Shadowy Viral-Media Campaign Shaping Events in Syria?

Not the Gay Girl in Damascus.

Got your attention, didn’ t I?

Yes I did, just like the two big stories about Syria that rocketed to the top of the Internet’s “trending” charts over the past few days. No, I’m not talking about the alleged massacre of Syrian security officials in Jisr al-Shughour or the government’s planned response. I’m talking about the fake resignation of Syria’s ambassador to France on live TV, and the strange story of Amina Abdallah Araf al-`Omari’s disappearance.

For those of you who are not on Facebook or Twitter and have not checked a Google News page in the past 48 hours or so, here’s the skinny:

  1. France 24 was apparently “the victim of a hoax” yesterday when a woman pretending to be Lamia Chakkour, Syria’s ambassador in Paris, told the channel on live television that she was resigning from her post as an expression of protest against her government’s handling of the crisis in Syria. The odd thing is that the France 24 producer who had arranged the interview had done so in advance by communicating via email with the embassy, so it’s not like someone just called up the station in the middle of a random broadcast. Furthermore, Reuters apparently confirmed the resignation later in the day by calling the embassy and inquiring about its legitimacy. The hoax, then, seems to have been an inside job.
  2. The second big story is about the alleged disapparance of Amina Abdallah Araf al-`Omari, the Syrian-American author of a wonderful blog entitled “A Gay Girl in Damascus“. When news that she had been abducted was posted on her blog by her cousin Rania, the internet exploded: a Facebook group generated over 12,000 members in a single day; the US Embassy began searching feverishly for evidence that she did in fact hold an American passport, as a prelude to tracking her down in Damascus; and thousands of new readers flocked to her blog with messages of support from all over the world. Then, later yesterday evening, it became clear that a photo of her published by The Guardian was actually of somebody completely different, and NPR’s Andy Carvin (along with some other folks at The New York Times’s Lede blog) discovered all kinds of other interesting contradictions and puzzles about the story.

[In the spirit of these stories, here begins the shameless rumor-mongering, leading-question section of this post]:

So, what’s going on? Is the Gay Girl in Damascus a real person?! Did the Syrian Ambassador in Paris really call France 24 and resign only to recant the next day?! Is the Gay Girl in Damascus really the Syrian Ambassador in Paris?! Are they both fictitious people concocted by a shadowy viral media campaign that is wagging the Syrian dog? Stay tuned [menacing cackle…]
wordpress stats


166 thoughts on “Shadowy Viral-Media Campaign Shaping Events in Syria?

  1. Interesting post Elias…

    There seems to be more going on behind the scenes when it comes to the media and what is being reported. Some of the anti-regime videos released on facebook in the early days seemed too slick compared to what could be produced locally.

    The Gay Girl blog came across too western in the writing (I admit to reading only a couple of entries) and a bit too sensational (then again reality always trumps what we can imagine). II was surprised initially that it would be done in Google blogger (given that it was blocked in Syria until recently). However, an Arab American could have that style.

    Then we are shown the videos of the defecting officers (

    Obviously, having independent media in-country would have reduced the incidence of false reporting as it would have been easier to cross check the report.

    Posted by Nabil | June 8, 2011, 1:14 pm
  2. HK is gonna have a field day with the conspiracy theories here….
    Queue “White House Murder Inc.” in 3, 2, 1…

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 8, 2011, 1:23 pm
  3. Gay Girl in Damascus?

    How could that be? I for one can tell you that there are no homosexuals in the Middle East.

    Posted by Gabriel | June 8, 2011, 1:28 pm
  4. Typical Psy-Ops, this time with a Frenchie twist who are becoming subservient and Zioconned top to bottom 🙂

    Posted by HK | June 8, 2011, 1:29 pm
  5. @ Gabriel #3


    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 8, 2011, 1:30 pm
  6. I feel duped…Gay Girl in Damascus had a great post a few weeks ago about her dad. I uncritically fell for it and just assumed the story would be true if a blogger wrote it. Even defended the whole western accusation towards it from friends. Makes one really have to rethink how to remain critical online without becoming a total skeptic. Where is the line. Still, much respect to the person who put this hoax together. Wouldn’t you be feeling cool if it was you and nobody knew 😉

    Posted by joe | June 8, 2011, 1:37 pm
  7. Well we don’t know yet if it’s a hoax…

    Also, I think QN’s been duping us this entire time. I think QN and HK are the same person.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 8, 2011, 1:49 pm
  8. The mysterious East. Orientalism, anyone?

    Posted by Sam Adams The Dog | June 8, 2011, 1:49 pm
  9. What about the Estonians ?

    Here’s my dedication to Bashar … right here on QNXP radio station:

    When I find myself in times of trouble, mother Mary comes to me,
    speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
    And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me,
    speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

    Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be.
    Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.

    And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree,
    there will be an answer, let it be.
    For though they may be parted there is still a chance that they will see,
    there will be an answer. let it be.

    Let it be, let it be, …..

    And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light, that shines on me,
    shine until tomorrow, let it be.
    I wake up to the sound of music, mother Mary comes to me,
    speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

    Let it be, let it be, …..

    Posted by R2D2 | June 8, 2011, 2:40 pm
  10. Look, Sarkozy hates Assad, the Kings Abdullah hate Assad, and the Israelis and Americans would like Assad gone and their lickspittle to replace him. Given the number of secret services out to get Assad, it is highly likely that they could have intercepted the ‘phone calls and e-mails to create this false story.

    I would also add a third possible example, that boy who was captured by the Syrian secret police and tortured to death. I know that the Syrian secret police are reputed to be none too bright but they are not so stupid as to return evidence of their alleged handiwork for all to see. If they wanted to send a message to the family, and I don’t see why they would want to, just shooting the kid and dumping him in the morgue would be enough. If they had really “gone to town” on him, they would have disposed of the body so that nothing remained to incriminate them. Salafists, sponsored by Saudi Arabia, have in the recent past demonstrated a singular lack of respect for their fellow Muslims, so while it might have been the Syrian secret police, it could equally have been a Saudi black op using Salafists.

    Posted by blowback | June 8, 2011, 4:12 pm
  11. “Is the Gay Girl in Damascus really the Syrian Ambassador in Paris?! ”

    LOL! 😀

    Posted by rouba | June 8, 2011, 4:27 pm
  12. GK,

    Is Bob Gates planning a quick and immediate exit from AfPak and Iraq soonest? 🙂
    If he isn’t, he should…

    U.S. Has Record $61.6TRILLION In Liabilities And Is Borrowing Astonishing $125billion A Month…, rattling the World….

    Fitch: US Treasuries could be rated junk in August — Reuters

    World on U.S. Debt Default: ‘Frightening,’ ‘Huge Panic Globally’ — Advisor One

    U.S. panic over potential debt default well-founded — Neil Reynolds, Globe And Mail

    Zombie spending and US debt — Bill Bonner, Christian Science Monitor

    The Economy Is Worse Than You Think — Martin Feldstein, Wall Street Journal

    Posted by HK | June 8, 2011, 4:42 pm
  13. All in a Days Work

    HK is gonna have a field day with the conspiracy theories here….
    Queue “White House Murder Inc.” in 3, 2, 1…


    Not only that, but our idelogical hero HK has worked for both “Murder Inc” and the GOI by his own admission!

    I wonder if that makes him an accessory…

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 8, 2011, 4:57 pm
  14. BV @7,

    looooooool… Did you have to unveil him? Are you Mossad? 😀

    Posted by danny | June 8, 2011, 5:05 pm
  15. By the way, has anyone heard from Alex lately?

    When even the Syrian authorities acknowledge losing control over parts of the Deir-El-Soughour area, I have to wonder how his “Only 300 people” theory is holding up…

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 8, 2011, 5:06 pm
  16. Well I must say, I’m also wondering when and if Fisk’s theory will come into play. With refugees streaming into Turkey already, when will the Turks be moving their noble army in to create safe zones within Syria.

    Posted by Gabriel | June 8, 2011, 5:14 pm
  17. Alex is misunderstood by us…Except off corse his mukhabarati comrade QN. It is 300 brave men from the movie lol…He has been cheating by watching the movie version of his hallucinations.

    Posted by danny | June 8, 2011, 5:14 pm
  18. Gawd…

    Not more people going on about Orientalism.


    Posted by Gabriel | June 8, 2011, 5:17 pm
  19. Yes! yes you did. lol, excellent questions….

    Posted by Zenobia | June 8, 2011, 5:28 pm
  20. Mmmm :).

    Zenobia is Syrian American…

    Any chance you ride a motorbike?


    Posted by Gabriel | June 8, 2011, 5:32 pm
  21. QN,
    Did you neglect to label this post as a Qnion contribution on purpose, to see how many are paying attention? 🙂

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | June 8, 2011, 5:55 pm
  22. Ghassan,

    This is no Qnion! This is serious business!

