Sunday, December 21, 2003

Merry Christmas from the Arab Street!



"After waiting for a handshake for over an hour, the visitor
decided all Earthlings are very rude and departed"

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Iraqi health ministry ordered to stop counting civilian deaths!

Don't count 'em, just bury 'em!My God, this story is totally infuriating! Not only has the Iraqi health ministry been told to stop counting civilian deaths during the war, it has been given a general order to "move far away from this subject"!

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) — Iraq's Health Ministry has ordered a halt to a count of civilians killed during the war and told its statistics department not to release figures compiled so far, the official who oversaw the count told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The order was relayed by the ministry's director of planning, Dr. Nazar Shabandar, but the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority, which oversees the ministry, also wanted the counting to stop, said Dr. Nagham Mohsen, the head of the ministry's statistics department.

"We have stopped the collection of this information because our minister didn't agree with it," she said, adding: "The CPA doesn't want this to be done."

A spokesman for the CPA had no immediate response.

The U.S. and British militaries don't count civilian casualties from their wars, saying only that they try to minimize civilian deaths.

A major investigation of Iraq's wartime civilian casualties was compiled by The Associated Press, which documented the deaths of 3,240 civilians between March 20 and April 20. That investigation, conducted in May and June, surveyed about half of Iraq's hospitals, and reported that the real number of civilian deaths was sure to be much higher.

The Health Ministry's count, based on records of all hospitals, promised to be more complete.

Saddam Hussein's regime fell April 9, and President Bush declared major combat operations over on May 1.

The ministry began its survey at the end of July, when shaky nationwide communication links began to improve. It sent letters to all hospitals and clinics in Iraq, asking them to send back details of civilians killed or wounded in the war.

Many hospitals responded with statistics, Mohsen said, but last month Shabinder summoned her and told her that the minister, Dr. Khodeir Abbas, wanted the count halted. He also told her not to release the partial information she had already collected, she said.

"He told me, `You should move far away from this subject,'" Mohsen said. "I don't know why."

Shabandar's office said he was attending a conference in Egypt and wouldn't return for two weeks. Abbas' secretary said he, too, was out of the country and would return in late December.

The coalition spokesman said officials who direct the Health Ministry weren't immediately available for comment.

Mohsen insisted that despite communications that remain poor and incomplete record-keeping by some hospitals, the statistics she received indicated that a significant count could have been completed.

"I could do it if the CPA and our minister agree that I can," she said in an interview in English.

Under Saddam's government, the ministry counted 1,196 civilian deaths during the war, but was forced to stop as U.S. and British forces overran southern Iraqi cities. Over the summer, the ministry compiled more figures that had been sent in previously, reaching a total of 1,764.

But officials said those numbers account for only a small number of the hospitals in Iraq, and none provided statistics through the end of the war.

The number of U.S. soldiers killed in the war is well documented. The Pentagon says 115 American military personnel were killed in combat from the start of the war to May 1, when President Bush declared major combat over, and 195 since.

Iraq kept meticulous records of its soldiers killed in action but never released them publicly. Military doctors have said the Iraqi military kept "perfect" records, but burned them as the war wound down.


Venik from iraqwar.ru added this commentary:

COMMENTARY: Creation of the "war crimes tribunal" in Iraq by the occupation administration and its puppet Iraqi "government" is aimed at legitimizing the change of government in Iraq. The secondary purpose of the "tribunal" is to distract attention of the Iraqis and the international community from the deteriorating situation in Iraq under the US-British occupation and to divert attention from mounting civilian casualties in Iraq.

The US occupation administration has been pressuring Iraq to cease counting civilian casualties for several months now and, it seems, Paul Bremer finally got his way. Once the Iraqi Health ministry stops counting civilian casualties in the country, there will be no other official record of civilians killed by the occupation forces, leaving the US military free to continue unchecked extermination of Iraqi civilians.

Current estimates by media and humanitarian organizations in Iraq show between 10,000 and 15,000 killed Iraqi civilians. Casualties among the Iraqi military are estimated at around 1,200. The approximate ratio of 1:10 of military casualties to civilian deaths closely resemble casualties during the 1999 Operation "Allied Force" against Yugoslavia that claimed about 300 Yugoslav military casualties and ten times as many civilian deaths as the result of NATO bombing.

While in Iraq we at least have some picture of civilian casualties, the situation in Afghanistan is entirely unclear. We known that for the past few days the US Air Force has been busy killing children in Afghanistan, but beyond such episodic reports we known almost nothing about the plight of Afghani civilians caused by this latest US military action.

Venik


While we are on the subject of things that infuriate me, The Americans have started doing something that only Israel has dared to do in recent times -- they've started wrapping entire Iraqi towns in razor wire and concrete. Such tactics, which are ostensibly used in the interests of "security", but nevertheless stink to high heaven of Nazi-style ghetto oppression, are bound only to generate more hatred for the already despised occupation forces. Honestly, I wonder, are the Americans DENSE?? Do they actually want even more of their troops being exterminated on the streets by vengeful rebels?

RPG-ready!Meanwhile, the imperial forces have fielded the new Stryker armored vehicles (if half an inch of metal can be called armor). It seems that the American military has decided that its soldiers are so invincible, they don't even need armored protection. So they fielded the Stryker division, equipped with vehicles that have lots of computers inside, but virtually no armor, and here's the clincher; no heavy weapons! Stay tuned for the inevitable reports of American troops being incinerated inside Strykers. I'm willing to bet that every RPG operator in Iraq is just itching to be the first to light up one of those tin-cans...










Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Salam finds Raed

Salam Pax's page formally carried the title "Where is Raed", Raed being a friend of Salam's who was difficult to find. Well, he's been found, and he's still got his password to the blog, and frankly he's a lot more interesting than Salam..

Bad language on the Arab Street..

Whether writing on little blogs like this one, or participating in online or live discussions, It can be very difficult for Arabs and westerners to find common ground, even though in their hearts they might actually share the same opinions. I've found that this is due to slight differences in language used by both sides to describe concepts, which leads to one or the other becoming infuriated at the other's unfortunate turn of phrase. The use of inflammatory language might be intentional but also completely unintentional.

Perhaps this is due to one or both parties being victims of media propagandists, who as any student of journalism should know, have got the art of manipulating language down to a tee.

Here is an article by Ramzy Baroud which describes how terrible brutality can be washed down through the media by using certain terms and turns of phrase which actually conceal the reality of what happened.

But I am not writing about the ever-present propaganda in all mass-media, I am talking about how people who otherwise would agree about everything find themselves at supposedly opposite ends of an ideological spectrum. It all comes down to points of view and the willingness to appreciate the other person's perceptions.

A common reason I fall into arguments with westerners is Iraq. Westerners often appear to have an over-simplified view of what is going on, and an unfortunate tendency to assume cultural superiority to Arabs. They commonly react with anger and hostility when their worldview is challenged, resorting to baseless accusations to condemn the offender. This can make dialog with them nearly impossible. And I have found that the more honest I am in my opinions, the more hostile the reaction. To an extent this is understandable and can be rationalised.

Take for example my comments on resistance attacks in Iraq. I view the shooting down of American helicopters to be absolutely legitimate acts of resistance against foreign occupation. Although I don't rejoice in death, I believe that the more Americans killed and wounded in Iraq, the more likely that the American public resolve will be eroded and the US military forced to withdraw. So when a helicopter is shot down in Iraq and Americans die, my reaction is to applaud the success of the Iraqi resistance. While most readers would consider this completely logical, Americans find it hard to stomach and react with anger.

Anger is a strange emotion that causes people to say ridiculous things, abandon logical thought, and generally make asses of themselves. I've obviously never voiced support for Saddam Hussein, yet I've encountered Americans who accuse me of wishing for his return to Iraq. The situation in Iraq is obviously infinitely more complex than simply being for or against Saddam, and this opinion poll conducted in Iraq by Oxford University's department of sociology demonstrates this clearly. As anyone can see, resisting the American occupation has no connection to support for Saddam.

I've only scratched the surface here, but there are millions of issues such as this where Arabs find themselves accused of the most ridiculous things because they said something that doesn't agree with the western palate.

Needless to say, this psychology works both ways. I wonder sometimes if Americans have the merest conception of how hateful and despised their commonly-used media buzzwords and phrases are in Arab countries, words such as "collateral damage", "gunmen", "detainees", "daisy cutter", "islamists", and oh, lest I forget, "winning hearts and minds". So we Arabs often find ourselves provoked by some poisonous media report, and in our anger can end up saying things that come off as extremist and overtly hostile to the western reader. And so we have ourselves a vicious circle where people who probably want the same things end up hating each other because they weren't capable of thinking what made the other guy say what he did.

I hope I've not been too incomprehensible...

Saturday, November 29, 2003

Misc. vibes

Riverbend has posted an article about Eid and the sorrows of war in Iraq. Very depressing. Oh, and she also gives us her viewpoint of the American president's visit to Iraq.

The Angry Arab also has some nice words to say about Bush's touch-and-go landing in Baghdad airport.

I just noticed that my favourite Egyptian journalist, Ahmed Amr has put on his writing hat again and resurrected the formerly discontinued NileMedia. Watch out Thomas Friedman.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Give him another medal...

While delivering his regular review on Egyptian foreign policy, our noble President fainted in parliament today. Not knowing what else to do, the TV networks cut transmission, hence depriving the population of the long-awaited sight of his unconscious majesty being carried out by his ever-present bodyguard-thugs. Drat and double-drat, I wish I could have seen that one.

