Tuesday, December 25, 2007

On hiatus till '08

Happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Update III: Rape in Saudi Arabia

Some good links about this on Crossroads Arabia.

Update II: Rape in Saudi Arabia

Interesting column by Anne Applebaum in the Washington Post. According to her, we need some kind of new Elizabeth Cady Stanton to take on countries like Saudi Arabia where women are treated poorly.

Analysis: For the most part I agree with her. Women in SA are second class citizens and something should be done about it. She claims that American feminists tend to be wary of criticizing non-Western cultures, and they shouldn't, they should go for it. That point is where I'm torn. Saudi Arabia is an extreme example of women's rights being denied. And no, it's not part of Islam. There are some differences set aside, and women are supposed to dress modestly, but they don't have to completely cover themselves like in Saudi Arabia. But where do we draw the line between what it wrong and what it someone else's culture? We need to be very careful here. In the US, naked photos of a girl under the age of 18 are child pornography. In Germany, it's under 17. They even have a magazine called 17 (but in German) that features all 17-year-old girls. How many people in the US would stand for that happening here? How many would allow women to go topless on the beach? I mean, they're only breasts, what's the big deal? [Look how many women have trouble breast-feeding in public!] How many would allow a morning talk show host to have her pubic hair waxed on camera? Who gets to decide what is right?

One thing that isn't talked about much is that not all women want to be "saved." When the Shah of Iran issued a ban on wearing the chador, many women (especially elderly women) didn't want to leave their homes because they felt naked. I'm not saying that every Saudi woman feels that way, but there are some who do. For those who don't, who want equality, and the ability to drive, and the right to not wear a long black covering: they have to bear the brunt of this. And some of them are. They've had "drive-ins" where a group of women got together and they all drove their cars around. I feel that we should support them and help them. But I'm not sure we can force SA to change. While racism has taken some very violent forms, gender issues are more entrenched. Even in America.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Update: Rape in Saudi Arabia

The king has pardoned the women who was raped. Apparently it's not unusual to issue some pardons for Eid al-Adha, but this was done early. And not everyone is happy. Some people are accusing the king of caving in to Western pressure. Seems like you just can't please everyone.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Brits in Basra

Two articles from the BBC: Basra resident blame UK troops and Basra's new era brings new fears.

Analysis: The Brits have slowly been pulling out of Basra, in southeast Iraq. And in September they moved out of the city and into an army base. They're getting ready to downsize even more. It will be interesting to see what happens. Will the violence decrease if the "insurgents" have fewer "invaders" to fight? Will "sectarian violence" increase as they fight each other? Southeast Iraq is mostly Shi'ite and contains the holiest Shi'ite shrines. And Basra has historically been an important city. It's ironic that during World War I, the British invaded Iraq and started by taking over Basra. After WWI, they did not have an easy time in Iraq. It's a pity we didn't learn more from that.

Al-Qa'ida Speaks

The BBC has an article about the latest statement from Zawahiri, on the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks in the US. I found this section interesting:
Previous messages attributed to Zawahiri have urged Muslims to unite in global jihad - holy struggle - and for the governments of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to be overthrown.

Hmmmmm. Overthrowing: a country where the president is basically a dictator because the press is censored and there are no truly free elections; a country with an old-fashioned monarchy that denies basic rights to many of its citizens and is a hotbed of religious fomentation; a country run by a military dictator that contains some of the heartland of al-Qa'ida. That almost makes sense. Wait, I didn't say that. They might put me in Gitmo for agreeing with a terrorist! I guess I'll have to wait until Bush comes to the same conclusion. Except that he won't because those are our buddies. We don't care if you're a democracy or a brutal dictator, as long as you're our buddy. But if you're not our buddy, we'll invade your ass and install democracy (even if you already have it)!

(Yes, the Gator is feeling a might testy today.)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

More Problems for Women

The Guardian has a really good article on the problems and violence facing women living in Iraq. One of these problems is honor killings. See my post on honor killings too.

Muslim Helps Jews in NY Attack

It's always nice to hear about interfaith cooperation. Too bad the Christians involved were the bad guys. A group of them were wishing people Merry Christmas, so a few Jews wished them Happy Hanukkah, at which point the Jews were attacked by the Christmas-wishers. A Muslim nearby helped the Jews fight off the Christian attackers.

Analysis: I personally have no problem with Christmas as a holiday for several reasons. First of all, it is traditional for most of America. Secondly, it's not even Christian. Every time I see those "Remember the Reason for the Season" signs I think: pagan solstice celebrations and Germanic tree reverence. So I don't have a problem with Christmas. I do have a problem with the people talking about the "War on Christmas." Yes, there are people in this country who are NOT Christian and have their own holidays. Hanukkah and Kwanzaa spring to mind as holidays that take place around Christmas. So what the hell is wrong with wishing someone Happy Holidays? I don't think you should be forced to use Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas, but especially if you know someone is not Christian, maybe you should use that instead. Save the Merry Christmases for Christians. How many of these people upset with a "War on Christmas" would be extremely offended to be wished a Happy Kwanzaa? But it's okay if they do it? I don't have a problem with churches putting up trees and nativity scenes. But I think government offices should stick to trees and wreaths. The Nativity IS blatantly religious and Christian. So leave that to non-governmental groups. If you own a company and want to put up a nativity scene, then go for it. You have that right. But we have something in this country called "separation of church and state." If a city decides to put up Christian symbols for a holiday, then what about Jewish holidays, or Muslim holidays, or Hindu or Buddhist or whatever? So my final answer is: nativity scene = religious, tree/wreath/candles = not religious. We may not be a Christian nation, but we are a Christmas nation.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Rape: Pissed off Gator

There have been several posts on rape recently. In my last post I mentioned how I was upset about the hypocrisy in America over rape victims. Little did I know that my words were prophetic. A woman named Jamie Leigh Jones did an interview with ABC claiming that as a contractor in Iraq she was raped by some of her fellow contractors. In researching this article, I found a link on a conservative blog (Jawa Report) about the event. What really disturbed me were the comments about the alleged rape. Here's a quote from Jawa:

"But combine gang rape + cover up + corporate malfeasance + political intrigue and you have the perfect story." and "It's perfect. Too perfect. The kind of story the Left can rally around."