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 8, 2011, 6:20 pm
  23. :)….. i did live in San Francisco for twenty years…….

    Posted by Zenobia | June 8, 2011, 6:28 pm
  24. BV,
    ou are right, forgot that the whokle world is conspiring against Bashar because they do not like the way he looks. Give me a break.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | June 8, 2011, 7:41 pm
  25. My favorite activity when I’m bored is to take a mix and match of the conspiracies du jour and the actors du jour and come up with some peacemeal new versions of events.

    So with that in mind:

    It seems the gay and lesbian zionists of San Fransisco have a beef with Bashar and a crush on Bashar’s glamorous wife and are conspiring along with murder inc, the salafists and none other than our own Hariri Jr. to bring him down.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 8, 2011, 8:05 pm
  26. Well you know what they say…

    If you want to get to know some attractive lay-deez, then make yourself some gay friends.

    With her looks, the Rose in the Desert is undoubtedly quite the fag-hag.

    Your theory BV is not all that implausible.

    Posted by Gabriel | June 8, 2011, 8:12 pm
  27. Piece d’Resistance


    In these deeply thought-out conspiracies, one must not forget to bring the rogelah to the meetings in Herzlia in order to make a good impression.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 8, 2011, 11:06 pm
  28. This is in reply to GK in the previous thread re: Constitution.

    GK, surely Jumblatt is right. Once the Cabinet fell in January, Parliament enters a period (or session) in which its only permissible business is to ratify the new Cabinet. That session ends once a new Cabinet is in place. During that period Parliament may not convene to do anything else.

    Posted by Jonathan | June 8, 2011, 11:52 pm
  29. AP, # 28

    As expected, you are simply beating around the bush, hence you’re not worth my time.
    Rogelah is in Weston, FL. I was talking about rugelach, may be you need to revisit
    your Zionism 101!


    Posted by HK | June 9, 2011, 3:40 am
  30. …..بحث بشار الاسد مع رئيس “جبهة النضال الوطني” النائب وليد جنبلاط صباح اليوم

    تناول اللقاء الاحداث الخطيرة التى تشهدها سوريا بسبب ما تقوم به التنظيمات المسلحة من عمليات قتل وترهيب واستهداف لامن

    سورية وشعبها، حيث اعرب النائب جنبلاط عن ثقته بقدرة سورية على تجاوز هذه المحنة

    CIA/MOSSAD will have a full report today from the skunk walid jumblatt.
    Expect to see him soonest meeting with SHN in Dahieh 🙂

    Posted by HK | June 9, 2011, 7:08 am
  31. HK strange “pro-Hezbollah” work ethic exposed


    I’M “beating around the bush”? I think you have that backwards HK.

    You’re the one who complains on this website everyday about the evils of the CIA, the Mossad, and Zionism, yet you claim claim you’re a “CIA asset”.

    Naturally, this creates many questions for most of us on this website.

    A couple of days ago you stated:

    “I am the one and only CIA asset & Psyop agent on QN!….don’t tell anyone also that I had numerous meeting lately with CIA in DC, at varous SCIF facilities…

    Yesterday you stated that:

    …I did keep my real opinions secret at my other meetings in Herzliya (north of Tel Aviv), where I was very well received by my Israeli buddies.


    Here is your opportunity to explain to the participants and observers here why, on a daily basis, you bad mouth Israel, the US, the CIA, and Zionism, yet you meet and work with them!

    Doesn’t that seem hypocritical to you?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 9, 2011, 7:31 am
  32. 33>>>HK,

    “CIA/MOSSAD will have a full report today from the skunk walid jumblatt.
    Expect to see him soonest meeting with SHN in Dahieh :)”

    Dude you have everyone intriqued with your personal acquaintace of SHN…If you say he is as smart as he is.: D …Tell him not to meet the CIA Murder inc. operative Jumblat….

    Unless he is as dumb as they come or…last possible scenario…You still are on Hobeiks’s stashed stash lol. 😛

    Posted by danny | June 9, 2011, 8:18 am
    And that’s effectively what the Zioconned stooges of AIPAC are advocating as they support Republican Steve Chabot in his efforts to push a bill in Congress that calls on America to stop giving money to the United Nations “if the General Assembly adopts a resolution in favor of recognizing a state of Palestine outside of or prior to a final status agreement negotiated between, and acceptable to, the State of Israel and the Palestinians”.

    Apart from the obvious issue of morality here, there’s also the not insignificant fact that the US is already in debt to the UN to the tune of around $1 billion and has been for years. The neoconservatives are really scraping the bottom of the barrel if they feel the need to have to resort to these sorts of tactics in order to try and get what they want.

    But it’s hardly likely to work. So, they are pushing for one more Shock&Awe…, a last ditch effort of the crumbling Empire!

    I doubt if there is any nation on the planet that would be tempted to make their decision about which way they intend to vote when it comes to an issue like Palestinian statehood based on whether the US decides to pay its debt or not.

    America’s right-wing and the neoconservatives demonstrate once again exactly what values it is that ‘they’ hate about ‘us’; arrogance, self-righteousness and the belief that money – money, incidentally, they haven’t actually got – can influence the morality of nations. No wonder the USA is in such a terrible mess since 1996….

    Posted by HK | June 9, 2011, 8:18 am
  34. HK: “ZIOCONNED STOOGE” Number 1


    Why do you refuse to address the question of why you meet and work with the “Zioconned stooges” if you dislike them so much?

    And what is the “obvious issue of morality here”, when half of the Palestinians refuse to negotiate with Israel and the other half calls for its destruction.

    If there are “issues of morality”, I would first question why the Arab world has not government that provides basic human rights like freedom of speech, religion, and the right to vote.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 9, 2011, 10:12 am
  35. America’s right-wing and the neoconservatives demonstrate once again…


    No one I know considers Obama and his administration to be “right-wing” or “neoconservative”.

    I see your “psyops” have not worn-off yet…

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 9, 2011, 10:14 am
  36. AP, you’re having fun with HK? Nothing better to do, buddy?

    Posted by Honest Patriot | June 9, 2011, 10:37 am
  37. The last thing that Tel Aviv will admit to, is that they are a really big Screw-Up. And ‘if’ that particular Screw-Up does decide to get stupid (which they already are) and attack Lebanon & Iran, the most they could do would be ‘minimal damage’, which would throw the ball to the Pentagon’s court — ‘finish the job’ or ‘sit it out’.

    I would prefer that the Zioconned DoD/CIA told both Tel Aviv and the ‘occupied’ White House/Congress that they were no Foreign Power’s whipping boys, and Foreign Powers like Tel Aviv can go and find a rolling doughnut to jump through…

    Obomba’s decisions are all calibrated to ensure his 2012 reelection, and he would be very reluctant to buck the Israeli Lobby and the Dick Cheney left behind network of Ziocons and leave Israel to fend for itself…., hence the hot summer!

    Posted by HK | June 9, 2011, 11:12 am
  38. On the Syrian Exodus:

    Scroll to video of Reem Haddad, spokeswoman for the Syrians.

    Syrian PR 🙂

    Posted by Gabriel | June 9, 2011, 11:48 am
  39. She’s not that cute. :p

    Although she is so dumb…people crossing the street to another she says. Why are the people fleeing he says. There’s no army she says…
    …and then the army is surrounding the town she says…because the people have asked maher to come and bomb the living hell out of the village (oops…Because they don’t want the armed gangs she says…)…

    Failed brobaganda….

    Posted by danny | June 9, 2011, 12:08 pm
  40. The last thing that Tel Aviv will admit to, is that they are a really big Screw-Up.

    Yes HK,

    The arrogant zionists won’t admit they are a “really big Screw-up”.

    If only they were as smart and successful as their Arab neighbors!?

    HK, do us all a favor: continue your important meetings with the CIA and Mossad and keep your odd opinions to yourself. And take your prescribed meds while you’re at it.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 9, 2011, 12:24 pm
  41. As Gene Hackman said in “Mississippi Burning” . . . “These people crawled out of a sewer . . . And maybe the gutter’s where they should be!”

    What I will always find interesting is the Zioconned Western willingness to intervene somewhere in the world and then choose up sides on the correctness of that intervention. What exactly does drive US’s ZOG interventions in the affairs of other nation-states? Is it testosterone or rationale thinking?

    Posted by HK | June 9, 2011, 12:59 pm
  42. “It’s a little bit like having a problem on your street, and your mom lives on the other side of the street, so you go and move in with your mom for a bit.”

    Good Golly. Why not go Tea and Crumpets over at Mommy’s place, across the street :).

    I watched again. Danny. Haram 3aleik. She’s very attractive.

