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So much for the Olympic values of peace, understanding and bringing people together: A Syrian boxer has quit the World Boxing Championship rather than be forced to compete against his Israeli opponent:

The first round match between Syrian Ala Ghasoun and the Israeli fighter was scheduled to place at the tournament which is a precondition to qualifying for the upcoming 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro.

“I quit the competition because my rival was Israeli, and I cannot shake his hand or compete against him while he represents a Zionist regime that kills the Syrian people,” Ghasoun said according to Arab media, The Jerusalem Post reported. 

“If I fight against him, it would mean that I, as a athlete, and Syria, as a state, recognize the state of Israel,” Ghasoun added. 

“The decision to quit was not mine,” the Syrian boxer said. “It was made by the Syrian Sports Federation and by senior Syrian officials. It was a very difficult decision, because I have worked hard to participate in the championship. But I serve my homeland – my honor and my loyalty belong to Syria.”

For what it’s worth, an estimated 150,000 Syrian civilians have been killed in over five years of civil war. Of those deaths, how many were caused by Israel’s “Zionist regime”? Exactly zero. But let’s not allow facts to get in the way of hatred.


Banksy: peace for paris

Disclaimer: This post contains spoilers for the TV show “The Wire”. And also some colourful language, such as you might expect when talking about terrorist bastards.

This week has been a bad one for the world. Unless, of course, you happen to be a giant terrorist asshole. Terror attacks in Beirut, Baghdad, and the deadliest attack in Paris since World War 2 have sent the world reeling. The group known by many acronyms — ISIS, ISIL, or what I’ll refer to in this post as Daesh, has claimed ‘responsibility’ (if such a word could even be used) for all three attacks.

All this has happened against a backdrop of unprecedented humanitarian crisis, as hundreds of thousands of refugees continue to flee Syria’s deadly civil war. Western governments are debating how they can cope with what they’ve dubbed a “migrant crisis”, as though the problem only started when desperate refugees started showing up in Europe. It happened on the eve of the G20 summit in Antayla, Turkey, and in the lead-up to a huge global summit on climate change taking place in Paris.

The responses to the attack, in typical format, have followed the Rorschach Test pattern; people see in tragedy what they want to see. More foreign aid. Less foreign aid. More military intervention. Less military intervention. More solidarity with refugees. Close our borders to refugees. It’s about Islam. It’s not about Islam. And so on, and so forth. French president Francois Hollande has taken a hard line, promising military strikes against Daesh, closing of borders, and crackdowns all around.

Everyone has an opinion on how to fight this so-called “war on terror”. But is this really a “war”?

It strikes me that this so-called “war on terror” bears a lot of resemblance to another misnomer: the so-called “war on drugs”.

Sure, this isn’t exactly an original observation. Plenty of people have pointed this out in analysis after analysis. But, other than depressingly similar tactics, sources of funding and consequences, these two so-called wars parallel each other in other ways. Here are just a few:

[click to continue…]


Freedom, democracy, transparency and fairness


That’s how the Syrian Interior Minister described this week’s Syrian parliamentary elections, in which – surprise, surprise – the Ba’ath ruling party won: The rubber-stamp legislature is likely to consolidate the rule of President Bashar Assad, who is expected to seek its nomination to run for a second seven-year term in July. There had been […]

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Lebanon remembers Hariri


300,000 people turned out in Beirut to honour assassinated ex-premier Rafik al-Hariri’s memory and protest Syrian attempts at control in Lebanon. It’s looking more and more like Lebanon is headed towards yet another “civil war” – or at least, that’s what the media will insist on calling it. The same media that gives Hezbollah credibility […]

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Lebanese “opposition”?


Beirut is on fire. The war between Lebanon and Syria is once again coming to a head, with Hezbollah fighting for Syria by proxy. Today’s “strike” was initiated by Hezbollah to escalate the fighting. The aim of Hezbollah is to topple the Lebanese government and take over Lebanon for Syria. It has never made any […]

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Syria sees the writing on the wall


Syria wants to talk with the United States: “Syria is ready for dialogue with the United States based on respect and mutual interest,” Mekdad told Reuters in an interview. He said the solution to the crisis lies in an immediate ceasefire brokered by international powers, followed by diplomacy. The United States hasn’t lifted a finger […]

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Candid camera


Everyone’s making a really big deal about the remarks that Bush made at the G8 summit without realizing his microphone was on, and the fact that he *gasp!* swore! Bush replied: “See, the irony is what they need to do is get Syria to get Hizbollah to stop doing this shit and it’s over.” Gee, […]

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Spiralling out of control


This afternoon, while baking in the hot sun waiting to get into Parc Jean-Drapeau to see Bon Jovi, we received a panicked phone call from a friend whose entire family lives in Israel. “They’re attacking Haifa!” She calmed down a bit after speaking to her family and being assured that everyone was safe, but the […]

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Back to regularly-scheduled programming


Syria, under international pressure for its role in the assasination of former Lebanese premier Rafik al-Hariri, has reverted back to its tried-and-true tactic of misdirection towards Israel.

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Even the U.N. can’t deny it


A report by the United Nations says Syria assassinated Hariri: High-ranking Syrian and Lebanese officials were involved in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, with suspicion cast even on President Emile Lahoud, a U.N. investigation said on Thursday. The inquiry led by veteran German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis into the February 14 killing […]

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