And some comments that were posted to Jawa:

"It sounds like something Michael Moore would dream up if he made movies for Lifetime. It doesn't look right."

"Amazing how this has gotten no coverage till now..I question the timing....A made to order story to fill the gap of bad news from Iraq." ('...' are from original post)

"gold digging trollop"

"On her website she admits she is a slut."

"We have a lot of people REALLY wacky people on the loony left, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find one motivated enough to go through all the hassle of going to Iraq just to give grounds for such an accusation. It will be interesting to find out what groups she was involved with in college. If it turns out that any of them are leftist/democratic-party affiliated, then I’ll bet my life savings that the accusation was planned out before she ever left the states."

"the only story about this alleged incident has come from the tart and her lawyers"

So if a woman is raped in Saudi Arabia, and given lashes because she was committing an illegal act at the time, then this woman is a victim. If an American woman is raped by contractors for KBR, then she's a lying whore? I agree that not all the evidence is in yet, but so far it looks like she's telling the truth. I guess that white men don't rape women, only those sex-crazed Arabs rape women. Oh wait, I believe that's "sex-crazed black men" - there I go, mixing my stereotypes again.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

More Rape

ABC's 20/20 showed a segment Friday night about a French boy (age 15) who was raped in Dubai. When he went to the police he was accused of being a homosexual and consenting to the attack.

Analysis: Again, this does not surprise me. See my topic More Sex in the Middle East about honor killings. There have been honor killings when a woman (a virgin) is raped. Even though it's not her fault, she is seen as having lost her honor. For the police in Dubai, it was probably easier to believe that this boy was a homosexual than to prosecute his rape. There will probably be a horrified outcry from the West, which I agree with. But I would like to bring up some of the hypocrisy that goes on as well. How many women who are raped go to the rape trial and end up being asked what they were wearing or how they acted to incite the rapist? I think it has decreased as time goes on, but I remember this being a really big deal in the 1970s and 1980s - that the rape victim was basically on trial. It greatly annoys me when I see people in the US complaining about those horrible Muslims, when they are guilty of similar acts.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sudanese teddy bears

There's been a big to-do in Sudan because a teddy bear was named Muhammad. See articles by the BBC and Gulf Times. Apparently an Englishwoman asked her class to name a teddy bear, and they chose the name Muhammad. The school secretary complained to the police and the teacher was accused of insulting Islam and inciting hatred, etc. She could have faced being flogged, but instead will serve 15 days in jail and be deported.

Analysis: First of all, I do not agree with what is happening to this woman. There was no ill intent on her part or on her students' part. But there are laws in Sudan against insulting Islam and naming a teddy bear Muhammad was deemed insulting. Think about it - many Americans would be insulted if you named a teddy bear Jesus (and does anyone remember the elephant dung Virgin Mary?). You need to remember that not every country in the world has the concept of free speech. In many Middle Eastern countries pornography is illegal and will get you jailed or deported. Whether you agree with it or not, if you get caught that is what will happen to you. It's the same concept with insulting Islam. The courts in Sudan felt that the teacher had insulted Islam, and I think she was lucky to get off with such a light sentence. When you live and work in countries that are radically different from what you are used to, you have to be careful. Especially if they are under religious law. It wasn't that long ago that the US had some religious laws of its own. In some areas it was illegal to work on Sundays. And it wasn't that long ago that you could go to jail for having an affair (adultery) or having consensual anal sex with your wife. There are still counties in the US where you cannot buy alcohol. This event has already started more talk in Sudan about discrimination against non-Muslims, so maybe some change will come of it.

[Note: does anyone remember the American kid who was supposed to get caned in Singapore?]

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Peace in the Middle East

I am all for peace, but I fail to see how Bush' s little summit is going to do anything. Olmert is incredibly unpopular back home in Israel, and Abbas does not represent all the Palestinians. How can you possibly expect a momentous outcome from their meeting? Anything that is agreed upon will only affect the territories held by Fatah, and the Israel government might not even go along with Olmert.

I also do not like the way Bush is pushing a 2-state system. I do see that as the only viable solution, but I would guess Bush & the Israelis would like the Palestinian state to be exactly where it is now, so the Israelis can keep their wall. And then if they are attacked by the new Palestinian state, they have a good excuse to retaliate, instead of just attacking refugees and civilians. At this point I cannot see Israel ceding any of its territory for a new Palestinian state. They (Israel) are the ones who need to compromise the most, because their compromise involves land and money and pride. Hamas may not want to acknowledge Israel's right to exist, and may want to destroy them, but that is something that is easier to change.

Friday, November 23, 2007

More Sex in the Middle East

I don't have any current links for you, but there have been problems in Jordan and Syria with honor killings. If I remember correctly, there are something like a dozen to 20 cases a year of honor killings in these two countries. Usually it happens when a young woman meets a man and either has sex with him, or marries him against her family's wishes. In Islam, a lot of honor revolves around a woman's virginity. So when a woman loses that in a dishonorable manner - whether of her own accord or by rape - there are repercussions, because it reflects badly on the family. To regain their honor, the family must kill her. Many women try to flee when their family finds out, because they fear for their lives. There are even cases where sisters and aunts have helped lure a young woman to her death to help out the family honor. One young woman even went to jail after she fled. I wanted to point this out to illustrate another point in the article on Rape in Saudi Arabia. I believe there's this fear that if men and women mingle, who knows what might be going on, hence the law against mingling. So if someone breaks that law, there may be the feeling that the couple involved were intending to be up to something. Otherwise, why would they break the law? This just further complicates the issue.

Rape in Saudi Arabia

The Largest Minority has a report about a rape in Saudi Arabia. From what is said, this woman met a man she knew, to return a picture, then both were attacked and raped by a group of men. Some of the men were sentenced to a few years in prison and several hundred lashes. But the woman and her friend were also sentenced to lashes. After she spoke out about her case, she was sentenced to more lashes and some time in jail. Her lawyer is also having problems.

Disclaimer: First let me state that I do not agree with what is happening to this woman, but I will try to explain it. I just don't want anyone to think that that means I in any way support what is going on. I just know if I don't specify that I'll probably get e-mails accusing me of supporting it.