    Posted by Gabriel | June 9, 2011, 1:09 pm
  43. Yes. Lebanon is so much better than the rest of the Arab countries….

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 9, 2011, 1:14 pm
  44. BV…

    I don’t quite understand why you take such exception to the statement that Lebanon is “better” than the rest of the Arab world.

    Is it that you feel they are all equally bad?

    Or do you believe that there are other places in the Arab world that are ‘better”?

    Posted by Gabriel | June 9, 2011, 1:27 pm
  45. Hussain Abdel Hussain neglects to mention that Lebanon is the only “Arab” country that has gone through a civil war … and a brutal one at that.

    To say there is no “revolution” in Lebanon today is also a mistake. There is one led by Hassan Nasrallah.

    Posted by R2D2 | June 9, 2011, 1:36 pm
  46. If Lebanon is better, how come it has the same politicians as during the war, or their sons? and is there a single Lebanese politician woman?

    Posted by June | June 9, 2011, 1:45 pm
  47. Come to think of it, comparing Lebanon to Tunisia, Egypt, Libya or Yemen or Syria holds no water.

    Unlike the rest, Lebanon has been engaged in a war of civilizations for decades now. French, Russian, Syrian, Saudi/Arab, Iranian, American.

    That is why Lebanon is such a fascinating microcosm of the world.

    Next we will be doing China and India’s bidding?

    Posted by R2D2 | June 9, 2011, 1:53 pm
  48. Gabby,

    Mostly, I am frustrated and sick and tired of people repeating that retarded mantra about Lebanon being somewhat better than the rest of the Arabs.
    It’s not so much the meat of that statement that bugs as much as it is the mentality it derives from.
    What ON EARTH has Lebanon done to deserve this kind of bragging by its people?
    This attitude, in my opinion, is a measure of the self-delusion and denial Lebanese seem to love so much. And in my opinion, we will never be able to move forward until we are actually willing to acknowledge and confront our own faults (That is pretty much a universal observation, IMHO). So living in denial, to me, is a grand indicator of how hopeless we really are. While the rest of the region moves forward, we continue to move backwards, all the while chanting about how freaking fantastic we are because we make great Hummus and invented the alphabet, or some such nonsense.
    It’s pretty damn ridiculous. Forgive me if I take this matter to heart, perhaps more than seems appropriate, but i’m just sick and tired of it.
    If I hear one more person rambling on about how freaking superior we Lebanese are, I’m gonna be sick.
    We’re a country of 3 or so million self-deluded, macho, racist imbeciles, who have offered absolutely nothing positive to the world in centuries and who think we’re the center of the universe. While the rest of the world is moving forward, we are busy acting like the imbeciles that we are, all the while proclaiming how superior our morals and lifestyles and beliefs are to everyone else’s.
    It’s LONG overdue that we take a better look at ourselves…

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 9, 2011, 1:54 pm
  49. And give me a break about this comparison of Lebanon to Tunisia or Egypt. Guess what, those countries were also colonial mandates, no different than us. They suffered their own civil wars/revolutions/sea changes. Tunisia became independent of the French around the same time as Lebanon. Egypt went through its own growing pains. Even worse, some would argue, considering it’s more direct involvement with the creation of Israel and the ensuing wars (making it a centerpiece in the regional and international games and attracting the attentions of the US, USSR, Israel, and so on)…

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 9, 2011, 1:59 pm
  50. But we invented hummus.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 9, 2011, 2:02 pm
  51. BV,

    You sound like a woman.

    Have you taken a good look at yourself … ***Bitch!***

    What are you doing about it?

    Posted by R2D2 | June 9, 2011, 2:09 pm
  52. Huh? What? We invented Homos? 🙂

    On a larger note, I don’t get why Hummus is our source of pride, when really the garlic is what should take the crown and all the glory! I mean really, any Tom Dick, Harry, (or more appropriately…. Shlomo) can make Hummus.

    But Garlic!

    Posted by Gabriel | June 9, 2011, 2:10 pm
  53. Gabriel said:

    On a larger note, I don’t get why Hummus is our source of pride… I mean really, any Tom Dick, Harry, (or more appropriately…. Shlomo) can make Hummus.

    I’ve just sent a note to caretaker Interior Minister Ziad Baroud’s office asking him to have you excommunicated. Please pack your things and leave.


    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 9, 2011, 2:14 pm
  54. I have taken a look at myself.
    The result is that I got the f**** out of Dodge, made myself a successful career in another country, where my rights and dignity are respected and have absolutely no interest in going back to Lebanon.
    I suspect I am not the only one who has followed that path away from that alleged “paradise” that is Lebanon…

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 9, 2011, 2:14 pm
  55. #54


    Posted by Gabriel | June 9, 2011, 2:15 pm
  56. As a secular (ultra-nationalistic?) Lebanese …. I have no problem doing business with anyone and everyone if its good for Lebanon.

    However, giving “exclusivity” to the Iranians, Syrians, Americans, French, Russians, Chinese or Indians … just won’t work around here.

    Lebanon is “Umm Al Dunya” … because anyone and everyone is welcome here !

    Posted by R2D2 | June 9, 2011, 2:22 pm
  57. Iceman has dropped off the radar screen. Where’s the chap gone?

    I miss him already.

    Posted by Gabriel | June 9, 2011, 2:42 pm
  58. I fully agree with BV.

    I think we Lebanese should grow some real balls and become a nuclear state.

    ***Fuck it! It’s the trend, man! I’m tired of getting bitch-slapped by all these Nucular assholes all over the world, ***

    Posted by R2D2 | June 9, 2011, 2:52 pm
  59. “Lebanon is “Umm Al Dunya” … because anyone and everyone is welcome here !”

    Yes everyone.
    The Red Brigades
    The baader meinhof gang
    The Japanese Red Army
    Syrian mukhabarat,

    Did I miss anyone who id not welcomed in that cesspool called Lebanon?

    Gaby…I said she’s not cute lol.
    I was wondering too if iceman went on a secret mission(HK might know) to cede BC to the States. :p

    Posted by danny | June 9, 2011, 2:58 pm
  60. You forgot the Mossad and CIA.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 9, 2011, 3:19 pm
  61. # 60,

    YES, you forgot the CIA/MOSSAD Proxy Militia Skunks of the imbecile killer Samir Geagea, the LF stooges and utter Criminals and their Coterie of idiots like the Gemayels, the Mini Hariri FM and the rest of their Zioconned crue of Jeff M14th Feltman followers, crowned by the Salafists/Wahhabi/Takfiri thugs who have shown their true colors in Ashrafieh and Nahr El-Bared, etc etc. Bandar bin Jariah bin Sultan is dripping blood already!
    What a pathetic spectacle indeed.

    Posted by HK | June 9, 2011, 3:23 pm
  62. Danny,

    I won’t rest until you and every Lebanese get to own and drive Hummers, to roam the land freely … but mightily.

    Posted by R2D2 | June 9, 2011, 3:24 pm
  63. Since everyone is bideing his/her time until the next shoe drops in paradise let me join the festivities essentially on the side of BV.
    There is a concept called indifference curve . Simply you ash an individual about the various combinations of too doogs/services that yield the same level of satisfaction. Forexample , a bundle of 5A and 3B would be at the same levl as say 4A and 6B. One mistake that is often done by economists and others is due to the fact that they look at the individual indifference curve , which is a valid construct, and they assume that there is a communal indifference curve. That is absolutely false because one is not allowed to make interpersonal comparisons.
    So back to Um Al Dunya; what one values a lot might not be valued as much by a different person and so it would not be acceptable to suggest that Lebanon is Um Al Dunya based on say Hummus since many people do not care for hummus or whatever. The lesson in all of this: Diversity is healthy, otherwise we would all demsnd the same thing.:-) Note that some have no problems with totalitarian regimes or inefficient governments.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | June 9, 2011, 3:26 pm
  64. GK,

    I am very disappointed in this latest post. I thought that you would defend the way of life, the people, the wonderful villages and small towns and the incredible generosity, piety, faith and good natured villagers dotting Lebanon south to north, east to west.
    You guys have truly forgotten how wonderful the Lebanese people can be, when you know how to be friendly and warm with all of them, exactly as we all were prior to forcibly leaving Lebanon in the early/mid 70s due to wars. I must tell you that despite being on most continents in numerous places, there is no place like home, and i make a point of being there as often as I can, and it’s always a treat and a most pleasant experience, equal to none. Period
    Family, friends, home cooking, incredible weather, fantastic rides, walks, jogs and more in the mountains etc.
    The diversity is equally astounding, pleasant and enriching, as long as you are respectful of other people’s differences, the end result is worth your while.
    I could go on and on and on, but i would spare you the details because I am sure deep down you all still remember every bit of it. 🙂

