Qatar will buy US patriot missile batteries and Apache helicopters in an arms deal worth $11 billion, senior officials at the US Pentagon said yesterday.
According to the US officials, Qatar will receive 10 radars, 34 launchers for Patriot systems designed to counter any missile attack, 24 Apache helicopters and Javelin anti-tank missiles.
Qatar has decided to buy the missile defence systems to confront any threat from Iran to the Gulf region.
The Qatari Minister of Defence Maj. Gen. Hamad Bin Ali Al-Atiyyah signed the deal in Washington yesterday following talks with his US counterpart Chuck Hagel, AFP reported.
Officials said the US wants to preserve its role as “the favourite defence supplier” for Qatar and other Gulf countries.
The Qatari deal will enhance the US economy as it will reportedly create 54,000 jobs, the Pentagon said.
The deal came on the heels of Hagel’s visit to Qatar in December, as well as talks in May between Hagel and his Qatari counterpart.
Twenty five Israeli shells have so far fallen on Kfarshuba outskirts, Halta and Majidiyah causing only material damages, the National News Agency reported.
Zionist army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner said artillery units had fired a barrage at “suspicious positions” sighted over the border.
This came as unknown persons fired at dawn today two 107mm Katyusha rockets which landed in the area east of Metula settlement on the border with Lebanon. Lebanese army intelligence inspected the area where the rockets were being launched and found two more missiles ready for launching and defused them immediately. Another rocket exploded while still on its launchpad.
The Lebanese army found military gear in Ain Arab, reports also said.
The Army Command issued on Friday the following statement: “Today, between 1:00 and 6:00 in the morning, an unknown party fired three rockets from the area of Marjayoun – Hasbaya towards the occupied Palestinian territory. Afterwards, the army conducted patrols in the area and carried out a wide-scale search operation in which it found two platforms with two rockets set for launching, while the military expert arrived to the scene and worked on disabling the platforms.”
The Zionist army said one projectile fired from Lebanon struck “northern Israel” causing no harm or damages. “One projectile hit an open space near Kfar Yuval, between (northern Israeli towns) Metula and Kiryat Shmona,” a military spokeswoman told Agence France Presse.
The Zionist officials said it was unlikely the rockets were fired by Hezbollah and believed they were fired by a small Palestinian group in solidarity with Gaza.
The United States moved Thursday to blacklist a group of companies it claimed covertly helped Lebanon’s powerful Hezbollah movement acquire components for surveillance drones.
The US Treasury placed sanctions on Beirut-based Stars Group Holding, which it said purchased electronics and other technology via offices in China and Dubai to support Hezbollah’s military operations.
That included the development of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that the Treasury claimed were used against rebels in Syria and for surveillance of Israeli sites.
The material bought by Stars Group included engines, communications, electronics, and navigation equipment acquired from suppliers in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia.
It named for sanctions the company, its subsidiaries, its owner, executives Kamel Amhaz and Issam Amhaz, and two Stars Group managers, Ayman Ibrahim and Ali Zeaiter.
The sanctions place a freeze on any of their assets under US jurisdiction and ban Americans from any business with them.
Our earliest intimate interaction with the foreign characters in Tyrant comes in the form of an aggressive sexual assault where we quickly learn that Bassam’s older brother Jamal is a sexual predator and philanderer in a scene featuring the first close encounter with an Arab woman. She is brutalized while her husband and small children wait outside, clearly able to hear the sounds. Juxtapose this with the show’s inaugural note between Bassam’s American and non-Arab wife, and children, who are made to appear as the quintessential American family, as the teens sit discussing the prospect of being attacked during their visit to Abbudin by “them.” We are sent flashing back and forth between the naiveté of Bassam’s immediate family and episodes of violence that overwhelm and saturate the fictional land of Abbudin, with the sounds of traditional Arabic music tossed at viewers as a constant emotional trigger which exaggerates the foreign element of the land and those who occupy it. “You better be careful, this isn’t America,” warns Bassam’s teenage daughter after her brother is told he’ll be attending a bachelor party. The Arab man is a daunting figure after all and even during the bachelor party, which is held at a sauna, there is no escaping his malevolence. Bassam calls his brother out of the sauna so they may deal with the relative of a man who is allegedly planning to attack the wedding Bassam’s family is in Abbudin to attend, and then he watches as his brother beats this man nearly to death. The towel draped around Jamal falls as he applies blow after blow to the defenseless man and then attempts to cut off his fingers. Not even the shame of his nakedness pulls him away from wielding violence.