Analysis: In Saudi Arabia it is illegal for the opposite sexes to mingle. When a woman goes out in public she must be escorted by a male relative. So when this woman met a friend, who happened to be male, technically she was breaking the law. Here's a theoretical example for the USA (and no, I am not saying these 2 cases are equal): if a woman and a man were trespassing on someone's land, and happened to be raped by other trespassers, there's a chance they would still be prosecuted for trespassing. Now, in the US, the landowner would really be pressured not to prosecute someone who had been raped. But in Saudi Arabia, they take mingling seriously. So the woman and man were prosecuted for breaking the law. The extra time and lashes tacked on afterward, though, seem to be an attempt to get her to shut up and take her punishment.
So does the harassment of her lawyer.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

New Direction

I got the idea to start this blog after last year's MESA meeting. There was a panel on bloggers, and how there haven't really been any new MESA bloggers. The president then (Juan Cole) basically challenged us to start blogs, and I took that challenge. Unfortunately, mine seems to be a case of 'if someone blogged in the woods and no one was there to read it, would it really matter?' That started me thinking and I've come up with some new goals for 2008. First of all, I intend to start doing more analysis on the news, not just acting as a news aggregate. Secondly, I'm going to try to increase my readership. I read a number of blogs so I intend to start commenting more, when appropriate, to try and get the Ali Gator name out there and more read. For those of you who do read the blog, thank you for your support and tell your friends!

MTV Arabia

The NY Times has an article here about MTV Arabia (www.mtva.com). I haven't had much chance to check it out, but I will say that it started to mess up Firefox, so you might have better luck using IE to view it.

MESA: Middle East Studies Association

Each year MESA has it's annual meeting just before Thanksgiving. This year it was in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. And it was fabulous! I was at MESA and had a blast. When you study the Middle East, it's often hard to find people to discuss that topic with. Unless you want to talk about how all Arabs are terrorists. MESA gives us all a chance to come together and pursue our specific interests. So if you're interested in 14th century Persian poetry, odds are good that someone else who likes that will show up at MESA. That's why I enjoy going to MESA. I get to speak with people who share my specific interests and I get to be a tourist. Montreal was great and I hope to be able to visit it again soon.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Yes - this is the latest buzzword from the far right. October 22-26 was Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, and speeches were held at a number of colleges by the likes of David Horowitz and Ann Coulter. At my university, the College Republicans were handing out brochures on the topic. I have a few questions and comments about Islamo-fascism. Who came up with this word? I first heard it in Spring of 2006, on Oprah of all places. She had several Middle East speakers on the show and one of them used the word Islamo-fascism. According to the dictionary (dictionary.com in this case) fascism is: "a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism." Which is why you have people like Mussolini and Hitler as fascists. I'm really not sure how Horowitz et al have put Islam into the picture. I mean, if you want to talk about the ruler of a Muslim country suppressing criticism and opposition then you really have to look at our buddies the Saudis, or Musharraf in Pakistan, or even the Egyptian president Mubarak.

Apparently, though, what they mean by Islamo-fascism is simply Islamic extremism, also referred to as Islamist movements. So why do we need a new word? Personally, I would guess because "Islamo-fascism" has a good ring to it and everyone know that fascism is evil, right? And maybe if they use the word fascism with Islam, then those darn liberals won't be able to co-opt it and accuse Bush of being fascist. I fail to see, however, how Islamic extremists or terrorists who are not state-backed or part of a government could be called Islamo-fascist. Are they suggesting that Hamas is Islamo-fascist? But Hamas is not a single man being a dictator. And there are valid arguments for it not being a terrorist organization either. Perhaps the right-wingers need to study some history, or even open a dictionary, to see what fascism really means.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Iran, anybody? Part II

Yes, I said it before and I'll say it again. Things look dicey with Iran. The US has imposed more sanctions, just like in the lead-up to Iraq. And the talk coming out of the Whitehouse is similar to the lead-up to Iraq. And now Russia is getting more and more upset with us. Putin compared the US missile defense shield to the Cuban Missile Crisis. I've been watching the national news on the ABC network and even their anchors are comparing what's happening with Iran to the lead-up to Iraq. (All I can say to that is "It's about damn time!") I have two schools of thought on this. First, the administration is just stupid (all of our troops are tied up in Iraq). Second, they're not stupid, they're positive a democrat will win in 2008 and they can dump the war on the democratic president. No one will remember who started it, just that the democrats lost the war. Right now I'd say it's about 50-50 which one is correct.

Power in Gaza?

Israel wants to stop rocket attacks from coming out of the Gaza Strip by cutting electricity to the area. Apparently Israel supplies about 60% of the electricity used in Gaza where the population is around 1.5 million. Israel is saying this will not cause a crisis in Gaza. I really wonder sometimes where they get the nerve to say things like that. The situation is already very bad in Gaza. Hamas (who I will remind my readers was democratically elected) is in charge in Gaza and the whole strip is being marginalized by Israel and Fatah (who controls the West Bank). People have trouble getting in or out, and I believe government workers are STILL waiting to be paid. When I say government workers, I'm not talking about terrorists, I'm talking about regular civil service jobs filled by everyday people who can't buy food for their families. Now they won't get enough electricity either. I hope the winters in Gaza aren't too cold.

I'm back!

I'm back, and it's none too soon! There's a lot happening all over the Middle East. We've got the situation with Turkey and the Kurds; the US is turning Karbala over to the Iraqis; there's a kid's circus in Israel composed of Muslims and Jews that is bringing people together; Combatants for Peace is made up of Palestinians and Israelis who want peace; Alan Johnston speaks about being held captive in Gaza for three months; and a lot more. I'll try to get up-to-date on what's going on.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Sick Gator

I've been sick for a while, so consider me temporarily on hiatus until it clears up.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Been on hiatus

Sorry it's been so long. Next time I'll try to let y'all know in advance when I won't be posting (assuming of course that anyone is actually reading this). I am in the education industry (read: college/university) and with school starting up I've been swamped. I'll be posting again soon, especially since there is so much going on right now. Like Syria shooting at Israeli planes in its territory. That's all for now.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Female Taxi Driver

This is an old article that I guess I missed somehow. A Muslim woman in Israel is working as a taxi driver. And pretty much nobody has a problem with it.