    Posted by HK | June 9, 2011, 4:16 pm
  65. Good piece in al-Akhbar (translation provided courtesy of Mideastwire):

    “When Hezbollah reiterates the speech of the Lebanese regime”

    On June 7, Raed Sharaf wrote the following opinion piece in the pro parliamentary majority daily Al-Akhbar: “Hezbollah’s Deputy of the Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem, stated this past May 23, that the need for mingling between Muslims and others cannot possibly call for implementing a law that contradicts God’s sharia and that he (i.e. Qassem) and his party will not “negotiate and let go of some personal statuses in our relationships with the others.” In a second part of his talk, he indicated that the Lebanese laws must not interfere with the details of marital life event if the latter includes violent sexual practices within the couple because this “deals a blow to marital life…”

    “Qassem’s statements fall in the context of the politics of mobilization followed by Hezbollah…that work on containing a society that is politically affiliated to them and that mostly includes the people who were born as Shi’is. Thus, the party supports the social practices of the poor people who happen to be Shi’is. Those practices allow them to persist…in their poverty [ellipses as published]… Qassem’s sexist statements might be stemming from this social basis. Since he is socially close to the men of the lower steps of the economic ladder, he believes that the “civil” (non religious) suggestion to deal with the issue of the domestic violence embodies a “symbolic injustice” against these men…

    “In addition, the “institution of marriage” is also one of the facets of the poor people’s resistance to their poverty as [marriage] creates spaces of emotional stability in light of a cruel and humiliating social system… Understanding this fact might explain the easiness with which Sheikh Qassem had mocked the problem of domestic violence against women…

    “These analyses are mere hypotheses. And if they are true, then this is unfortunate but not surprising. But the sure thing is that the first part of Qassem’s statement transfers Hezbollah’s political behavior from the category of “unfortunate…” to that of “hypocrite.” Indeed, Qassem’s statement alluded to a very radical stand that “accepts no negotiations…” Sheikh Qassem objected to civil marriage because it contradicts God’s rules, and this is not surprising. He then said: “Personal status in Lebanon belongs to every sect, mainly the Islamic personal status…”

    “Thus, Sheikh Qassem is justifying the entire Lebanese sectarian system as if its sectarian divisions are actually God’s will rather than being man made (as if they are not a heresy). Furthermore…he exposes sectarian marriage as being a right for the Muslims… What the party is saying in a very easy manner through the speech of Naim Qassem is actually [similar] to the current speech of the Lebanese regime. [It is saying that] the fate of the people with “Shi’i identity” is to be decided by them alone. And the fate that the party has selected for the “Shi’is” until further notice – and in cooperation with the “Harirism” and the controlling class – is poverty, and house arrest in the Dahiyeh area, and the marriages that obey God’s rule.” – Al-Akhbar Lebanon, Lebanon

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 9, 2011, 4:21 pm
  66. Danny 🙂

    QN: So per my recent video posting, it’s not just GMA who’s all in favor of husbands disciplining wives :). HA is too? 🙂 is wife beating the common electoral platform of the M8 grouping! LoL. Any wonder then that Amina’s started batting for the other team 🙂

    HK. Do you respect fellows who condone wife-beating?

    Posted by Gabriel | June 9, 2011, 4:41 pm
  67. Let’s see how long before one get into trouble for that in Beirut 🙂

    Posted by Gay Guy in Dahyieh | June 9, 2011, 4:51 pm
  68. There are no gay girls in Damascus or gay men amongst Shi’ites, Sunnis or Aounis.

    Posted by R2D2 | June 9, 2011, 5:06 pm
  69. HK. Do you respect fellows who condone wife-beating?


    Not only does HK respect fellows who condone wife-beating, he also respects fellows that support Bashar Assad of Syria, all while taking money from the evil CIA/Mossad.

    Hey, even terrorist sympathizers like HK have to make a living;)

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 9, 2011, 6:11 pm
  70. That qassem turns my stomach. Is this the divine party who was trying to trumpet and non sectarian society along with the Master thief Berri? Somehow you can wonder how on this hellish country does a theological authoritarian militia define secularism?

    Peace of shit terrorist entity!
    HK. Do you beat up your wife too? Is that the principle of divine intervention? Tfeh!!

    Posted by danny | June 9, 2011, 6:11 pm
  71. In the words of Olivier Roy, one of the most preminent French intellectuals who has devoted most of his life to the study of Islam the project of Re-Islaminization has failed and will continue to fail since pragmatic secularism — he calls it de facto laïcité — has taken roots.
    Qassem and his group of mullahs are waging a loosing battle.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | June 9, 2011, 6:18 pm
  72. I received the following today and it is too precious not to share with you:

    It has been confirmed that Adam and Ave were Lebanese since they were living without a government and without electricity but yet thought that it was paradise.

    Posted by ghassan karam | June 9, 2011, 7:35 pm
  73. #68:

    You wouldn’t happen to be one of the actors in this movie:

    would you?


    Those damn Druze! We always knew there was something wrong with them!

    Posted by Gabriel | June 9, 2011, 8:03 pm
  74. I have labored in many vineyards in pursuit of justice and a persistent pursuit of peace in Lebanon, rooted not only in a wish to see “tikun olam” (a better world) but also in a belief that Lebanon cannot, in the long run, survive with two historical enemies on its borders, and must have peace with strength, with BOTH of them at some point in time…

    The Chinese curse that beware that you get what you want seems evident in the current USA posture towards Israel. Thus, disaster lurks just around the corner may be this summer, with the slightest miscalculation….

    The only possible way out, is a Coup D’état in IRAN soonest, and I think that this is the real PLAN since 2009…and I think that this is in the Works!

    I will add that the situation in Syria is RIFE for a Violent House Coup D’état, most likely it will be lead by the assassin in Chief Asef Shawkat, because he has ALL the right baggage… He is a Alawite, very devious, thuggish, shrewd and very ambitious. He hates Maher Assad, he is married to Bashar’s sister Bushra and is in good favors with her mother, an influential countess in her own right, together with the Makhloufs, who hold the money strings…Asef Shawkat is the main liaison with the Zioconned Western Intelligence & head of the infamous White House Murder INC, in the Levant since January 24th 2002 and will be supported by CIA/MOSSAD. So, we are living an interesting period indeed, in MENA and beyond. 🙂

    Posted by HK | June 10, 2011, 4:33 am
  75. Throwing out the Despots NewZ

    The only possible way out, is a Coup D’état in IRAN soonest…Lebanon cannot, in the long run, survive with two historical enemies on its borders…


    I see you’re moderating your views. Since Israel has do interest in occupying Lebanon, a peace treaty would be a great idea; just like the one Israel has signed with Egypt and Jordan.

    I’m not sure if your still backing your friends in Heazbollah, because they probably will not allow for such a peace treaty to be signed.

    Meanwhile, I got the following clip from your DC employer, that I found on the BBC website. For years, the Professor and his sidekick on SC were claiming it to be a ruse. Fortunately your employer is stepping up pressure on Syria…(Hezbollah certainly wouldn’t lift a finger).

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 10, 2011, 7:57 am
  76. Once again Gideon Levy speaks the unfettered truth…

    Just maybe there is growing Israeli unease at a seriously racist society developing and an end to unlimited impunity…..

    Posted by HK | June 10, 2011, 10:02 am
  77. Rearranging the Deck of cards… 🙂

    Posted by HK | June 10, 2011, 10:14 am
  78. HK.

    I don’t understand you.

    Can you pick a narrative and stick with it?

    Posted by Gabriel | June 10, 2011, 10:24 am
  79. Lithium Salts or Bust

    Can you pick a narrative and stick with it?


    Yes, I like the narrative of Murder Inc. and your discussions with them in DC.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 10, 2011, 10:37 am
  80. The conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran moves to a new field. When Iran managed to maneuver and bloc the Saudi intention of increasing oil output by OPEC by 1 million Barrels a day many scored one for Iran. Not so fast. Al Hayat is reporting that Saudi Arabia will single handedly increase its output from 8.8 million barrels per day to 10 million. That is what the Saudis did in the 80’s to restore order to OPEC and to send a message that they are the power to reckon with. Stay tuned , as this might escalate.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | June 10, 2011, 10:53 am
  81. Govt formation is apparently in the final hours. I’ll believe it when I see it, but looks like Ghassan may be collecting soon…


    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 10, 2011, 10:58 am
  82. QN,

    Is that the same final hours we had been hearing about for the past five months lol… 😀

    Posted by danny | June 10, 2011, 11:09 am
  83. Since monies are at stake, I think “Final Hours” really ought to be narrowed down. I take it to be fair, that we can declare GK the winner if by this time tomorrow, a government is in place?


