ENGLISH DAILY NEWS BULLETIN
Bible Of The
Mark 8/34-38: "He called the multitude to himself with his disciples, and said to them, “Whoever wants to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 8:35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it; and whoever will lose his life for my sake and the sake of the Good News will save it. 8:36 For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world, and forfeit his life? 8:37 For what will a man give in exchange for his life? 8:38 For whoever will be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man also will be ashamed of him, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Opinions, Releases, letters, Interviews & Special Reports
A war on the STL, a war on peace/By: Hanin Ghaddar/September 18/10
Canada Condemns Iran’s Continued Imprisonment of Bahá’í Community Leaders and Denial of Prisoners’ Legal Rights/September 18/10
Latest News Reports From Miscellaneous Sources for
Security forces on high alert as Israelis mark Yom Kippur/J.POST
Israeli Gov’t rejects extended freeze, despite heavy pressure/J.Post
Mitchell after Meeting Suleiman: No Forced Naturalization or Settlement at Lebanon's Expense/Naharnet
Hizbullah Conducts Missile Maneuvers on Fateh 110 Rockets in Iran/Naharnet
Hezbollah source threatens to “cut off hands” if Sayyed is penalized/Now Lebanon
Loyalty to the Resistance bloc MP Hassan Fadlallah: No one can put Sayyed in prison/Now Lebanon
Minister of State Adnan as-Sayyed Hussein : STL remains even if cabinet resigns/Now Lebanon
Marouni: Hizbullah is Hinting at New May 7, Situation Demands an Emergency Plan to Confront Coup/Naharnet
Pre-Trial Judge Decrees STL has Jurisdiction to Rule on Sayyed's Request to Access Material in Hariri Case/Naharnet
Israel Complains to Security Council: Lebanese Army Turns Blind Eye to Hizbullah's Activity/Naharnet
Iranian president stops in Syria on way to UN/AP
Lebanon tribunal says can hear El Sayed case/Reuters
Obama's Mideast envoy: US supports Lebanese army/AP
Russia to sell missiles to Syria/BBC
President Gemayel kicks off Zahle visit/Now Lebanon
Hostage, three gunmen die in Iran kidnap rescue, report says/Now Lebanon
Hezbollah ups pressure to torpedo UN Hariri tribunal/AFP
Hezbollah preparing to challenge Lebanon authorities/Ya Libnan
Sayyed from Paris: I Will Return to Lebanon as Scheduled and Any Decision Taken by Mirza is Rejected/Naharnet
Lebanon's Foreign Ministry Denies Report Siddiq is in Australia/Naharnet
Moussawi: Those Adopting Sectarian Rhetoric for Incitement are Obstructing State Functioning/Naharnet
Qassem: It is Shameful that Members of Mustaqbal Propose Sectarian Slogans to Influence the Public/Naharnet
Aridi after Meeting Aoun: Warrant against Sayyed Can be Handled on Governmental Level/Naharnet
Hizbullah Demands Authorities to Back Down on Request to Summon Sayyed/Naharnet
Security Council Ignored Lebanon's Complaint against Israeli Spy Networks, Focused on Burj Abi Haidar Clashes/Naharnet
Cabinet to Convene before Suleiman Heads to New York but Date Not Set Yet/Naharnet
Suleiman-Obama Meeting has Not Been Confirmed, Pending Presidential Meetings/Naharnet
Suleiman and Assad Discuss Developments and Bilateral Ties in Phone Call/Naharnet
Okaz: Berri is Carrying Out Real Efforts to Contain the Tension/Naharnet
Moussawi: No Resistance but Resistance against Israeli Enemy, Other Resistances were Sectarian Slaying Gangs/Naharnet
Syrian Ambassador Says Hariri's Remarks Important Step that Must Be Completed by Tackling False Witnesses Issue/Naharnet
Canada Condemns Iran’s Continued Imprisonment of Bahá’í Community Leaders and Denial of Prisoners’ Legal Rights
(No. 302 – September 17, 2010 – 8:30 p.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement on the rights of prisoners in Iran and on reports that Iran has decided to continue its imprisonment of seven Bahá’í community leaders:
“I note with regret reports that Iranian authorities have decided to continue the imprisonment of seven Bahá’í community leaders, while reducing their sentences from 20 to 10 years. Canada maintains that these individuals appear to have been imprisoned because of their religious beliefs and that therefore they should be released unconditionally and reunited with their families as soon as possible.