Forgotten Gaza

The BBC has a good article on the situation in Gaza. The area is completely shut off from the world, and many countries are ignoring it because Hamas is considered a terrorist organization. Putting that discussion aside, am I the only one who thinks that punishing the Palestinians like this might not be the way to get them to make peace with Israel? We're basically saying to them "your ideas are wrong, you're bad people, and we don't care if you suffer and die." So how can we expect them to cooperate with us?! To pull out an old truism: you can catch more flies with sugar than with vinegar.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Stupidity is Painful

Let me state right up front that this is a rant. The stupidity of the Bush regime is really driving me nuts. First of all, there's the whole "Al-Qa'eda - Iraq link." Yes, al-Qaeda is in Iraq. . . now. They were not affiliated with Saddam Hussein though. Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein were enemies. I am sick and tired of hearing "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" from Republicans trying to link Bin Laden and Saddam. Saddam Hussein was SECULAR, Bin Laden is RELIGIOUS. Bin Laden wanted to destroy Saddam. And if you still think bin Laden would join up with his enemy, would he really join up with one in his own backyard? If he wanted help he would not turn to Saddam, he'd turn to people in Saudi Arabia [hmmm: weren't most of the 9-11 hijackers from there?].
Number Two: What is up with building a new US Embassy in south Beirut in Hizballah territory? Even the US ambassador there thinks it's stupid. So why do it? Well, the paranoid crazy side of my brain says it's a good excuse to start some shit. You know - a sort of "if you build it, they will bomb." [I like that - I should trademark it.] If the US builds this embassy, it's in the perfect place to get hit, and that would be a good excuse to bomb the shit out of the area or even invite the Israelis to help out. Color me cynical and paranoid, but I live in Bush's America.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Update V: Free Alan

I'm a little slow this week, so you've probably all seen the news on your TV set - Alan has been freed! Here's the BBC article, and here is the article about the petition to free him. I'm going to leave the banner up for a few more days.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Update IV: Free Alan

Yay!!!! BBC is reporting that Alan is free! I was half expecting his body to show up one day, so this is really good news!

Update III: Free Alan

News (I hope!): Yahoo is reporting that Hamas has told AP that Alan Johnston has been freed and is in Hamas custody at this time. No verification yet. I'll keep you updated.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Update II: Free Alan

More news on Alan Johnston. He's been seen in a video, wearing a bomb vest.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Upate: Saudi Arrest Religious Police

Just a brief update. The trial has been postponed. See my original article here for info about the case.

Update: Gaza Goes Up

Here's some more information on what's going on and how people are reacting. The whole situation is a mess, and I can't help but wonder what Israel is up to. Are they trying to keep things going, or calm them down? I mean, violence in Gaza and the West Bank may spill over into Israeli territory, but on the other hand, if the Palestinians kill each other off then there's fewer of them for Israel to worry about.

American Muslims

The BBC has an interesting article on Muslims in the US Marines. Check it out here.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Update IV: British Soldiers Captured by Iran

Yes, I know they're all home now. But did you know that before Iran captured them they tried the same thing to some Australian sailors? Apparently the Aussies didn't like that idea, so they managed to convince the Iranians to go away.

Update: Free Alan

Alan Johnston has been a prisoner for over 3 months now. (Click on the picture to the right to find out more.) Hamas thought they had made a deal to free him, but it fell through, so they've set a deadline now. Reporters in the Palestinian areas face a number of difficulties, but it's really a shame to see one of them kidnapped by a Palestinian faction. Many Palestinians are very upset by this and have been asking for his freedom.

Update: More Saudi-BAE stuff

Where to begin? How about a bunch of links so you can read about the whole big scandal yourself. And don't forget to go back and read my original posts.

BAE has no idea if the US is investigating.
The US is starting to investigate the scandal.
A British high muckity-muck is heading the investigation over in Britain.

Things are heating up and getting interesting. Turns out Prince Bandar has been making BILLIONS off of this stuff. Click here for the Guardian's coverage of the whole thing.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Gaza Goes Up

Well, things are going to hell in Gaza - at least more than usual. Hamas and Fatah are fighting. This has been going on for a little while now, but it's getting bloodier and bloodier For those of you not paying attention, Fatah is the group that Yasir Arafat belonged to. When the Palestinians had democratic elections last year, Hamas won. That wasn't good enough for Bush. He felt that Hamas was/is a terrorist organization. Apparently I am the only one who remembers when Yasir Arafat and Fatah were terrorists. The main reason Hamas won the election was not because the Palestinians were getting more religious and conservative, but because Fatah is corrupt. It may seem obvious that politicians are corrupt, but Fatah has a bad reputation for it. And Hamas won because they were going to get rid of the corruption. You may not like strong religious types, but when they're true believers, and they say they're getting rid of corruption, people tend to believe them. However, the US has decided that Hamas is a terrorist group. Israel goes along with that (which makes sense since Hamas wants Israel destroyed) but they refused to pay Hamas - the legally, democratically elected Palestinian government, the tax money it was owed.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

AUC Must Allow Niqab

The American University in Cairo (AUC) must allow the niqab now. The hijab is a headscarf that shows the face, while the niqab shows only the eyes. AUC had banned the niqab for security reasons, but a court just ruled that that impinges on personal freedoms, so they must allow women to wear a niqab. The university is worried about security and Islamic extremism. Personally, I believe people should be allowed to wear what they want to wear.

Iran Arrests Academics

Another Iranian-American academic has been arrested in Iran - for spying of course. He's the 3rd one so far, so if you're thinking of attending a conference in Iran, you might want to reconsider.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

More Muslim Brothers Arrested in Egypt

Egypt has been getting less and less democratic lately. Now they have arrested 75 members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Technically, the group is illegal, but they do have some members running for parliament. So much for free elections. But anybody paying attention to Egypt know that went out the window a long time ago.