    Posted by Gabriel | June 10, 2011, 11:19 am
  84. gabby,

    I am willing to declare GK the winner if there’s a government in place by August lol. 😛

    Posted by danny | June 10, 2011, 11:34 am
  85. Ghassan said “End of June”. That’s pretty specific. I’m still skeptical. Every time we reach “final hours”, the following day brings a “talks break down, back to square one” headline. Stay tuned.

    I really enjoyed the Adam & Eve joke. That was priceless….

    As for Naim Qassem…Yet another buffoon. Why is it that these guys (Nassrallah, Aoun, Qassem) are all complete buffoon that utter things that would be laughed at my a 1st grader in most of the civilized world, yet manage to whip up such a following in Lebanon? And you wonder why I call the Lebanese “imbeciles” in half my posts…

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 10, 2011, 12:45 pm
  86. #87:

    I keep scratching my head. The number of women I know who support GMA and HA is perplexing.

    Then you wonder how the hell the tolerate statements like this from those characters.

    But then is M14 any less misogynist?

    Posted by Gabriel | June 10, 2011, 12:54 pm
  87. I wouldn’t necessarily call it antisemitism. More like controversy.
    I suspect Israelis wouldn’t look too kindly at having someone deemed “pro-Hamas” giving the address at Tel Aviv university, would they?

    Disclaimer: I don’t personally anything about this guy or his alleged pro-Israelism. That’s why I used the word “deemed” in my example above. It is a matter of perception, in the end.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 10, 2011, 1:06 pm
  88. BV,

    Has James Wolfensohn made any statement against the Lebanese State or its citizens? No. Are you sure Hamas is the appropriate analogy?

    In the end, the guy is a Jew and that is why he is not welcome at AUB. Non Jewish supporters of Israel have no problem speaking at AUB, so supporting Israel is not the reason.

    Posted by AIG | June 10, 2011, 1:16 pm
  89. I don’t know where you got the impression that non-jewish supporters of Israel have no problem speaking at AUB.
    I am fairly sure that anyone who is considered as “supportive of Israel” is usually a big deal in Lebanon (rightly or wrongly).
    You know very well that “pro-Israel” is like taboo in Lebanon. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Jew, a Christian or a Hindu. “Pro-Israel” is one of those unspeakable things in Lebanon.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 10, 2011, 1:28 pm
  90. gay girl is a hoax/psy ops.

    Posted by joe2 | June 10, 2011, 1:34 pm
  91. BV,

    Are you really claiming that all speakers at AUB are anti-Israel?
    Just for the record, Carlos Ghosn, the Lebanese CEO of Nissan is the one that struck the deal with Better Place, the company James Wolfensohn is accused of working with.

    Is Ghosn unwelcome in Lebanon?

    Posted by AIG | June 10, 2011, 1:40 pm
  92. James Wolfensohn is a wonderful guy and a gentleman. He is certainly not an Israel firster… and is not at all a blind supporter of Israel, even if he is Jewish.
    Jim Wolfensohn told us in a small gathering in the late 90s: if anyone really wants to know what is really going on in Lebanon, they should go meet and talk with Minister Elie Hobeika. RIP !

    AUB is wrong to cancel his keynote speech, because of some loud mouths at AUB.


    Posted by HK | June 10, 2011, 2:12 pm
  93. No, I am not suggesting that anyone has to be anti-Israel to be welcome at AUB.
    There is a difference between anti-Israel, pro-Israel, and well…someone who hasn’t really voiced an opinion on Israel (which is probably the majority of people who are invited to AUB with other focuses, such as business, medicine, or whatever).

    Again, let me be clear here, AIG, I am NOT defending this behavior. I am simply trying to shed light on the mentality in Lebanon (which you should be familiar with by now, albeit, not from firsthand experience).
    If, at any point in your life, you have publically made some kind of comments that are PERCEIVED as making you pro-Israel, or if you have been publically associated with something pro-Israel, you will suffer a backlash in Lebanon. That’s just how it is.
    I emphasize PERCEIVED because it may or may not be true. It’s mostly a question of publicity. You may be the most rabbid zionist, but if no one’s pointed it out, you may be welcome in Lebanon with open arms.
    On the other hand, a couple of years ago, people started boycotting Starbucks in Beirut (around the time of the Gaza war, or the 2006 war, i forget) because SOMEONE got the notion that Starbucks’ founder donated money to Israel or somesuch.
    You see what I’m saying?

    I don’t know anything about Mr. Wolfensohn. All i know is that the story has circulated that he is pro-Israel, thus making him PERCEIVED as such.

    So i stand by my earlier example. If somebody is PERCEIVED as being pro-Hamas (even if he’s not) because of whatever publicity, or whatever story is circulated about him. I am pretty sure many in the Israeli public would be opposed to that person speaking in Tel Aviv.
    Don’t you think?

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 10, 2011, 2:23 pm
  94. If only I understood just how HK manages all those internal contradictions!

    Posted by Gabriel | June 10, 2011, 2:27 pm
  95. “In the end, the guy is a Jew and that is why he is not welcome at AUB.”


    Then how come Noam Chomsky gave a lecture at AUB?

    Posted by Badr | June 10, 2011, 2:43 pm
  96. For those in the know. I’m having a hard time getting it. What exactly is the purpose of the hoax of having a ‘gay’ girl in Damascus abducted.

    I thought thousands and more have been detained, no? So what’s the value added by the Damascene lesbian?

    Posted by Gabriel | June 10, 2011, 2:43 pm
  97. Badr,

    Because many Arabs love listening to an anti-Israel Jew. But a Jew that is not anti-Israel? Then the antisemitism becomes pronounced.

    Posted by AIG | June 10, 2011, 2:48 pm
  98. Badr…

    I believe the following is AIG’s thesis:

    Anti-Israel + Jew – Welcome
    Anti-Isreal + NonJew – Welcome
    Pro-Israel + Jew – Not Welcome
    Pro-Israel + NonJew – Welcome

    His thesis is that the only way for a Jew to be welcome in Lebanon is for them to be self-loathing to be accepted

    He has since challenged BV on Ghosn and whether or not he would be welcome in Lebanon.

    Anyone at QN aware of any non-Jewish pro-Israelis who were invited to speak at AUB?

    Posted by Gabriel | June 10, 2011, 2:49 pm
  99. Gabe,

    Next in line might be HK!

    *** Keeping fingers crossed ***

    Posted by R2D2 | June 10, 2011, 2:50 pm
  100. R2D2



    It is NOT the abduction that’s a hoax…They say the existence of the lesbian dyke in Damascus could be the hoax.

    It could be iceman’s other pseudonym. 😀

    Posted by danny | June 10, 2011, 2:56 pm
  101. AIG,

    Then your saying, “In the end, the guy is a Jew and that is why he is not welcome at AUB.”, is inaccurate. No?

    Posted by Badr | June 10, 2011, 3:05 pm
  102. Gabriel,

    Thanks for summarizing my argument well.
    Are you by any chance studying philosophy or have studied philosophy?

    The salient point is that non-Jews who talk at AUB are not investigated or queried about their position on Israel. Only Jews are.

    Posted by AIG | June 10, 2011, 3:09 pm
  103. Badr,

    See Gabriel’s refinement of the argument in #101 and my addition in #105.

    Posted by AIG | June 10, 2011, 3:10 pm
  104. AIG,

    It’s nothing personal. We just don’t think it’s good for our PR to have another hotel maid incident with these mad IMF World Wankers in Beirut at this delicate local political formation stage.

    There may be some problems with privacy … you know.

    Posted by R2D2 | June 10, 2011, 3:14 pm
  105. AIG:

    Don’t you think “Non-Jews” are also more likely to be screened for their positions on Israel prior to delivering speeches in Israeli Universities?

    (Question above is not an assertion… just wondering if it was commonplace to find openly anti-Israeli non-Jews speaking at Israeli universities. )

    Posted by Gabriel | June 10, 2011, 3:18 pm
  106. Danny…

    Mmmm. They do share a lot of common arguments :).

    Posted by Gabriel | June 10, 2011, 3:19 pm
  107. R2D2,

    Do you really think such an incident would even be noticed in a country famed for the abuse of maids and their consequent suicide?

    Posted by AIG | June 10, 2011, 3:25 pm
  108. AIG:

    “Did I study philosophy?”.

    LoL. Dude. Where have you been all this time. I thought you were a regular at QN.

    ALL Lebanese people are Philosophers. It’s second nature to them, like making Hummus.

    PS. I think I should refine #101.

    Anti-Israel + Jew – Welcome

    should be changed to:

    Anti-Israel + Jew – New Messiah Status


    Posted by Gabriel | June 10, 2011, 3:26 pm
  109. Gabriel,

    To the best of my knowledge and experience, people are invited based on their scientific work and expertise and not based about their views on Israel. Occasionally, people who are invited despite their views do not come because they boycott Israel.

