We screamed Denmark. What about Saudi Arabia?

The media, in all its forms, is (and has been for a long time) a very powerful force of change. It's television, newspapers, magazines and the internet that connect us to the outside world. It was because of the news media that the whole Prophet Mohammed-Denmark issue came to light (albeit 4 months late… Better late than never, eh?). It's also because of the News media that we have not been informed of other "Islamic" (As in, things that have to do with Islam) matters… and they've had their four months grace period.

So what is the issue? Take a look at these two news sources: Source One (Arabic – recent). Source Two (English – not so recent). Sadly, the recent English source was published in the Independent newspaper of Britain (this is according to the Arabic source and confirmed by myself) and one has to pay to get the article now that three days have passed since publishing. If it is what I think it is, the Arabic source has quoted heavily from the Independent and thus, I should be able to provide the recent story.

So the Saudi government is removing such archeological finds as the the Prophet's house, the houses and mosques of the Four Enlightened (translation?) Caliphs [The first four to come after the Prophet's death], graveyards in Mecca and Medina, not to mention the cave where the Prophet received The Message for the first time and Mecca's historic library.

Those ruins and relics that have been removed have been replaced with public toilets, hotels and housing for those that come to The Kingdom every year for Hajj.

Are you serious?! Does the Saudi government have one shred of decency?! They could show this decency by not being hypocritical idiots and demanding an apology from the Danish government whilst destroying some of the most cherished relics in Islamic Civilization.

The English Article brings up the biggest thorn and ugliest protrusion in this whole scharade; the Wahabi Clerics and religious institutions of Saudi Arabia.

Never having been interested much in Saudi Arabia (although I was conceived there), I had not bothered to research deep into its historical political and cultural roots. Thus, barring the occasional class or course I had to take in school or University, my knowledge of how their present religious and political system (beyond the founding of the state and its twentieth century history) was quite scant. I had heard though that the Al Saud Clan retained its political power on condition that religious decisions and affairs are handled by other Saudi Clans.

The Howden article brought this issue up again, so I suppose it must be true. Either way, this was post was meant to say one thing: Don't you dare go on about Denmark and how you were offended that some caricaturist and Editor-in-Chief decided to publish pictures of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed as a terrorist and then take out a sizeable chunk of Islamic History and Civilization in one go.

Just in case some of you claim that the two events are different, I will admit that they are… obviously. But, if you want to tell me that the relationship I drew does not exist, or that the Saudis are not Hypocrites… go elsewhere. I see obvious, huge, colorful, bright and shining (figurative) lines connecting both events.

And hold on a second. Where is the media in all this? Why does The Independent publish a story on this last May (Yup, that's May 2005) and not one single Arab newspaper (of decent circulation) rose to discuss the issue? Is it not news-worthy? Because, hell, if this isn't news-worthy, then the Danish cartoons sure aren't. Most people haven't even seen the cartoons. So the Media inflamed their passions, which of course local religious groups and leaders used to fuel the hatred towards the west, when it comes to pictures of the Prophet… but it's alright to bulldoze his house?


And that's the way I see it.

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Pakistan: First the bomb, now the missile.

Look up a map of the world. Find Iran, it should be somewhere east of Africa (the big yellow bit in the middle). Found it? Great! Now move a bit more to the East, that's left. You should come across another yellow-ish area with the letters Pakistan written there.


Now, let's talk a bit about Pakistan. Apparently, they just tested a ballistic missile. For those that are unsure of what a ballistic missile is, let me explain. It's basically a big rocket, that travels long distances, which can be used to fire weapons at other places. Those ballistic missiles that exist today usually carry nuclear bombs. Pakistan's missile can do that as well.

So, not only does Pakistan have a nuclear bomb, it now has a delivary system, the ballistic missile, with which to launch it. Keep in mind that missiles are not the only possible delivery systems for nuclear weapons; there are planes, submarines, ships and even satellites that can be used to this effect.

Iran does not have a nuclear missile. Iran does not have a nuclear bomb for that matter. It just so happens though that Iran is not a good friend of the United States, unlike Pakistan, and thus they must suffer the consequences of the United States believing them capable of manufacturing weapons-grade fissile material. Basically, if the US thinks they can build a nuke, there'll be hell to pay.