“Canada remains deeply concerned by the ongoing failure of Iranian authorities to meet their domestic and international legal obligations with respect to the rights of both Iranian and dual-nationality citizens. The use of televised confessions of questionable authenticity is one example of Iran’s attempts to intimidate its citizens, degrade individuals and prejudge the outcome of cases.
“We once again urge Iran to reverse the deterioration in its human rights situation. We also urge Iranian authorities to meet their legal obligations, including ensuring due process for all those who have been detained.
“Canada is a vigorous defender of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.”
- 30 -
For further information, media representatives may contact:
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
Security forces on high alert as Israelis mark Yom Kippur
By JPOST.COM STAFF /09/17/2010
West Bank checkpoints temporarily closed until after Day of Atonement ends; 300 policemen deployed in Acre; train and bus services ceased. Security and rescue forces will be on high alert during Yom Kippur which begins Friday afternoon and will end Saturday at dusk. Security crossings into Israel from the West Bank were temporarily closed Thursday night and will open again at midnight on Saturday in accordance with security assessments adopted by the IDF. As many as 300 police officers are expected to be deployed on the streets of Acre from Friday afternoon until Sunday morning, Israel Radio reported. All the main entrances to the city will be blocked from the east. The measures are being taken following violent riots that took place in the city two years ago on Yom Kippur. Train services throughout the country ended at 11:30 a.m and Egged bus services stopped running at 2:00 p.m. Bus services will resume at 7:30 pm on Saturday. The fast will begin at at 5:07 p.m in Jerusalem, 5:22 p.m in Tel Aviv, 5:14 p.m in Haifa and 5:25 p.m in Beersheba and will last 25 hours
Gov’t rejects extended freeze, despite heavy pressure
By HERB KEINON AND KHALED ABU TOAMEH
PA official tells ‘Post’ he has ‘no explanation’ for US optimism; Mubarak: I told PM not to restart building, but he said he had no choice.
Despite considerable pressure from both the US and Egypt to continue the settlement construction moratorium for another three months, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s senior ministers, a forum known as the septet, decided this week not to extend the freeze.
Since a cabinet decision was needed to put the freeze into effect last November, another cabinet decision would be needed to extend it, and the septet decided, before Netanyahu’s meeting in Jerusalem with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday, not to ask for an extension.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak reportedly was in favor of an American compromise to extend the moratorium for three months in order to come to an agreement with the Palestinian Authority on final borders, so that it would then be clear where Israel would, and would not, be able to build.
Clinton, however, reiterated in a Channel 10 interview that the US still wanted to see the moratorium extended, although she said she understood Netanyahu’s argument that the PA did not take advantage of the moratorium in place for the last 9-1/2 months to enter into talks.
“The United States believes that we need to establish an environment that is conducive to negotiations,” Clinton said when asked about the moratorium.
She reiterated that both she and US President Barack Obama felt that “doing something about the moratorium” would be “an important decision by Israel,” and that this would be “in the interest of the negotiations.”
Clinton said that “if we are going to have an agreement about territory, and we are going to have a democratic, secure Jewish state in Israel and an independent, sovereign viable state for the Palestinians, everyone knows that settlements are going to have to be discussed. There are differences in their location and their numbers, but it is something that can’t be put under the rug, it has to be confronted.”
Regarding whether she supported Netanyahu’s demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, she said that at her meeting on Wednesday with President Shimon Peres, “he reminded me that Yasser Arafat had said, ‘Of course it will be a Jewish state.’ These are the kinds of discussion that have to be done only at the leader level.”