As the story marches forward we notice that Bassam, who had left Abbudin for a more tedious but unrestrained life in America, is clearly disturbed, possibly dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, and cannot even attend his nephew’s wedding without being reminded of the brutality he witnessed as a child. In a flashback we see a younger Jamal being pulled out of a vehicle by his father so he can shoot a man in the head. “The Arabs teach their children to hate,” as the stale orientalist adage goes, so it is not a far stretch for the writers to construct a murderous child influenced by the savagery of his culture. The audience now knows that his violence was part of the greater Arab mentality, which fosters a culture of hate and barbarism. Jamal’s savagery continues as we watch it being unleashed upon the next stock character we see in film and television – the Arab woman – the docile, obedient, easily manipulated and disposable creature. After witnessing his newlywed son’s wife laughing publicly alongside a male attendee of the wedding the audience immediately knows where things are going. The Arab man is angry. How dare she dishonor her husband and his relatives. Jamal soon follows her into the dressing room where she stands playing with her hair, and then the tension builds. His hands glide around the lines of her face as he lectures her on purity. “It would break Ahmed’s heart if the woman he married was not pure,” he whispers. Then, as we watch her beg him to stop, viewers are once again thrown into a brutal rape scene, this time with the second Arab woman they have been familiarized with. This is not even the last rape scene the writers crammed into the 50-some minute pilot, as later on we are shown the Arab woman at the beginning being viciously raped once more by Jamal in a moving vehicle. If you did not already view Jamal’s character as being nothing more than an insatiable barbarian it is pounded into you for good measure in that scene.
Bassam’s character, who may be categorized as being the “good Arab” in this series, is slowly undressed as we begin to examine his psychology and that of the Arab mind. Bassam is emotionally inhibited at all times and once in Abuddin his wife begins to feel a great disconnect, and the distance only grows after Bassam slaps his son across the face, twice, as she looks on – terrified. Here we find that even the “good Arab” is a monster in disguise and his identity as an American is nothing more than a frail shroud of deception, and the violence of the Arab culture is one which Bassam cannot escape, no matter how long his self-imposed exile lasts. Bassam’s wife grows anxious, confessing “I don’t know who you are anymore, I don’t think I ever did,” and suddenly a flashback: Jamal, who had been instructed by his father to kill a man, drops the gun and scurries back into the vehicle. As his father screams for him to return and finish the job we see Bassam, the younger of the pair, exit the car and stand before the man. Without hesitation he coldly points the gun at the weeping man and shoots him twice, killing him. Bassam does not flinch. The point being made here is that this is Bassam at his core, and at his core he is frighteningly cold.
The stock characters and sounds in Tyrant are the same as all other mainstream films and TV shows involving the Arabs – men with darkened beards, unnerving and penetrating rounds of ululation from veiled women and the muezzin’s call to prayer as a haunting backdrop. Then there are the elite Arabs who are flashy, play American music, and mingle with affluent white Americans. They do not adhere to religious dress codes, nor to religious moral codes, and they drink and fill themselves with the best liquor money can buy. Yet despite all this they cannot break away from the shackles of Arab society. No matter how Westernized the elite Arab woman is, with her casting away of the hijab and her captivating sexual presence, she remains a device, written into this script as being almost entirely silent but for whimpers and terse statements bolstering the fanaticism of male characters. Bassam’s teenage daughter is written into the script as being intellectually superior to the foreign Arab woman – when she is invited to the bachelorette party and told she would have fun and get a “henna tattoo” she scoffs, refusing to take part in what she finds to be a “patriarchal tradition.” The Arab woman is either dressed in subdued colours, her head lowered and sexually inhibited or she is a sensual and hyper-exotic creature that still has no authority over her sexuality but for being exploited and dehumanized by the Arab man. In Tyrant, and other similar television shows, the Arab man is a savage creature who rapes and pillages. He lovingly kisses his mother’s cheeks and hands but strikes his wife’s face and brings her crumbling to the floor beneath him. He gets drunk, dresses like the white man and speaks like the white man in bouts of broken English but is nothing more than an animal in a suit.
The evil Arab archetype is ever-present in film and television – the Arab is inept, blood-thirsty and unscrupulous in the serial drama 24, in Homeland we see the Arab and Muslim through American eyes as an abusive and murderous infiltrator and in Tyrant the one-dimensionality of the Arab is almost cartoonish. The impacts of these orientalist depictions are far reaching. These portrayals work to justify the day-to-day xenophobia Arabs and Muslims face to Israel’s current butchery in the besieged Gaza Strip; from encouraging the US spy on Muslim-Americans to rationalizing setting a Palestinian boy on fire or carpet bombing an entire people. Hollywood has not moved far beyond Lawrence of Arabia or Disney’s stereotypical portrayal of Arabs in the fictional desert-land of Agrabah who “will cut off your ear if they don’t like your face” (as the original lyric from the soundtrack goes). “It’s barbaric,” sang the peddler in Agrabah, “but hey, it’s home!” — the exotic natives dancing with veils in the streets, gargantuan swords, sorcery and over-exaggerated accents are as much a part of film and television today as they were long ago. In the 1992 film the protagonist and thief Aladdin (nicknamed “Al”) takes magic carpet rides with Princess Jasmine while in the TV series Tyrant Bassam (‘Barry’) and his family arrive in Abbudin in style by way of airplane, where they are the only passengers aboard, and their feet land on thick oriental rugs that have been laid on the ground. Here they come, straight from an American whole new world to the desert.