I won't go through the whole issue, but suffice to say that I have the solution!

It isn't difficult or tough to implement. It requires no five-year plan. Impossible, you say? Ha Ha, I tell you. And so, without further ado, here are the steps required to solve this problem:

  1. Iran should declare that it embraces zionism as a legitimate and rightful ideology.
  2. They should then recognize Israel.
  3. Having done that, they should share their petroleum, and water, with Israel (and the US).
  4. All those who participated in the 1979 takeover of the American Embassy should be handed over to the United States. Better yet, they should be rounded up, given a one-week trial (we all know they did it. They're on tape for god's sake… and they're happy about it, all smiling and shit!) and then be executed by firing squad.
  5. They should pay the families of all Americans killed or kidnapped compensation for at least 100 years.
  6. The present government should step down, and the Shah's descendants brought back to reclaim their rightful throne.
  7. They should accept that the Persian Gulf be named the Arab Gulf. After all, there are 7 times as many Arab countries as them (with shores on that body of water).
  8. They should pay reperations to the victims of the holocaust. (You can't cover your bases enough in the real world. Five runners per base is only a beginning.)
  9. They should stop supporting all militias that they might be supporting anywhere in the world. Except the ones that attack communist or anti-zionist targets.
  10. They should join the War on Terror.
  11. American companies are to be given preferential treatment in their market. Tax holidays for life? Only the beginning…

These points should set them up for a good twenty-five years. Provided they don't get pissed off again.

Who said the world can't be changed in a day?!

And that's the way I see it.

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Al-Jazeera’s Egyptian Bureau Chief released

Hussein Abdel Ghani, News Channel Al-Jazeera's Egyptian Bureau Chief, has been released by the Egyptian authorities on Thursday night with a bail of 10,000 L.E. (Read more about it.)

There are a couple of points that are ridiculous about the whole issue:

First, a 10,000 L.E bail?! If you drive your car at 200km/hr and kill five people as well as injuring twenty, you could probably leave the country and never be heard of again! Without paying any bail. [Dollar-Pound exchange rate]

Second, what on earth is with the Gestapo-like tactics of arresting this man?! Keep in mind that he was "not arrested" in the beginning. Rather, he was wanted for questioning or some other ridiculous excuse.

Third, the man did say on television (and this Blogger watched the live report on television) that they had three seperate sources that verified that fact and that the Ministry of Interior denies that the event occurred. He also said that Al-Jazeera would keep its vieweres updated on the validity of these reports as soon as they recieve any more information on the matter. He clearly stipulated that they recieved three reports on the issue. There is no possible way any Arabic-speaking individual in this country could have mis-interpreted that.

But, this is Egypt for you.

And that's the way I see it.

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Egyptian government clamps down on Press. Activists Detained.

NOTE: This post covers a number of issues.Apparently, the Egyptian government needs the flimsiest of excuses to arrest members of the Press. According to BBC, Al Jazeera's Egyptian Bureau Chief (Hussein Abdel Ghany) has been arrested by Egyptian security forces.

Apparently, the man wrongfully claimed that an attack on an Egyptian police patrol had occurred in Sharkeya (an Egyptian governerate) yesterday. The thing is, I watched the man's live feed and he specifically mentioned that he had received information from three separate sources but that the Ministry of Interior is claiming that it didn't occur. Furthermore, he said that the channel will report more on the validity of the event as soon as they get more information.

Update: Apparently the government, or a representative of the National Democratic Party (NDP) ruling party, is saying that Hussein Abdel Ghany is not under arrest, and that he was merely wanted for questioning by the offices of the attorney general. Also, he says the reasons behind the "detainment" was that Al Jazeera channel displayed footage of Israeli ambulances transporting Israeli citizens, out of Taba, where bombings had occurred before, back to Israel. He also mentioned the fact that the alleged bombings in sharkeya did not occur and that Al Jazeera helped to spread panic because of these false allegations.

The funny thing is that while the NDP's man was saying that Hussein Abdel Ghany was not under arrest, merely wanted for questioning, Al Jazeera was showing footage of its Bureau Chief being transported by mini-bus to the location where he was to be questioned, surrounded by at least 5 police officers and other plain clothes security personnel. I guess this means he isn't under arrest and these officers were just helping find his way.