The Prime Minister’s Office, meanwhile, responded to reports in the Arab press that Netanyahu was considering a three-month extension by saying “the prime minister’s position in relation to the time allocated for a moratorium on new construction in Judea and Samaria is known, and there has been no change.”
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, meanwhile, said in a Channel 1 interview that he had urged Netanyahu to extend the moratorium by a few months so as to give the peace talks a chance.
“I told him [Netanyahu] to extend the freeze for at least three or four months during the talks. I told him that this would help achieve satisfactory results,” the Egyptian leader said.
Mubarak quoted Netanyahu as saying that he wasn’t able to extend the freeze because of opposition from his coalition partners.
“I told Netanyahu to forget about all those who are hesitant and skeptical and to continue with the settlement freeze for a few more months at least,” Mubarak said.
Mubarak said that he also made it clear during his meeting with Netanyahu earlier this week in Sharm e-Sheikh that extending the freeze was a small price compared with the potentially bloody repercussions of failing to do so.
The Egyptian president expressed hope that the extension would allow Israel and the Palestinians to reach agreement within a few months.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday reiterated his opposition to the resumption of construction in the settlements and expressed his desire to continue with the peace talks with Israel, a spokesman for Abbas said.
Mitchell after Meeting Suleiman: No Forced Naturalization or Settlement at Lebanon's Expense
Naharnet/U.S. envoy George Mitchell on Friday held talks with President Michel Suleiman as part of a renewed push by Washington to broker a comprehensive Middle East peace accord.
Mitchell, who was accompanied by U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly, also discussed with Suleiman the U.S.-Lebanese bilateral relations. "Without Lebanon there will not be comprehensive peace in this region," he said after the meeting, adding, "The United States does not and will not support the forced naturalization of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon." "The United States has great respect for Lebanon's sovereignty and for Lebanon's role in comprehensive peace," Mitchell stressed, renewing U.S. support to Suleiman, the Lebanese government and army. On Friday, Mitchell traveled to south Lebanon, where he visited the headquarters of the United Nations peacekeeping force deployed there. "The senator received briefings on UNIFIL's mission and activities in the south, then he went back to Beirut," said the force's deputy spokesman Andrea Tenenti. Asked by Agence France Presse whether Mitchell's discussions with senior UNIFIL officials addressed the sensitive issue of Hizbullah's weapons, Tenenti said they concerned "only the issues related to (UNIFIL's) activities on the ground." Israel, which fought a devastating war with Hizbullah in 2006, has repeatedly accused the group of stockpiling weapons. On his arrival from Damascus late on Thursday, Mitchell met parliament speaker Nabih Berri and members of Prime Minister Saad Hariri's office. He made no comment following those talks. In Damascus, Mitchell said a peace deal meant an "agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, between Israel and Syria and between Israel and Lebanon and the full normalization of relations between Israel and its neighbors."(AFP-Naharnet) Beirut, 17 Sep 10, 18:03
Hizbullah Conducts Missile Maneuvers on Fateh 110 Rockets in Iran
Naharnet/Hizbullah has conducted missile maneuvers on Fateh 110 rockets in Iran, reported the Kuwaiti al-Rai newspaper on Saturday. Sources concerned told the paper that the units participating in the maneuvers have returned to Lebanon after demonstrating great prowess in using this long-range missile. The newspaper also highlighted the fact that the party's maneuvers coincided with Israeli military maneuvers, which it interpreted as a growing readiness by both sides to wage a new war that is expected to be "the last of the wars" due to its expected highly destructive nature. According to intelligence reports acquired by Hizbullah, Israel has compiled a list of vital Lebanese economic and energy establishments as targets in the next war. Hizbullah has also compiled a list of Israeli targets such as energy establishments, including nuclear reactors. Beirut, 18 Sep 10,
Security Council Ignored Lebanon's Complaint against Israeli Spy Networks, Focused on Burj Abi Haidar Clashes
Naharnet/The daily Al-Akhbar criticized on Saturday what it called the U.N.'s "selective approach" in dealing with Lebanon as demonstrated in the U.N. Security Council's monthly public session on the situation in the Middle East. It said that during the last session, U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry ignored Lebanon's complaint against Israel's spy networks in Lebanon and instead chose to focus on the recent Burj Abi Haidar clashes. Serry added: "The situation in Lebanon in the past few months was marked by increased political tension in light of the growing speculation over the indictment in the Special Tribunal for Lebanon." The daily also reported sources as saying that Lebanon's Ambassador to the U.N. Nawwaf Salam had brought up the complaint over Israel's spy networks during a closed session, but he said no one was receptive to it. Beirut, 18 Sep 10, 11:50
Israel Complains to Security Council: Lebanese Army Turns Blind Eye to Hizbullah's Activity
Naharnet/Israel issued a letter of complaint to the U.N. Secretary General and Security Council over "the Lebanese armed forces' policy of turning a blind eye to Hizbullah's activity, which includes removing evidence and delaying the deployment of the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon."The letter demanded a copy of the results of the investigation UNIFIL conducted in the September 3 explosion in southern Lebanon, accusing Hizbullah of removing evidence from the site and the Lebanese army of failing to launch an investigation in the incident.