Saudi Arrest Religious Police

Saudi Arabia actually arrested 5 religious policemen (mutawain) because of the death of a man they had arrested. The religious police there have had a pretty loose leash for a long time, so maybe this will held restrict them. This wasn't the first person to die around the religious police. A few years back there was a fire at a girls' school and the mutawain would not let firefighters go in because they might have seen girls who weren't covered up. I also seem to remember a Shi'ite imam being killed for saying the call to prayer in the Shi'ite method instead of the Sunni method.

UPDATE: Gulf News: Saudi Buys Fighter Jets

Here's the old link, so you can refresh your memory. The latest news is that the former Saudi Ambassador to the US received hundreds of millions of pounds from BAE to facilitate a deal. The British Ministry of Defense (or Defence as they spell it) knew about it too.

News of the Weird: Hurricane in Oman

Yes, it's been a while. Sorry about that. News from Oman - they got hit by a Cyclone (that's what they call Hurricanes in the Eastern hemisphere). That is NOT NORMAL. BBC has news here, pictures here. Check it out. It was one of the strongest cyclones ever in the Indian Ocean.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Free Alan

For those of you wondering what the link on the right is, it's an article about Alan Johnston. He's a reporter for the BBC and was kidnapped in Gaza. A few Palestinians have even set up a website for him as well. Click on the photo on the right for updated BBC information.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Ghettoization of Baghdad

ABC News is reporting that the US Army is putting up concrete walls in Baghdad, separating Sunni and Shiite neighborhoods. What the hell kind of solution is that? People aren't getting along, so we'll put a wall between them - "good fences make good neighbors?" So now we can separate all neighborhoods into only Sunni or only Shiite, so that if anyone of the other religious sect goes into the wrong neighborhood they can get beat up. So that if anyone of the other religious sect wants to bomb someone, they know this neighborhood is all one sect. Yee-haw! Why bother trying to get people to live together and cooperate, when we can divide them along sectarian lines.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Egyptian Hijab

This one goes out to all those people I keep talking to who tell me that Islam is horrible and forces women to cover up. Two anchorwomen in Egypt want to wear the hijab on TV. So what's the big deal? Well, the TV station (state-owned) won't let them. They went to civil court and state court and both courts said they could wear a veil on TV, but the TV station still won't let them do it.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

New Blog

A friend recently sent me the link to a new Middle East blog called Whippersnap. I prefer to call it "The Middle East for Dummies" or "The High School Guide to the Middle East." It's very amusing, and generally correct. There are a few things they got wrong, but hey, compared to conservative blogs they're a hell of a lot better. This blog is also easy to understand, speaking plain English and using good comparisons. So check it out!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

New YouTube Iraq

There's a new YouTube section set up for the Mulitnational Forces in Iraq. It's www.youtube.com/MNFIraq. There you can watch actual combat movies, edited for security and offensiveness of course. I'm really not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, it will allow ordinary people to see what the troops over there are seeing. But on the other hand, it could go the way of Reality TV and you could get people cheering for other people to die because they just can't grasp that this isn't a reality show, it IS reality. I'm reminded of Max Headroom. I guess I'm showing my age there too. In the 1980s, Max Headroom was a TV show (among other things) and it's vision of the future was several hundred TV channels and people were just glued to the TV and TV shows were everything. I feel like our society has started down that slope already.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Huzzah - Hostages Freed!

Yes, you've all heard that the British hostages have been freed! And without anybody firing a shot - let's hear it for diplomacy. Of course, it might have helped that an Iranian diplomat who was kidnapped in Iraq was freed too. And the Iraqis are trying to get the US to free 5 other Iranians. Iran says they are diplomats, the US says they were helping terrorists. All I know is, they were affiliated with the Iranian Embassy, which in the rest of the world means you get deported for illegal activity, not 'disappeared.'

Friday, March 30, 2007

Update: US Ready to Attack Iran

As you may remember from previous posts, I have been predicting the invasion of Iran. See USA Attacks Iran!, Iran, anybody?, Update: Iran, anybody?, More on Iran, and US Ready to Attack Iran. The Russian News and Information Agency (RNIA) is reporting that the US will attack Iran in early April. A liberal blog reported that it would be Good Friday (April 6th), but I couldn't find that date in the Russian article. According to the RNIA, they were informed of these events by Russian intelligence. This earlier article says that the last time the US had so many troops in the Gulf was just before the US invaded Iraq. The Russians are also saying that the UAE will "not allow anyone to use its territory for any military, reconnaissance or security operations against Iran." Why do we care? Because while the US has army bases in Qatar, the UAE has traditionally been a big naval stopover. And to add even more to these events, Russia and China will be working together to go to Mars. That may seem like a non sequitur, but those 2 countries also have ties to Iran. And they seem to be getting mighty chummy lately. I feel a Cold War Redux coming on.

Update IV: British Soldiers Captured by Iran

Another British sailor has apologized on Iranian TV. You can read the BBC's analysis of the situation between US/UK and Iran here. The Iranians are still upset that the US has 5 of their guys, the ones picked up in Iraq for allegedly stirring up terrorists. I do agree with the article though, thank goodness it was American soldiers that were captured, or bombs would already be dropping.

No Saudi Dinner or Peace

Bush was going to have a big state dinner for the king of Saudi Arabia on April 17th, but apparently Abdullah has backed out (Wash Post). Our good buddy over there also said the occupation of Iraq is an "illegitimate foreign occupation." The Arab states (except Libya) have been meeting in Riyadh to discuss Palestine, and Saudi Arabia's peace plan. Their plan would have Israel withdraw to the 1967 borders, and allow Palestinian refugees the right to return. Of course, then there would be more Palestinians in Israel than Israelis, so I doubt that will go through.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Update III: British Soldiers Captured by Iran

Things have taken an interesting turn. Great Britain went to great pains to show that according to GPS coordinates, their troops were in Iraqi waters. Iran is saying that Craig Murray is disputing that. For those of you who have not heard of Craig Murray, I have a link to his blog on this page under "Blogs - Misc. Politics." Craig Murray is a British writer who used to be the British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, where he spoke out against the Uzbek ruler, who was (is?) being funded by the US. According to him, Iraq and Iran have never agreed on a border in the sea by their countries. So how can Great Britain just make one up? Food for thought.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Update II: British Soldiers Captured by Iran

The capture female soldier has now appeared on Iranian TV (BBC, IRNA), saying that the Brits were in Iranian waters, and they're being treated well. Yada, yada, yada. That's pretty much what happened last time. So far things seem to be progressing normally in that respect. Let's hope it stays that way.

