Things might be going real slow. Like the upcoming visit by George Mitchell is yet to be announced. (last time I checked.) Nevertheless, there are signs of improvement. They’re warming up to each other.

Two statements are of note here.

 The first is by president Assad during a meeting with Senator Ted Kufman. He said that he values Barack Obama’s approach of resorting to dialogue to address critical issues.

 The second one is by Buthayna Sha’ban, President’s Assad media and political adviser. She said that with the coming of new administration, a new set of political principles are now looming on the horizons; principles that believe in mutual interests and dialogue between world states. 

The sudden conflict followed an 18-month period in which the Israeli army had subjected the inhabitants of Gaza to an unremitting blockade, preventing virtually all movement of people and goods in and out of the territory and stoking a growing humanitarian catastrophe. The blockade throttled almost all economic life and led growing numbers of Palestinians to become dependent on international food aid; even terminally ill patients were prevented from leaving to obtain medical care that could not be provided by Gaza’s resource- and medicine-starved hospitals.

 Tsk. Tsk. This unfortunate tripe by Amnesty International will help give rise to Anti-Semitism around the world. What a bunch of hypocrites. Shame on them. (/sarcasm)

– It’s completed drilling another well at the location which is expected to increase the production from 100,800 barrels of oil per day to 18,000 BOPD. Not grand, but then if oil prices remains at 50 $ per-barrels it’s not bad either.

– It’d completed 3D seismic scans of 850 Sq. KM. The data still need to be processed before commercial viability becomes clear. Fingers crossed.

Source.

Who said you can’t justify theft of land. And better yet, who said you can’t justify the continuous theft of land?

 “There is no way that we are going to tell people not to have children or to force young people to move away from their families,”

A question was posed in my favorite blog, SyriaComment (I should pay dues since this blog, like few others, had initially spawned from SC!). In the light of the recent dominoes-like fall of the Israeli spies’ network in Lebanon, one commenter had wondered: what is the difference between spying for Israel and being an agent for Iran? (or something to that effect).

 

I shouldn’t ignore the sectarian implication of the question, though, one has to ask, why the question was put in the context of the political bickering in Lebanon? Like: Israeli spies vs. Iran’s agents? And why the question wasn’t, for instance:

 

What’s the difference between an Israeli spy and a Saudi agent in Lebanon?

 

You see, ladies and gentlemen, both questions are ridiculous and they both border on the disgusting. Equating a political faction that is allying itself with a regional player, with a spy who’s rendering services to an Enemy, is nothing short of stupid.

 

People seem to forget that Israel had invaded Lebanon not too long ago, killing thousands of Lebanese and Palestinian civilians in the process. That Israel is still an enemy of Arab states. No matter how you look at it. Of course, there have been various degrees of normalization and easing of relationships. But I assume the governments that have initiated these ties know what they are doing.

 

Here’s a good question: what’s the difference between an Arab regime that is cooperative with Israel (be it in economics, defense ..etc..), and an Arab citizen who’s working as a spy for Israel?

 

There is still a difference of course. But I hesitate to see it because of the hypocrisy of these regime that have opened up to Israel. While they maintain communications with the Zionist state, they don’t allow their citizens to interact comfortably with it in any way, shape or form. Take for instance the recent draft law in Egypt that proposes the revocation the citizenships of all Egyptians who’re married to Israelis. Or the endless questioning and debriefings of those who had travel to Israel. This kind of bewildering, half-assed approach to your former enemy is ridiculous. It’s like the regime wants the perks of being friendly to Israel, but will not allow its public to get past the enmity mentality. Don’t get me wrong here, though. I’m not advocating normalization with Israel. I’m just saying that regimes don’t have the right of persecuting the citizens who decided to visit or establish relationship with a country that is no longer an enemy to their own.

 

Back to the spies in Lebanon. It’s assumed that they have contributed, or tried to acquire, sensitive information on the intention of delivering all to Israel. In any job’s code of ethics, divulging a sensitive secret of the company you work for is a breach of trust that may cause termination and probably even a lawsuit. Now what if these information were delivered to your enemy, with the intent of using them to harm your own countrymen. This is, in my opinion, is one of the ultimate crimes. Second worst to pedophilia and serial slaying.

 

I’ve thought about the motivation behind these traitorous acts, too. I could only hope that the reasons these gentlemen fell into the of treason is their uncontrollable greed. I can’t imagine why would they conspire with Israel on mutual interest or ideological grounds. I just hope it’s not the case.

 

Finally, I must remind myself and you that all kinds of people are equally susceptible to treason. Lebanon is in a unique position of high exposure and massive vulnerability. And hence the numbers of spies are comparatively higher. Give me any other state where the security control of the central government is as feeble, and you will get the same result. Bottom line is: is not a Lebanese thing to be a spy. (like some would like to insinuate)

Al Arabiya Goofs

May 27, 2009

Today, in their overage of the establishment of a new French military base in the UAE, Al Arabiya TV had stated in the beginning of their report that the base is the ‘first French base in an Arab country’. A minute later, there was a statement from the French defense minister, in which he said that French military bases in the UAE and Djiboutiwill be playing an essential role in the fight against marine piracy. Djibouti is a member of the Arab League

The difference is that the base in Djibouti was established when the country was under the French mandate. And it’s a hub for the feared and revered FFL (French Foreign Legion). But I doubt if Al Arabiya had dug that deep.

Hello, and welcome to my blog. I hope this won’t be your last visit.

People will generally have reservations toward blogs from the Middle East that are written in English for two reasons:

 1- There isn’t freedom of speech in the ME anyway, so why bother with another blog which no one is going to read and will have no impact whatsoever on public opinion?          

That could be true to some extent. However, and while I value dialogue and freedom of speech immensely, it’s not my intention to change anyone’s opinion. My only endeavor is to express mine. My views to you could appear harsh, ill-tempered, passionate, lax, blasphemous or just plain dumb. Nonetheless, please feel free to share your feedbacks. I could only request that they be honest.

 2- The proportion of people who speak English in the ME is too small they almost don’t count. And the percentage of those among them who read blogs is even smaller.

 Well, this is also correct to some point. But my guess is that while the numbers of people who read blogs on a regular basis are small and inconsequential, they do count on the grounds of influence and power. I hear that quite few leaders in the middle east read blogs regularly. And one particular president even browses for himself, eliminating the factor the meddling entourage. (I wonder how they do it, though. I picture a president sitting at his plush mahogany desk while a lackey comes in with a sheaf of papers, on which are prints of carefully selected (and maybe even doctored) blogposts written by average citizens. Oh the joy)

 Apart from the high echelon of leaders; there are the kind of people who work in strategic research in the Middle East and around the world. I’m assuming these folks read blogs for living. Especially in places where the press is state-owned and opinion polls are a no-no. Blogs, twitter and even Facebook status could be of a great help. If you happen to be one of this clique, then you must know better than to rely solely on this blog for your research. I’m only representative of me.

 The first post is always the toughest. I’m not sure why it is necessary, anyway. But now that it’s done and over with, let’s get the real issues. Fasten your seat-belt and enjoy the ride.