Beirut, 18 Sep 10,
Pre-Trial Judge Decrees STL has Jurisdiction to Rule on Sayyed's Request to Access Material in Hariri Case
Naharnet/The Pre-Trial Judge in the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Daniel Fransen, issued an order on Friday in which he determined that the Tribunal has jurisdiction to rule on Major General Jamil Sayyed's application for access to certain materials in the case of the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The STL said in a statement: "He also decided that Sayyed had standing to address the Tribunal. However, after recalling that an individual's right to access his criminal file is a basic one, Judge Fransen noted that the exercise of this right could be limited, in particular where it might compromise ongoing investigations, undermine fundamental interests or affect national or international security.""He then ordered Sayyed and the Prosecutor to submit to him, no later than 1 October 2010, their observations concerning the application of these limitations to the present case," it continued. Beirut, 17 Sep 10, 16:23
Sayyed from Paris: I Will Return to Lebanon as Scheduled and Any Decision Taken by Mirza is Rejected
Naharnet/Former General Security chief Major General Jamil al-Sayyed stressed on Saturday that he will return to Lebanon as scheduled, saying that it "makes no difference to him if he is arrested because the law is not on their side, but only the orders of their masters." "I demanded that General Prosecutor Saeed Mirza step down because I consider him as my opponent and therefore any decision he issues will be rejected," he stated from Paris. Furthermore, he said that Pre-Trial judge Daniel Fransen's latest order "is the first step towards achieving justice." "The tribunal's decision to hand us evidence is a new setback for the sides that have been trying to cover up the facts in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri," Sayyed continued. Beirut, 18 Sep 10, 12:11
Hezbollah source threatens to “cut off hands” if Sayyed is penalized
September 18, 2010 /In an interview with NOW Lebanon published on Saturday, an anonymous Hezbollah source warned that it would “cut off the hands” of any party that makes a move to penalize former General Security chief Jamil as-Sayyed. Hezbollah issued a statement on Friday saying that Attorney General Judge Said Mirza’s request to summon Sayyed was “political par excellence,” calling for a reversal of the judiciary's decision to summon Sayyed for questioning. “Hezbollah fully supports Sayyed,” the source said, adding that any move to take legal action against Sayyed will cause chaos in the country. The source also said that the situation in Lebanon is critical and similar to the atmosphere that prevailed ahead of the May 7 events. Gunmen supporting a Hezbollah-led alliance clashed with Druze and Sunni supporters of a rival alliance, killing 100 people in the week-long battle in 2008, also known as the May 7 events. Sayyed said on Sunday that “[Prime Minister Saad Hariri] should take a lie detector test to prove he did not support or fund false witnesses in the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL),” investigating the 2005 assassination of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri, and vowed to take his rights “with his own hands.”Sayyed was detained from 2005 to 2009 on suspicion of involvement in the Rafik Hariri murder. In April 2009, the STL ordered his release due to lack of evidence.-NOW Lebanon
Loyalty to the Resistance bloc MP Hassan Fadlallah: No one can put Sayyed in prison
September 18, 2010 /Loyalty to the Resistance bloc MP Hassan Fadlallah told New TV on Saturday that “no one is capable of putting [former General Security chief] Jamil as-Sayyed in prison.” Hezbollah issued a statement on Friday saying that Attorney General Judge Said Mirza’s request to summon Sayyed was “political par excellence,” calling for a reversal of the judiciary's decision to summon Sayyed for questioning. “Sayyed has the right to live with dignity after the unjust political decision [to imprison him],” Fadlallah said, adding that Hezbollah wants the Lebanese judiciary to be fair and transparent. Sayyed was detained from 2005 to 2009 on suspicion of involvement in the murder of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. In April 2009, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) ordered his release due to lack of evidence. Sayyed said on Sunday that “[Prime Minister Saad Hariri] should take a lie detector test to prove he did not support or fund false witnesses in the STL,” investigating the 2005 assassination of Rafik Hariri, and vowed to take his rights “with his own hands.”“The Lebanese judiciary should penalize the witnesses who gave false testimony [to the international commission investigating the 2005 Hariri assassination],” Fadlallah added.-NOW Lebanon
