Shame on Harvard

Harvard pulled out its official endorsement of the study on the influence of the pro-Israeli lobby on US Policy making.
But the truth is out and academic expertise shouldn’t require political acquiescence.

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Wishful Thinking

First of all check out the title of the story:

Syria and Lebanon Discuss Scientific Cooperation

Second,the story, the plight:

DAMASCUS, (SANA)-
Syria and Lebanon discussed ways of enhancing scientific research and cooperation between their universities.
During a meeting, Minister of Higher Education Ghyath Barakat discussed with Rector of the Lebanese University Zuhir Shakar situation of the Syrian students in Lebanese private universities and all problems, damages and difficulties they are exposed to.

And Finally, the wishful thinking:

The Minister highlighted the necessity of boosting Syrian-Lebanese student communication through joint camps and activating joint scientific researches between them.

All this is nice, but now let’s go back to work!

It is truly the dog that wags the tail..

I liked this piece

Some of it is overblown and I do not agree with all of his assertions but it is a great counterpoint to Harvard/Chicago piece on the Israeli Lobby.

Israel’s tactical multilateralism

The Forward has yet again looked for interesting subject to develop: Ori Nir investigates Israel’s changing position toward Palestinian Refugee body UNRWA in order to displace Hamas as a social good provider. Meaning that the Jewish state has a new found respect for International Organizations such as the UN.
That’s history repeated in reverse. There was a time when Israel use to support Hamas in order to roll back Fatah.

The ever changing face of Hamas

Check this interview that appeared in the UAE daily Al Khaleej (Thanks for the translation by Mideastwire:

“Female Minister in the Hamas government: we will not impose the veil…”

In its March 24 edition, Al Khaleej, an independent daily, reported that: “Maryam Saleh is considered the only woman in the new government of the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas. She enjoys a remarkable academic and political record, and has obtained a degree in Islamic Law from King AbdulAziz University in 1979, a PhD from the Um Al Qura University in 1993,… and has written many publications and researches about the political rights of women in Islam… In an interview with Al Khaleej, Saleh stated that women were the safety valve of the Palestinian society, denied there was any intention of imposing the veil and assured that no laws will be passed if they are in contradiction with the Sharia. The following is a transcript of the interview:

“Al Khaleej: ‘What can the Hamas movement offer Palestinian women?’
Saleh: ‘We, the Hamas movement, have placed many items in our electoral and governmental program regarding women. We said that Palestinian women were a partner in the resistance and the Jihad and a partner in the restructuring and the decision-making. Palestinian women have suffered as much as everyone else from the occupation and are need of everything that could be given to them on all levels. We consider that the Ministry of Women’s Affairs is a palpable achievement and that it should be headed by a woman.

“Our work in the upcoming government might be different from that of the former government, while bearing in mind that many achievements were accomplished by the Ministry. We will deal with the positive aspects and develop them, and we will also develop many other issues related to women. The concern with women’s affairs is one of Hamas’s most distinguished characteristics. This was proven by the active participation of women during the elections, and before that, by their involvement in social services, and the social participation of Muslim women in the movement. Women represent half of the society in number, but their value is much bigger since they are the ones raising the future generations and forging men’.

“Al Khaleej: ‘Nonetheless, Hamas is accused of being against the freedom of women and that it will impose its special social agenda that will restrict women’s freedoms. What are your comments on that?’
Saleh: ‘These are targeted accusations that have been raised against Hamas and the Islamic calling a long time ago. Many people want to impose Western laws, customs and traditions that are strange to our culture [and] our societies. But we are a Muslim society and Hamas came from within this society, and did not land from space on the back of a tank.

“As for what is being said, it aims to create fear amongst women vis-à-vis the movement. No sensible person should believe these false rumors because we have showed the people, in our electoral program, Hamas’s position from women. We will not impose our ideas and thoughts on anyone, because that is our principle, and we will impose the veil… But on the other hand, we will also not pass laws that are in contradiction with the Holy Islamic Sharia’.

“Al Khaleej: ‘How will you run a Ministry full of male and female employees that do not share your political ideas?’
Saleh: ‘I always say that in our dear country Palestine, we all have one cause and one concern. We are all together to achieve one goal, i.e. to topple the invasion and liberate our nation. Even if there are political differences, there are many other areas in which we can collaborate and agree, that are much wider than the areas of dispute. Our principle in Hamas is that we collaborate in our convergences, and discuss our divergences’.”

Syria: Dissidents to meet with Lebanese Politicians

That’s what was missing!!
(from an Italian news agency)

Damascus, 23 March (AKI) – Leading Syrian dissidents belonging to the Rally for Syria group will hold talks with prominent anti-Syrian Lebanese politicians, including Saad Hariri, the son of assassinated former Lebanese premier Rafik Hariri, in Paris later this month. Other high profile figures attending the talks include former Syrian deputy president Abdel Halim Khaddam – who has been living in Paris since falling out with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad – and Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt.

“Jumblatt, Hariri and Khaddam head the list of those invited,” Rally for Syria co-ordinator, Fahd al-Agha al-Misri told Adnkronos International (AKI). Misri said that a number of Western political leaders have also been invited to participate in the discussions.

He also said that Khaddam, by severing his ties with al-Assad, had taken “a brave step which merits praise of all the sincere patriots within Syria.

In recent interviews, Khaddam has implicated al-Assad in the February 2005 assassination of Rafik Hariri and 20 other people in a Beirut bomb blast.

what desolation means: the Iraqi case

Everybody should read this piece in the NY review of books on what Iraq looks like in terms of chaos and super-militarization. Long gone the hopes of a brighter future without Saddam.
For those who would like to witness revolutions in their own country, take a look at Iraq beyond what the media feeds you everyday.
This is scary… I hope the god(s) can prevent such scenario from materializing in my tiny country delineated a century ago. Because if I have to rely on the current ‘statesmen’ we have around here…

one note though, nobody seems to realize how horrible things should be for the average Iraqi today. peace is precious and nobody realizes this. Sometimes, I tend to forget that, I tend to take for granted the fact that I can wake up in the morning and go walk in the sun. But a couple of years ago, during the civil war, this was not really possible. Is it necessary for me to have known the vicissitudes of the lack of security in order to understand the current desolation in Iraq? Do we need to all go through this before we understand what ideology or the tyranny of ideas can do to so many people?

Ultimately, for those who don’t understand the precious cost of a viable security system for those who don’t understand why the State is such an important agency, actually for those who paradoxically think they understood it all when it comes to formulating concepts such as “liberty”, “democracy”, etc. I tell you, please think twice before screaming the word “injustice”. Your life can suddenly become unbearable.