Albright on Colbert

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was on the Colbert Report last night, speaking about Iran. It was gratifying to finally hear someone on TV say that it's not a "clash of civilizations" it's a "battle of ideas." Because that's what it is. There's no giant clash going on between Christianity and Islam. It's just easier to fight Muslims if you think that way. If you want to fight ideas, it takes a lot of work and a lot more time, and involves things like soft power - which of course is not nearly as sexy or as tangible as hard power.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Update: British Soldiers Captured by Iran

IRNA is now reporting that the British soldiers have confessed to being in Iranian waters. The British government is saying they were in Iraqi waters, and demanding that Iran release the soldiers. Something similar happened in 2004, to British troops in Iraqi waters near Iran.

Friday, March 23, 2007

British soldiers captured by Iran

I know, you've seen this on the nightly news. Here's the BBC article on it. I'll try to keep up with this story as it unravels. So far IRNA (the Islamic Republic News Agency - "official" Iranian news) doesn't have anything listed on it's English language website. I don't read Farsi, so I don't know what has showed up on that site.

No Ahmadinejad at UN

Iran is claiming it's because the US wouldn't give his entourage any visas to enter the country. That's nothing new. Since the UN is on US soil, it's a good way to keep people out when you want to - don't give them a visa. Personally, I think it's a little passive aggressive and tacky. The whole purpose of the UN is to give people a chance to fight with words instead of missiles. We're not necessarily going to love every single person who goes to speak at the UN.

UPDATE: The US is saying they did approve the visas, and Ahmadinejad is just weaseling out of the situation.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Update: Armenian Genocide Resolution

If you read my last post on this, the US Congress is considering passing a resolution that the death of several hundred thousand Armenians at Ottoman hands was a genocide. Turkey, of course, is upset by that. You can read an update on the situation here. Basically, they don't want the resolution to pass, and the White House is on their side. Turkey is threatening us economically if this bill passes.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Color Me Cynical: KSM

Alright, I'm sure by now everyone has seen the news about Khalid Sheikh Muhammad (KSM) confessing to something like 31 attempted terrorist attacks. Now, since I am cynical I can't help but wonder a few things:

1) Did the torture he underwent help in his confession? And yes, I count waterboarding as torture.

2) Do all 31 of those terrorism attempts actually exist? Or did KSM make them up because he was tortured?

3) If they do exist, was he involved and the mastermind behind them as he is now claiming?

I just find it convenient that there are a number of Republican and White House scandals in the news over the last few weeks, and hey presto, here comes KSM saying that Bush was right and al-Qaeda was going to kick our ass if not for Bush. I have no problem believing that terrorist are out there and some are targeting us. But the scope of this seems a little high and the timing highly suspicious.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Update: What a Turkey! Redux

I lost the link, but I did see an article about Turkey and YouTube. Apparently the offending clip has been taken down, so Turkey is now allowing people to access YouTube again.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

What a Turkey! Redux

Yet more Turkey information. Now they've banned YouTube! Apparently there are clips on YouTube that insult Ataturk, the result of fighting between Greeks & Turks. Hey - at least the fighting is digital, not physical. So Turkey has gotten YouTube access blocked in Turkey. That'll get them into the European Union!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

What a Turkey!

Okay, there is something wrong in Turkey. I've explained before about writers being persecuted for insulting "Turkishness." Well, now it gets even better. Apparently there is a Kurdish rebel in jail, whose last name is Ocalan. A Kurdish politician recently referred to him as "Mr. Ocalan." For shame! How dare you call a rebel "Mr."! The politician was given 6 months in jail for that. And another 18 months for distributing political literature that was written in Kurdish, not Turkish. I'm not making this up, folks. Read it here.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Egyptian Blogger Gets 4 Years

A blogger in Egypt has received a 4-year jail term for his efforts. Apparently calling Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak a dictator is a bad thing. This is why some of us blog anonymously. Some bloggers live in places where they could actually go to jail for expressing their thoughts. Others, like me, simply don't want to have to deal with anti-Muslim right-winger harassment.

Monday, February 19, 2007

US Ready to Attack Iran

Well, let's see. The US now has several carrier groups and 2 destroyers in the Gulf. And according to this BBC article, we even have an attack plan ready. The trigger for such an attack would be either evidence of Iran building nuclear weapons, or evidence of Iran directly backing an attack causing massive US casualties in Iraq. Hmmm . . . Let me play Kreskin. I see . . . a man sitting in front of Congress, showing "evidence" of an Iranian attack. Wait, wait! Now I see a man showing pictures of an Iranian nuclear program.

Arms Fair

There's an arms fair going on in the UAE - the largest in the Middle East. Bring the kids!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Russian Middle East

President Putin of Russia has been visiting the Middle East. Yesterday he was in Saudi Arabia, and today he's in Jordan. Can you say "cold war redux?" With the US on one side and Russia on the other?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

More on Iran

The Guardian has an interesting article on the US possibly attacking Iran. Read it here.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Palestinian Agreement?

There's been a lot of factional fighting among the Palestinians lately, and they ended up in Mecca, trying to reach an agreement. Apparently they have. Hamas will keep the prime ministership, and ministerial posts will be split between Hamas, Fatah, and some others, including independents. Let's hope the unity government works.

Armenian Genocide?

For those of you not aware of this topic, in the early part of the 20th century a very large number of Armenians were killed, probably around 600,000. Now, according to Turkey, this was not a genocide. The Armenians were fighting against the Ottomans Turks and the Turks fought back, and 600,000 Armenians were killed or starved to death. I'm not completely sure what the true story is, but I do know a lot of Armenians died. You generally hear this referred to as the Armenian Genocide. To quote www.dictionary.com: a genocide is "the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group." So, the Turks don't like this talk of a genocide. There's currently a resolution in the House of Representatives about the Armenian Genocide, and Turkey does not want it to pass. They say it will mess up US-Turkey relations. Is this a big deal? Possibly. After all, we're talking about a country that prosecutes its most famous writers for "insulting the Turkish nation." And with US cachet being at a very big low, the last thing we can afford is to lose Turkey. After all, it's right next to Iraq, and we have a base there. So this might get interesting.