Hizbullah Demands Authorities to Back Down on Request to Summon Sayyed
Naharnet/Hizbullah on Friday called on authorities to back down on a request to summon former head of Lebanon's General Security Department Maj. Gen. Jamil Sayyed.
State Prosecutor Saeed Mirza on Thursday demanded to summon Sayyed for threatening State security and Prime Minister Saad Hariri. A Hizbullah statement condemned the Lebanese judiciary's "involvement in the political conflict." Hizbullah attacked the Phalange party without naming it. "We expected the concerned sides in the Lebanese judiciary to take an initiative to summon those who boast of being Israeli spies and allies," said Hizbullah, in a clear reference to the Phalange Party. Phalange party official Sami Gemayel had said Kataeb is not ashamed of its history. "We also expected judicial authorities to request documents and data announced by Maj. Gen. Jamil Sayyed in his (Sunday's) press conference to look for the truth," the statement said. "But we were surprised by the judiciary's involvement in the political conflict after its decision concerning Sayyed," Hizbullah said. "We in Hizbullah consider the decision to be a political decision par excellence and a headline of repression and intimidation to any oppressed speaking about the truth at this stage," the statement added.
Hizbullah slammed Mirza's decision as a "political decision par excellence," and warned against "tyranny and intimidation" of those who seek to tell the truth. Beirut, 17 Sep 10,
Aridi after Meeting Aoun: Warrant against Sayyed Can be Handled on Governmental Level
Naharnet/Minister of Transportation and Public Works Ghazi Aridi stated on Saturday that the government should be able to handle the arrest warrant issued against former General Security chief Major General Jamil al-Sayyed. He made his statement after holding a closed-door political meeting on Saturday with Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun during which he commended the MP for clarifying that he had not called for civil disobedience. Beirut, 18 Sep 10,
Marouni: Hizbullah is Hinting at New May 7, Situation Demands an Emergency Plan to Confront Coup
Naharnet/Phalange Party MP Elie Marouni warned on Friday that Hizbullah latest position towards the judiciary and Major General Jamil Sayyed are precursors to a coup attempt against the state and its institutions."Hizbullah's call to the judiciary to withdraw its decision is a sign of a new May 7 because the party possesses weapons and when it issues threats, it is implicitly threatening the use of its arms," he added.He said that contacts should continue among the members of the ruling majority in order to confront this plan, stressing: "Matters now demand an emergency political plan to confront the coup signs that are beginning to emerge, and which were prominent when opposition MPs refused to approve funding for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon during yesterday's Finance and Budget Committee meeting."Marouni called on Hizbullah to clarify its positions on those collaborating with Israel seeing as it is allying itself with several sides that are and others that have collaborated with the enemy. Beirut, 17 Sep 10,
Lebanon's Foreign Ministry Denies Report Siddiq is in Australia
Naharnet/Mohammed Zuheir Siddiq, a former witness in the inquiry into the assassination of ex-PM Rafik Hariri, has moved to Australia, according to the Lebanese Ambassador to Australia Robert Naoum. The daily Ad Diyar reported on Saturday that Naoum informed the Lebanese Foreign Ministry that Siddiq is living in a villa in a high-class neighborhood in Canberra. The information has been transferred to William Habib, the head of the Directorate of Political and Consular Affairs, who in turn relayed it to the Internal Security Forces directorate. The Foreign Ministry has meanwhile denied Ad Diyar's report. Beirut, 18 Sep 10,
Moussawi: Those Adopting Sectarian Rhetoric for Incitement are Obstructing State Functioning
Naharnet/Loyalty to the Resistance bloc MP Nawwaf al-Moussawi noted Saturday that those adopting sectarian rhetoric for incitement are harming national unity. He told OTV: "Those harming the state have claimed in the past that they can rebuild Lebanon's institutions, so they took out a $51 billion loan and today we discover that there are no institutions.""Why hasn't the judiciary taken action against those making statements aimed at creating strife?" he asked. "The U.S. administration is seeking to destroy the Resistance through local means and often through sectarian statements," he stressed. Beirut, 18 Sep 10,