Israeli soldiers published dozens of pictures on social media networks calling for murdering the Arabs, and murderous acts of what they describe as “revenge” against any person who is an Arab.
Most of the pictures that spread widely in recent days are actually for soldiers on active military duty, carrying Israeli-issued weapons, and calling on their government and political leadership “to declare an open season” for killing the Arabs.
One of the soldiers even called for “exterminating all Arabs” in a picture he posted, the Arabs48 news website has reported.
Most of the pictures published by the fanatic soldiers are “selfies”, taken by the soldiers themselves, in addition to pictures of military uniforms, weapons, and chains, and many wrote on the pictures threatening words such as revenge, or “what we want is revenge”, and some even wrote “give us the chance to wipe them out”.
Even before fanatic Israeli settlers abducted, burnt and murdered a Palestinian teen in occupied Jerusalem, on Tuesday evening, Israeli security officials warned that Jewish extremists could be planning acts of abduction and execution of Palestinians.
The settlers also attacked, beat and injured several Palestinians, including children, and even tried to kidnap a number of children before they kidnapped and killed Mohammad Khdeir, 16, in occupied Jerusalem.
Hundreds of Israeli fanatics were tweeting slurs and threats such as “death to Arabs”, and acts of what they called revenge, and calling for more violence “to prevent the Palestinians from attacking Israelis”.
In addition, fanatic extremist settler, Baruch Merzel, who lives in an illegal settlement in occupied Hebron, called for using excessive force against the Palestinians, and for more of what he called “acts of revenge”.
Extremist Israeli Politician and former member of Knesset, Michael Ben Ari, also called for acts of revenge against the Palestinian people.
Many Twitter hashtags were created calling for revenge and acts of murder, some just stating “I want to murder”, and “I want weeping Palestinian mothers”, “I want Widows”, and “I Want Orphaned Palestinian Children”.
Some tweets include direct calls for murdering Arab Member of Knesset, Hanin Zoabi, although death threats against her, and various Arab members of Knesset and politicians, are not something new.
Other posts state, “the time has come to punish all Arab families, to let every Palestinian know that his wife and children, and he himself, are subject to punishment, their homes will be demolished and families will be imprisoned”.
We received word this weekend that Amer Jubran was finally granted a visit by family at the General Intelligence Directorate detention facility near Amman, Jordan this past Friday–seven weeks after he was arrested. He appeared to be in good health and his spirit remains strong.
While this news comes as a relief, we are gravely concerned that Amer continues to be detained without charges, in violation both of Jordanian law and of international standards of human rights.
Amer’s detention is a political silencing. It is taking place in the context of new “anti-terrorism” legislation passed in Jordan on June 1, 2014 that criminalizes new categories of speech. According to the human rights organization Alkarama:
“Criticizing or caricaturing a foreign leader, or more generally a policy of a third country, also falls under the definition of terrorism. Thus, any person that has ‘disturbed relations with a foreign country’ can be prosecuted. … More importantly, if an act is qualified as an act of terrorism, authorities can then bring perpetrators of the real or supposed violations, before the State Security Court, an extraordinary jurisdiction. This court lacks independence as it is directly linked to the executive branch, and its members, including one military, are appointed by the Prime Minister.”
Such legislation is designed to protect the interests of US and Israeli political domination, and not the interests of the people of Jordan and the surrounding Arab region.
The Case of Amer Jubran
Amer is a Palestinian political activist who opposed the warmaking policies of the United States and Israel during his 18 year residence in the United States. Shortly after September 2001 he was harassed by US authorities, detained, and finally pushed out of the country. He returned to Jordan, his first country of exile, in 2004. This latest arrest is a continuation of the political repression Amer experienced in the United States.
We do not know if Israel or the US ordered Amer’s arrest, but it is clear that his detention is aimed at silencing a strong voice of dissent against their policies.
We call on all supporters to remain committed to the campaign to win Amer’s freedom. We will be sending out more information soon about next steps.
Iraq is in turmoil – with ISIS controlling large areas of the country – but the truth is that it’s been in turmoil since the illegal 2003 invasion.
Iraq post-invasion had become the greatest non-news story of the modern era. The people who could not stop talking about Iraq in 2002/3 and telling how much they cared about ordinary Iraqis were strangely silent. Instead they were devoting their energies into propagandizing for another Middle Eastern military ‘intervention’, this time against Syria.
Now that Iraq is back in the western news headlines again, with calls for ‘intervention’ to counter ISIS, it’s worth bearing in mind what the architects of the Iraq war and the cheerleaders for it said in the lead up and during the invasion about the ‘threat’ from Saddam’s WMDs and how toppling a secular dictator would help the so-called ‘war on terror’ and bring peace and security to the region.
