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Total number of comments: 50 (since 2013-11-28 15:36:13)


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  • Dear Rep. King: Our Civilization isn’t White and American Babies aren’t Other
  • How can Progressives get through the Next 4 Years? Organize!
    • I must disagree with one of your statements however. Many misogynists marry women, sometimes multiple women at once. And, he is a racist.

    • That is brilliant, out-of-the-box thinking Jason. Thanks for sharing.

  • Islamophobia Kills: German Munich shooter admired Breivik, Killed Turks
    • Sammur Eltaher 07/25/2016 at 8:21 am

      "They have another master narrative, and David is just too uncategorizable for it."

      Who's "they"?

  • Top 7 ways to tell if Someone is lying about being a 'Salafi Jihadi'
    • Sammur Ettaher 06/14/2016 at 9:36 am

      There isn't enough evidence to rule out the fact that this may very well have been a terrorist attack.

      Also, you should have mentioned that terrorists have, in the past, been encouraged to frequent bars and nightclubs; to remain clean shaven; and to act in a "secular" way so as to remain discreet. It's a basic tactic that they use.

      Otherwise, thanks for your contextualized analytical pieces. Every Arab, Arab American, and Muslim out there, I'm sure, loves reading your blog and is grateful for your hard work.

  • Top 5 Things for which We should be grateful to Arabic Writing
    • Sammur Eltaher 12/29/2015 at 7:16 am

      I'd also like to add Ibn Khaldun's Al-Muqaddimah (Prolegomena), written in 1377.

      Viewed by many thinkers as "the first work dealing with the philosophy of history or the social sciences of sociology, demography, historiography, cultural history, social darwinism, ecology, economics."

  • Debate: Clinton slams Iran, Putin & supports Syrian Rebels; Sanders rejects Intervention
    • Sammur Eltaher 10/14/2015 at 9:00 am

      "... which is whether to support a coalition of which al-Qaeda forms a central part against the al-Assad regime ... that is what President Obama is doing behind the scenes, via Saudi Arabia and Turkey."

      How did you come to this conclusion?

  • The Middle East warmly welcomes Iran Deal, sees it as Step toward Denuclearizing Israel
    • Sammur Attaher 11/27/2013 at 2:48 pm

      Thanks Bill. I'm not sure how my comment gave the impression that I'm a neocon... That's really, really funny given my ethnic, spiritual, social, fiscal, intellectual, academic, and national background.

      McPhee, you are a very angry person.


    • This is from a National Interest article I was reading:

      "... and just last week Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, provided an important reminder of why. Israel, he averred, is a country 'doomed to failure and annihilation', 'an illegitimate regime' led by 'untouchable rabid dogs', whose leaders 'cannot be called human beings, they are like animals'.

      There have been major mistranslations in the past as we all know. Any Farsi speakers that can confirm or provide corrections?

      Thank you.

  • The Coming Drone Wars: Iran Unveils its own Drone, with a 1200-mile Range
    • Sammur Attaher 11/19/2013 at 1:50 am

      Loving the Shia shibboleth stamped at the head of the drone... Imagine the US drones with "America, heck ya." graffitied on the left wing.

  • Commemoration of Kristallnacht in Berlin
  • US loses UNESCO Voting Rights: How Kow-Towing to Israeli Policy Weakens America
    • Bill,

      I think that you are giving G. C. Marshall too much credit. Yes he did have some foresight, in that he was only concerned with upsetting the oil-rich monarchs.

      The US support for Israel was lukewarm up until 1967. There are cases of support and opposition. For example, Eisenhower basically forced Israel to leave the Sinia after it collaborated with the French and British for the takeover.

      Everything changed after 1967. Gamal Abdel Nasser was destroyed by Israel –a man who was the soul of Arab nationalism, with aspirations for a free and powerful Arab nation (federation?) with sovereignty and control over resources. There’s one “value” point.

      Along with Turkey and Iran, Israel was policing the Middle East and controlling the region on behalf of the US and England. After Iran’s revolution in ’79, Israel became even more important for preserving US (economic – geopolitical – imperialist) interests in the middle east (and elsewhere); all that was very well aligned with Israel’s expansionist interests in the region. More “value” points.

      Israel provided (and still provides) many subsidiary services to the US. It helped the US evade the sanctions against apartheid SA; supported terrorist states and groups in Latin American when Reagan’s administration was blocked by Congress; and by proxy made America the dominant actor with the strongest military in the Middle East. Some more “value” points.

      Also, Israel is a huge financial and technological center; its high-tech industry is very closely linked with America’s high-tech industry, both very militarized… speaking of the defense industry…

      So until the National Interest can no longer be equated with short-term, economic and corporate interests, I think that the US will continue to support Israel for some more time.

  • Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Kerry in Cairo
    • Sammur Attaher 11/04/2013 at 1:39 am

      "How can you argue against Israeli violations of Arab rights when at home they actively seek out curfews, torture and suppression of human rights?"

      You meant to say Israeli violation of Palestinian rights, I'm sure.

      So basically what you're saying, one cannot argue with American violations of Mexican-American rights when in Mexico they are actively slaughtering each other, corrupting their institutions and disregarding any calls for democratic reforms.

  • Saudi Arabia forces Women to Cancel Driving Protest, Asserts Authoritarianism in Region
  • Israeli Settlers Chop down more Palestinian Olive Trees (having destroyed 800,000 since 1967)
  • Would Israel's Netanyahu really Drag US into war with Iran?
  • The Hubris of the Syria Interventionists
    • Sammur Attaher 09/16/2013 at 6:03 am

      And after the US and its allies try to improve the conditions of internally/externally displaced Syrians, maybe it then can help us create and maintain a sufficient balance of power to ensure system stability amongst the regional powers (Arab, Persian and Turkish)? That would be nice.

      I think that this NI piece below is excellent and a great compliment to Prof. Cole's timely and important post.

      link to

  • Top Ten things Americans need to Know about Syria if they're going to Threaten to Bomb It
    • Also don't forget these two essential reads:

      1. The Palestine Diary Volume 1, 3rd Edition: Britain's Involvement 1914-1945 (ISBN 10: 1419635697)

      2. The Palestine Diary, 3rd Edition: British, American and United Nations Intervention 1945-1948 (ISBN: 1419635700)

    • A great piece summarizing America's history with/in Syria.

      link to

  • How US Grand Strategy in Syria led to the idea of Missile Strikes
    • Prof. Cole,

      1. Where did you get this information from?

      2. Why would Turkey/Qatar be "undisturbed by the Al-qaeda tendencies of their allies" and subvert an anti-qaeda policy? Can you elaborate please? I don't see how that makes any sense.

      3. How can Syria go to war with Jordan in midst of a civil war? Assuming they are able to, would Jordan (my country has a tiny army) be able to fight? I would guess not. Would that mean that Israel might intervene and fight the war on Jordan's behalf? Jordan after all is one of their last few friends in the region still standing on both feet, barely.

  • Can you Pass the Qatar Quiz? (Rudolph)
    • Sammur Attaher 09/10/2013 at 9:22 am

      I don't understand #1 either. Prof. Cole previously mentioned that Turkey and Qatar support the Jabhat Alnusra in Syria to: (1) quell any Kurdish outburst in the north of Syria and (2) to further threaten Iran's stability in order for Qatar to dominate the LNG market/resources.

  • When Syria was a US Ally (or at Least Helpful)
    • Sammur Attaher 09/09/2013 at 1:49 am

      This comment by a reader provided me with some catharsis; I hope it does the same to you. I cannot believe the NYT allows Friedman to defecate all over their paper, every time.

      "Until quite recently, Europeans too had been killing each other for centuries. And the atrocities they committed in the 20th century make Assad look like a rather pleasant and civil man.

      So please, Mr. Friedman, drop the ethnocentricism. We would all do well to remember the part that we in the west played in bringing these dictators to power and sustaining them. We would do well to remember the more peaceful and incremental democratization we snuffed out in Iran in 1953; the chaos that our client state Israel helped bring about in Lebanon in the eighties; the dictatorship that was so unnaturally sustained in Egypt for so long so as to protect Israel; the chaos we in America brought to Afghanistan by supporting radical jihadists in the eighties, some of which would later rise to power as the Taliban; the support we gave to Saddam Hussein in the eighties as he and the Iranians bled each other white.

      Of course, we have also done some good in the region. While it may be true that the transitions they must negotiate throughout the Middle East are incredibly difficult, this has been the case almost everywhere a democracy has arisen, and about half the world is now "fully free" according to Freedom House.

      This was a really cynical opinion piece." -Theo Horesh

  • A US attack on Syria will Prolong the War
    • Sammur Attaher 09/05/2013 at 1:46 am

      "The sole purpose of the strikes is to punish Assad for his use of chemical weapons."

      Don't be naive. When Israel dropped white phosphorus on Gazans in 2008, the US did not bomb the Israelis, let alone condemn them. How about the US bailing out Saddam for his use of chemical weapons against the Iranis? The Kurds (years later to be used against him when it became convenient)?

      The only reason the US is condemning Syria's use of chemical weapons is because toppling the regime just happens to align with US/Israeli interests... giving them more leverage and authority in the region -the middle east to be in perpetual American/Israeli tutelage.

