Category Archives: Middle East

Gebran Bassil Comments On The “Caroline” Video

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[YouTube]

I am not sure if he made things better or worse by linking what happened to Da3esh. He could have simply clarified the whole situation and apologized from Caroline if she felt offended by what he did.

Speaking of women in the UAE, it is worth mentioning that UAE ranked first in the world for respecting women according to a study back in April 2014.

caroline

Four Great Achievements Of The Lebanese Army

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ary

Most Lebanese, if not all of them, love and support the Lebanese Army. We trust our soldiers because they’ve united the country around them, they’ve protected us from terrorists despite being under-trained and under-equipped, and they’ve prevented a new civil war from erupting on several occasions, despite all the politics involved. Having said that, TV host Faisal al-Qassem’s attack on the army is a cheap and sleazy one but we shouldn’t have reacted by storming al-Jazeera’s offices. A nice reminder of what our army has achieved throughout the past ten years is the best way to silence Qassem:

1- Prevent a new civil war in Lebanon:
Lebanese are divided on almost everything except the Lebanese Army, because it is the only side that is capable of calming things down and is the only institution Lebanese trust. Even though politics have created obstacles for the army, they’ve always managed to diffuse the situation and bring back peace whenever and wherever there’s trouble in Lebanon.

2- Keep things under control in the 2006 war:
The Lebanese Army did not engage directly with the Israeli army back in 2006, but instead helped control the situation internally by providing aid to civilians, and keeping order in all the cities, noting that almost 1 million Lebanese had to relocate within the Lebanese territories during the July war. Despite all that, 49 soldiers were killed by Israeli airstrikes.

3- Defeat Fath el Islam in 2007:
The 2007 battle between Fatah el Islam and the Lebanese Army was one of the fiercest battles since Lebanon’s civil war and the LAF emerged as a winner against all odds. Our troops were under equipped, had to cnovert UH-1 helicopters into bombers, and were up against highly trained and heavily equipped terrorists yet they’ve managed to take control of the camp after more than three months of heavy fights. This victory was praised regionally and worldwide as few armies were able to confront and defeat terrorists the way our brave troops have done so. The death toll was a heavy one though, as 155 commandos and infantrymen died.

4- Prevent Da3esh and Jubhat al Nousra from entering Lebanon:
The battle is still ongoing against ISIS and other terrorist cells coming from Syria but the Lebanese Army has the upper hand now and is working day and night to keep these groups away from Lebanon. Let’s not forget as well the work they’ve been pulling all around Lebanon, in coordination with other security forces, to catch terrorist cells and prevent future bombings.

These are only four achievements, but they are more than enough to silence anyone criticizing the army, whether in Lebanon or abroad. Last but not least, here’s one of the many songs that Lebanese artists have sung in support of the Lebanese Army. I don’t like them usually but I am sharing this one benkeyé bi Al Qassem.

[YouTube]

Tyre, Beirut, Sidon And Byblos Among The World’s 20 Oldest Cities

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byblos

The Telegraph posted today a list of the World’s 20 oldest continually-inhabited places on earth, which included four Lebanese cities: Tyre, Beirut, Sidon and Byblos. The list also included Faiyum and Thebes in Egypt, Kirkuk and Arbil in Iraq, Damascus and Aleppo in Syria and Jerusalem and Jericho in Palestine.

The fact that we have 4 of the world’s oldest cities should help us attract further tourists and promote our history instead of showing girls and night clubs in our tourism commercials.

iPhone6 and iPhone6 Plus Will Be Available To Order In The UAE On September 27

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iphone

I wasn’t expecting the new iPhones to be available that soon in the Middle East but according to Apple’s UAE store, they will be available to order starting September 27th, a week after the official release date. The iPhone6 starts at 700$ and the iPhone6 Plus at around 815$.

As far as Lebanon is concerned, you can expect the iPhone6 and iPhone6 Plus to be over $1000 in the first few weeks, so I recommend you wait a little bit till prices settle.

I followed the #AppleLive event yesterday and it’s great to finally see an iPhone with a big screen at last. The Apple Watch is nice but it looks big to be honest and expensive at 350$. There’s even more expensive edition that has a watch case crafted from 18-karat gold. Something tells me this edition will sell big in the Middle East.

watch

If you are an Apple fan, my friend Jad posted everything you need to know about Apple’s new products [Here]. You can also check AbsoluteGeek’s post [Here].

Something Is Brewing In Lebanon, And It’s Not Beer According To VICE

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goIREgs

I usually enjoy reading Vice’s articles but this one is not very accurate to say the least, unless they know something we don’t. Lebanon has been the Middle East’s next ticking bomb for 3 years now yet things are still relatively under control. I don’t know if it’s just me, but things have improved lately from what I’ve seen and getting ammunition and new weapons to the Lebanese Army will only help stabilize the situation.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope things will improve further.