Moussawi: No Resistance but Resistance against Israeli Enemy, Other Resistances were Sectarian Slaying Gangs
Naharnet/Hizbullah MP Nawwaf Moussawi on Friday stressed that "there's no resistance in Lebanon but the resistance against the Israeli enemy," slamming "the bragging about other resistances that were militias and gangs that practiced sectarian slaying."Moussawi noted that those behind false witnesses were shocked "when Hizbullah Secretary-General (Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah) spoke of the hypothesis of accusing Israel because their aims are somewhere else." "The loathsome faces did well when they revealed the faces of their fathers and grandfathers, because faces remain the same even if they are reproduced," Moussawi added. "The ongoing conflict today is between freedom fighters and the preachers of surrender and (peace) negotiations, the battle today is between the neo-May 17 group and those trying to torpedo the new May 17 Accord," Moussawi said, noting that "the problem is not with the Resistance's arms but rather with any arms that confront the Israeli enemy, even if they belonged to the Lebanese army." Hizbullah's MP concluded by saying: "In 1982, we weren't as strong as today, and despite that we defeated the enemy. We tell those seeking a war on the Resistance through false witnesses and false policies: The Resistance is ready to defeat you at any level."
Beirut, 17 Sep 10,
Qassem: It is Shameful that Members of Mustaqbal Propose Sectarian Slogans to Influence the Public
Naharnet/Hizbullah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem condemned on Saturday the ongoing political rhetoric adopted by the March 14 forces and Mustqbal movement saying that they are creating confusion in the country. "It is very shameful that members of the Mustaqbal movement and March 14 forces would propose sectarian slogans in order to influence the public and create instability," he said. He accused them of seeking to destroy the political calm in order to "confuse the internal scene by violating the media calm and highlight topics that out of place at the moment." He made his statements after holding talks with the deputy head of the Higher Shiite Islamic Council Sheikh Abdel Amir Qabalan. Qassem stressed the need for unifying political positions because they protect national unity, while political chaos will only "increase the tension, create more confusion, and divert matters from the people's central issues." Beirut, 18 Sep 10,
Cabinet to Convene before Suleiman Heads to New York but Date Not Set Yet
Naharnet/Cabinet's General Secretariat has not yet scheduled a date and location for its upcoming session, but it has distributed sections of its schedule, reported the daily An Nahar Saturday. It is uncertain whether it will be held on Tuesday because Prime Minister Saad Hariri is abroad, however matter should become clearer in the upcoming 24 hours, especially since Cabinet's work schedule is usually distributed 48 hours before a session. Meanwhile, the daily Al-Hayat Saturday reported official sources as saying that Cabinet will convene before President Michel Suleiman heads to New York on Wednesday to participate in the U.N. General Assembly. Beirut, 18 Sep 10,
Suleiman-Obama Meeting has Not Been Confirmed, Pending Presidential Meetings
Naharnet/The daily An Nahar reported on Saturday that President Michel Suleiman's meeting with U.S. envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell on Friday tackled the former's upcoming trip to the United States to participate in the U.N. General Assembly A meeting is expected between Suleiman and U.S. President Barack Obama, but it is still pending both leaders' meetings and schedules on the fringes of the assembly. Beirut, 18 Sep 10,
Suleiman and Assad Discuss Developments and Bilateral Ties in Phone Call
Naharnet/President Michel Suleiman and his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad discussed on Friday bilateral ties and current regional developments in a telephone call. The daily An Nahar reported on Saturday that the two leaders addressed the Lebanese internal situation and ways to maintain the results of the Saudi-Syrian summit that was held in Beirut. Visitors of the presidential palace revealed to the paper that Suleiman "is very upset with the political disputes and is concerned with the tense situation in the country and its institutions."