Imagine that, the President of the republic has lost consciousness on national TV, and instead of informing viewers of his status, they cut us off. How unfair is that? I suppose I'll have to wait for the DVD.

In any case, I hope that both the President and the national TV stations cease transmission permanently. Egypt will be much better off without them.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Oba dva! Oba su pala!!

JNA J-1 Jastreb In the early days of the balkan conflict, there was an atmosphere of hopelessness among Croatians who were seeing their dreams of independance dashed by a Serbian leadership that was prepared to use the full might of the JNA (Yugoslav People's Army) to grab as much Croatian territory as possible and perhaps prevent the breakup of Yugoslavia altogether. Lightly armed Croatian militia on the front lines were being decimated by aerial and armored assaults on their positions, and towns and villages fell to JNA advances on a daily basis. It was hard and brutal fighting, and victories against Serbian attacks were rare. Morale , both of the public and militia, was very low.

On September 21, 1991, two JNA J-1 Jastreb light strike fighters were shot down over the Dalmatian town of Šibenik in the space of a few seconds. Hundreds of people watched it happen, and to top it off, a TV journalist caught the whole event on videotape. The first Jastreb that went down was hit by a shoulder-launched SAM, and seconds later the second plane was caught by AAA fire and went down in flames. A Croatian soldier standing close to the cameraman could be heard joyfully shouting the now famous words: "Oba dva! Oba su pala!" ("Both of them! Both of them fell!").

BlackHawk(s) down with a vengeance?Croatian TV wasted no time in broadcasting the footage on Croatian television, and the whole country watched in amazement. The effect on morale was electrifying, especially since JNA overflights and aerial bombing were much reduced afterwards. As TV Zagreb showed the incredible footage over and over again, the myth of Serbian military invincibility was smashed. There was even a pop song made called "Oba Dva!".

I am reminded of the events over Šibenik from so many years ago because today the Iraqi resistance achieved a similar double-whammy against occupation aircraft, with two US army Blackhawk choppers downed over Mosul. A dozen Americans were reportedly killed. I imagine that though this engagement was not caught on tape, the event will nonetheless evoke similar emotions among Iraqis to what was seen in Croatia 12 years ago.

These kinds of victories are what make resistance fighters tick; when the invincibility of the enemy is refuted, the will of soldiers to fight becomes stronger, even though they may be hopelessly outgunned. During my own war days I had a platoon leader who in dealing with defeatists and doubters coined a simple but relevant and powerful phrase: "Nobody is bulletproof".

Friday, November 14, 2003

Blog(s) of note..

(updated)

I just found This excellent site, by university of Michigan history professor Juan Cole. He's got a great site going, with possibly the most up-to-date and thorough digest of terror-war news that I've seen. For his own opinion on various issues you should see his essays.

And on Brian's site I saw a link to another cool page, The Angry Arab. Now why didn't I think of that name?

Saturday, November 08, 2003

More blood on Mubarak's hands

This article on Al-Jazeera reports the death by torture of Saad Sayyid Muhammad Qutb, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. The presently outlawed Muslim Brotherhood is one of Egypt's oldest political parties, having existed since 1928. It is very popular and represents the only real threat to the Mubarak Mafia, and hence has been banned and had many members jailed and tortured. Some brotherhood members have languished in concentration camps and prisons for many years.

There is very little sympathy for these victims of government terror in western nations, because the name "Muslim Brotherhood" conjurs up images of suicide bombers and hijackers, yet little do most people know, this party calls for dialog and hopes for the *peaceful* establishment of an Islamic state. Many of the men now languishing in jail (without formal charges in most cases) are doctors, lawyers, teachers, and other upstanding members of society.

I may not agree with the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, but I think that the hakooma (government) has been committing these crimes against humanity long enough. Torture has become the modus operandi for the GOE, most especially since the unfortunately unsuccessful attempt on Don Mubarak's life in Ethiopia. So this man might have expressed contempt for the thieves and charlatans that call themselves our government, or perhaps voiced support for Hamas or Hizbullah? Did he hurt anyone? If we discount hurting the President's feelings, probably not. But for his defiance, he was beaten, starved, electrocuted, burned, and otherwise abused until one day, he died. Who is the criminal?

As a friend of mine assured me once, years ago: "the revolution will come".

Zakah - the Islamic taxation system

Umar's chronicles has this excellent article about zakah, the obligatory charity that Muslims are required to pay. My favourite part is how it is the holders of capital that are required to pay zakah, whereas the poor and indebted are free from obligation. So those who have inherited "old money" can't stash their money in family trusts and live opulent, tax-free lifesyles.

Black Hawk down (again)

Black Hawk Down (again)Another imperial chopper has been destroyed with six occupation force soldiers killed. The unfortunate aircraft in question this time is a UH-60 Black Hawk transport. Coming on the heels of Sunday's downing of CH-47 Chinook with 16 fatalities, this attack has American commanders talking about helicopter pilots being told to use special evasive tactics even on routine missions.

The pattern of attacks against American forces that we are seeing in Iraq is an inevitable result of the ongoing occupation and exploitation of Iraq. As time passes by, the guerilla resistance can only grow stronger, more motivated, and more sophisticated. With time many different tactics will be devised to attack the occupiers.

I think that whether or not one supports the resistance against the imperial occupation, the suffering and loss of life on both sides will increase as long as the occupation continues.








Sunday, November 02, 2003

Scratch one big imperial chopper; 13 dead, 20 injured

chinook down in Iraq(updated) Iraqi rebels have shot down a huge American CH-47 Chinook helicopter while it was carrying occupation force soldiers to "R&R". According to Al Jazeera, there were at least 13 American killed and 20 injured as the aircraft crashed in flames.

The CH-47 is an ideal target for resistance fighters, since it is large, slow, unarmed, and usually carries large numbers of troops, guaranteeing plenty of casualties if shot down.

It will be interesting to see if this attack turns out to be a fluke or if the Iraqi resistance has more victories ahead of them such as this one.







Wednesday, October 29, 2003

disappearing comments ...

Blogspeak has misplaced thousands of comments accross its system, among them some of the more recent comments on this site. So if your comment is missing, rest assured I probably didn't delete it :)

Monday, October 27, 2003

Arab Street files accused of homophobia!

Being busy recently with that obscure sport called "work", I've not been blogging at all, to the point that I didn't (until today) even notice Issandr's vociferous condemnation of my post below about the plight of Egypt's unfortunate gay population, and their ongoing persecution by police.

While I can understand how my usage of words such as "bum-slappers" may be portrayed by some as "sickeningly homophobic" (grin), I think that Issandr misunderstands my position regarding the government's anti-gay smackdowns. The police actions targetting gays receive a lot of attention in the west ONLY because the victims are gay. I'm not rejoicing in the police's persecution of homosexuals, but neither do I see it as necessary to single such police actions out for extra-special attention. So a few dozen allegedly gay men were arrested and abused by the police and forced to sign bullshit confessions. It's tragic, isn't it? Of course it is, but let me point out that a similar fate or worse has befallen countless thousands of men and women who have over the years been randomly picked up and similarly mistreated by police in this country, for all sorts of bogus reasons, usually just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The whole population is being terrorised by police goons, not just the gays! Whether driving on an empty highway and running a gauntlet of traffic radars which would be better employed elsewhere, or going to "vote" in the presidential referendums (at the police station), or riding an intercity bus and getting hauled out at some godforsaken checkpoint in the desert and held for no reason, All Egyptians have experienced or witnessed minor and major acts of government opression. We're all victims, and I wish more of us were standing up to The Man, and fighting for our rights, rather than bending the knee to our authoritarian masters.

So when I say I don't much care about the fate of a few arse-bandits, try not to read too much into it, and of course my apologies to those offended at my language(except the actual gays, they can all kiss my virgin unshaved ass, in their dreams anyway).

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Where's the bum?

I'm sorry for not posting recently, rumors of my death have been greatly exagerrated, and I'm alive and well (thanks to those who asked!). I've simply been caught up with work and some personal schtuff which is eating up my blogging time. I will try to post something of more substance soon.

My congratulations to the people of China, for their country's successful manned space mission! What's with this "taikonaut" name dreamed up by western media? I suppose the first Arab space traveller will be referred to as a hajji-naut...

Saturday, September 27, 2003

Egypt is full of faggots...

This news is actually almost a month old, but it was mentioned on Issandr's site so I thought I'd add my two piasters...

62 (allegedly gay) men were arrested on August 28th by police during a surprise swoop on Qasr El Nil Bridge which lies close to Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo. The bridge is a popular cruising area for young arse-bandits on the prowl for some man-on-man action. The police set up road blocks on either end of the bridge and then proceeded to arrest every male pedestrian that was on the bridge at the time. While shoving the accused queens of sheba into paddy wagons, the arresting officers shouted to passers by words to the effect of "see all these khawalat (faggots)? The country is full of khawalat (faggots)!".

Unlike the unfortunate bum-slappers who became the infamous "Cairo 52" of the Queen Boat trial (I can never get past that boat's name without smiling), the men arrested on the Qasr El Nil bridge were allowed to return home after signing a confession of their "debauchery" and promising to appear for hearings in November.