Al-Qa'ida in Arabia

According to Qatar's Gulf Times, al-Qa'ida has announced it is stepping up operations on the Arabian peninsula, in order to drive out the "crusaders."

Not Al-Qa'ida

I remember hearing this morning that we'd launched an air strike in Iraq and precision-bombed a building and killed 8 al-Qa'ida operatives, and not injured any civilians. My spouse cynically reminded me that anytime the US Military makes an announcement like that, it's because something has gone wrong, and that 2 weeks later we'll see the real story on page 40 of the newspaper. Well, according to BBC News - and I think it's the correct air strike - it wasn't al-Qa'ida but Kurdish Peshmerga troops. You know, the ones on our side.

Jerusalem Fighting

Well, there's fighting going on in Jerusalem around Al-Aqsa Mosque. Protesters vs. Police. See the articles on BBC and France24.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Child Soldiers?

According to reports on France 24, about 15 British soldiers sent to Iraq were under the age of 18. That goes against UN protocol which forbids child soldiers in war.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Update: Iran, anybody?

Well, according to links on VidiotSpeak, that was not the first but the 2nd carrier group heading to the Gulf. My original post mentioned the story from Al-Ahram. Vidiot also mentions there are now 2 destroyers heading that way as well. And of course, that means it's a good time for Iran to hold wargames. I mean, the Gulf is so freaking huge there's no way that could go wrong!

Good Morning Orientalism

Well, I was watching Good Morning America this morning. Diane Sawyer is in Syria, so Robin Roberts & Chris Cuomo were holding down the fort...er...anchor station. Apparently Diane was going to be visiting a souk (or suq). Robin referred to that as some sort of "Syrian market," and Chris proclaimed that we would be shown some of the "wonders of the east." It truly amazes me how ingrained orientalism has become in our society.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Iran, anybody?

Well, things are heating up a bit. According to al-Ahram, the US has moved 2 aircraft carriers closer to Iran (I'm not sure if this is the 1-2 I had previously heard about or if these are new ones - I'll try to find out). And we're moving Patriot missile systems (for defense) to most of the Gulf States. Also, 2 US generals and an admiral published a letter in the Times about why we shouldn't attack Iran.

News of the Weird: Qur'anic Ringtones

Apparently quite a few Muslims have been using Qur'anic verses as their ring tones, because they believe music is prohibited by Islam. Well, the Grand Mufti of Dubai just issued a fatwa prohibiting it. According to him, that's basically sacrilege. I can't help but be reminded of the early days of radio in Saudi Arabia. Supposedly, the only way to get the ulema to approve of radio as not being Satanic, was to read the Qur'an over the airwaves. Looks like things have reversed now.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Bush Lied: Say It Ain't So

According to this article from Military.com the President's numbers are off. Apparently, adding another 20,000 troops to Iraq will also entail adding support troops to, well, support them. So the final number could be as high as 48,000.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

More on cluster bombs

Well, I hadn't planned it this way, but apparently this is a day to talk about Israel. Shimon Peres talked with Al Jazeera while he was in Qatar. According to him, dropping the cluster bombs was a mistake. You can read the full interview here.

Not quite from Israel

Israeli Deputy Premier Shimon Peres is visiting with the Emir of Qatar - in Qatar. I, for one, am all for Arab-Israeli relations. Hopefully things will turn out well.

Info on Israel

Two stories out of Israel:

1) Israel may have broken their arms deal with the US by cluster bombing civilians in Lebanon. Gee, what genius figured this one out.

2) The Holocaust memorial center Yad Vashem is checking out an Arab man from WWII who may have sheltered Jews under Nazi occupation in Tunisia. If I understood things correctly, he could be the first Arab to receive the Righteous Gentile award. Hmmm...I guess not all Arabs hate Jews.

UN Women

The UN just sent some new peacekeepers to Liberia. The neat thing is . . . they're all women! It's an all-female unit from India. Personally, I think that is fantastic. Check out the article from BBC News.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

USA Attacks Iran!

Okay, not really. At least not yet. Apparently I'm not the only one thinking that the rhetoric flying around is eerily similar to what was said just before the US invaded Iraq. I mean, Iran is trying to become nuclear (WMDs anyone?) and now they are providing weapons to Iraqis who are anti-American and killing our troops. And we have proof and are going to show it to Congress! So I'm thinking, when does the invasion start? And how the hell are we going to accomplish that, when all of our troops are in Iraq and getting burnt out? Iran is not some poor little country run by our former buddy dictator that is having problems and has poor moral. While there are many Iranians who would like to see a change in government, they're not going to turn around and support the US invading their homeland. Think of it this way: many far-left liberals really hate the current Bush government, but not even they would support an invasion by another country. Iran has a large military, which is actually trained, and they even have a navy. That should be interesting, seeing naval battles in the Persian Gulf. The Gulf isn't that big, so I bet our buddies over there will love that. Okay, I guess that is enough ranting for now.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

SOTU con't II

Okay, one more thing. Now Bush says they stopped Al-Qaida from flying a plane into the tallest building on the West Coast. As well as several other things, like the Brits stopping Al-Qaida from blowing up airplanes. I like the way he says "America is at war" while there are terrorists. I guess we'll never be at peace ever again. And I hadn't realized that Osama and his group were totalitarian either.

Bush is also talking about Hizbollah. He says they're only 2nd to Al-Qaida in the American lives they have taken. Which is probably true. However, the number of American lives they have claimed is a hell of a lot smaller than Al-Qaida, and is mainly made up of the US Marines killed in Lebanon in the attack on the marine barracks in the early 1980s. Hizbollah is not a regular terrorist organization - they were started as a liberation/resistance organization in Lebanon, against Israel. Don't take that to mean that I'm defending them. I just want you to understand how Bush is twisting some of the facts. For the most part Hizbollah has not been a threat to America, only a threat to Israel (and innocent bystanders). We've ignored them for years. I guess we need more terrorist threats so we can live in fear again.