Beirut, 18 Sep 10, 10:03
Okaz: Berri is Carrying Out Real Efforts to Contain the Tension
Naharnet/Informed sources revealed to the Saudi Okaz newspaper that House Speaker Nabih Berri is conducting real efforts to contain the political tension in Lebanon. They said that the speaker senses that the situation is "very dangerous and the internal scene is likely to explode at any moment, which therefore requires that it be tackled fast and effectively."
Berri has sought media calm and urged that political disputes be addressed through constitutional and legal institutions. Beirut, 18 Sep 10,
Syrian Ambassador Says Hariri's Remarks Important Step that Must Be Completed by Tackling False Witnesses Issue
Naharnet/Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdul Karim Ali has stressed that "Syria is optimistic about Lebanon moving forward in terms of tackling the false witnesses issue, especially after Prime Minister Saad Hariri's remarks to the Asharq al-Awsat newspaper."Ali described Hariri's remarks as "an important step that must be completed to unveil the truth in this regard and put things right as to the sides and people who were harmed by the false witnesses and their testimonies.""This thing is possible in case of serious cooperation by those concerned," he added. In an interview with the Hizbullah-affiliated al-Intiqad electronic newspaper, the Syrian ambassador said that his country was optimistic "regarding the future situations in Lebanon in light of the dedication and keenness of national and political figures, topped by President Michel Suleiman, Speaker Nabih Berri and Premier Saad Hariri, and of course the responsible policy practiced by the Resistance under the leadership of Hizbullah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah." "Ali declined to respond to the recent campaigns of March 14 Christians against Syria, in particular that of MP Nadim Gemayel, saying that these campaigns are not worthy of a response, because they reflect the hardship of groups encircled by frustration over the failure of their bids on schemes that have proved failure and reached a dead end," al-Intiqad added. Answering a question on the rumored trembling of the Syrian-Saudi understanding regarding Lebanon, Ali said: "Syrian-Saudi coordination is good and ongoing, and Syria is optimistic about the future of Lebanese national consensus and the preservation of the integration of the army, the people and the Resistance." The Syrian ambassador called for "supporting the Resistance due to the guarantee it represents for Lebanon's independence and the deterrence of Israeli ambitions and threats." Beirut, 17 Sep 10, 21:23
A war on the STL, a war on peace
Hanin Ghaddar, September 18, 2010
Hezbollah fighters parade on the occasion of Martyr's Day in the southern suburbs of Beirut on November 11, 2009 (AFP photo/Ramzi Haidar).
US Special Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell was in Beirut on Friday. But before coming to Lebanon, Mitchell visited Damascus, where he stated that a peace deal meant an "agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, between Israel and Syria, and between Israel and Lebanon and the full normalization of relations between Israel and its neighbors."