I must admit I am not particularly concerned about the troubles of homosexuals in Egypt, and I daresay neither are most Egyptians. The queen boat trial, which was highly publicised worldwide, received relatively little attention here in Egypt. The reasons are quite obvious: Firstly there is next to no sympathy for homosexuals in Egypt, and secondly we Egyptians have a quadrillion other problems which occupy our attention much more than sordid tales of butches and femmes being arrested for throwing all-night banging bashes on Nile cruise boats.

For example we are concerned about the looming bread crisis, the question of the soon-to-come (we hope) presidential succession, massively increasing poverty and unemployment, and rampant government corruption. We worry when we hear of people being tortured in the local police station, and historic political parties like the Wafd experiencing internal strife. We are angered by the constant feel-good crapola served by every government official in every speech, telling us of imaginary economic growth rates and technological progress, while everyone of us knows that nothing is being done for economic development, and a top-down mafia of robber-barons is consuming, with the limitless voraciousness of oligarchs everywhere, what limited wealth the nation still owns. And because the government knows that internal problems are never quite complete without major foreign-policy screw-ups, it fails again and again to confront Israel about the Palestinian question, fails to provide a leading role in inter-Arab relations, and continues its policy of doing what it is told by the USA, like throwing the national currency down the toilet, and withdrawing support of the Palestinian leadership. Bah!

So forgive me for not showing much concern for the plight of a few pleasure-seeking fags who got arrested for debauchery. I've got a government to overthrow.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Edward Said, 1935 - 2003

he will be missedI was very sad today to read about this on Beta Blogger's site. Edward Said has died, of cancer. For decades, Mr. Said has been a voice of reason, respected by all. When such a voice falls silent, The human race as a whole suffers.














Rise, O Anti-Bush!

Oi vey! fuhgedaboudit...As the killing and mayhem continues in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine, as the lies of Little Bush and his cronies are exposed to the world, and as more and more Americans begin to be vaguely aware of the depth of their deception, the present American regime will inevitably fall. With sadness I predict, that out of the ashes of the ultimately doomed administration of Little Bush, will rise a new and infinately more horrifying American imperialist regime, under the leadership of the honorable Rabbi's son, General Wesley Clark. Yes, believe it or not, the American people are *that* gullible. The Bush-ites will be exposed as frauds, yet after an infitesimal instant of respite, less than a heartbeat later, the next mass deception, leading to yet more war-mongering and bloodshed, will commence.

The general started his anti-bush campaign in true "shock and awe" style, criticising Little Bush's supposed plan for war against no less than *seven countries* as an obviously Bad Thing (Never mind that Little Bush never announced such a plan. Let the General make his point!). After the Iraqi campaign, a new war against Syria is alledgedly in the works. After Syria is conquered, Little Bush will lead America into glorious battle against Lebanon, Lybia, Iran, Somalia, and Sudan. This imaginary plan is obviously ridiculous, and impossible. It shows just how sick the schweinehunde Bush-ites are! And what further admonitions do you have to add, praytell, Herr General?

"We obviously should be paying more attention to the REAL sources of terrorism, namely Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and EGYPT." - says this new beacon of imperial patriotism.

What can I possibly say about this that doesn't come off as defiant, arrogant, contrarian, or whatever?

I am suddenly reminded vaguely of the words of everyone's favourite superhero, President Bush: "Bring it on".

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Arab Street blues..

I've been laid out sick with a cold for the past several days, and been too zonked out to do anything productive. Instead I've been lying on my couch, aimlessly surfing the net and watching much too much television. I know I should be sleeping or reading a good book but neither activity seems to be working for me.

As if on cue, TV Land is showing CSI from the very beginning, which is fun, but the channel that I am watching more and more is the Paramount Comedy Channel. My favourite shows:

- Futurama: Outrageous sci-fi cartoon. I love the beer-guzzling robot.
- Third rock from the sun: It's ridiculous, I know, but John Lithgow always squeezes the laughs out of me, without fail.
- The Drew Carey show: I don't what it is about this show that tickles me so, but it does.
- That 70's show: I laughed till I cried, then cried some more when it ended. The re-runs still crack me up, though.

As for Arabic television channels, the answer is no, I hardly ever watch them, unless I happen on one of the old Egyptian movies (pre 1966). And the Arabic news channels are even more depressing to watch than the western ones.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

New American casualties...

CENTCOM Briefing: 20:32, 09/18/03

General John Abizaid met with Journalists today to report on the latest American casualties in Iraq.

"I am sad to report that one Army corporal stubbed his toe and a female private cracked a fingernail while the two were on a routine ice-cream buying mission near Khalidiya. Apparently the two were ambushed by RPG-wielding supporters of the former regime. " - said the General. "The two were driving towards the Ice-cream stand on the outskirts of Khalidiya in their Humvee when the vehicle they were driving was blown to smithereens by an anti-tank mine. Luckily they both jumped out in the nick of time, and returned fire, killing 300 Saddam loyalists." - he continued.

When a Times reporter mentioned reports that the attack in question actually involved a large American convoy and reports indicated that up to 8 Americans had been slaughtered and dozens wounded in a well-planned assault, Abizaid, winking and grinning, replied coyly: "I have no such information".

The Times journalist pressed on, querying the General about reports that the ambush in question was actually nothing less than a protracted battle, with several American vehicles destroyed, and that medevac helicopters were unable to reach the wounded due to the extremely heavy enemy fire. Abizaid responded by ignoring the comments and asked the gentlemen from Fox News for his next question. Large, muscular MP's meanwhile proceeded to drag the Times correspondent into a back room for a personal debriefing.

Survivor VII...

If it wasn't for this late night re-run I would have missed the first episode of Survivor 7 (shock, horror). The first episode is always fun; the initial pathetic running around, excited squealing, strutting, flirting, and bitching of the disoriented players always amuses me, despite my moral and ideological misgivings about the show and reality shows like it. Yep, even Survivor doesn't escape discussion on the Arab Street!

Some quick comments on the first episode:

1 - I like the pirate's theme of this season, I'm expecting a lot of cool pirates-themed props and games. The immunity idol is downright satanic, though..

2 - They've really assembled some fools this time, some stupid ones too, And what was up with those three nincompoops trying to run the challenge while butt-naked in front of everyone? Were they trying to scare the other tribe away?

3 - Plenty of fish and crab on these islands, so I hope we won't be watching this bunch of fools starving and eating rats, etc.

4 - My favourite player so far is Rupert from Drake tribe (probably the most "real" person in the game and the only entertaining one) and my least favourite is Osten of Morgan tribe (Osten is a strutting monkey, a total ape who is disgustingly infatuated with himself. And he can't even keep is arse covered).

5 - No, I won't turn this blog into a survivor fan site. I am not a survivor freak.

Friday, September 19, 2003

Iraqi resistance launches offensive

Flames of a fake victoryAs Isabel ravages the Eastern United States, it is perhaps fitting that a "hurricane" of Iraqi resistance attacks has produced up to 16 American KIA or more on thursday.

First, up to eight American soldiers or even more were killed when their convoy was caught in a sophisticated, multi-stage Iraqi ambush near Khalidiya. A Humvee troop transport truck in the convoy was destroyed by a mine and caught fire, and American soldiers came under fire while attempting to retrieve the dead and injured. When the convoy attempted to escape down the road, it was hit 500 meters further on by multiple RPG-7 projectiles, with at least one more vehicle destroyed. At the same time, in a possible diversion, a large explosion was heard from inside an American base in the area (though no information about casualties there is available). Shortly afterwards, there was apparently a second, similar ambush on another American convoy, resulting in another two vehicles destroyed, about 15KM away. According to witnesses, the combat area was too hot for medevac helicopters to land until hours later, when tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles arrived to clear the area. Journalists attempting to reach the combat zone were shot at and threatened by American troops and tanks. The US occupation forces command in Baghdad said it had no immediate report of the incident (yeah, right).

To add insult to injury, four more American soldiers were killed later on while on patrol in Falujja. Some reports indicate it might have been a revenge attack for yesterday's murderous American attack on a wedding in Falujja which killed an Iraqi teenager and wounded four others.

The US occupation forces command refused to report on these incidents but reported casualties in at least one other attack in Ramadi. According to unconfirmed reports, there have been at least several other combat engagements on Thursday in Iraq. Additionally, the main oil pipeline between Iraq and Turkey was blown up by saboteurs, resulting in a large fire near the northern city of Bayji.

In other news: there has been no new information released on the eight westerners who were detained on Wednesday by the Americans under suspicion of participating in combat resistance against occupation forces.

UPDATE: Fox News reports that another three occupation troops were killed Thursday evening by a resistance ambush on the outskirts of Tikrit.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

AAAaargh...

What should we Arab peasants say to our sharmoota governments when, not only do they accept the American occupational puppet regime in Iraq into the Arab League, they try to get it accepted into OPEC, only to be rejected, not as would be expected by the Arab nations, but by Venezuela, on the grounds that the Iraqi government represented a "foreign occupier"?!!!!!! I mean, has someone in the Arab power elite got their priorities a little skewed? I hope that the Venezuelans take it one step further and publicly humiliate the Arab representatives for not taking a stand.

I mean, of all the outrageous, infuriating, treacherous, traitorous acts, how could Arab leaders accept this American puppet regime into the fold? How about a little solidarity?! I mean it won't kill us! ... Bah! Damn their moustaches to hell. When one day the Iraqi people rid themselves of the American imperial yoke that now strangles them, it will be interesting to watch how they express their gratitude to their Arab brethren for such "support".