Apparently everyone in Iraq is evil. If a civil war starts, the Shiites will be aided by Iran, and the Sunnis by Al-Qaida. More likely the Sunnis would be aided by our buddy Saudi Arabia, that bastion of Sunnism and guardian of the 2 holy cities of Islam.

Bush wants to increase the army and marines by 92,000 over the next 5 years. He also wants a new civilian reserve corps for people with critical skills.

If I hear freaking "nukular" one more time I will have to start drinking. Okay, Bush is now going into his little talking points about stopping Aids, no nukes, etc. so I will sign off for now.

SOTU con't

Hmm...Now he wants to change the tax code to help people get medical insurance. Or so he says. It sounds kind of fishy. I'll have to check this out. I don't see how a tax break would help the poor buy insurance.

I should be playing the SOTU drinking game. This is the longest I've made it through a SOTU since Bush took office. Usually I'm too disgusted by now to watch any more of it.

It's fun to watch this and see when Pelosi is not clapping. I wonder if someone is keeping track of standing ovations started by Pelosi. I've seen at least 2 so far. And, of course, the expression on Cheney's face is his general grumpy look. Why does he always look like he's sucking on a persimmon? Oh wait - now he's smirking! This is like freaking musical chairs with all the sitting and standing of the audience. It's especially fun to watch only about a third of the audience stand up for an ovation :)

Well, I'm out. I've got too much stuff to do to watch anymore right now.

SOTU: State of the Union

Well, Pelosi got a standing ovation and had to take several bows. I cannot tell you how excited I am that there is now a female Speaker of the House. Gee, maybe one day we'll actually get a black president or something! What a concept!

Bush just got an ovation for talking about balancing the budget - of course, from this angle it looked like Pelosi started it. It's funny how now that Dems are in charge, Bush all of a sudden wants to balance the budget. Where the hell was this shit for the last 6 years! Now that he doesn't have a conservative congress he's changed his mind about many things. Maybe he figures if he says it before the Democrats do it, then people will think it's his idea? And it will probably work. I don't have much faith in the ability of most Americans to discern what is going on in the government or how they're being manipulated.

I will say this: he isn't getting as much applause as usual. There have been some big applauses (like for balancing the budge) but most of the time it's only part of the crowd applauding.

Colbert vs. O'Reilly

Okay, not as good as I had hoped, but still pretty funny. Especially when Colbert held up O'Reilly's latest book and it had a 30% off sticker over his face! It was interesting to see old Bill on someone else's show where he wasn't in complete control. He actually did a decent job. Don't tell anyone I said that though ;)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Colbert Rocks!

And I don't mean about O'Reilly. I recorded that show but haven't watched it yet - will post on that this weekend. No, I'm talking about Dinesh D'Souza (Link to Colbert guest interviews). He was there to talk about his new book The Enemy At Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11. I'm not sure D'Souza even realized that Colbert is not a conservative. It might have hit him towards the end though. I just find it hysterically funny to watch conservative guests try to outwit Colbert, because he is really fast on his feet. And D'Souza pretty much had his ass handed to him. Check out the above link to see the video. I can't wait to see what happened with O'Reilly! I hear it's pretty damn good!

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

FBI in Kenya?

Okay, the United States just did a strike against Al-Qaida agents in Somalia. According to ABC News, FBI agents were sent to Kenya to catch any suspects fleeing from Somalia. I was under the impression that the FBI was a domestic agency. That it was not authorized to operate outside of America. Unless a friendly country invited some agents over as observers when it picked up a Most Wanted person. So what is a domestic agency doing in Kenya?

Monday, January 8, 2007

Book: The Truth About Muhammad

I was browsing the TV Guide Channel over the weekend, looking for something to watch (how can I have over 70 channels and not find anything?) when I came across this book. It was on the Book Channel (At least, that's what I call it. I think it's a relative of C-SPAN, and authors go on it and talk about their books). The TV Guide Channel had it listed as The Life of Muhammad, so I tuned in. The full title of the book is actually The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World's Most Intolerant Religion. [See reviews on Amazon.com] Let me preface my statements by saying that I only saw about 5 minutes of the presentation, because frankly, that was all I could stomach. The author is Robert Spencer, who has brought us such gems as The Politically Incorrect (tm) Guide to Islam (and the Crusades). The few minutes I saw involved Spencer discussing how Muhammad was a very violent man and had this tribe killed and this other tribe maimed. After reading the reviews on Amazon.com, that does appear to be the gist of the book. Now, I am not a "Muslim Apologist" who tries to deny any violence in Islam. I freely admit that there is violence in the Qur'an. What bugs me is the implied hypocrisy. If you want to read a violent book, read the Christian Bible. Now there's a violent book! If you want to talk about religious violence, let's talk about the 2 thousand years of Christianity, and the religious wars against non-Christians (read infidels) and even against other Christians! Lets talk about persecution of Jews and other non-Christians, as well as the Christians who did not belong to the right group. Let's talk about how the Jews were kicked out of Spain and many found refuge in Muslim lands. Hell, let's talk about our pre-conceived notions of Islam and those darn Muslims. Or - we can just say that Islam is a violent and evil religion and that's where the problem is. I guess what I'm trying to say is that people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Anyone looking at Christianity from the outside would notice Christian violence in the Bible and throughout history. So do other religions view Christians the way many Christians view Islam? I believe that's food for thought.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Gulf News: Saudi Buys Fighter Jets

Saudi Arabia is buying 72 fighter jets from BAE Systems. The UK was investigating a 1980s deal between those two, but dropped the investigation when Saudi Arabia allegedly threatened to cancel the current deal. See the full article here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6238633.stm
(Edit: added labels)

Saturday, January 6, 2007

WTF: News of the Weird

I just got back from vacation and thought I'd update the blog. You'll never guess what I saw on vacation though. I was flipping through the TV channels and came across this guy named Benny Hinn. He is literally one of those preachers who smacks you on the forehead and says "You're healed!" Now, you're probably thinking, "What does he have to do with the Middle East?" Well, the little scrolly thing across the bottom of his show said that in mid-December, he would be in Dubai, UAE (United Arab Emirates). I think that deserves a WTF!?!