    Posted by AIG | June 10, 2011, 3:28 pm
  110. AIG,

    I understand, but I still think that the second paragraph in your original comment #91, was not phrased accurately.

    Posted by Badr | June 10, 2011, 3:30 pm
  111. You would be surprised, AIG.

    Hell … just about everyone here has heard of Madame Netanyahu’s “Jewish” treatment of domestic engineering staff 🙂

    Would you like me to bring forward the stories of the American Jewish elite of New York and the lawsuits filed by domestic staff for their mistreatment by them in the US?

    Posted by R2D2 | June 10, 2011, 3:37 pm
  112. Badr,

    I agree it was an over simplification and did not address special cases.

    Posted by AIG | June 10, 2011, 3:38 pm
  113. AIG:

    As I have been in higher education circles, I can tell you that I personally koow of quite a few Jewish (non-Israelis) who have travelled to, and given talks in Middle Eastern universities (I personally know of none who spoke specifically at AUB, but that is not to say that none have).

    I don’t know this particular chap’s story and how pro- or anti-Israel he is, if at all. I don’t know this chap at all, as I don’t know who Ghosn is (until you brought him up).

    But I assume, from the kerfuffle, that he is somewhat known. Which perhaps, unlike most Jewish people I know who have given talks in the Middle East, explains why things panned out the way they did.

    Posted by Gabriel | June 10, 2011, 3:39 pm
  114. R2D2,

    The truth shall set you free:

    This is much bigger a problem in Lebanon than in Israel.

    Posted by AIG | June 10, 2011, 3:42 pm
  115. Gabriel,

    The point is that Wolfensohn was invited. The management of AUB is not antisemitic, clearly. However, because there is freedom of speech in Lebanon, 95! faculty members (not some guys off the street) signed a petition to dis-invite him. That was antisemitic. In other Arab countries petitions are much more dangerous than in Lebanon.

    Posted by AIG | June 10, 2011, 3:46 pm
  116. Any individual supporting the existence of the state of Israel and the building of its illegal settlements, the AUB faculty, students, and staff feel should not be honored in their name. This has never happened before. End of.

    And it was way more than 95 by the way.

    Posted by An AUB student | June 10, 2011, 3:59 pm
  117. # 118,

    Drop it, it’s not worth it, besides Jim is much better off in St Moritz where we are, and he is happy as a clown… Who cares about AUB anymore 🙂

    Posted by HK | June 10, 2011, 4:03 pm
  118. AIG:

    I really don’t know who Wolfensohn or what the nature of allegations or accusations are against him.

    That said, the NOW Lebanon report doesn’t say he’s going for some technical talk. He was going, ostensibly, to give a keynote speech and to be given an honorary doctorate. So it is a little natural to expect people to question whether or not he’s pro-“Zionist”, etc.

    Given that there is a climate of distrust that currently exists between Arabs and Jews, perhaps, we can write off this incident as something a little less sinister than Antisemitism.

    Posted by Gabriel | June 10, 2011, 4:20 pm
  119. I suspect Israelis wouldn’t look too kindly at having someone deemed “pro-Hamas” giving the address at Tel Aviv university, would they?

    What, are you kidding? Israeli universities are brimming with pro-Hamas professors.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 10, 2011, 5:11 pm
  120. Gabriel,

    We will have to disagree on this.
    The moment Arabs mistrust Jews and not Israelis, that is antisemitism.

    Posted by AIG | June 10, 2011, 5:12 pm
  121. And when Israelis mistrust Arabs? Also antisemitism.

    Posted by Nasser V | June 10, 2011, 5:13 pm
  122. I do not know the true story yet. If Mr. Wolfensohn disinvited himself then that would be different than having AUB disinvite him. (0 faculty members is not a lot. I have not double checked this but I will be surprised if the AUB has less than 400 faculty members. Irrespective of the personal merits of the case the 20-25% of the faculty were enabled to veto the administration and the nominating committee plus the other 80% of the faculty if it is true that Mr. Wolfensohn was disinvited.

    There is a very bad odor that hangs over this issue. When Mr. Wolfensohn was the head of the World Bank the Lebanese authorities did not refuse to meet with him or with his emissaries but now that he is no longer in a position of power it has become acceptable to label him a zionist. This is very hypocritical and I look forward to the keynote of the AUB president to see if he is going to have the guts to confront the issue head on. It is important not to loose track that these invitations to accept the highest award that the university bestows are not acts of one individual but many can send nominations to a committee that vets these nominees and then recommends some of them for the administration to accept. This is a slap in the face of a very large number of people and Mr. Wolfensohn should not have disinvited himself if he did. I recall when President Clinton was giving a major speech at an academic institution and he was interrupted 4-5 times by protesters but he joked about it by saying that is what is good about this country, different people have different ideas. His performance was a success.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | June 10, 2011, 5:23 pm
  123. He is certainly not an Israel firster… and is not at all a blind supporter of Israel, even if he is Jewish.


    I’m not an “Israel firster” either. That term is often used interchangeably with being “pro-Israel”.

    But I think it is safe to say James Wolfensohn was Zionist:

    Did your mission in Israel change the way you perceive Zionism and Israel?

    “No. I still believe in that. But Israelis and Palestinians really should get over thinking that they’re a show on Broadway. They are a show in the Village, off-off-off-off Broadway. I hope I don’t get into too much trouble for saying this, but what the hell, that’s what I believe, and I’m 73.” W

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 10, 2011, 5:28 pm
  124. AIG,
    On a slightly different matter pertaining to Israel. I am sure that you have heard the story about how Moses took a wrong turn after he crossed the sinai by choosing the only land in the ME without oil. Well, this might no longer be true. Besides the huge natural gas in the Med I understand that some are estimating the shale oil reserves in Israel to be the largest in the world (@50 billion barrels)..
    I hope that this is not true or if it is that the Israeli environmentalists will stop the madness. Oil from shale is extremely destructive to the environment , requires huge amounts of water, might contaminate the main acquifer and cannot be produced atprofitably at under a hundred dollars per barrel. What is your info regarding this scheme by IEI which is owned by IDT of NJ. Someone thinks that the potential is there since the IDT stock has gone up from 66 cents to $30.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | June 10, 2011, 5:31 pm
  125. why has AIG got his knickers in a tangle? who really cares whether Arabs are anti-Semites, maybe they are maybe they’re not, I think they have more pressing issues than mere labels coming from a brainwashed Israeli who keeps immaturely lashing out every time an Arab farts. Bloody Semites the lot o’ ya!

    Posted by maverick | June 10, 2011, 6:24 pm
  126. GK,

    The shale reserves in Israel are huge but I do not see large scale exploitation until the technology becomes much cleaner. The environmentalists in Israel can stop it through the courts for ages. IDT claim to have some great technology. This is not my area of expertise so I don’t have an opinion.

    Posted by AIG | June 10, 2011, 6:29 pm
  127. AIG,

    The salient point is that non-Jews who talk at AUB are not investigated or queried about their position on Israel. Only Jews are.

    Oh yes they are. This is my point. Your argument is simply based on this incorrect assumption.
    Trust me. Non-jews who voice pro-Israeli positions are not welcome at AUB, as a general rule (or in Lebanon for that matter).

    Please do not presume to tell us these facts about a country most of us live in (even if we don’t always like it) and in which you have not set foot. No offense, I tend to enjoy debating stuff with you for the most part, but on this matter you are simply wrong. I gave you a specific example: Starbucks was boycotted because people heard some story about how Starbucks’ owner (or CEO or whatever) had donated money to Israel or somesuch.
    There are PLENTY of such examples to be found, including non-jewish companies or entities (that happened to have donated money to Israel, or worked with Israel, or whatever).
    I’ll give you that the Lebanese mentality can be quite dumb and close-minded. I am actually for allowing ANYONE’s freedom of speech. We can certainly be THICK in Lebanon, but if anything, we’re overly thick. We don’t only act this way with Jews. We act this way with pretty much everyone.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 10, 2011, 7:00 pm
  128. And then there could be natural gas. LOTS of it….

    Anti-Jewish sentiment at Arab universities??

    I’m shocked! Shocked I say!

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 10, 2011, 7:04 pm
  129. AIG,

    I think this may be the hang up.
    You say The moment Arabs mistrust Jews and not Israelis, that is antisemitism.

    This is true on its face. And it’s true when phrased like that to any Western audience.
    However, in Lebanon (and a lot of the Arab world), Jew = Israeli (in a very stereotypical way).
    I’m not excusing that distinction, but it is there. The Lebanese generally do not really make the distinction that you indicated above. That is clearly seen in how the terms “Jews”, “Zionists” and “Israelis” are used interchangeably in most Arab narrative.