On another level, violence has re-ensued today in downtown Cairo near the Judge's club and Press Syndicate. This is after a series of violent confrontations that have been occurring over the past few days over an issue that has been developing for a couple of months now. Read Baheyya's posts for more information on the issue (3 separates).

There have been Egyptian citizens arrested in the early hours of Monday morning, yesterday and today during a sit-in protest at the Judge's Club. Kifaya's (arabic – English here) coverage of the matter here (arabic) and here (english) [keep in mind that the stories cover different points as they are not translations. Rather, they are written by different members/reporters].

As I write this, there are clashes between security forces and protestors in the area. For more information, visit Tomanbay's Blog [He covers news in a much more succinct and tech-wise manner].

On a more personal note, one of the protestors arrested on Monday is a personal friend of mine; Ahmed Yasser El Droubi. I can only say that the only thing that drove Ahmed to participate in the sit-in protest was his love for this country and his personal quest and contribution to the effort to bring true freedom, democracy and rule of law to this country.

Friends close to Ahmed and myself, who have kept abreast of the issue have informed me that Ahmed was transferred to Torah Prison; a place recognized by many as one where political prisoners are regularly detained and tortured. They also informed me that the security forces have renewed his detainment for a period of 15 days (one I'm told is the regular/standard detainment time in such situations).

Update(Thursday afternoon): According to another friend Ahmed is not in Torah Prison; lawyers who visited the place have not found neither him nor the other protestors detained with him. His whereabouts are, at the present time, unknown.

Update #2(Thursday Night): Apparently Ahmed and detainees of Monday night are in a station [El-Khalifa Station] (which I am not sure is a State Security one or a regular Police station) where they were first taken for interrogation and detainment.

Update #3 (Friday): In the on-going quest of finding Ahmed, the latest information is that he is being detained at Torah Prison. This is according to his mother who recieved a hand-written note, supposedly from from Ahmed. In the note he said that he is well and misses his friends and family. He also said that him and the other detainees need lawyers urgently. He also asked for a couple of cigarette cartons (kharateesh sagayer), probably for him and the other detainees.
The note recieved was written in Arabic, and in Ahmed's signature bad handwriting, which his mother recognized. Also, it seems that through contacts, a meeting with Ahmed has been arranged for saturday. This awaits to be seen.

This, of course, no way guarantees the authenticity of the note as it might have been forged. A mutual friend of Ahmed and I put to words the absurdity of the situation by saying that "what struck [him] the most is how conflicting reports are". Apparently, phone call inquiries carried out within seconds of each other would yield completely different results. This just stresses the media and information blackout that the Egyptian government has been carrying out to-date, in all its dealings with its citizens.

Ahmed's STATUS: Detained. Whereabouts Unconfirmed.

Ahmed is diabetic and thus far has not been allowed access to medical personnel, since he is not in possession of his medicines and other things that he requires because of his illness. (Video of the arrest).

Events such as these really help to spread a sense of impotence amongst people, myself included. My friend is under arrest for completely unjust and unfounded reasons and I, amongst others, find myself unable to do or say anything that would help or contribute to his release from imprisonment.

It's times like these that force one to accept even a violent solution to the problem.

And the that's the way I see it.

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Dahab and Northern Sinai – News and comments.

First, I am going to refer you to a fellow blogger's website, Tomanbay, for a better update of events on Wednesday the 26th in Sinai, Egypt.

Moving on, the main purpose of this post was to comment on posts made on another Blogger's Blog, namely Sandmonkey. Sandmonkey's post was a coverage of the Dahab bombings and that Blogger's opinion on different remarks made by Hamas and the the Israeli ambassador to Egypt.

After reading the article (linked to above), there were points of disagreements that I had with sandmonkey.

First, he quotes (source unknown to me) what Hamas's leadership had to say about the Dahab Bombing:

Ghazi Hamad, spokesman for the Hamas-run Palestinian Cabinet, called
the bombings a "criminal attack which is against all human values. We
denounce the attack, which harmed the Egyptian national security." By
contrast, Hamas had refused to condemn last week's bombing that killed
nine people in an Israeli fast-food restaurant.

Then, he comments on their comment:

Didn't they call that suicidebombing a justified act of self defense? I guess it depends who the attacks kill: Jews ok, egyptians not so much.

I think the difference in what Hamas has to say is obvious, and the reasons as well. It would make sense that Hamas would say such a thing, since the world usually holds its breath after such events; waiting to see who will claim responsibility. Hamas's response, as an entity accused of being a terrorist organization by the west, was definitely much awaited.

Furthermore, and devoid of the question of International Politics and Relations, unless the bombings in Dahab were carried out by Egyptian seperatists, or persons claiming to want independence from Egypt, the situation is quite different. Palestinians say, and I will not say are because then many will scream that I am biased, that they are fighting to liberate lands that are theirs. Lands that, according to them, are occupied.

We still do not know anything about the perpetrators of the Dahab bombings. I agree with Sandmonkey when he mentions that it depends on who the attacks kill. Of course it does! If I was at war with another country for 50+ years (not counting pre-Israeli state days) and that happened to them, I would happier than if it happened to an acquaintance, or a friend. That would be a human thing.

But even more, and I agree with this point whole-heartedly, Hamas sees that attacks (whether carried out by them or with their support and/or agreement) on Israel (whether these attacks target infrastructure, civilians or military personnel) is a natural thing in a war where thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of Palestinians (civilians and otherwise) have been killed. I have not experienced what the Palestinians have been through, but I have talked to them extensively. I have also lived in Sudan.

The Southern Sudanese there expressed the same sentiment about the Northern government and people as the Palestinians.

My own view is that Hamas's use of religion as the force from which they gain their guidance, principles or whatever is the main reason why so many people stand steadfastly against them. Westerners hear the words bomb and Middle East in one sentence and Islam gets blamed. The general idea on Muslims is that they are all terrorists. On the other hand, the PLO was never attacked as much as Hamas was. They carried out operations as well and are much older than Hamas as an entity.

But, they are a secular organization, and they recognize Israel. Two ingredients that transformed the way they were treated. Let's not forget their almost instantaneous recognition by the Israeli and Western governments.

Sandmonkey then moves on to say:

You then read in Al Arabiy[a] a that the egyptian secuirty forces has shut down the border with Israel in order to prevent any "possible suspects escape", which would only mean in the eyes of the regular egyptian that the people who were behind this act were…yes…wait for it… THE JOOOOOOOOOZZZZZZZ.

I disagree. It doesn't mean that "the Jews" are the ones behind this issue. What Egypt did was close a possible avenue of escape… perhaps they had information that pointed to the fact that this has been used before as an escape route, who knows? If anyone comes to the conclusion that it is the Israelis, and not "the Jews", who carried out the bombings… that's their own thing.

And then

Who else would we blame anyway?

I realize that this was a rhetorical, sarcastic question as posted by Sandmonkey but still… it seems that Sandmonkey had no compunctions about blaming "the Jihadis";

I am really mad because this brings back memories of Taba, and it shows that we haven't elarned shit from the previous attacks at all. It also shows that the security forces can not protect us at all, with or wiothout the emergency laws. And now, I found out that a friend of mine got injured in this attack, and lost an arm. He is 23 years old. and he lost his arm. And all I can think of is the blind hatred that is cursing through my body right now towards every single Jihady fuckhead in existance, and how I will not rest until every single one of them is fuckin whiped out, have their bodies doused in whiskey and pig piss and wraped in the cumsoaked sheets of a diseased jewish whore.

I HATE THEM SOOOO MUCH! Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

I hate all militant (and non-militant for that matter) Islamist groups or individuals as well, quite vehemently as a matter-of-fact, but the leap in logic that occurred in that large paragraph was strange. The fact that his friend lost an arm is an extremely sad and upsetting issue. I had friends in Dahab as well (Read an account), and they thankfully made it without injury, but how does this particular bombing and Sandmonkey's injured friend point to "the Jihadis"?!

It seems to me that the seem leap in logic he claimed that Egyptians would make was made by him. Technically speaking, this isn't much of a problem; as I understand it, he is Egyptian himself.

Moving on, there are certain parts of his post that I do agree with. For example,

I am so sick of this. So sick of all of this bullshit. So sick of the people dying, the jooz blaming, the ineptitude of the government who even though they have Sinai on lockdown for the past 3 years can't prevent a single attack, the inability of my people to see the nature of the ruthless enemy that is the Jihadis and how they are not our friends, and just the fuckin instability that Egypt has been in for the past 3 years.

