argument if this this victory fully credited to the council or is it shared based on logestic and military support and cooperation from American forces! Despite speculations in this regards! In addition, since April 2007, the council publicly announced strong desire to help out other provinces and cities to achieve the same goal. They requested that formally from Prime Minister Maliki on numerous occasions and times, however, no official reply from the Iraqi government was received. The reason maybe from Maliki’s part is the fear from transforming this group of tribal fighters into another sort of militias that would trigger further complication to the already complicated situation. I don't know, but maybe the Iraqi prime minister believes that each tribe should move within its boundaries and not anything else! I might be wrong! However, by observing the political scene in Iraq, one can see that the Anbar Salvation Council is acting faster than anyone can anticipate. This has been illustrated by the visit of a delegation of tribes from Al Anbar province to tribes from Al Qadisiyah province a couple of days ago. I hate to say it, but for non-iraqis, Al Anbar tribes are Sunni, and Al Qadisiyah tribes are Shiite.
I won't give the Anbar Salvation Council a bigger altitude but there are a number of points to be taken into the consideration: the Anbar Salvation Council is the only group in Iraq that calls loudly and clearly for perserving Iraq's unity, by forseeing federal state solution as a roadmap towards division - Others see it differently, such as the Kurds and Al Hakim's SIIC. In addition, they want Iraq to be ruled by one leader, they want a strong government that everyone stand behind, and put their trust and safety in their hand - for that reason maybe they vow to stand behind the current government in dealing with the violence that eating up every neighborhood, city and province. Above all, the Anbar Salvation Council realised their fatal mistake when they allowed "aliens" to Iraq's culture, heritage, social background and beliefs to take over control. There are who considered the council as being traitors to the cause of ressisting the occupier, because they used to fight the American occupier, and now they took another position, but that is what I consider the strength point of the council; they have the power and ability to take things into their hands. The US forces were not successful in combating them in the past, yet, the council succeeded to combat whom they see as the most dangerous element to their existence on the country of their ancestors.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Eariler today I read two articles about Iraq; both share a common theme: "who should the US administration blame for the ongoing failures in Iraq?" The first article from ABC news, which explains how public and private exchange of accusations among former and current US officials (including the White House) has reached a new peak, by directing blame regrading the deteriorating situation in Iraq on one person in particular; Paul Bremer, head of Constitutional Provisional Authority. The other article is also an interesting one from AlterNet, which goes further with the US government "blame theme". The writer of that article is assuming that any pull out of Iraq will means total failure, therefore, putting the US administration under pressure for that purpose by the American people and others around the world will not help the cause, and the American people must take full blame for that!
Friday, November 09, 2007
I went yesterday afternoon to a travel agency for a couple of questions. The travel agency lady working there was very helpful, more than expected, she provided me with more tips and information than I thought. While she was checking two boys came in, one of 10 and the other around 15 years old. The eldest one led the way directly from outside to the coffee machine in the middle of the hall and quietly poured himself and the other boy some. I didn't notice the boys until the travel agency lady stopped working on her computer and started gazing over my shoulders, I turned around and saw the boy picking sugar and milk for him and for the other guy. The travel agency lady couldn't take it anymore out of frustration. Calmly but loud enough she said "hello boys, did you ask permission?" The eldest boy looked confused but didn't seem to be embarrassed at all! He replied "no, we didn't" and with cold smile on his fat face he continued stirring his coffee with the sugar and milk he just put. He then tapped the other boy and pushed him slightly on his back towards the outside door. They ignored the travel agency lady saying "you can't just come in anywhere you like, boys...." They kept on walking carrying carefully the plastic glasses of hot coffee with them. They even didn't say thank you or we are sorry or anything else, which made the travel agency lady say out of frustration "thank you very much..... you are welcome... they do say that, right??" But they didn't say anything and went out.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Two days I received a phonecall from work very early in the morning, because of that I had to check something on the internet, but when I switched on my computer...humm... no Internet! I checked all the cables, router, network and windwos settings, network card, everything seemed to work fine! A couple of hours later I went to work, checked the provider website and what a relief; they published an announcement about maintenance at the same time I was trying to access the Internet.
Few days ago, CBS broke out the news of disclosing the true identity of the man code named "Curve Ball". He is considered responsible for providing evidence to build the case for the invasion of Iraq.
The CNN video below focus on Colin Powel, then Secretary of State then, and how he was skeptical about the whole report, which he himself presented during the security council session about Iraq prior to the war
Two questions: first, if this news is true, who should pay the price for what happened to Iraq till now? Second question, so what? will this bring back innocents got killed to their loved ones?
This video was filmed during the Iraq-Iran war. I am not sure if this was a meeting of Ba'ath party officials or military officials, I don't know, but Saddam was saying "I swear to God, If I hear any of you talk to any citizen or to any Ba'athist, I am going to chop his body in four pieces with my own hands. Is this clear? Until a decision to be made regarding your fate, get out of here! God damn you"
The second video expose how Saddam feels to those who who oppose him by saying that he would not care less about those who opposes him, whether they are one or two or three thousand people stand against him!