  • Egypt's Transition Has Failed: New Age of Military Dictatorship in Wake of Massacre
  • How Much Blood Money does the US Pay to Families of Innocent Drone Victims? It's Classified (Currier)
    • This is so terrible. I can't imagine being scared to take a walk or run an errand outdoors. It's so sad to think of the families that are suffering, especially because I've met Yemenis who happened to be soft spoken, kind, and free-spirited. Heck, my best friend is Yemeni-Austrian, the most level-headed, intelligent person I know.

      What's the rationale for the use of these drones? AlQaeda. Makes sense, except that there must be other ways -ways that don't involve an aircraft dropping bombs (erroneously) on civilians.

      I don't understand... How important are US interests in that region (MENA)? How ridiculous would it be do disengage? Let go? Why can't the US be like Iceland, or New Zealand, or Bhutan, or Malaysia, or Finland? Live and let live.

      Does the US need to be expansionist? Imperialist? It is necessary? Is it really that ridiculous to consider for a second that if the US starts cooperating (fairly) with MENA countries, instead of imposing the terms of cooperation, that terrorists like AlQaeda won't have anything to justify their attacks and condemnation (or will have much less ammunition to justify it)?

      Silly rant, I know. But I needed to say something.

      What's happening ain't right.

  • Egypt: Food Crisis looms as Interim Gov't decides to disperse Muslim Brotherhood Protesters Peacefully
    • The Arabic article highlighted another factor that drove the gov't to go with the gradual method -the MB protestors are tired of camping in tents and "in the open", and are sick of the MB leaders' promise to bring Morsi back to rule (a promise that was made more than once since the 17th of Ramadan).

  • Egypt: Elbaradei, al-Azhar, Leftist Youth Condemn Excessive Force
    • No, because he was never democratically elected and, to an extent, he was prosecuted.

  • Obama: "Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago"
    • You see nothing wrong with what Zimmerman had done? Other than the fact that he racially profiled someone, followed them even against police orders, and then confronted them... Let's disregard all that. You see nothing wrong with the fact that he shot someone? A kid? A kid that was going to the store to buy candy? That doesn't bother you? Not one bit?

  • Whites and African-Americans in America by the numbers
    • Should our white community stop glorifying heavy metal, punk rock, death metal, headbanging, general anarchy, sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll? Will that boost their average household net worth to $200,279?

      Are the rotten moral codes of artists/musicians from a certain demographic/race really representative of that of the entire race?

  • Why Cheney is the Traitor, and Why we Can't Believe Obama on Safeguards (The Ultimate Clip of Gov't Lies)
    • Peter, you don't need to give up any of your liberties for the sake of security. There's a much easier way to go about securing our country: Give up our imperialist, expansionist policies and especially in the middle east.

      How about an administration that provides the strategic direction and develops a comprehensive set of actions to ensure a vibrant academic, manufacturing and financial base for America's future? One that produces solutions to national challenges in energy, health, environment and the economy. We need something that offers hope for good jobs, new innovations and a higher standard of living.

      It really is that simple. Stop getting involved in other people's (countries') business, and focus on our own! Then there won't be any need for PRISM or any other drastic security measure... not that there already is one.

      I really don't get it. We have educated people, we have all the natural resources we need, we have all the energy sources that we need, we have more than enough food to feed everyone in the country... why can't we just focus on US? Pun intended.

  • Saudi Arabian hunter stalks desert Gazelle with pet Cheetah
  • Fathers and Sons and Chechnya
  • Top Ten Ways Islamic Law forbids Terrorism
    • 'ANY text on Earth, if taken out of context, is subject to faulty interpretation. Manipulation of texts can occur very easily if one is selective of the words and phrases..."

      Thank you Heba. And, that is why all religious texts are ridiculous. There is no god; there can't be a god. A "wise" god wouldn't have provided us with these texts in the first place because he would have figured out (he is wise, after all, right?) that we'd take everything out of context, politicize the entire thing, and hurt each other all day long.

      That is why there is only you and me. We are the life force of the universe with manual dexterity and cognitive minds. We have the power to choose who and how we want to be in the world. Right here, right now.

      "We are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively" as the great Bill Hicks once said. And that is the only thing that makes sense.

      Peace and love.

  • Christian woman in Egypt Shoe-whacks Salafi Fundamentalist for Calling her a Harlot (Photo)
    • Han,

      "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." -Great rationale. A tenth-rate thinker's classic, shorthand rebuttal.

      You sound a lot like the Islamists you condemn, many of which use the same exact claim to justify their attacks (verbal and physical) on Copts. There is no disproportion in the prominent roles and their ethnic holders. It's simply a matter of insecure, closed-minded (and powerful) individuals from the majority group persecuting an entire minority ethnic group for their (proportional) societal representatives.