Do we really want to take these people’s advice on what ‘we’ should do now in Iraq? Up to a million people have been killed since the illegal invasion and as critics predicted at the time, the war led to enormous chaos and instability and boosted radical Islamic extremism. By their own words, let the warmongers be damned.
“He (Saddam) is probably the most dangerous individual in the world today.
Interviewer: Capable of?
Capable of anything. Capable of using weapons of mass destruction against the United States, capable of launching other military maneuvers as soon as he thinks he can get away with it…”
Richard Perle, chairman of the Defense Policy Board, mid-October 2001
The threat is very real and it is a threat not just to America or the international community but to Britain.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair, 7th September 2002
And every indication we have is that he (Saddam) is pursuing, pursuing with abandon, pursuing with every ounce of effort, the establishment of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons.
Benjamin Netanyahu, (then former Israeli Prime Minister) testifies to Congress, 12th September 2002
The document discloses that his (Saddam’s) military planning allows for some of the WMD to be ready within 45 minutes of an order to use them.
Tony Blair foreword to the infamous ‘dodgy dossier’: ‘Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction, The Assessment of the British Government, (24th September 2002
The evidence produced in the Government’s report shows clearly that Iraq is still pursuing its weapons of mass destruction programme…The Government dossier confirms that Iraq is self-sufficient in biological weapons and that the Iraq military is ready to deploy these and chemical weapons at some 45 minutes’ notice’
British Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan-Smith, 24th September 2002.
The dictator of Iraq is not disarming. To the contrary, he is deceiving.
US President George W. Bush, State of the Union address 28th January 2003.
For Churchill, this apotheosis came in 1940; for Tony Blair, it will come when Iraq is successfully invaded and hundreds of weapons of mass destruction are unearthed from where they have been hidden by Saddam’s henchmen.”
Andrew Roberts, British neo-con historian, February 2003.
He (Saddam) claims to have no chemical or biological weapons, yet we know he continues to hide biological and chemical weapons, moving them to different locations as often as every 12 to 24 hours, and placing them in residential neighbourhoods
Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defense, Press conference, 12th March 2003.
We are asked now seriously to accept that in the last few years—contrary to all history, contrary to all intelligence—Saddam decided unilaterally to destroy those weapons. I say that such a claim is palpably absurd.
Tony Blair, House of Commons, 18th March 2003.
But if we leave Iraq with chemical and biological weapons, after 12 years of defiance there is a considerable risk that one day these weapons will fall into the wrong hands and put many more lives at risk than will be lost in overthrowing Saddam.
Former US President Bill Clinton in article, ‘Trust Tony’s Judgement’, 18th March 2003.
Saddam Hussein is there- and he’s a dictator and he has weapons of mass destruction and are you going to do something about it or not?
William Kristol, neo-con pundit, chair of The Project for the New American Century and editor of the Weekly Standard, as quoted on BBC Panorama Programme, The War Party, broadcast May 2003.
And when the WMDs did not turn up?
Interviewer: Is it curious to you that given how much control U.S. and coalition forces now have in the country, they haven’t found any weapons of mass destruction?
Not at all…We know where they are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.
Donald Rumsfeld, US Defense Secretary, 30th March 2003
Before people crow about the absence of weapons of mass destruction I suggest they wait a little bit. I remain confident they will be found.
Tony Blair, 28th April 2003.
Saddam and the war on terror
There can be no victory in the war against terrorism if, at the end of it, Saddam Hussein is still in power
Richard Perle, chairman of the Defense Policy Board, mid-October 2001
Interviewer: If we go into Iraq and we take down Hussein?
Then I think it’s over for the terrorists.
Richard Perle, chairman of the Defense Policy Board, mid October 2001.
I have certainly made up my mind, as indeed any sensible person would that the region in the world, most of all the people of Iraq, would be in a far better position without Saddam Hussein… It will be far better if he was not leading Iraq; the whole of the world would be safer if that were the case.
Tony Blair, television interview, May 2002
If you take out Saddam, Saddam’s regime, I guarantee you that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region.
Benjamin Netanyahu, addressing Congress, 12th September 2002
We know that Iraq and al-Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade…We’ve learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases.
George W. Bush, 7 October 2002.
Some have argued that confronting the threat from Iraq could detract from the war against terror. To the contrary; confronting the threat posed by Iraq is crucial to winning the war on terror. When I spoke to Congress more than a year ago, I said that those who harbor terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists themselves. Saddam Hussein is harboring terrorists and the instruments of terror, the instruments of mass death and destruction.
George W. Bush, 7th October 2002.
The idea that this action (war vs Iraq) would become a recruiting sergeant for others to come to the colours of those who are “anti” any nation in the west is, I am afraid, nonsense. The biggest recruiting sergeant of all has been indecision, and the failure to take action to show that such resolve matters.
Iain Duncan-Smith, 18th March 2003
A bad bet
I feel no doubt that he (Saddam) has stockpiled some of the most vile weapons known to man. They include nuclear material. Saddam wants to dominate the Middle East, he wants to terrorise the world.. I would lay my life savings in a bet that information will emerge which proves Iraq helped al-Qaeda in the orchestration of September 11.
