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ARABICA - A Daily Shot Of What the Arab World is Saying/Hearing/Sharing

ARABICA - A Daily Shot Of What the Arab World is Saying/Hearing/Sharing
Kristen Gillespie

A R A B I C A ارابيكا

*Bahraini newspaper Al-Wast and other Arabic outlets have published purported comments by the brother of the African maid allegedly assaulted by IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is a devout, veiled Muslim. "She is a committed Muslim and wears the veil," the woman's brother is quoted as supposedly saying to French daily Le Parisien. Commenters wrote that Strauss-Kahn will be judged harshly by God for his sins, and offered rare praise for the United States as "a democracy that does not discriminate." But the Le Parisien article in question makes no mention of the woman being either Muslim or veiled. Her brother is simply quoted as saying that her lawyer is speaking for her in the media.

*Calls for a general strike on Wednesday in Syria went mostly unheeded, as activists told wire agencies that the government's military and intimidation campaign is working. Still, snippets of protest footage is leaking out and being posted online. Here, several hundred people march through the covered market of Homs shouting slogans such as "leave, leave, leave" directed at President Bashar al-Assad and "the people want the regime to fall." A small protest in the Kurdish town of Qamshili is here, and a nighttime march in Aleppo is here.

*As the body count in Syria approaches 900, according to activists on the ground, and the military siege continues in several Syrian cities, the privately owned Al-Watn newspaper quotes someone who quotes the Syrian president as saying that mistakes have been made by security forces during the two-month uprising.

*The paper praised Assad for "accepting all opinions with an open mind" during a meeting with a 12-member delegation of youth and business leaders from the Meedan district of Damascus. "A member of the meeting, Amr al-Sirwan, said that the meeting was very good and that during it, a wide range of topics was discussed candidly." Al-Sirwan goes on to cite Assad, who "assured the delegation that remedies will be found and will focus on what citizens really want, but within a studied, scientific, correct framework that focuses on studying reality and the source of the problem in order to treat its causes."

This cartoon published on the "We are all Khalid Said" Facebook page shows former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak standing on a pile of bullet-ridden bodies and saying, "I'm sorry." The writing on the side of the cartoon reads, "The former president asks for a ‘pardon."" The cartoon refers to reports in the Egyptian press that Mubarak is preparing a letter to ask the ruling military leadership for a full pardon. "No pardon – we want our rights," writes Salma Hagazy under the cartoon.

May 18, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

How Biden's Mideast Stance Weakens Israel And Emboldens Iran

The West's decision to pressure Israel over Gaza, and indulge Iran's violent and troublesome regime, follows the U.S. Democrats' line with the Middle East: just keep us out of your murderous affairs.

Photo of demonstration against U.S President Joe Biden in Iran

Demonstration against U.S President Joe Biden in Iran.

Bahram Farrokhi


The Israeli government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is weak both structurally and for its dismal popularity level, which has made it take some contradictory, or erratic, decisions in its war against Hamas in Gaza.

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Other factors influencing its decisions include the pressures of the families of Hamas hostages, and the U.S. administration's lukewarm support for this government and entirely reactive response to the military provocations and "hit-and-run" incidents orchestrated by the Islamic Republic of Iran and its allies, which include Hamas. Israel has also failed to mobilize international opinion behind its war on regional terrorism, in what might be termed a full-blown public relations disaster.

The administration led by President Joe Biden has, by repeating the Democrats' favored, and some might say feeble, policy of appeasing Iran's revolutionary regime, duly nullified the effects of Western sanctions imposed on that regime. By delisting its proxies, the Houthis of Yemen, as terrorists, the administration has allowed them to devote their energies to firing drones and missiles across the Red Sea and even indulging in piracy. The general picture is of a moment of pitiful weakness for the West, in which Iran and other members of the Axis - of Evil or Resistance, take your pick - are daily cocking a snook at the Western powers.

You wonder: how could the United States, given its military and technological resources, fail to spot tankers smuggling out banned Iranian oil through the Persian Gulf to finance the regime's foreign entanglements, while Iran is able to track Israeli-owned ships as far aways as the Indian Ocean? The answer, rather simply, lies in the Biden administration's decision to indulge the ayatollahs and hope for the best.

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