      You sound too much like Enver Pasha, fearing the Armenians and arresting their notables for no (rational) reason whatsoever.

      RIP Carl Sagan said it best, "Appeal to ignorance: the claim that whatever has not been proved false must be true, and vice versa".

    • Most useful comment in this entire thread -thanks for making my day!


  • On How the visit of Iran's Ahmadinejad to Egypt was a Dud
    • Juan was talking about the Arab youth. Which khan-khalili coffeehouse have you been hanging out in? Please.

  • Muslims of Liberated Saraqeb, Syria, put up Christmas Tree for Local Christians
    • Kenbro, to the right of the tree (when facing it) it says “O’ green Syria, you are green” as in beautiful. To the left of the tree, in the smaller green font it says “Syria is for everyone (for all)”; the red font is too fancy I can’t read it.

      Generally all the graffiti seems positive and uplifting.

    • Kenbro, to the right of the tree (when facing it) it says "O' green Syria, you are green" as in beautiful. To the left of the tree, in the smaller green font it says "Syria is for everyone (for all)"; the red font is too fancy I can't read it.

      Generally all the graffiti seems positive and uplifting.

  • Israeli Vets on Israeli Treatment of Gaza & Palestinians: "It's Mostly Punishment" (Breaking the Silence)
    • They're virtually unknown to the Palestinian public, as well. I wonder how exposed the average Israeli is to this kind of information.


  • Gaza Aid Ship Estelle Commandeered by Israeli Navy; Israel kidnaps European Members of Parliament
    • Leon,

      You're right, the comparison should not have been made.

      Still, the situation in Gaza is, well, very bad. Pointing out that "... Gaza is one of the fastest growing societies in the Middle East – a testament to the fact that they are well-nourished" only serves to disinform.

      According to a report issued by the UN and the PCBS, food insecurity also at a high rate throughout 2011 despite a decline in the past three years: 27% of the Palestinian population was food insecure. The situation in Gaza remained much worse than in the West Bank as there 44% of people were food insecure. Only 23% of Gazans were food secure, compared with 45% in the West Bank. (

      A new UN report has concluded that without ‘sustained and effective remedial action’, including reconnecting Gaza with the West Bank, the deterioration of basic infrastructure in Gaza will render the region virtually uninhabitable by 2020. (

  • Romney's Five Wars
    • You do realize that you're basically in the "new left review" of American blogs, don't you? You should consider taking your heat elsewhere.

  • Caricature: Pamela Geller's Offensive "Savage" Posters Attacking Palestinian Muslims
    • Great cartoon. Pretty consistent with her claim that nude pornographic photos of Obama's mother have been suppressed, her claims that black South Africans are plotting a "genocide" against whites, her defense of accused Serbian war criminal Slobodan Milosevic, and her admiration for Geert Wilders...

  • Mursi and the Brotherhood in a Pluralist Egypt
    • Juan, Hassan was asking you to back up a claim you made. Even though I may agree with you, your reply to him shocked me.

      You spend a lot of time dismantling the belief systems of bigoted, prejudiced and intolerant individuals, yet you sounded just as hostile and rigid in your beliefs.

  • Almohad Tower of Gold, Seville (Photo)
  • All Hell is still Breaking Loose in the Arab World, Television is just not Reporting it
    • I believe Nasserism and pan-Arab nationalism that you speak of was going to ultimately strip the identities of all the different ethnic groups and tribes.

      A similar effort, in the future, that emphasizes the preservation of identity and traditions, and one that is conscious of the loyalty of different groups to distinct regions just might work.

  • Lebanon debates laws protecting women from domestic violence: Zambarakji
    • It sounds like you were speaking to a very bad man. I hope that's not the impression people have of
      Lebanese men.

    • Not sure about Jordan having comprehensive family violence laws. I remember back in '98, in Amman, my high school class and a dozen other high schools marched peacefully on the street to protest honor killings and the ridiculous 6-month imprisonment law for the offenders. We walked all the way to the minister's presidency building and camped there for hours demanding that they meet and talk about the issue.

      Nothing really happened that day because out of nowhere some tribal leaders arrived (easy to tell from their attire), stepped inside the building, and minutes later we were asked by the police to leave.

      I wasn't aware of any changes to the honor killing law.

  • 2011 Revolutions and the End of Republican Monarchy
    • Juan, no one ever talks about Jordan. The king is always praised and labeled as a modernist and so is his wife.

      Is Jordan a special case (dynamics b/w trans-jordanian and palestinian-jordanian populations)? Why is it harder for the people to mobilize and protest peacefully (i saw tiny protests there) Or is it harder?

  • Christians in a Changing Arab World are Making their own Destinies

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