Ex-SAS Major Peter Ratcliffe, in the interview with the pro-war British newspaper The Sun, 4th April 2002.
Economic benefits of the war
The greatest thing to come of this to the world economy, if you could put it that way, would be $20 a barrel for oil. That’s bigger than any tax cut in any country.
Pro-war media mogul Rupert Murdoch, interview with The Bulletin magazine, February 2003
The new Hitler
Saddam is no Bismarck. He is more a Hitler. As his fate closed in, Hitler dreamt of terrible weapons. Saddam has done more than dream. He already possesses biological weaponry, including botulinum and anthrax. He does not yet have a missile system which could deliver a biological attack, but hideous damage could be inflicted by a single suicide agent with a suitcase.
Pro-war commentator Bruce Anderson, July 2002
A majority of decent and well-meaning people said there was no need to confront Hitler and that those who did were war-mongers..
Tony Blair, 28th February 2003.
What a wonderful, magnificent, emotional occasion – one that will live in legend like the fall of the Bastille, V-E Day, or the fall of the Berlin Wall….. All those smart Europeans who ridiculed George Bush and denigrated his idea that there was actually a better future for the Iraqi people – they will now have to think again…Thank God for Tony Blair and those other European leaders who defied the axis of complacency
William Shawcross, Wall Street Journal, 10th April 2003 on the toppling of the statue of Saddam.
I loathe the premise that people of colour should be ‘grateful’ that others are taking notice of their subjugation, or that they should bite their tongues and clench their fists and instead show gratitude because their varied plights are being in some way ‘acknowledged‘ by others.
“Shouldn’t you be glad that people are recognizing these issues?” is the arrogant lamentation which customarily follows even the most cautious criticism of these perverse pseudo-solidarity actions – FEMEN’s nude predominantly white, predominantly thin photo-ops “for Amina,” a 19 year-old Tunisian woman who posed for them with the words “my body belongs to me, it is not the source of anyone’s honour” scrawled across her torso, being the latest example, and KONY2012 being an earlier one. This aforementioned response contends that we should withhold criticism, alleging that even being ‘noticed’ should be good enough.
Despite having our religious attire, skin colour and even facial hair, being routinely mocked and worn as makeshift costumes as a part of ‘solidarity actions’ it is said time and time again that we should be ‘grateful’ that anyone simply has reason enough to ‘care.’
Despite the watered down slogans of liberation and freedom being copy-pasted by the parade of online followers of groups such as FEMEN many of these same activists are so inebriated with colonial feminist doctrine that they gleefully take part in patronizing, Islamophobic and misogynistic rhetoric in response to women of colour telling them that they take great offence, that their voices will not be usurped, that they are the sole guardians of their plights and no one has the authority to speak on their behalf, no matter how allegedly ‘well-intentioned’.
“Muslimah [term for a female Muslim] pride is about connecting with your Muslim identity and reclaiming our collective voice. Let’s show the world that we oppose FEMEN and their use of Muslim women to reinforce Western imperialism.”
Using #MuslimahPride many Muslim women began voicing their disapproval of FEMEN, one such woman was Zarah Sultana who posted the following photograph on her public Twitter page, which I have received permission to post here, and which in turned catalyzed many other Muslim women to do the same in an array of languages, by women from multifarious backgrounds:
The responses Sultana received were drenched in perverse Islamophobia, sexism and pure, unashamed hatred: “Fuck off back to your own country”, “burn in hell”, “grab your ankles and remain silent”, “Mohammad was a pedophile”, “put on your burka”, “she’s happy with her chains” etc.- all coming from those who, just moments earlier, were tweeting gleefully in support of Muslim women.
When it comes to non-natives speaking in regards to native issues – it is a path that must be tread upon lightly in order to avoid (a) tokenization and (b) the usurpation of native voices. Solidarity is great, but it is when campaigns turned publicity stunts like the ones FEMEN indulges in begin using brown bodies as props while at the same time perpetuating orientalism and engaging in blatant prejudicial acts to promote their idea of ‘liberation’ does this become more a theft of native voices than a rallying cry for ‘freedom’. FEMEN, and other such groups, offer no solution to the undeniable subjugated of women present in the Middle East-North Africa, it is all a show of thin, white grandeur.
Simply stating that you are in solidarity, that you support a woman’s right to don the headscarf, remove it, cover/uncover etc. is in no way dubious. It is when aforementioned solidarity crosses the red line and veers into the seizure of native voices and the tokenization of these voices does this become intensely problematic, ineffective and perverse.
Also it has long been chronicled that women of colour are often left out of mainstream feminist discourse, unless it is by means of humanitarian imperialism channels where they are simply tokenised. Bell Hooks (Gloria Jean Watkins), a feminist, social activist, does a magnificent job describing this in much of her work.