    It’s somewhat along the lines (although much more pronounced) than the “Muslims = Terrorists” that’s been all the rage in the USA since 9/11.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 10, 2011, 7:06 pm
  130. There is a very bad odor that hangs over this issue. When Mr. Wolfensohn was the head of the World Bank the Lebanese authorities did not refuse to meet with him or with his emissaries but now that he is no longer in a position of power it has become acceptable to label him a zionist. This is very hypocritical and I look forward to the keynote of the AUB president to see if he is going to have the guts to confront the issue head on.

    I completely agree with Ghassan’s outrage. Free speech is free speech. And this is ridiculous.
    But again, this is a country of thuggery where people were intimidated into not having an anti Bashar rally a few weeks ago.
    My prediction is that the president of AUB will NOT confront this at all and will swipe the matter under the rug. As all such matters tend to be in a thuggish environment.
    It is an interesting comment you made that once someone is not in an official position of power, then we have no problem labeling them a zionist. You and I both know how hypocritical the Lebanese people can be. This can be seen in day to day life. Everyone sucks up to the guy with the wasta (or the power in any form). Doesn’t matter if he’s Zionist or not….

    I guess my big beef with AIG’s statements above (even though I actually agree with him about how lame this whole affair is) is that he’s continuously trying to apply “modern”, “western” and “civilized” logic to what happens in Lebanon.
    Things make a LOT more sense when one considers Lebanon more along the lines of one of them wild west towns in a Spaghetti Western, or a mafia-owned town in Mexico or wherever…The thugs with the guns make the rules. There is no logic. It’s not about antisemitism, or free speech, or any of that. It’s about the fact that the thugs get to say what they want, and others have no right to speak. It’s the fact that a few thugs can intimidate others into silence, or into boycotting a company, or a university or a speaker, on a perceived notion. And bringing up the big scary bogeyman word of “Israel” ALWAYS works.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 10, 2011, 7:16 pm
  131. The following are some of the many references when Woltensohn was greeted as an honored guest in Lebanon. I guess in 1998-2009 we had not yet discovered that he was a Jew who had an interest in promoting democracy:-)

    • Qatar: Monday, June 08 – 2009 at 11:22
    Silatech, the Wolfensohn Center for Development at Brookings, the Dubai School of Government, and the Issam Fares Institute at American University of Beirut will announce Taqeem – a new program that will undertake and promote impact evaluation across the Middle East in the critical areas of employment and entrepreneurship.

    Feb. 18, 2005
    • World Bank President visits Koreitem, praises fallen Hariri
    World Bank President James Wolfensohn and his wife flew from Washington to pay their respects and condolences to the family of the late former Prime Minister in Beirut. The World Bank President was a long-time friend of the slain Premier. Wolfensohn, accompanied by the late Prime Minister’s wife, Mrs. Nazik Hariri, visited the tomb of Hariri. Wolfensohn said, “This type of tragedy does nothing but set back the cause of peace and social justice in Lebanon and in the region.” He hailed the late Hariri.

    World Bank will continue to help Lebanon: Wolfensohn pledges more aid but bemoans bickering
    World Bank president James Wolfensohn promised Lebanon more financial aid and advice on Tuesday, provided the country stops internal political bickering and makes more effort to reduce the ballooning public debt.
    Wolfensohn said Lebanon had reached a point where debt reduction and restoring confidence were of such importance “that it’s not a question of winning or losing internal battles.” He made the remarks at a news conference at the Grand Serail at the end of a two-day visit.
    With public debt standing at about $24 billion and expected to top $27 billion by year’s end, …

    (Paris I, an international conference on Lebanon’s finances, was held in Feb. 2001 under the aegis of French Pres. Jacques Chirac and World Bank Pres. James Wolfensohn.

    Mr. Nasser Chammaa guiding World Bank president James Wolfensohn around the BCD

    An Excerp from the official Rafic Hariri biography: On February 27, 2001, Prime Minister Hariri headed the Lebanese delegation to the second Friends of Lebanon conference at the Elyse Palace in Paris under the auspices of French President Jacques Chirac. The conference was dubbed the Paris I meeting. This meeting was attended, in addition to Prime Minister Hariri and President Chirac, by EU Commissioner Romano Prodi, World Bank President James Wolfensohn, European Investment Bank Vice-President Francis Meyer, French Finance Minister Laurent Fabius, and other prominent European, French and Lebanese officials.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | June 10, 2011, 8:27 pm
  132. Elias:

    It appears cabinet formation has been delayed for “at least another week”.

    I don’t know… More and more, it looks as though Danny may have to take control of the reins at QN! 🙂

    Posted by Gabriel | June 11, 2011, 8:52 am
  133. Gabriel,
    If what is being discussed is what kind of a ministry to assign to Arslan and whether Tripoli is to have 4 Sunni mininsters then consider the job done.
    The importance of a cabinet , in Lebanon, is measured by its budget. I believe that out of the 21 legitimate cabinets around 8-9 have budgets of less than $20million. Arslan was very happy last time around with the youth and sports ministry whose budget is less than $9 million. You tell me what kind of accomplishments he is going to perform with that kind of money?
    Maybe this time around he will be happy with the displaced ministry and its $5 million annual budget. Or wait maybe he can get the Ministry of Industry withits $5 million budget or how about the environment with its $8 million budget.
    Half of the 30 cabinet members carry no weight besides casting a vote and even then I am not sure that they make a hell of a lot of difference since they tend to owe their appointment to a larger group that owns their vote anyway.
    Bottom line: The charade of cabinet formation has become stale and Mikati won most of his demand. He and his other 3 Tripolitans in addition to the Presidential 4 will be in control of the Agenda and most of the purse strings.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | June 11, 2011, 11:42 am
  134. QN
    I posted the following on the wrong thread. I hope that uyou do not mind my posting it again where it might get read since it could become an important issue to some.

    June 11, 2011 at 8:18 am

    The Ain El Remmaneh bus, the spark of the devastating Lebanese civil war, has been found. It was used as an exhibit in Beirut:

    I am of the opinion that this relic must be restored to the shape that it was in on April 13, 1973 and should anchor a permanent exhibit about the civil war in Lebanon.

    I further think that the financing should be accomplished through a wide reaching campaign and not through either the government or a few wealthy individuals. What do you think? Should we pursue this project?

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | June 11, 2011, 11:56 am
  135. GK,

    I think you know this but just mistyped the date. That date was April 13, 1975.

    Posted by Ras Beirut | June 11, 2011, 12:56 pm
  136. Thanks for noticing the typo , Ras beirut. I have the bad habit working on 3-4 things simultaneously and so I sitch from one to the other and forget to double check for mistakes. I accept errors when they are typos since blogs are informal by nature:-)

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | June 11, 2011, 1:27 pm
  137. What will see the light of day first:

    The formation of a cabinet in Lebanon …. or the collapse of the Assad regime?

    Posted by R2D2 | June 11, 2011, 2:02 pm
  138. I guess the reason for the constant delays are due to Najib Mikati and Hassan Nasrallah having to assert themselves differently depending on the Assads remaining in power or not.

    I think both have been gambling on the Assad/Makhloof empire remaining firmly in place. That seems less likely this weekend.

    I feel sorry for the Aounis.

    Posted by R2D2 | June 11, 2011, 2:31 pm
  139. As to the Syrian Embassy in Paris incident with France 24 … I have two theories:

    Either there is a silent/private mutiny going on at the embassy, or …

    Khaddam has been spending some of his hard earned retirement funds.

    Posted by R2D2 | June 11, 2011, 2:55 pm
  140. “The major breakthrough in the Cabinet deadlock came after Syrian President Bashar Assad underlined the need for a prompt formation of a new Lebanese government, saying this was essential to protect Lebanon’s stability. Assad made the call during a meeting in Damascus Thursday with Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt.”


    Read more:
    (The Daily Star :: Lebanon News ::

    Posted by danny | June 11, 2011, 4:56 pm
  141. Good one Danny. Mighty kind of Bashar to have Lebanon’s stability as one of his top priority!!! You’d think he would have his hands full with stability issues in Syria right now. I’m sure Jimbo took all this love to heart.

    Posted by Ras Beirut | June 11, 2011, 7:15 pm
  142. There is something fishy about the Gay Girl in Damascus blog. Namely, that every significant experience in her self-discovery happens against the backdrop of a significant political event in the Arab world. She first realizes she is gay in 1990 during the first Iraq war. Then she comes out on September 11, 2001. Now she disappears in Damascus during the Arab spring. Really? It smacks of overwrought fiction.