The Perfect Storm...

I'll huff, and I'll puff...Tomorrow, Hurricane Isabel will land on the east coast of the United States. I've often wondered what is it about that area of the world that is so attractive to hurricanes and tornadoes. If you don't know what a hurricane can do let me share my personal experience:

In June 1998, I was in Moscow, Russia, when there occured a freak hurricane which lasted about half an hour, killing 9 people and causing extensive damage. There were no warnings like what the American public is receiving, it just suddenly took off and blew like hell for 30 mins.

I remember that I was at home one evening in my 8th story apartment, watching TV. There was suddenly a roaring sound outside, and my natural reaction was to go to the balcony door to look outside and see what was making all that racket (I thought maybe it was a low-flying aircraft). I was almost sucked right out! And I'll never forget the sound that was almost deafening until I closed the door again - like being near the business end of a jet engine. I could feel the entire building vibrate, the windows were all shaking in their frames, and when I put my face near the glass to peer outside I could see that the air was filled with debris such as tree branches, leaves, and paper and other trash. It was very intense and scary. The next morning the whole area was a mess. Debris and rubbish was everywhere, many windows were blown out, and about a quarter of the trees were uprooted or snapped. I was glad I lived in a building made of concrete blocks, and not some flimsy wooden house.

And the Moscow hurricane had 65 MPH winds. Isabel will land tomorrow at over 100 MPH.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

How much of the news is actually news??

Jesse Avraham's detailed analysis of one hour of CNN programming demonstrates quite well how little real news actually reaches viewers of the major American networks. A tantalysing blurb:
"Our enemy is not terror, it is not Islam, it is not the radical suicide bomber, it is the threat to our society that ignorance poses to our nation. America has become a nation of misinformed radical flag wavers who do not even understand what they are supporting when they flaunt their patriotism. We are taught that democracy means that we all get to sing the national anthem before every sport event but we do not realize that without free press we have no democracy. "

American and British guerillas arrested in Iraq!

Apparently, no less that SIX Americans and 2 Britons have been detained in Iraq on suspicion of participating in paramilitary attacks on American forces. Officials of the US occupation forces are withholding details of their identities so far. I will update as more information becomes available. For some reason the major news websites are not running this yet.

UPDATE: The eight prisoners have been classified as security detainees and are being held at Abu Ghraib prison, about 20km west of Baghdad. Obviously they are being interrogated and until that is done (a process that could last days), no details about their identities will be released.

Source 1: RIA (Russian Information Agency)

Source 2: Daily Times

Source 3 San Francisco Chronicle

Monday, September 15, 2003

Excellent blog about Egypt

Thanks to button for pointing me in the direction of Issandr El Amrani's excellent blog. The latest post about Al-Arabi's recent article talking about the horrible corruption in the Egyptian government and urging the President to transfer power to the public is pretty intense stuff. Issandr El Amrani is (among other things) the former editor of the Cairo Times.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Comments / Feedback

Courtesy of Blog Speak I can enjoy your feedback again. This system actually allows me to delete insulting and rude comments (without having to break the bank). Sorry to everyone that posted comments when I was using Backblog, there's no way for me to restore them. Let's hope Blog Speak works out fine.

Arafat - Bar Gerush, as usual..

I've been trying to formulate in my mind a nice and concise commentary on this issue, but without success, so I'm just going to go ahead with the "stream of thought' method and just think aloud. I apologise if it turns out to be incomprehensible. Here goes:

ArafatA lot of attention has been paid to what will happen to Yasser Arafat, ranging from morbid neocon and zionist calls for his murder, to calls for his deportation, to dire warnings of the consequences of any action on Israel's part.

So much time has passed since Yasser Arafat became the Palestinian leader in that nation's struggle for independance, that most observers look upon this issue with a warped sense of history (or none at all). Zionist hatred of Arafat is so intense that no effort has been spared over the decades, to make sure that he is portrayed in an extremely negative light in the western media. This campaign has been extremely successful, and Arafat is fervently hated outside the Arab world. Why is this?

Since the 1960's, Arafat, as PLO chairman, has been the national leader of the Palestinian people. From the beginning, he turned the PLO into a real government-in-exile for Palestinians, and initialised many institutions (governmental, educational, military, diplomatic, humanitarian) that gave the PLO the legitimacy it needed. In many ways, Arafat is the person who made the Palestinian resistance against zionism into a viable struggle. He organised Palestinian military (or terrorist, of you prefer) resistance, he gained the tangible support of Arab governments (while nevertheless remaining independant and not falling under the influence of any other government), and has managed to keep the dream of Palestinian statehood alive in the minds of Palestinians as well as many non-Palestinians, despite Israel's best efforts over the decades. It is this that has given Arafat a cult leader status among Palestinians. This is the reason why he will remain the center of gravity in the Palestinian power structure as long as he is alive.

I think the best indicator of Arafat's success over the decades has been the lengths to which Israel has gone to attack the PLO. Examples of this are the invasion of Lebanon and the long range bombing of the PLO headquarters in Tunis by the IAF.

The PLO and its splinter groups (mostly its splinter groups, actually) carried out many attacks against Israeli military and civilian targets over the years. Israel is a western creation, and so the PLO has always found the task of portraying its actions as legitimate acts of resistance, to be impossible. Even attacks against Israeli military targets are commonly described by western news agencies as terrorist acts. Israeli atrocities, meanwhile, often go virtually un-reported or are deliberately ignored. The extent to which the western media has distorted the history of this conflict for westerners is not to be underestimated.

All this considered, I am sure that Israel has had many opportunities to kill Arafat, and the fact that they never did can only mean that he is worth more to them alive than dead. My theory is that Arafat gives the Israeli people and westerners an easily-defined object of hatred and fear, which the propagandists can use as a tool in their support for Israel. Arafat has always enjoyed and exploited the lime-light, so he manages to play into Israeli hands in this respect. For example, his reaction to the Israeli government's declaration that he was "Bar Gerush" (deportable) - was predictable. He went through the motions, speaking to a large noisy crowd, talking about martyrdom, etc. and generally feeding both his Palestinian and western listeners the kind of rhetoric they expected to hear. He himself knows that it is extremely unlikely that he will be either deported or murdered.

Whether he is killed or dies of natural causes (Arafat hasn't looked very zippy for quite some time now), his passing will be a major obstacle for the Palestinian struggle. Not because he is such an important leader (those days passed many years ago), but because too much power is concentrated in his hands. If he goes, there will be a large power vacuum, which Israel will fully exploit to weaken the Palestinian cause as much and for as long as possible.

I don't think that the Israeli government will be so rash as to murder Arafat, since this would create the self-defeating effect of re-establishing the Palestinian cause as the number one concern of the Arab masses. Arafat's assassination would get so much press that the Palestinian movement could only benefit. Furthermore, the PA might cease to be the main power center for the Palestinians, and we might see the ascension of the much more radical Hamas into power.

On the other hand, here's a wild theory: Perhaps Israel will kill or deport Arafat, counting on a bloodthirsty response by Palestinian organisations like Fatah and Hamas, and vociferous condemnations and threats by Arab and Muslim leaders. Israel has always benefitted by portraying itself as being under constant threat of attack, and while I doubt that killing Arafat would provoke an actual war with any Arab country, I am sure that all efforts towards peace would be rendered useless for years. Sharon could then do whatever he wanted; such as massively expand settlement activity, and carry out ethnic cleansing operations in the occupied territories, even invade a neighboring country to gain more "buffer zone" territory.

Then again, this could all be more bluster on the part of the Israelis, and no real action will be taken against Arafat. It's happened many times before. As for Arafat being "Bar Gerush", I'm sure it's nothing new for him.

Saturday, September 13, 2003

AMA-ZION.COM??

Today I received an email from Amazon.com which (incomprehensibly), after analyzing my past purchases decided that I absolutely must buy the books listed below. Honestly, does anyone think that my Amazon purchase history could conceivably cause their customer analysis engine to decide that I wanted to read these retarded propaganda manuals? Welcome to Ama-Zion.com.

The case for Israel "The Case For Israel", abbreviation: "Israel good, Arabs Bad".


The New Anti-Semitism "The New Anti-Semitism", abbreviation: Everyone STILL Hates Jews..


Sleeping with the Devil "Sleeping with the Devil", abbreviation: Saudi Arabia VERY BAD!


The Crisis of Islam"The Crisis of Islam", abbreviation: Islam SUPER-DOOPER BAD!!


Emails to Amazon.com staff asking if there was a "No Zionist literature" button available on my personal Amazon account have gone unanswered so far.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

A bit about the Bum...

I suppose some may have noticed that I haven't really been faithful to the declared purpose of this site, namely to provide an insight into the mind of the typical Arab Joe in light of constantly developing world events. I guess that I am a little individualistic and perhaps egoistic to be faithfully representative of any society, let alone my own. In the interests of clearing up any questions along the line of "who the hell do I think I am to talk", and perhaps to serve my ego just a little bit, I've decided to introduce you to Arab Street Bum; who is he? What does he do? etc...

As an individual I can't possibly claim to be fully representative of the diverse and multi-faceted sociosphere that is the "Arab Street" (yes, I know that sociosphere isn't a real word, I invented it just now). That's why I choose to call myself the Arab Street Bum, because I have no right to making any claims of representing anyone (and for that matter, neither does anyone else). So the very act of making this blog makes me a nothing, just an outcast, someone who instead of choosing to accept life as it is and join the sheeple in repeating the same things and doing the same things over and over again, decides to stand up on this silly virtual soap box and spout his unwanted, un-asked for opinion about Life, the Universe, and Everything.