In terms of the mounting questions in regards to how one is to raise awareness in light of such groups as FEMEN: you raise awareness by highlighting native voices, not co-opting them. It is your duty to amplify, not commandeer.
As Sara Salem, PhD researcher at the Institute of Social Studies in the Netherlands, notes:
“Feminism has the potential to be greatly emancipatory by adopting an anti-racist, anti-homophobic, anti-transphobic and anti-Islamophobic rhetoric, instead of often actively being racist, homophobic, transphobic and Islamophobic. By clearly delineating the boundaries of what is “good” and “bad” feminism, Femen is using colonial feminist rhetoric that defines Arab women as oppressed by culture and religion, while no mention is made of capitalism, racism, or global imperialism. It is actively promoting the idea that Muslim women are suffering from “false consciousness” because they cannot see (while Femen can see) that the veil and religion are intrinsically harmful to all women.
Yet again, the lives of Muslim women are to be judged by European feminists, who yet again have decided that Islam – and the veil – are key components of patriarchy. Where do women who disagree with this fit? Where is the space for a plurality of voices? And the most important question of all: can feminism survive unless it sheds its Eurocentric bias and starts accepting that the experiences of all women should be seen as legitimate?”
Post-Colonial feminists worth mentioning, a few of many:
Chandra Talpade Mohanty
Responses to FEMEN by women of colour, others:
The Inconsistency of Femen’s Imperialist “one size fits all” Attitude – Bim Adewunmi
Femen’s Neocolonial Feminism: When Nudity Becomes A Uniform – Sara Salem
The Fast-Food Feminism of the Topless FEMEN - Mona Chollet
That’s Not What A Feminist Looks Like – Elly Badcock
The African History of Nude Protest – Maryam Kazeem
My piece on rediscovering Feminism
“Is Western Patriarchal Feminism Good For Third World/Minority Women?” By Azizah Al-Hibri
“Women and Gender in Islam” by Leila Ahmed
And two relevant books by Edward Saïd:
Culture and Imperialism
Citing the “collapse” of Iraq amid the ISIS insurgency and sectarian violence, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has endorsed the de-facto independence of Iraqi Kurds. Netanyahu has also called to support the “Kurdish aspiration for independence.”
The hawkish Israeli leader said on Sunday that Kurds are “fighting people that has proved its political commitment, political moderation, and deserves political independence,” Reuters reported.
Speaking to Tel Aviv University’s INSS think-tank, Netanyahu described the situation in Iraq and the Middle East in general as a “collapse,” due to strife between Sunni and Shiite Muslims.
Amid the recent insurgency of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS/ISIL) militants, Kurds have seized the opportunity to bring a long-sought independent state of Kurdistan closer to reality. Kurdish Peshmerga armed forces have been guarding their provincial borders from ISIS, but also seized the contested Iraqi city of Kirkuk, proclaiming it part of their territory.
Now, in an apparent clash against the international community’s support of a united Iraq, the Israeli leader has called to back the de-facto independence of Kurds.
“We should… support the Kurdish aspiration for independence,” Netanyahu was quoted as saying.
The United States is considering whether to bomb ISIS, a jihadist Frankenstein of Washington’s own making, whose breathtaking offensive in northern Iraq threatens the survival of the Shiite-dominated regime. Many on the Left surmise that U.S. intelligence is the evil genius behind the ISIS-led Sunni seizure of Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, and a string of population centers stretching towards Baghdad, as well as the Kurdish takeover of Kirkuk, the oil center on the edge of de-facto autonomous Kurdistan. However, such an assessment posits the U.S. and its European, Turkish, Israeli and monarchist Arab allies as masters of the universe, fully in charge, when in reality, they operate from a position of profound political and moral weakness in the region – which has led to dependence on jihadists. And, the jihadists know it.
It is true that the U.S. has been the great enabler of ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), its al Qaida-inspired rival Jabhat al-Nusra, and the smaller Islamist outfits that have been arrayed against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for the last three years. (As even the New York Times admits, all of the significant armed opposition in Syria consider themselves Islamist warriors of one kind or another.) But, too often, western leftists assume the jihadists are merely wind-me-up robots that can be pointed at designated targets, and then turned on or off or put on hold at the CIA’s whim, as if they have no ideology and agency of their own, but exist for the convenience of Empire.
In the real world, the U.S. can only point armed takfiris in directions they already want to go: at secular opponents like Muammar Gaddafi or a Shiite-dominated (Alawite) government in Damascus (and, in decades gone by, at atheistic Soviets in Afghanistan). But, when the means are available and the time is right, by their reckoning, they will pursue their own objectives, such as establishing a caliphate in Sunni areas of Iraq and Syria and waging endless war against Shiites wherever they find them – which is the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’s reason for being. To assume, as some do, that the ISIS-led blitzkrieg in northern Iraq is part of a grand U.S. plan, is to dismiss jihadists as a genuine indigenous presence in the region, as well as to minimize country-wide Sunni grievances against the Shiite regime, which has called forth a kind of Sunni united front against Baghdad.
