Monday, April 25, 2011

Bad Advertising

I realize that some of the ads on this site are strange or even offensive.  I am trying to change that.  Unfortunately, if you use Google AdSense and have topics like Middle East or Israel or Palestine, you often get advertisements like "Save Israel from the evil Palestinians," etc.  My apologies.

Women's News April 25, 2011

A Muslim woman may be representing the UK in the Miss Universe contest.  And she's getting some flack for doing it too.  Here are some comments condemning and supporting her.

What I find ironic, is compare those Muslim reactions in the UK to this American commercial featuring Miss Turkey.  It wouldn't surprise me if many Americans were confused by this, because they think of Turkey as a Muslim country, whereas it's really more of a secular country.

Neat article about Emirati women at a university in Sharjah (UAE) who attended a conference discussing all sorts of topics that you don't think would normally be discussed: mental health, suicide, divorce, substance abuse, etc.

Top Stories April 25, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Strike on Qaddafi compound badly damages buildings - NATO air strikes hit the compound.  No word on Qaddafi's whereabouts.

Lebanon Daily Star:  Bodies on streets as Syrian army storms Daraa - Security forces are shooting first in Daraa and other towns.  They even laid siege to a mosque.

Haaretz (Israel):  At least 18 said killed as Syrian forces in tanks, APCs fire on protesters - Syria has also closed border crossings with Jordan.  There appears to be some kind of "major security operation" taking place.  The US may start sanctions against Syria.

Turkish Daily News:  Bodies in streets as Syrian troops sweep into Daraa - The situation is very bad there.

Gulf Daily News (Bahrain):  Powering Ahead! - More infrastructure projects are being built.  Let's not talk about any protests or unrest.  Instead we'll have a patriotic celebration.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

YemenWatch: Saturday April 23, 2011

Wow.  I may not have been posting, but I have been paying attention to what's happening in Yemen.  The latest is President Saleh saying that he'll step down in 30 days.  This is a deal by GCC mediators so that Saleh won't be prosecuted. 

First of all, I'll believe it when I see it.  Saleh has been in power a long time.  But he is getting older so maybe he'd like to retire somewhere with a lot of money.  Second, I'm really worried about what's going to happen to Yemen post-Saleh.  The Houthis in the north would love to break off from Yemen.  The Separatists in the south are still fighting over the Yemeni union.  And AQAP is in the middle, glorying in all the chaos.  Keep the Yemeni people in your prayers.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Greg Mortenson a Fraud?

Greg Mortenson is the author of Three Cups of Tea, a great book about how he started building schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  I read the book in 2008 and was really inspired by someone who was actually on the ground in Pakistan, making a difference for children and upholding a tradition of soft power - cultural diplomacy.

Well, the American show 60 Minutes did an expose on him on TV last night, and it looks like some of his stories are outright lies and a lot of the money his organization received has been mismanaged if not just ripped off.  I can't tell you how disappointed I am.  It's so hard to find real heroes in this world when more and more of them turn out to be liars and frauds.

Top Stories April 18, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Iran figures in Ashton talks - Catherine Ashton is the foreign policy chief for the European Union.  She is visiting the GCC in Riyadh.

Lebanon Daily Star:  Citigroup outlook on Lebanon mixed - Citigroup's take on the finance sector in Lebanon.

Haaretz (Israel):  IDF chief: Every effort being made to bring Gilad Shalit home - Shalit is a soldier who was kidnapped or captured (depending upon your point of view) by Palestinians about 5 years ago.

Turkish Daily News:  Turkey's BDP threatens election boycott - The BDP is the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party.  Some of their candidates have been banned from the election, so they may boycott.

Gulf Daily News (Bahrain):  The day of reckoning - The government is upset that the trade sector didn't come out against the protests.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Top Stories April 11, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Time to go, GCC tells Yemen ruler - Wow.  That's pretty bad when your fellow potentates decide the situation is so bad that you had better leave!

Lebanon Daily Star:  Parties agree on draft Cabinet lineup - Mikati may actually have a government soon.

Haaretz (Israel):  IDF refrains from response to Gaza rocket fire as border violence cools - A sort of ceasefire may be starting.

Turkish Daily News:  Envoy asks Turkey to convince Hamas - Fatah wants Turkey to convince Hamas to create a unity government for Palestine.

Gulf Daily News (Bahrain):  Buildings to be razed - Apparently there are unlicensed buildings on government land.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Top Stories April 4, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  GCC urges Yemen parties to hold dialogue - Yemen is heating up and the GCC is concerned about the outcome.

Lebanon Daily Star:  Worried relatives demand help for those stuck in Ivory Coast - This is the first time in months the headline hasn't been about the new parliament.  There are Lebanese stranded in Ivory Coast, which is having its own problems right now.

Haaretz (Israel):  Israel pressing UN to halt new Gaza aid flotilla - Another flotilla is expected over the summer and it may have 20 ships.

Turkish Daily News:  Test for Turkey's ruling 'testocracy' - Turkey has a university entrance exam and there are rumors that it was rigged.

Gulf Daily News (Bahrain):  Go-Ahead for New Cities - The housing ministry has permission to build new cities in Bahrain.  (I didn't think Bahrain was big enough for that!)

Times of Oman - Israel demands retraction of UN Gaza war criticism - Gee, how dare someone criticize Israel.  They never do anything wrong.  It must be everybody else who is at fault!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Next Abu Ghraib?

I generally don't cover much about Afghanistan, but I felt this merited an exception.  By now you've probably heard about the attacks in Afghanistan that are in response to alleged Qur'an burnings in the US.  There was a Qur'an burned, but apparently the story grew in Afghanistan and people began rioting and killing.  The whole incident is deplorable, but a new scandal has been brewing and things could get even worse.

This is the first I had heard about it, but FireDogLake has an article describing the situation.  Der Spiegel has been researching the incidents and has produced a documentary [this documentary is supposed to be very graphic] about it.  Members of the 5th Stryker Brigade in Afghanistan formed a "kill team" and went around killing innocent Afghanis.  For no reason.  Just because they could and it was "fun."  I want to state right here that most American soldiers are not like that.  This "kill team" is an aberration.  But these 12 men killed innocent civilians for fun and then took photos of the bodies.  They are now being tried for war crimes in a US military court.