    Posted by David | June 11, 2011, 8:51 pm
  143. The attempted whitewash of Wolfensohn, by pretending that the good he has done for Arabs somehow offsets his failure to condemn the Zionists at every turn, simply shows how dangerous it is t have anyone but Resistance loyalists in charge of AUB. If not for the roar of the Lions of Hizbollah, the language of instruction at AUB would be “hebrew”. Meanwhile, the Jews divert the attentions of staunch fighters of israehell like the hero Assad by inciting “protests” and “popular” uprisings in the name of “democracy” and “reform” when we all know that strength against the colonialist invaders requires unity rather than dissent. But once the mobs are silenced, we can resume the struggle against the zionist foreigners.

    Posted by dontgetit | June 12, 2011, 12:50 am
  144. GK, 136

    Very good points…I would like to add to your info that the budget of the Presidency of the Republic is 15 Billion Lb a year, while the Prime ministrer’s office directly controls 1750 Billion Lb per year…. Taef needs to be revamped Top to bottom soonest!

    Posted by Hk | June 12, 2011, 4:49 am
  145. GK, 136

    Very good points…I would like to add to your info that the budget of the Presidency of the Republic is 15 Billion Lb a year, while the Prime ministrer’s office directly controls 1750 Billion Lb per year…. Taef needs to be revamped Top to bottom soonest!
    Sorry about the typo, read Lp. ( Lebanese pounds).

    Posted by Hk | June 12, 2011, 4:54 am
  146. Detained lesbian blogger from Syria turns out to be a hoax
    Real author of the blog ‘A Gay Girl in Damascus’, Tom MacMaster who is based in Turkey, posts apology but insists his fictitious account was truly reflective of the situation on the ground in Syria.

    Posted by Alex | June 12, 2011, 5:53 pm

    U.S. sources have informed caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri about a plan to assassinate him in Beirut, “which was supposed to be carried out in May,” Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai reported.

    Al-Rai noted that Washington, Paris and several capitals in the region have been following up on surveillance operations conducted by parties in Lebanon since August 2010 to track Hariri’s movements,

    so doesn’t this just mean that washington is also tracking hariri?

    Posted by tamer k. | June 12, 2011, 6:12 pm
  148. I am attempting to understand the logic of the official account about what took place at Jisr Al Shughour in Syria.
    It has been reported that 85 of the police were killed as the headquarters was attacked by the protesters/mob.

    The city is listed officially with 42,000 residents. This is exactly the size of the population of Byblos in Lebanon or 1/3 the size of the population of Tyre. If the ratio of the police to the population is 1:140 then Jisr Al Shughour would be expected to have a total of 300 policemen. Obviously some are off duty and the number is scattered over a few stations. That would lead one to suspect that the HQ could not have had more than say 150 policemen at any one time. If a police station is being attacked by a mob then I imagine that the police, who are defending the station would have the advantageover the mob that is unruly, not discoiplined and badly armed.

    So the question is whether it is highlt likely for such a scenario, if true, to result in having the police force loose 85 dead while the attackers; the mob; a much smaller number? Can a total police force of a city loose more than 1/4 of all its members while defending their HQ against a mob?

    I am no expert in military affairs but I just do not feel at ease when an official version of events does not compute. Any thoughts about this?

    I am not trying to just play the role of a doubting Thomas only. If the official version is untrue then what about the counter version of the protesters? Could it be that there was a mutiny within the police that was put down by the police force itself? And if that is true then could these be signs of more bloodshed and greater instability?

    It appears to me that the current regime is a loser if it it wins. The victory could turn out to be a pyrrhic one since to win the regime would have created so much ill will that the cost of victory will be tremendous not to mention the greater hard times that await everyone as a result of the ensuing poor economic performance, drought, increased food insecurity, greater unemployment, a major decrease in oil production , less foreign visitors, greater unemployment… The Assads ( Bashar and Maher) can prolong the Syrian agony as long as they enjoy Russian support or they can have their Russian friends negotiate for them a safe exit out of power. Russia is wrong in trying at all cost to maintaoin a foothold in the ME, even when that means increased miserey , destruction and pain. Russia should look at Syria through the same prism as that of Lybia.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | June 12, 2011, 6:18 pm
  149. Alex,

    So it was a hoax. Are all the deaths and destruction inflicted by your brutal bloodthirsty reformer a hoax too? You have totally demented sense of reality.


    Russia and Iran do not give a rat’s ass about Syria supposed strategic position in ME. their main concern is insulating themselves. They have more serious issues within their borders and are aware that the whole world would try to exert the same pressure (or dare I ponder out loud) on them. That’s the crux of all! However as the Bashar mafia disintegrates in front of our eyes; the west will afford the Russians an ‘honorable” exit strategy from their intransigence.

    Posted by danny | June 12, 2011, 6:43 pm
  150. Danny,
    The Syrian regime feels that Russia will cast a veto on its behalf at the security council. My thinking on this runs as follows: Cghina will not fight very hard for Syria. They are not a major importewr of anything; Syria is a poor country; and they dare not rich in natural resources.. Putin on the other hand is a product of the KGB and the Soviet empire. He does not like to see Russia marginalized in the NE, They no longer exert any power in North Africa nor in Iraq and so he would like to maintain a foothold in the Arab world. I hope that he will also realize that Syria under Assada does not have much to offer him. Russia can play a constructive role in Syria similar to the one in Libya; use its influence to reduce the level of violence and shorten its duration. If that happens then Sahar will be weakened substantially.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | June 12, 2011, 7:55 pm
  151. 1) I think I correctly predicted that the day after the media claimed “Cabinet in the coming hours”, the following day would be ripe for “No cabinet any time soon” declarations. I was right (as usual hehe).

    2) Ghassan. I always wondered what happened to that bus. Fully agree that it should be restored and exhibited. In fact, I have always been for having the Lebanese stop living in denial of their civil war and trying as hard as possible to keep it “out of sight out of mind”. It has been my opinion (and I mentioned that the other day) that the Lebanese need to take a long close look at themselves before they can ever hope to move forward. This must start by actually acknowledging and accepting and learning from the civil war, not attempting to brush it under the rug.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 12, 2011, 8:05 pm
  152. Alex,

    The Gay Girl was a hoax? Good to know. That means Assad is the best reformer ever and the most democratic leader in the world. That means that the Syrian security forces are not murdering and torturing hundreds or thousands. That means that there are no Syrian cities under siege. And of course it means that Syrians have freedom and dignity.

    And do you know how the Gay Girl was uncovered? He was uncovered by the free press that your beloved dictator does not allow into Syria.

    In short, stop making a fool of yourself.

    Posted by AIG | June 12, 2011, 8:31 pm
  153. Ghassan,

    I hope you are partying…Not because of the typo’s but your somehow bright dreamy vision of Russian supposed influence. The world has changed. It is necessarily divided into influences of “land masses”…but economic and military (in space).

    Bashar will fall. Sooner than a lot of you might think. However; my fear has always been the reaction of HA militia. Today we heard about a plot to assassinate Saad hariri. Off course people like Tamer could only muster a dumb ass response. Lebanon and its residents are in for a fatalistic showdown. Let’s pray for a miracle.

    Posted by danny | June 12, 2011, 8:48 pm
  154. Danny,
    I better review , or at least take a second look, at the post prior to pressing the send link 🙂
    Why are you trying to make it look as if we have different views of the role of Russia, we don’t. I am simply saying that Putin is driven by his vision of how things used to be a quarter of a century ago and he change . BTW, have you heard that he has ordered that his security police adopt the same uniforms that Stalin’s security detail used?:-)

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | June 12, 2011, 9:06 pm
  155. Now Your morning smile:”Al-Manar quotes “majority sources” as saying cabinet will be one-sided if announced today without “the overcoming of all obstacles”

    From Now Lebanon….

    Wow. It really makes me smile how a majority’s own candidate can form a government of “one side” against them??? 😛

    One word for these morons…FREAKAZOID. 😀

    Posted by danny | June 13, 2011, 6:48 am
  156. Does it matter the gay girl was a hoax? What does it prove? That its a conspiracy? Fine the girl was a hoax…how about the other Syrians that have been arrested. Is that a hoax too? All this teaches anyone is not to take blogs that seriously and absent of any media, the world will eat up any information that isn’t government sponsored.

    Posted by CultofAssad | June 13, 2011, 6:49 am
  157. It looks like Mikati managed to form a new government. YOUPPPPPPPPPPIE !

    Posted by marillionlb | June 13, 2011, 8:16 am
  158. And here is the line up………brace yourselves !:

    Posted by marillionlb | June 13, 2011, 8:18 am
  159. Minister of State: Ali Qanso (Shia, Syrian Social Nationalist Party)

    How does a member of the “Syrian Social Nationalist Party” become a minister in LEBANON???

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 13, 2011, 10:05 am
  160. Well, I’m gonna have to eat crow. Ghassan wins our bet.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 13, 2011, 12:48 pm

Are you just gonna stand there and not respond?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Browse archives

wordpress stats plugin
%d bloggers like this: