Archive for May, 2007

Thought i would point to this article. Rania Al Malky covers the prospects of blogging as medium for promoting reform in Egypt. A good read for anyone not familiar with the recent rise of political/activist blogging that has been concurrent with the emergence (and, premature dissipation) of Kifaya.

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I havent actually read the book, Drinking the Sea at Gaza (note to self). But i distinctly recall someone bringing up stories from the book about the first Intifada. Apparently, ‘activists’ would run into civilians’ homes with the IDF in hot pursuit. The strategy was meant to aggravate the Palestinians with the inevitable and indiscriminate damage the Israeli’s tend to leave in their wake. And rise they did.

Al-Jazeera interviewed Palestinians who’ve fled the camp. According to one woman:

Fatah al-Islam snipers had taken over the roofs of many of the houses in the camp. “They would aim at the Lebanese army from our roofs and above our garages so that the army fire back at us and they did,” she said.


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So Mahdi Akef released a statement on IkhwanOnline yesterday entitled Conspiracies against the Nation (Umma): Symptoms and Confronting Them (or something of the sort). He goes on about the various political, economic, cultural conspiracies against the Muslim Nation. At the end, however, there’s a sneaky little paragraph entitled Internal Help for External Conspiracy in which he groups secularists and liberals along with corrupt rulers and spies as internal traitors who’ve tied their fate to that of the external conspirators. (UPDATE: forgot the link)

أعوان الداخل على تآمر الخارج

رغم خطورة هذا التآمر الخارجي المذكور.. إلا أنه ما كان له أن يحقق أهدافه أو يجني ثماره إلا من خلال أعوان له بيننا، يتكلمون بلساننا، ويتسمَّون بأسمائنا، ويُحسبون علينا، ومع هذا فقد آثَروا أن يربطوا مصيرَهم بمصير المتآمرين علينا، ومصالحَهم بمصالحهم، ولو على حساب بلادهم وشعوبهم!! وهؤلاء قد سقطت عنهم أقنعتُهم، فمنهم بعض الحكام المفسدين المستبدِّين والطغاة الظالمين، ومنهم- أيضًا- بعض المحسوبين على النخب المثقفة من العلمانيين والليبراليين، الذين تغذَّوا على زاد الغرب، وأصبحوا مبهورين به، منادين باتباعه، في جدِّه وهزله، وخيره وشره، ومنهم- أخيرًا- العملاء المأجورون والجواسيس الخائنون، الذين باعوا دينَهم ووطنَهم وأهلَهم بلعاعة من الدنيا رخيصة

Just the sort of thing you want to be saying as people begin to reconsider you (see the link to Arabist from here).

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Space China

One more area where China is pushing for influence despite US obstruction. Excerpt:

Beijing is trying to position itself as a space benefactor to the developing world – the same countries, in some cases, whose natural resources China covets here on Earth. The latest, and most prominent, example came last week when China launched a communications satellite for Nigeria in a project that serves as a tidy case study of how space has become another arena where China is trying to exert its soft power.

Not only did China design, build and launch the satellite for oil-rich Nigeria – it also provided a huge loan to help pay the bill. China has also signed a satellite contract with another major oil supplier, Venezuela. It is developing an earth observation satellite system with Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iran, Mongolia, Pakistan, Peru and Thailand. And it has organized a satellite association in Asia.

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Here‘s Fisk’s article on the events is Lebanon. It’s nothing special but it illustrates something i’ve been complaining about.

Let me take a step back for a second. But first, i would like to assert that like just about every other commentator, i am extremely qualified to spew bullshit about Lebanon. Anyway, on Monday, when I started to look into the whole affair, two “facts” emerged: a link to Syria; and link to al-Qaeda, specifically Zarqawi. Puzzled by the incongruity, it wasnt long before i found out (from the Reuters Factbox) that this purported link seems to be little other than the leader of the group (Abssi) receiving a similar in absentia sentence for the same crime (assassinating a US diplomat in 2002) in Jordan. But a quick look through the Sunday and Monday media shows at least consensus on the existence of a “link” if not on the degree.

Back to Fisk. I like the fact that the article highlights something i feel is often forgotten: Though the theory has yet to be proven, in Lebanon of all places i doubt there are even six degrees of separation, especially if they are links of violence. The media needs to be more careful (or have a little more integrity –  hah!) when covering things they just dont understand.

And ultimately I really hope the ceasefire holds and the Lebanese (and Palestinian refugees) dont let it spiral out of control. Gaza is enough stress.

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this is really funny.

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Apparently the DoD just blocked access to MySpace and YouTube for “bandwidth” reasons. I’m not so sure it’d be crossing that fine line between skepticism and conspiracy theory to say: “My ass it’s for bandwidth!”

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