On Wednesday, the country’s Daily Star newspaper reported that the Russian ambassador to Lebanon confirmed that the two nations are in the process of negotiating potential military cooperation. This comes on the heels of Lebanon’s request to the US in August for new aircraft to support counterinsurgency operations against the Islamic State and other jihadist groups. Saudi Arabia recently granted $1 billion to Lebanon to help its fight against the Islamic State, on top of another huge dollop of cash it pledged to the country’s military last year. Fighting from Syria’s civil war finally spilled over into the Lebanese town of Arsal in early August, bringing ISIS forces with it. The country’s Cabinet convened a special session just days later to chart a plan for getting military assistance from “brotherly and friendly countries.” In other words, Lebanon is looking for guns and ammo from just about anyone willing to supply them. [Vice]

Facts about Starbucks in The Middle East

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starbucks Picture by Sharif

I’ve been hearing about boycott campaigns against Starbucks ever since I was in AUB some 10 years ago, and every time there’s a new conflict between Arabs and Israel, people ask for a new boycott and Starbucks once again updates its facts section to re-assert that it does not fund the Israeli government in anyway. I suggest you read this article to figure out if Starbucks is Zionist or not.

Personally speaking, I’ve been going to Starbucks since 2002 and never stopped simply because by boycotting Starbucks branches in Lebanon or anywhere in the Arab World, I am actually harming Lebanese employees and a Kuwaiti group (Alshaya WLL) and definitely not Howard Schultz (Remember Tripoli’s KFC?). Moreover, I don’t believe in boycotts in the first place and don’t think they will get anywhere specially in today’s world.

This being said, I respect people who wish to boycott Starbucks or any other “Zionist” business in their opinion, but I urge them to do it without spreading fake letters and stories and without intimidating others who don’t like boycotts.

You can find below the most recent facts about Starbucks in the Middle East, updated as of August 2014.

Is it true that Starbucks or Howard Schultz provides financial support to Israel?

No. This is absolutely untrue. Rumors that Starbucks or Howard provides financial support to the Israeli government and/or the Israeli Army are unequivocally false. Starbucks is a publicly held company and as such, is required to disclose any corporate giving each year through a proxy statement.

Has Starbucks ever sent any of its profits to the Israeli government and/or Israeli army?

No. This is absolutely untrue.

Is it true that Starbucks closed its stores in Israel for political reasons?

No. We do not make business decisions based on political issues. We decided to dissolve our partnership in Israel in 2003 due to the on-going operational challenges that we experienced in that market. After many months of discussion with our partner we came to this amicable decision. While this was a difficult decision for both companies, we believe it remains the right decision for our businesses.

Do you have plans to re-open should the opportunity arise?

We decided to dissolve our partnership in Israel in 2003 due to the on-going operational challenges that we experienced in that market.

When and where the business case makes sense and we see a fit for the Starbucks brand in a market we will work closely with a local partner to assess the feasibility of offering our brand to that community. We will therefore continue to assess all opportunities on this basis. At present, we will continue to grow our business in the Middle East as we have been very gratified by the strong reception of the brand in the region. We continue to work closely with our business partner, the Alshaya Group, in developing our plans for the region.

Do you work with a Middle East partner to operate Starbucks stores?

Through a licensing agreement with trading partner and licensee MH Alshaya WLL, a private Kuwait family business, Starbucks has operated in the Middle East since 1999. Today Alshaya Group, recognized as one of the leading and most influential retailing franchisees in the region, operates nearly 600 Starbucks stores in the Middle East and Levant region. In addition to its Starbucks stores, the Alshaya Group operates more than 2,600 retail stores in the Middle East, Russia and North Africa, providing jobs for more than 40,000 employees of more than 110 nationalities.

We are extremely fortunate and proud to have forged a successful partnership for the past fifteen years and look forward to building on this success. [via Starbucks]

How To Help Iraqi Refugees In Lebanon

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iraq-mosul-shrine

Ever since the Islamic State (Da3esh) took over Mossul, a lot of Iraqi families have been fleeing to Lebanon seeking refuge and there are over 1300 families till now according to the Chaldean Archdiocese in Hazmieh, Beirut. These families were forced to leave in a matter of days and most of them have nowhere to go, which is why the Chaldean Archdiocese along with other churches have been receiving them and helping them out.

More families are expected to arrive in the coming days, which is why a solidarity campaign has been launched to help them out and provide them with the most basic food and sanitary products which are listed below:
– Food items (rice, spaghetti, oil, salt, cheese, etc.)
– Toiletry products (toothpastes, soap, shampoo, toilet paper, detergent, etc.)
– Kitchen materials (cooking pots, glasses, plates, etc.)
– Clothes, blankets, sleeping mats, etc.
– Cash donations (to cover the medicines and the rent)

How To Help?
If you wish to help directly, you can contact the below numbers:

Mireille Safar 03-572322
Joe Matta 03-282040

Or call/email the Chaldean Diocese directly on:
+961 5 457 732
+961 5 459 088
email: chaldepiscopus@hotmail.com

You can also deliver your donations to BASSMA’s office in Badaro, Mondays to Fridays, 9am to 3pm (01-383938) and make online donations on this [link].

Posted Originally on LBCBlogs

Movie + Pictures: Massive Attack Show Support For Syrian Refugees & Palestinians in Gaza During Byblos Concert

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via Glamroz

Here are some of the supporting messages (with a couple of spelling mistakes) that were shown during Massive Attack’s concert at the Byblos International Festival.

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Pictures via BlogOfTheBoss

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I have no idea what they meant with the below picture as I didn’t see the end of it in the video or anywhere else.

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Update: Here’s the rest of that picture.

mass Thanks Ghiwa