The thing is, there are, in my opinion a plethora of factors that affect how well the security forces can do their job. I do agree with Sandmonkey that it seems that with or without the Emergency Law, Egyptian security forces are disgustingly useless at carrying out their job. Furthermore, if people who are loyal to the regime show up on television and say that these attacks and ones before them smack of foreign intervention, then, as Sandmonkey mentions, where on earth are our intelligence agencies?!

If "they" are using their agencies to do this to Egypt, it's about time that ours does something. That is, if they aren't already trying and failing… which puts us in dire straits.

Also, to be fair, Israel did in fact offer to send ambulances to Egypt. The ambulances were even filmed by the Israeli border. They also activated an IDF crisis rescue (we were not told the Unit name nor designation) unit and put them on alert. I am guessing the Egyptian government did not need, or did not want, assistance. Also, watching the live coverage that Al-Jazeera (English here) had going of the bombings, I have to say that the dead and wounded were transferred relatively quickly to hospitals in Dahab and then Sharm El Sheikh.

Finally, to summarize a relatively long post, the whole point behind this post is thus: coming to conclusions quickly is simple, everyone does it. Offering quick-cut, easy answers is also simple. I'm not saying that simple answers are always wrong, Okum would be quite upset indeed, just that reverting to them all the time just because others do isn't the best thing to do.

And that's the way I see it.

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Leave Iran be. Or don’t, it’s your funeral.

The topic of this post is: Iran.

For the past two years now it seems that the International Community, in the form of the United States, has been hounding Iran about its nuclear program. Apparently, it isn't ok for Iran to have their own nuclear reactor(s). But, many of my friends and people that I know think that I'm not looking at this from the correct angle.

So I asked them: what am I missing?

Basically, the popular thought is that Iran's government is crazy. The moment they get nuclear weapons, they will use them against Israel. Hold on a second. The Iranian government aren't what they are because they're stupid. I think that Iran has a shrewd government. Let's say they do get nuclear weapons. There is no way in hell that they will use them on Israel knowing the Death shall rain down on them from the heavens AKA Lots of Minuteman and Peacekeeper ICBMs launched from Wyoming, the Dakotas, and other bases throughout the United States, will level the country into oblivion… and beyond.

I sincerely doubt that Iranians, including members of the government and people in power, are suicidal enough to do something like that. Futhermore, Iran has a right to develop its nuclear technology peacefully. The NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty), of which they – and the US but not Israel – are a signatory, assures them this right. [Extra information about NPT and the additional protocol from Wikipedia here. IAEA Board of Governers Report on Iran's Nuclear Situation in September 2005.]

Admittedly, the report mentions that Iran was late declaring certain important things. But, the report also mentions that Iran has taken steps to rectify the situation and the steps were acceptable by the IAEA.

Iran, as do other nations around the world, believe that they are being targeted for the possiblity of them developing Nuclear Weapons. Israel is already in possession of Nuclear Weapons. I don't blame them for possibly believing that this is a wee bit unfair.

The obvious issue then, is that the United States (and allies) do not want an enemy state (Iran in this case) gaining such a "card" in the international game of "power" relations. Having nuclear weapons will mean that iran will pose a threat, however miniscule (though a nuclear weapon – if only one bomb – is not a small nor trivial matter at all) some might believe it would be.

With all the links that are in this post, I won't go on any more about the issue… what I will do is give you access to even more links that I came across while researching the matter in more detail:

Another Blogger', Ramblefish, view on the matter.

Some of the IRNA's (Islamic Republic News Agency), Iran's official news agency, stories:

The IAEA has an Iran file timeline on their website which might be useful to those that which to know more details about the whole issue (since 2004).

Of interest: CNN's bumbles and blunders. Pathetic, but expected.

Finally, and because this is a blog… the following are links to Iranian Blogs which may, or may not have more information on the matter. Most interesting is the Iranian Vice-President's Blog.

An Iranian news blog.

Iranian Blog (Iran-based).

Iranian Blog (Los Angeles based).

Another Iranian Blog. All in Farsi, but check out the photos.

And that's the way I see it.