As far as whether or not I am in any way representative of Arabs, that's for you to decide. I am 30 years old, Egyptian, male, married, with one daughter. Though I believe in God and consider myself a Muslim, I am not particularly preoccupied by religion. I'm not from a poor family, and I am lucky enough to have my own house, car, and business. Like most Arab bloggers, I lived a large part of my life overseas. Like most middle and upper-class Egyptians, I am multi-lingual, though I myself speak five languages fluently (English, Arabic, German, Croatian, and Russian). I have a BA in journalism, though I don't work as a journalist (nor, other than to update this blog, do I intend to).

I suppose it would be dishonest for me not to mention certain things that are definately not typical of the mythical average Arab Joe. Both my mother and my wife aren't Egyptian. My parents are divorced (not very common here). I wasn't born in Egypt. I hold three nationalities. In the 1990's, my mother's country became a war-zone, and I travelled there and participated in fighting for about a year. I was in a specialised anti-tank platoon. It was quite an experience.

I hope that you feel you've gotten to know the Arab Street Bum a little better. If I've only confused you, I am sorry. Anyway, thanks for your attention, it's always entertaining for the ego to talk about oneself, even when you have to remain incognito. I'll try not to make a habit of it.

UPDATE: Oh, and I love scuba-diving. I've been diving in the Red Sea since I was 13.

Recording industry sues the world

This is probably one of the most ridiculous things I've heard in recent memory. As I am writing this, there are 3,267,308 users logged onto Kazaa, and 5300 Terabytes of files are being shared by users across the globe, 99% of which are movies and MP3's, and here we have the Trillion-dollar recording industry taking a little 12-year old to court and even actually intimidating her mother into paying $2000 in a settlement.

Well, I am unashamed to admit that as I am writing this, I am listening to music which I downloaded using Kazaa lite. I had a hankering for some 80's hits (blondie, if you must know), and since a "legal" copy wasn't immediately available I went ahead and got the songs I wanted. Sue me if you want, corporate America. Meanwhile Í will enjoy a bit of reminiscing while listening to "a total eclipse of the heart" and "Call me".

Monday, September 08, 2003

Little Bush speaks...

What a load of poop. Virulent poison dripping from a lying imperialist tongue. I can only hope that a sizeable portion of Americans will notice his avoidance of topics such as American casualties in Iraq, the failure to find WMD in Iraq, and chafe at Bush's promise to spend 87 billion dollars on the continuation of his war.

What did I expect? That Bush would confess to provoking the whole conflict in order to insert American forces in Mesopotamia and use the "reconstruction" of Iraq to shamelessly steal billions of dollars worth of Iraqi oil? That his wonderful war would go on for many more years, and perhaps provoke a full-scale conflict between America and all Islamic peoples? Of course not.

The real "Baghdad Blogger"

The latest post by Riverbend is shocking and heartbreaking, and literally had me in tears. Her words defy description, so all I can say is go read it now.

I don't want to sound overly judgemental but the comparison is unavoidable: Salam Pax, with his (self-hating?) pandering to western readers and his incomprehensible sympathy for American soldiers (even as they brutalised his family and ransacked his house) sounds absolutely pathetic next to Riverbend's terrifying descriptions of the hellish existence and terror forced on her and her people by Little Bush's big 'ole war.

Without a doubt, Riverbend is the person most deserving of the title of "Baghdad Blogger", and her page is where one can really find out what the war has done to Iraq. If on the other hand, you aren't interested in reality and instead just want to read juvenile strutting and boasting about the latest pleasure-seeking thrills and adventures of Salam & friends, go see his page.

Sunday, September 07, 2003

Latest Zionist provocation

fargin bastiges...Sharon's gang is wasting no time in exploiting the latest "cease-peace". Just as the zionists claim that Palestinians exploit cease-fires to regroup and re-arm, the Israelis can always be relied upon to exploit crises, executing massive settlement actions and sending the IDF on orgies of death and destruction in the occupied territories.

It seems that the zionists want this crisis to last. Today, in an obvious act of provocation, they attempted to assassinate none other than Hamas' Numero Uno Uncho, Shiekh Ahmed Yassin. Predictably, Hamas gave its Qassam brigades the green light to go to town with attacks on Israeli targets. I'm sure however that the brainwashed western masses will fail to see the connection when the next bombing or sniper attack kills some more Israelis. And I wonder what will happen if the Israelis are successful in their next attempt on Yassin's life.

Saturday, September 06, 2003

Misc. vibes

I've removed the comments for now, due to the mindless trolling of a certain severely retarded and primitive individual. I will install a comments system as soon as I can find one that allows me to filter out the noise..

Sunday, August 31, 2003

Egypt's dirty depleted uranium secret

firing of 120mm DU penetratorEver since the first gulf war, I've been hearing and reading plenty of propaganda condemning the USA for its use of uranium-238 ammunition in Iraq. Undoubtedly, the release of hundreds of thousands if not millions of depleted uranium rounds in Iraq represents a great tragedy for the Iraqi people and the Middle East in general. There is undeniable evidence that traces of uranium-238 which can be found all over battlegrounds in Iraq is the cause of a radically increased incidence of cancer-type illnesses and birth defects in Iraq, and anecdotal evidence suggests that the "gulf war illness" for which more than one third of American gulf war veterans now receive disability compensation is caused by exposure to depleted uranium particles.

All of this has been widely reported, not only in the western media, but also (predictably) in the Arab press. I am annoyed by Egyptian journalists who so energetically condemn American usage of depleted uranium while ignoring the fact that Egypt joined the "depleted uranium club" in the 1990's, when it received from the USA thousands of rounds of 120mm armor-piercing DU ammunition for its M1A1 tanks. So in any future war, the Egyptian armed forces will litter the desert with radioactive "silver bullet" waste, just as US forces have in Iraq. In fact, the Egyptian army has probably already fired hundreds if not thousands of these rounds into the desert in training excercises.

But this won't be the first time that depleted uranium ammunition has been used in Egypt. The 1973 October war saw the world's first combat use of depleted uranium ammunition, when some Israeli tank units were issued with 105mm DU ammunition, which was used against Egyptian forces.

So, dear Egyptian media-slaves, if you are really so concerned about Uranium-238 being deposited all over Iraq, perhaps the prospect of U-238 contamination right here in Egypt might concern you more! Let's start with a series of hard-hitting interviews with top Egyptian military officials demanding their explanation and justification for why Egypt must possess this disgusting weapon.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

More bomb shockwaves

The perpetrators of the UN building attack in Baghdad are probably very excited to learn that not only is the UN withdrawing from Baghdad, but so are the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Furthermore, Pakistan's Pervez Musharraf is expected to fail to receive parliamentary support for the deployment of Pak peacekeepers to Iraq.

While on the outside this appears to be bad for Iraq, at the same time organisations like the IMF and World Bank are perceived as part of the American conspiracy to exploit Iraq, and peacekeepers from other countries, particularly muslim countries like Pakistan, are seen as symbols legitimising the American occupation.

If the Iraqi resistance manages to force all foreign organisations to leave, the American military will be left alone, and we all know how good they are at winning Iraqi hearts and minds. Right now the Iraqi population is being wooed by the USA with the help of all these organisations. Even if organisations like the UN have good intentions in Baghdad, they are being used by the USA as smoke and mirrors to distract from what is really going on. Take them away and all that is left is the reality of the imperialist occupation. So the guerrillas, although they are making enemies of supposedly benevolent organisations in the short term, are brutally but effectively clearing a path to popular support among the Iraqi population.

I predict that unless the Americans undertake extraordinary measures to protect them, the members of the US-appointed Iraqi governing council will be among the next targets of the guerrillas. Why? Because they are the tool the Americans will try to use to actually legalise the organised theft of Iraqi wealth.

Of course with every attack against US interests we can expect the same BS to be parroted by Little Bush and his cronies, about how tragic it is that the enemies of freedom wish to take away the gift that is being given to the Iraqi people, etc. etc. but don't expect Iraqis and Arabs in general to fall for such primitive rhetoric.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

UN defeated, withdraws from Iraq

kaboom...If the intention of those responsible for yesterday's bombing of the UN in Iraq was to force the UN to withdraw, then they can rejoice - the UN is evacuating its entire staff and closing its mission in Baghdad. I say hooray, because after all it has "done for Iraq", the UN had no business to be there.

Here in the Arab world, the UN is not viewed as a benevolent, impartial organisation acting in the interests of all. It is rather viewed as an elitist club which due to its domination by permanent security council members, serves only the interests of those powers and their allies. In particular, the UN is viewed as being subjigated to American will. Even before the unilateral decision by the USA and UK to invade Iraq, there were the crooked UNSCOM inspections of Iraq by the UN's Richard Butler (who later joined the shady Council on Foreign relations). And of course in Arab eyes, the UN has been nothing more than an American tool in its terror war and its invasion of Iraq.

The western TV channels are all weeping over the loss of the wonderful Sergio Vierio Di Mello, and suddenly millions of people who had never heard of him are now mourning the loss of this person, who was "so important to the restoration of Iraq". I even had friends calling me from Germany yesterday, demanding my opinion, expressing their outrage at this fellow's death. It's funny how I wasn't inundated with dismayed calls while Iraqis were being roasted alive by American napalm and air-fuel bombs, and blasted with depleted uranium bullets. Nobody wanted my opinion when Iraqi families were being shredded to pieces at checkpoints by Bradley fighting vehicles.