Monday, November 05, 2007
This is an excerpt of an interview run by CBS's news program 60 minutes two weeks before the divorce of French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, from his wife Cecilia, after he has been asked about the divorce
Below is from FOX, just some sort of "analysis" on "Sarko" (as American media like to call him) attitude during the 60 minutes interview
It is the interesting the note among the many comments on the second video:
"I love how Fox News always defines pro-Bush as "pro-American," whereas the French who don't like Bush and his repeated lies about Iraq are "anti-American". You right-wingers need to get over yourselves. You ain't America. " I tend to agree with that!
However, from both videos above one can conclude that the new French president is one focus of attention - a big one - by American media.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
I am not a big fan of football (soccer for those who mix it up with American football), but this match is unique! Supporters are not that much; there are some but a lot left the stadium looking for more interesting things to do! The remaining supporters can be sighted easily, because they shattered sitting here and there among the empty seats. Some of them are focused on the game beneath; others show emotions from sadness to despise, because of the foul play and the very obvious cheating among players. One can easily observe that no single honesty in that match. The first team consists of players from different countries: there is the Iranian player who wants to score at any cost, taking advantage of having his Iraqi co-player on different positions on the fields to pass the ball to him so he can get deeper in and score; the Iraqi player, though, has no chance of either to keep the ball or to score – they must pass the ball only to the other players; There is also the American player! like a bulldozer, run heavily and aggressively, always want to keep the ball to himself, never want to pass the ball to anyone, not even to his British (who play left and right wing) or European players! There are other players in that team but with a less tempo, such as the Turkish player, but when time comes (according to their evaluation it seems) they display fantastic energy and effort! This team does not show some harmony among its players, there is some feud, such as the player with a beard who seems to have a problem with his American co-player! They are both playing in the same team, but they don’t like each other… It happens, you know. There are other players from different backgrounds and countries playing in this team, but I thought it's worth it mentioning the toughest among them.
It is a tough game, the team is fully prepared, they had training, best equipments and facilities to ensure they are fit and have victory.
But wait, what about the other team? Yes, they are doing great, they are trying their best compare it to the humble training and facilities. They can be easily recognized, because each one of them is wearing a three striped colors T-Shirt: red on top, white, and black! When they stood next to each other before the start of the game, they formed the Iraqi flag. The interesting thing is that each Iraqi player is originally from different cities and villages' allover Iraq. They also come from entirely different ethnic, social and religious backgrounds! Despite that, they illustrated most amazing harmony during their play.
The more the Iraqi team defends his goal, the more the other team becomes more aggressive, and as I mentioned earlier, many foul plays took place but the referee seems to be in a different reality. He just whistles and warns players not to do this or that, but no red cards, not even a yellow card.
The match goes on and on and honestly there were some Iraqi scores that made the public sitting at the benches jump and dance with happiness, but they were very little! Some of the Iraqi team supporters were carrying crosses, others carrying their holy books and praying, many others just watch with tears mudding their eyes, shouting endlessly with tired voices words of encouragement, all hoping that the Iraqi team will come out victorious.
Two days ago I watched a program on TV about the issue related to the immunity of the security gang band, Blackwater, in Iraq. The guest was the head of Iraqi Lawyers Union who is happen to be in Damascus, Syria at that. The interview began with a question on Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority then, who granted immunity from persecution in Iraq or the United States for security companies (among other foreign companies) working in Iraq at that time. The question that triggered the discussion and emphasis was the fact that such a decision practically should not be valid anymore after the dissolution of the Coalition Provisional Authority and the end of Bremer's term in Iraq! Therefore these companies must be persecuted for any crime they committed! The dilemma in that interview is not about what juridicially acceptable and what is not, when I looked at the top right of the screen, it says "LIVE" and below it its written "Damascus"! I was wondering if the head of Iraqi lawyers union was in Damascus for work (that might give him some sort of a better position to discuss such issues on a formal or official manner), or he is among the thousands of Iraqis who took Syria as a safe haven due to the fact that law and order is something with no significance.
This will bring me to the second bit of news I read two days ago; it is about prime minister Malaki who suddenly slammed the Iraqi constitution against the wall by appointing two new ministers in his cabinet without the consensus of the majority of the parliament. Two questions: First, what in God’s name the prime minister of Iraq is doing? Second question: Where is the rest of the members of the parliament go? That prompt me to ask a third question: why is it that many decisions require discussion and voting have been always adjourned, either due to withdrawal of some members or there is no enough votes due to absence of others? Where did everybody go?
This is the first time I hear members of parliament and other political leaders (not exiled opposition leaders I mean) run the country from outside the country…. With a remote control, I guess!!