It also assumes the U.S. has decided it has no further use for a viable Iraqi state, with or without already semi-independent Kurdistan, and that Washington would rather create conditions that would risk further solidifying Shiite Iraq’s ties to Iran, thus creating an even larger oil giant outside the sphere of U.S. hegemony. It assumes that the U.S. would purposely create a situation in which it might be compelled to deal with Iran as an equal player in a zone of great economic and political importance – a prospect that looms, as we write.
There is no question that the United States, like the European colonizers, has often pursued a general strategy to break up states (whose boundaries they often imposed, in the first place), so as to better manipulate them, and that this was an active option for Washington in Iraq in the early years of occupation. However, this does not mean that miniaturizing states is the holy grail of imperialism, under all circumstances. The truth is, the U.S. got as good a deal as it could have expected in Iraq, under circumstances of defeat– which is why George Bush agreed to the principle of total withdrawal by the end of 2011. The U.S. hung on to influence in Iraq, through the corrupt and sectarian al-Maliki government, by the skin of its teeth. (Remember that there was significant Shiite sentiment to cut all ties to Washington, in the person and militia of Muqtada al-Sadr, who launched two uprisings and called for a common front with Sunnis against the American occupiers.) U.S. policymakers are not the brightest people in the world, but rolling the dice in Iraq – where ‘craps’ could leave the U.S. in a far worse position – is simply not worth the risk at this time.
Indeed, the ISIS offensive, in which all the jihadist savageries of Syria (and Libya before it) are replayed in yet another theater of U.S.-subsidized war, presents such grave contradictions for U.S. policy in Syria as to hasten its collapse on that front.
How can the U.S. bomb ISIS jihadists in Iraq and not bomb them in Syria (along with al-Qaida affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, and all the other takfiris, now that the Free Syrian Army mirage has vanished)?
As a superpower, the U.S. always has options (“all options are on the table”), but that doesn’t mean any of them are good – and it certainly does not mean that every desperate option that Washington avails itself of is part of the grand plan. The U.S. has relied on jihadists in the region, especially since the so-called Arab Spring, not because it wanted to, but because they were the only foot soldiers available to reassert Euro-American and Gulf potentates’ power. Without the jihadists, the imperialists could only bomb Gaddafi and sanction Assad – but on behalf of whom? An armed “opposition” had to be created on the ground, which only the Salafists could effectively provide. The wholesale unleashing of the jihadist dogs of war was a sign of profound imperial weakness in the Arab world, where the U.S. is hated with a kinetic intensity and the monarchs shiver at the thought of what their own people would like to do to them – and what the jihadists will do to them, if the young warriors are not exported and kept busy.
Thirty-five years ago, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, in collaboration with Pakistan, spent billions to create an international jihadist network that had not previously existed, to bedevil the Soviets in Afghanistan. The U.S. did not invent Salafists, Wahhabism and takfiris; they are indigenous to various Muslim cultures. However, their incorporation into the imperialist armory gave this most reactionary brand of Islamic fundamentalism a global presence, capability and vision. It behaves like a form of nationalism – much like the old, secular Arab nationalism of the Fifties and Sixties, only from the Muslim Right. No respecter of borders, it seeks to unite, protect and wage war on behalf of, the “Ummah” – the “community” or “nation” of believers. As a nationalist-like current, it is inherently incompatible with U.S.-led imperialism, and will also inevitably turn on the paymasters in the obscenely corrupt Gulf monarchies. (The half a billion dollars ISIS seized from Mosul banks will surely hasten the process.)
The jihadists cannot be controlled by their imperial enablers – as the U.S. ambassador to Libya learned, in his last moments – not reliably, in the short term, and not at all in the long term. The contradictions of the relationship are now acute, the unraveling has begun, and the U.S. has no substitute for the services the jihadists provided to Empire.
So, yes, the ISIS-led offensive in Iraq is a horrific crisis for the peoples of the region, another descent into Hell. But it is also a crisis for U.S. imperialism, whose options diminish by the day.
Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
The Soaring Profits of the Military – Industrial Complex And the Soaring Costs of Military Casualties
The launch of two major wars by the US government had two major beneficiaries, one domestic and one foreign. The three major weapons manufacturers, Lockheed Martin (LMT), Northrop Grumman (NOG) and Raytheon (RTN) have delivered record-shattering returns to investors, CEOs and investment banks during the past decade and a half.
The Israeli regime has expanded its territory and increased its power and influence in the Middle East. Israel’s territorial dispossession of Palestinians, was aided and abetted by the US invasion and destruction of the Palestinian’s Iraqi allies. Washington destroyed Iraq’s armed forces and fragmented its society and state.
The cost in US physical and mental casualties runs in the hundreds of thousands of soldiers who at one time served in the war zones. The financial costs run in the trillions of dollars and counting. Both the military-industrial complex and the pro-Israel power configuration continue to wield a major role in keeping Washington on a wartime footing.