I don't want to sound callous, but excepting perhaps journalists and red cross workers, I really don't care about any khawaga (foreigner) who dies in Iraq. I don't care if they are bombed, shot, stabbed, or tortured to death. None of them have any business there, other than to share in the spoils of war. Unless they are part of the resistance, foreigners have no business to be in Iraq.

All this horsepucky and propaganda that is now surrounding this attack is distracting from the main fact: Iraq was recently subject to an unprovoked military invasion, in which thousands of Iraqis were murdered. Iraq is now subject to continuing opression by American occupying forces, and thousands of Iraqis have been arrested, beaten, shot, or otherwise abused. The appearance of a paramilitary resistance force was inevitable, and it doesn't matter how many times Little Bush calls them terrorists, they'll still receive support from most Iraqis, and from Arabs abroad.

What did the UN do to stop all of this? NOTHING. Did the UN help the Iraqi people? NO. Will the UN make the Americans leave? NOPE. Will the UN prevent the plunder of Iraq's resources by American companies? NO WAY JOSE!

So don't expect us to join everyone else in crying over Sergio Vierio Di Mello. We're sure he was a good guy, but the fact is that he and his colleagues had no business to be in Iraq. Down to the foreign occupiers, and long live the resistance!

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Mind your language, Salam!

Although I most definately count myself among the many admirers of Salam Pax, and applauded his resilience in maintaining his blog before and during the American invasion of Iraq, I have to say that his recent posts are, well, to use one of his favourite words, SHIT!

Salam has demonstrated passable writing skills in the past, but unfortunately he seems to have recently developed a liking for bad language. His last post about the UN headquarters bombing contains at least five swear words, which for me at least kind of distracted my attention from what he was writing about. Of course it's his right to use the F-word whenever he wants, but it's also my right to express my distaste at his pointless use of foul language.

Salam in general is a bit of a weirdo and in no way should be considered representative of the Iraqi people. He's not religious, He spent a large part of his life away from Iraq, and according to some reports he's openly gay. He's bound to be quite westernised in his thinking and as such he is being dishonest when he pretends to speak on behalf of Iraqis. The actions of the Iraqi resistance are being met with support across the Arab world, including Iraq. However reading Salam's posts gives the opposite (false) impression.

Salam ended his last post with a poignant question: "do we have a future? is this country going to be hijacked by shit extremists who want to prove a point?"

The answer, Salam, is simple, and doesn't require foul language. Iraq has already been hijacked by extremists, not from Iraq, but rather from Washington.

Monday, July 28, 2003

Odai and Qusai ; the unintentional martyrs

I haven't been posting much recently because quite a lot has been happening that infuriates me, and I tend to lose focus when I'm mad. One of these events was the apparent deaths of Odai and Qusai Hussein. The manner of their deaths completely dispelled a number of media-created myths about them and challenged the credibility of many others.

According to commonly accepted knowledge, Odai and Qusai, despite being brothers, hated each other intensely, and even attempted to have each other killed more than once. Yet these brothers died together, defending themselves and each other.

Commonly described as cowardly and corrupt, they were said to have stolen billions before fleeing to Minsk or Damascus or Monaco, yet they died at home in Iraq, fighting to the end against impossible odds.

For Iraqis, I am sure that the deaths of Odai and Qusai will bring mixed feelings. After having felt betrayal and disgust at rumors of Saddam's sons having escaped to exile, Iraqis were informed that not only were the brothers in Iraq, but they had fought the Americans to the death. While I am sure that the un-conditional haters of the old regime will see no significance in this, those resisting the American occupation either overtly or covertly will be inspired.

Whoever or whatever Odai and Qusai were, or however much they were hated in life is almost irrelevant now, because in being allowed by the Americans to make the honorable sacrifice of falling in combat, the brothers achieved a kind of redemption. And now in refusing to surrender the corpses of the dead for burial and making a public spectacle of their deaths, the Americans are bringing more and more attention to their deaths, and dishonor to their killers. Whether or not the Americans intended it, Odai and Qusai have been given martyrdom.

Saturday, July 19, 2003

Egypt's paper tiger will roar forever..

I deserve a medal, really, I do!Once, not so long ago, there was a war in a certain country in Europe. I was drawn to this war for personal and moral reasons. At the tender age of 18, I travelled to the above-mentioned European country and volunteered for frontline service. I saw and did many things. After one year had passed, I decided that I had seen and done enough things, and asked to be discharged as was my right after a full year of combat service. About a year later I was awarded a wartime service medal by the country I had served.

As any veteran of any war will tell you, I am fiercely proud of my wartime service, but I also harbor a deep hatred for those who claim to have done and seen what they clearly haven't. You would be amazed at how many people claim to have been in war when they haven't. I would say that out of every 5 "veterans" I have met, only 1 has turned out to be bona fide. When I discover this kind of lie I feel that my own service has been dishonored, and I am tempted to inflict extreme violence on the offendor. It might sound extreme, but if you ask any (real) war veteran about this I am sure he will concur.

True heroes only pleaseIn 1983, Hosni Mubarak, who had been president for less than two years since Anwar Sadat's death, awarded himself the highest military decoration in Egypt, the Order of the Sinai Star (pictured left). He is very proud of this medal, as it is the topmost on the long list of his military decorations that is displayed on his personal website.

What is the Order of the Sinai Star? The Sinai Star was awarded to about 200 people (almost half of them posthumously) in the aftermath of the 1973 October War. Since that war, only 15 of these medals were awarded, all posthumously, to the commandos and pilots who fell in Cyprus in 1978, during an attempted anti-terrorist operation (For reasons unknown, they were attacked upon landing by Cypriot regular army forces).

I have the honour of personally knowing two individuals who were awarded the Order of the Star of Sinai. One of them parachuted under heavy fire behind the Barlev line into occupied Sinai on October 6, 1973, and led units in the capture of Israeli anti-aircraft and artillery units. His unit sustained unbearable casualties but nevertheless prevailed. The second is my aunt's husband, who (I can't be too specific, sorry) commanded a large force in and around Suez during the war, and led several key units across the canal in the initial cross-water assault.

Anwar Sadat was known to be extremely careful about who received this medal. Each commendation was scrutinised and carefully judged before the medal was awarded. One reason perhaps was that this medal was posthumously awarded to Sadat's own brother, Atef, who was shot down over Sinai on the first day of the October war. Sadat often wore his brother's medal around his neck (leading to some false rumors that he had also awarded himself the medal). The medal was only awarded to those who had shown unusual bravery in battle, and whose actions had caused serious damage to enemy forces. Perhaps in memory of his brother, Sadat made sure that the medal was awarded only to the deserving few.

The key phrase for wannabes, and I hope our noble President-monarch is paying attention , is bravery in battle. Every single recipient of the Sinai Star, every single one, had amply demonstrated his courage under fire, and in many cases made the ultimate sacrifice for his country, all, that is, for the very last recipient - Hosni Mubarak.

Hosni Mubarak has has never been in a battle zone. He served as a Tu-16 bomber pilot for the EAF, and afterwards commanded a wing of Tu-16s in the 1960's, before becoming EAF commander. Never once did he directly participate in combat. Mubarak's service is of course commendable, and he deservedly received many service and merit decorations, but on what grounds was he awarded the nation's highest military honor? Did he paddle accross the Suez Canal in a rubber dinghy like my uncle? Did he parachute into occupied Sinai from a helicopter like my other friend? Did he command a tank in armored assaults on Israeli columns? Did he fly fighter-bombers low-level all the way to Haifa and Tel-Aviv for precision strikes? I met one Egyptian fighter ace who during his career had been shot down twice, once by friendly fire. He didn't receive the Sinai Star for his actions, yet King Hosni did!

Shame! Shame on you Mr. President!!!

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Congress received a Blair-ing..

I like to be in Ameerica, OK by me in Ameerica!I'm sitting here trying to peacefully code a small software utility (in C of course), but someone switched on BBC world and I got treated to the sight of Tony Blair addressing the US congress. Just yesterday he was being laughed at and abused by his entire parliament, and here he is today telling jokes, shedding crocodile tears, and waxing love about America and everything American. I almost expected him to pull out a cowboy hat and put it on. My brother asked: "is he trying to get a job in the USA or what? LOL..












Saturday, July 12, 2003

Latest Arab Street gossip...

Joo Nazi!Wondering what is the hot topic of discussion in the coffee shops in Egypt? The latest bombings and diplomatic intrigues in Palestine? The growing anti-American guerilla resistance in Iraq and Afghanistan? Guantanamo Bay prison? The sudden suspension of free trade agreement (FTA) talks between Egypt and the USA? Nope, none of these topics are currently of any interest to most Egyptian armchair analysts.

I haff my veys...Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi's remarks comparing a German official to a Nazi and the reaction of Gerhad Schroeder are much more interesting. Everywhere I go, people are talking about Berlusconi's latest retort to German ire at his "Nazi" remark. So far I am rather confused; I don't know whether people are just happy for a bit of comic relief from all the bad news that has been going on for so long, or whether this is more of the head-in-sand culture of denial that has become a constant feature of our society ever since Sadat threw away the victories we should have gained in 1973.

Anyway, I wonder what Berlusconi would have to say if the head of Egypt's gestapo-like "Administrative Control Agency", General Hitler Tantawi were to visit Italy (No, I'm not joking, there really is an Egyptian general by that name).




Sunday, July 06, 2003

Phrack #61 in 12 days...

This picture is only here because it looks cool...OK, this has nothing at all to do with the Middle East, but it's my blog and since it's an Arab blog, it can't be a democracy, can it? Anyway, Ever wondered where Neo and Trinity learned their hacking skills? From Phrack magazine, of course! Phrack is releasing issue #61 on July 18 or soon thereafter. I can't wait. And this time they even posted a teaser, with links to some of the most vital Phrack texts ever produced:
PHRACK MAGAZINE is one of the longest running electronic magazines in existence. We taught Trinity how to use nmap [2] and how to code her ssh crc32 exploit [3]. Morpheus believes in our prophecy [4]. Neo cant stop thinking 'it feels more real when I read phrack than when I do not'.

Since 1985, PHRACK MAGAZINE has been providing the hacker community with information on operating systems, network technologies and telephony, as well as relaying features of interest for the international computer underground. PHRACK MAGAZINE is made available to the public, as often as possible, free of charge.

The staff is throwing in one red pill after another to get the release done on schedule, do your part and submit a paper. PHRACK MAGAZINE -- only for those who know how deep the rabbit hole goes.


Sincerely,

PHRACK MAGAZINE STAFF
phrackstaff@phrack.org

[1] An agent told us that there might be a hardcover release.
[2] Port Scanning, history and applications
[3] Smashing the C stack with buffer overflow vulerabilities
[4] The conscience of a hacker, by Mentor
[5] sorry madonna.

Bring 'em on!

Hey George, pull my finger! A couple of days ago, President Bush dared Iraqi guerillas to attack American forces. "Bring 'em on", he said, and went on to say that the USA has sufficient forces to crush any resistance. I wonder what US soldiers in Iraq think about Bush's challenge. Stan Goff, formerly of the US Army special forces, was wondering the same thing, and wrote some words:

In 1970, when I arrived at my unit, Company A, 4th Battalion/503rd Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade, in what was then the Republic of Vietnam, I was charged up for a fight. I believed that if we didn't stop the communists in Vietnam, we'd eventually be fighting this global conspiracy in the streets of Hot Springs, Arkansas. I'd been toughened by Basic Training, Infantry Training and Parachute Training, taught how to use my weapons and equipment, and I was confident in my ability to vanquish the skinny unter-menschen. So I was dismayed when one of my new colleagues--a veteran who'd been there ten months--told me, "We are losing this war."

Related Link: Full text at counterpunch.org



Thursday, July 03, 2003

Anti-government ECM

This story is actually a few months old, however I just remembered it now and thought it would be worth ranting about here. After the terrible Luxor tourist massacre in 1997, the wise and illustrious GOE (gov. of Egypt) undertook a wide scope of security measures across the country. GOE officials, being the evil, money-grubbing sweetheart economists that they all are, naturally had to find some way to profit from all the activity and spending that was going on, and so they came up with a crude, yet ingenious method: Force businesses to buy stuff from GOE-approved companies. And so it happened that every hotel in the land was required to purchase walk-through metal detectors and security camera systems from a certain GOE-approved company, or else face the bureaucratic music. Multiply x (profit per unit) by y (number of hotels in Egypt) and you will get an idea of the bucks thus nefariously earned by our glorious leadership.

Six years on, they seem to have run out of customers for the metal detectors, because they are proposing a new mandatory "security upgrade": Every toursim-registered vehicle or vessel must be equipped with GPS tracking equipment, again provided by a single, GOE-approved company. Vehicles lacking the properly sanctioned and licensed equipment will not have their registrations renewed. Supposedly the GOE will build an enormous high-tech room filled with gadgetry that will allow the continuous tracking of every tourist vehicle or vessel, thus apparently increasing everyone's safety. Something tells me that the GPS hardware is going to be even more exhorbitantly priced than the metal detectors were.

In my humble opinion, metal detectors and GPS trackers aren't going to help in the fight against extremists and terrorists, unless by defeating terror you mean lining the pockets of oligarchs like Alaa Mubarak & co. (in case you don't know, Alaa is Hosni's capitalist swine of a son).

In a desperate, yet forceful cry of protest against the rampant nepotism of the GOE, I'm going to go ahead and post a link to this article in Phrack magazine, issue #60, which details the do-it-yourself construction of a powerful GPS jammer. And especially for the occasion, I'm going to coin a new phrase for my fellow revolutionaries: "Freedom CAN be won by the flip of a switch."

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Hamas goes international

Just in time for all the diplomatic shenanigans going on, The Hamas (Palestine Info) website is back online, with multiple servers in different countries, serving the site in an Al-Qaeda-esque array of languages (Persian, Urdu, Arabic, Malawi, Russian, and English). I wonder if American & Israeli script-kiddies will be able to take the site(s) down with DOS attacks this time.

The site has undergone a radical change, providing a more mainstream face to Hamas. One interesting point worth noting is that the site doesn't actually mention the fact that it belongs to Hamas, although almost every other news article praises Hamas in some way. Nevertheless, the new site is pretty informative, and doesn't take ages to download like the old site did. I'm almost tempted to move the link from the "freaky Arab propaganda" section, but choose to side with caution, and see what happens.

Latest Palestinian rantings

image shamelessly stolen from palestinechronicle.comI've never really warmed to Ramzy Baroud's over-emotional scribblings, but his latest rant over at Palestine Chronicles is almost OK. I wish he'd develop a more proud and steeled patriot's attitude, like that of Ahmed Amr (who unfortunately stopped writing last year). Baroud comes off to me as a bit of a sissy, with his endless wailing about Palestinian and Arab tragedies, without any proud fighting rhetoric for manly balance.







Tuesday, July 01, 2003

"God told me to do it"

My brane herts...This text from the Moscow Times is so amazing that I quoted the whole thing ad-verbatim. Kind of a new take on the Nuremburg defense:

Errand Boy - God Personally Told Bush To Invade Iraq
By Chris Floyd
The Moscow Times.com
6-30-3


"God told me to strike at al-Qaida and I struck them, and then He instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East."


MOSCOW -- SO, now we know. After all the mountains of commentary and speculation, all the earnest debates over motives and goals, all the detailed analyses of global strategy and political ideology, it all comes to down to this: George W. Bush waged war on Iraq because, in his own words, God "instructed me to strike at Saddam."

This gospel was revealed, appropriately enough, in the Holy Land this week, through an unusual partnership between the fractious children of Abraham. The Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz was given transcripts of a negotiating session between Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and faction leaders from Hamas and other militant groups. Abbas, who was trying to persuade the groups to call a cease-fire in their uprising against Israeli forces, described for them his recent summit with Ariel Sharon and Bush.

During the tense talks at the summit, Bush sought to underscore the kind of authority he could bring to efforts at achieving peace in the Middle East. While thundering that there could be "no deals with terror groups," Bush sought to assure the rattled Palestinians that he also had the ability to wring concessions from Sharon. And what was the source of this wonder-working power? It was not, as you might think, the ungodly size of the U.S. military or the gargantuan amount of money and arms the United States pours into Israel year after year.

No, Bush said he derived his moral heft from the Almighty Himself. What's more, the Lord had proven his devotion to the Crawford Crusader by crowning his military efforts with success. In fact, he told Abbas, God was holding the door open for Middle East peace right now -- but they would have to move fast, because soon the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe would have to give His attention to something far more important: the election of His little sunbeam, Georgie, in 2004.

Here are Bush's exact words, quoted by Ha'aretz:

"God told me to strike at al-Qaida and I struck them, and then He instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me, I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them."

You can't put it plainer than that. The whole chaotic rigmarole of Security Council votes and UN inspections and congressional approval and Colin Powell's whizbang Powerpoint displays of "proof" and Bush's own tearful prayers for "peace" -- it was all a sham, a meaningless exercise.

NO votes, no inspections, no proof or lack of proof -- in fact, no earthly reason whatsoever -- could have stopped Bush's aggressive war on Iraq. It was God's unalterable will: the Lord of Hosts gave a direct order for George W. Bush to "strike at Saddam."

And strike he did, with an awesome fury that rained death and destruction on the mustachioed whore of Babylon, with a firestorm of Godly wrath that consumed the enemy armies like so much chaff put to the flame -- and with an arsenal of cruise missiles, cluster bombs, dive bombers and assault helicopters that killed up to 10,000 innocent civilians: blasted to pieces in their beds, shot down in their fields and streets, crushed beneath the walls of their own houses, boiled alive in factories, ditches and cars, gutted, mutilated, beheaded, murdered, women, children, elders, some praying, some wailing, some cursing, some mute with fear as metal death ripped their lives away and left rotting hulks behind. This was the work of the Lord and His faithful servant, whom He hath raised high up to have dominion over men.

And this is the mindset -- or rather, the primitive fever-dream -- that is now directing the actions of the greatest military power in the history of the world. There can be no doubt that Bush believes literally in the divine character of his mission. He honestly and sincerely believes that whatever "decision" forms in his brain -- out of the flux and flow of his own emotional impulses and biochemical reactions, the flattery and cajolements of his sinister advisers, the random scraps of fact, myth and fabrication that dribble into his proudly undeveloped and incurious consciousness -- has been planted there, whole and perfected, by God Almighty.