For the weapons manufactures there are no peaceful economic activities that can yield a comparable return – hence the need to continue to pressure for new wars to sustain weapons spending. For the pro-Israel power configuration, peace agreements would put an end to land grabs, reduce or curtail new weapons transfers and undermine pretexts to sanction or bomb countries (like Iran) opposing Tel Aviv’s vision of “Greater Israel”.
Yet the political and financial costs of almost a decade and a half of warfare weigh heavily on the US Treasury and electorate. The wars themselves were dismal failures if not outright defeats. New conflicts have emerged in Syria, Iraq and the Ukraine in which the military-industrial complex and the pro-Israel lobbies hope to capitalize for profits and power.
Yet the cumulative costs of past and continuing wars hangs over the launch of new costly military interventions. Political discontent among the US public with past wars also weighs heavily against new wars for profits and Israel.
The power and influence of the military-industrial complex in promoting serial wars is evident in the extraordinary rates of return over the past fifty years. Stocks in military-industries have risen 27,699% versus 6,777% for the broad market according to a recent study by Morgan Stanley (cited in Barron’s, 6/9/14, p. 19). Over the past three years, Raytheon has returned 124%, Northrup Grumman 114% and Lockheed Martin 149%.
The Obama regime talks of reducing the military budget and makes a show of doing so via the annual appropriation bill, and then, uses emergency supplemental funds to pay war costs… which actually increases military spending and fattens the profits for the military-industrial complex.
War profits have soared because of multiple military interventions in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. The lobbyists for the industry use their influence over Congressional and Pentagon decision-makers to join forces with the pro-Israel lobby to pressure for greater direct US military involvement in Syria, Iraq and Iran. The growing ties between Israeli and US military industries reinforce their political leverage in Washington by working with liberal interventionists and neo-conservatives. They criticize Obama for not bombing Syria and for withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan. They call for sending troops to Iraq and the Ukraine. Obama argues that proxy wars do not require heavy US military expenditures. Responding to Wall Street pressure to reduce the budget deficit the Obama regime argues that retreating from Iraq and Afghanistan was necessary to reduce US financial and military losses. But withdrawal also reduces profits for the weapons makers and angers Israel and its supporters in Congress.
The Fight over the Military Budget: Veterans versus the Complex and the Lobby
In the face of rising pressure to reduce the deficit and cut the military budget, the military-industrial complex and its Zionist accomplices are heavily engaged in retaining their share of the military budget, by reducing the amount allocated for the medical programs of active and retired soldiers. Disability costs are soaring and will continue for decades. The cost of health care is expected to double to 15% of the defense budget in five years and according to the financial press “that is bad news for defense stocks” (Barron’s, 6/9/14, p. 19).
In response the military-industries are pressing to close Veterans Administration hospitals and reduce benefits, claiming fraud, incompetence and inferior service. The same corporate warlords and lobbyists who pressed the Government to send American soldiers to wars, in which they lost lives, limbs and mental health, are now in the forefront of the fight to reduce spending on their recovery and health. Economists point out that the less the percentage of the military budget spent on veteran’s health, the greater the share allocated for missiles, warships and war planes. The long term costs for VA medical and disability spending resulting from the Afghan and Iraq wars are at present $900 billion and rising.
The corporate warlords are pressuring Congress to increase co-pays, enrollment fees and deductibles for veterans enrolled in public health plans.
The fight is on over Pentagon expenditures: for soldiers health or weapons programs that fatten the profits of the military industrial complex.
Syria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Bashar Ja’afari says the current tumult in the Middle East, including the crisis in his country, is a scheme by the West to safeguard Israel’s interests, Press TV reports.
“This is a geopolitical plan that is not only targeting Syria exclusively, although Syria is very important for either the success or failure of this plan, but it is targeting the whole area,” said Ja’afari Wednesday in an exclusive interview with Press TV in New York.
He said the main goal of the Western plot “is to secure for a long time the interests of Israel and preventing the establishment of Palestinian state in Palestine.”
“So they need to open up a new front, a kind of deviation, from the focus on the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian question to another focus which might be a war between Muslims and Muslims,” he added.
He further underlined that the West intends to incite divisions among Muslims under the false notion of a Sunni-Shia conflict to provoke wars between Muslim countries in the region.
The Syrian envoy went on to reiterate that the huge participation of Syrian voters in the country’s presidential election served as big “NO” message to foreign interference in their country’s internal affairs.
“Our message would be a friendly message… [that] we want to have friends and we want to have normal, bilateral relationship with everybody. We do not interfere into the American domestic affairs. Please don’t interfere into our own domestic affairs.”
According to official figures, President Bashar al-Assad won nearly 90 percent of the votes cast in Syria’s presidential race. Syria’s Supreme Constitutional Court announced that over 73 percent of the 15.8 million eligible voters had taken part in the election.