And that's why Bush acts with such serenity and ruthlessness. Nothing he does can be challenged on moral grounds, however unethical or evil it might appear, because all of his actions are directed by God. He can twist the truth, oppress the poor, exalt the rich, despoil the Earth, ignore the law -- and murder children -- without the slightest compunction, the briefest moment of doubt or self-reflection, because he believes, he truly believes, that God squats in his brainpan and tells him what to do.

And just as God countenanced deception on the part of Abraham, just as God forgave David for the murders he ordered, just as God blessed the armies of Saul as they obliterated the Amalekites, man, woman and child, so will He overlook any crime committed by Bush and his minions as they carry out His will. That's why Bush can always "do whatever it takes" to achieve his goals. And by his own words to Abbas, we see that he places his election in 2004 above all other concerns, even the endless bloodshed in the Middle East.

So what new crimes will the Lord have to countenance to keep His appointed servant in power?

© Copyright 2003 Moscow Times

Saturday, June 28, 2003

Fear and loathing in the blogosphere..

Salam Pax announced today that an Iraqi woman called Zainab has started her own blog, and by his endorsement instantly propelled her to fame and misfortune. I say misfortune because Zainab's first post started with the probably heartfelt, yet rather inflammatory words:
"I know that one day there will be a great revolution against the Americans and now we have the first seeds of that revolution"
I'm sure Zainab had no idea just how hateful people can be, no idea how much purely racist nastiness is to be found out there. I'm sure that when she wrote those words she didn't realise she would be subject to trolling comments by dozens of slimebags who have nothing to do but jump at any opportunity to spout racism and demagoguery. Zainab is an Iraqi, who probably witnessed untold horrors during the American invasion. Her country is now under American military occupation. If anyone in the world has the right to criticise the American invasion and occupation of Iraq, she does!

A note to those who mindlessly attacked Zainab for her honesty: We don't care if you don't approve of our command of English, or if you think that only white neo-conservative Americans ought to be allowed to express their opinions. We won't allow you to tell us what we should or shouldn't write. We don't care if you are so enslaved by your media that you can't fathom someone not toeing your party line.

The funniest comments of all were those suggesting that Zainab keep away from politics and follow Salam Pax's lead of "just telling us what you see". Excuse me you BLITHERING IDIOTS, but Zainab will write whatever the hell she pleases. And if today she has a hankering for a little ranting rhetoric against American imperialism, then I say Bravo!

How stupid does someone have to be to insist that the Americans are in Iraq for the sole noble purpose of helping the Iraqis become "free", while in the same breath make demands about what an Iraqi should or shouldn't write in his or her blog?

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Hamas seeks "recognition"

Stratfor, June 25

Volte-Face for Hamas?

The Jerusalem Post reported June 25 that Hamas has indicated a willingness to accept Israel's right to exist. However, Hamas sources speaking to Stratfor have categorically denied any such statement, while also rejecting the notion that Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad has struck a cease-fire deal with Israel. These contradictory statements either could be a case of erroneous reporting or indicate cracks within Hamas, where core officials may be making deals without clear communication with the group's periphery. Hamas could be floating a balloon in attempts to ease pressure over the U.S. proposed peace plan. If there is any truth to the report of recognition for Israel, however, it would represent a major shift in Hamas' ideology and politics.

Well, the Israelis couldn't have it better. They've gotten rid of Arafat, the new "Palestinian government" is a lame-duck puppet regime, and now we have Hamas, like a clumsy, ham-fisted oaf, trying to play smartypants and fill the power vacuum. And as I said before, Hamas can always be relied upon to blow something up and ruin any agreement. Just what the Likudniks want.

Friday, June 20, 2003

Salam gets taxi ride from Hell..

Baghdad is still very far from being a safe place to be. Read Salam's story of how he thought a later-than-usual taxi ride might have easily ended in firy death:
I think I was in a car with a loony-suicide-fucker last night. I wanted to ask why he wanted to hide a hand grenade in his car but I was really really scared. He just might decide to stick the hand grenade down my throat, because it is Halal to kill those who are agents of the infidel occupier.
What do you do when you are in a car with someone who asks you about the best place to hide a hand grenade?
Salam also has some reports of various acts of armed resistance against American forces in Baghdad and elsewhere, go check it out.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Guerrilla war in Iraq

Can you recognise the enemy's face?Let's not beat around the bush. The United States is involved in a guerilla war in the Sunni areas of Iraq. Since May 1, American soldiers have fallen to guerilla attacks on almost a daily basis, and more than 50 have been killed. A large proportion of these deaths have been the result of sniper attacks, especially in Baghdad. Even kevlar chest plates and helmets haven't saved American soldiers from Iraqi sharpshooters.

When the war was raging, everyone here was glued to their TVs, and nobody wanted to talk about anything other than the war. The sovereignty of an Arab state was at stake, and everyone was rooting for the Iraqi people to repel the foreign invaders, Saddam or no Saddam. When it suddenly became apparent that some sort of treason had occured and Baghdad fell without a fight, it was like somebody in the family had committed suicide, and any discussion of the subject became taboo. Seriously, within 24 hours nobody wanted to hear about Iraq. Kind of like a collective shame or guilt.

With these daily reports of American casualties at the hands of the Iraqi resistance, there is renewed interest in the news, and people are talking. Just as during the war, opinions differ wildly, with some folks predicting a swift American victory at one end, and others saying that the Americans will run from Iraq in a Vietnam-style defeat. I am still wating to see what will happen, after all it's still not clear whether these guerillas are following a strategy laid out by Saddam's government before the war, or if they appeared independantly from among an angry population, or if they are under a central command (as opposed to being a disorganised network of resistance cells).

If the US Command is going to fight the Iraqi resistance, it's going to have to identify its command and control structure, figure out how it supplies and how it connects to the population. With none of this information at hand, the Americans will be swinging in the dark, while taking fire.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Censorship, bah!

As an unofficial but nevertheless loudmouthed representative of the "Arab Street", I demand that the Egyptian censorship board immediately revoke its unjust banning of the film "The Matrix Reloaded". It's pointless anyway, since everyone will find a way to watch the movie somehow, and the banning has probably generated more public interest now.

In olden times, when our all-wise, all-seeing censor-nanny-idiots, in their infinite and unquestionable wisdom, banned a movie or musical group, we had to grin and bear it till a friend brought over a tape from the USA or Europe. But in the year 2003, we unjustly deprived citizens have a useful (and obvious) weapon against the tyranny of Mubarak's culture-repressing stooges: broadband Internet. Of course not everyone has a fast connection, but there are enough people with DSL and satellite connections to produce more than enough high-res DVD-rips to go round. Yep, I admit it, we Egyptians are all insufferable pirates. I did it, I did it ya hear me, an' I'm glad!

Note to Censor: I hope that you don't sleep, I hope you lose your appetite at the unthinkable prospect of Egyptians in their millions downloading "The Matrix Reloaded" off the net. We will watch it, oh yes, we will. And like the photocopier and printing press helped revolutionaries of old, we will use Kazaa and other file-sharing software to obtain the cultural freedom that is our birthright. Viva la revolucion!

Related link: Commentary on MuslimWakeup

Rachel Corrie memorial in San Francisco

When this girl was killed by an Israeli bulldozer I was amazed at how certain over-zealous Israel-supporters rushed to defame her as much as possible. She certainly wasn't as historic a figure as Che, but as a person who was martyred for her beliefs it was fitting that she be so honored in death.

Rachel Corrie Spotted with Che and Mumia on Muslim Wakeup

Egyptian-Israeli conspiracy to... huh?

Here we have a motley crew of negotiators involved in complicated shenanigans with unfathomable motives: The head of Egyptian intelligence went to Israel, supposedly to make the Israelis talk with Hamas. Today it surfaces that he took along a radical Egyptian preacher (Qaradawi), known in Egypt for his anti-government stance and for his firy performances on Al-Jazeera (One of the reasons Al-Jazeera is so unpopular with Egyptian officials), and somehow got him to convince Hamas leaders to agree to a truce with the Zionists, which will supposedly be announced next week in Cairo, after a partial Israeli troop redeployment. In the meantime Ariel Sharon made a statement in the Knesset promising dedication to the "peace process" while also pledging an all-out offensive against "terror". How does one pledge peace and promise war simultaeneously? Understandably, the Knesset was also confused, and hence divided in its vote, 57 in favor, 42 against.

Obviously everyone knows that neither Hamas nor Sharon will hold true to their word, either or both sides will inevitably blow something up and kill some innocent bystanders in the name of their respective holy causes, and all this is one big spectacular farce... But for which audience? It seems to me that for some reason, both the Israeli and the Egyptian governments are equally disinterested in peace, but are nevertheless doing their best to impress the Americans with their pretend pro-peace efforts. Since Hamas can be always be relied on to blow something up and spoil any truce, and Israel will always find ways to play provocateur in the occupied territories and force the Hamas terror hand, nobody should worry about any unwanted changes to the status quo or adherence to any troublesome truces.

I fully understand Israel's dastardly motives in derailing any peace initiatives, and I even recognise the even dastardlier motives of Hamas to do the same. However I'm having trouble understanding what is driving the Egyptian government to partake in this kind of evil opera. And what on earth is Qaradawi doing there, playing diplomat for the government?? Damn all of their mustaches to hell.
Note: This post has been edited to remove inaccuracies.