Next month, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is coming to Beirut with the opposite message, one that says he wants Lebanon to be the battlefield on which Iran can fight to protect its regional interests.
The war is to be fought by Hezbollah, but the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) is an obstacle that needs to be removed before the end of the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Although any indictment handed down by the STL will not force Hezbollah to cooperate (it knows that the Lebanese government cannot force the Party of God to do so), Hezbollah would prefer to remove anything that could weaken it internally, and in the last few days the opening salvos in the battle to dismantle the tribunal has started.
Rumor has it that if former General Security chief Jamil as-Sayyed is summoned by Attorney General Judge Said Mirza over comments made by Sayyed at his press conference last Sunday, civil violence similar to – or according to some people, even worse than – that of May 7, 2008 will take place.
Mirza summoned Sayyed “for questioning over the latter’s threats against the Lebanese state, judiciary and Prime Minister Saad Hariri.” But Sayyed was in Paris and will be back today, Saturday.
Hezbollah issued a statement on Friday saying that Mirza’s request to summon Sayyed on Thursday was “political par excellence.” The party added: “We were surprised by the judiciary’s decision… which is political and oppressive to those who declare the truth.” Hezbollah also called for revoking the judiciary's decision to summon Sayyed for questioning.
Hezbollah’s MPs have also demanded that Lebanon stop funding the STL, prompting March 14 MPs to withdraw from Thursday evening’s session of the Parliamentary Finance and Budget Commission to prevent a quorum and a vote on the 2010 state budget clause pertaining to the court’s funding.
Meanwhile, MTV reported that Loyalty to the Resistance bloc MP Hassan Fadlallah said in Thursday’s session that parliament should abolish the STL before the end of September, otherwise “the matter [will be] very dangerous.”
The message from Hezbollah and March 8 is clear: Lebanon should stop funding the tribunal, parliament should agree to abolish it, and Prime Minister Saad Hariri should make an unequivocal statement that the STL is politicized and that he can no longer trust its impartiality.
Simply, nothing else matters. And the tensions that currently plague Lebanon – the threats, clashes and political campaigns – are linked to the STL. Those who criticize the tribunal, such as Jamil as-Sayyed, will be protected, no matter what they did in the past, while those who trust it and hope it will deliver justice will be deemed traitors.
But what can Hezbollah really do? After the Saudi-Syrian agreement at the Beirut Summit on July 30, it has become clear that Syria will not side with Hezbollah in any violent sedition. The Syrian regime has cooled its backing of Hezbollah, while Syria’s allies – including Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and the recently-reclaimed Druze leader MP Walid Jumblatt – have distanced themselves from Hezbollah’s campaigns. Both said that they can differentiate between an indictment handed down by the STL and the court itself. Hezbollah’s only ally is the increasingly-isolated Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun.
Under these circumstances, another May 7 is probably unlikely, as is a coup d’état. Politically, Hezbollah and Aoun cannot do it alone. They can burn the streets, but if Syria is not on their side, the political balance is difficult to alter.
But is the Saudi-Syrian deal that solid? It was supposed to have been based on two commitments: Syria’s promise to back Saudi Arabia in Iraq by supporting Iyad Alawi in his bid for the premiership, while Saudi Arabia was expected to support Syria’s interests in Lebanon. Due to the complicated political scene in Lebanon, and mainly to the Iranian influence in both Lebanon and Iraq, these two commitments have not been easy to fulfill.
The deal has not collapsed, but it has become less effective, as many Lebanese expected, while the calm that prevailed since the Beirut Summit has also evaporated.
Yes, Hezbollah is trying to stymie the Saudi-Syrian deal. Iran does not want the Syrian regime to “return” to Lebanon on the back of a Saudi-brokered deal because this would make the ties between Syria and Hariri stronger than those between Syria and Hezbollah. Such a deal might also strengthen any prospects for peace, something that Hezbollah and Iran do not want.
Attacking both Hariri and President Michel Sleiman through Aoun and Sayyed is therefore the beginning of the confrontation. Hariri, in the meantime, is expected to make more compromises to Syria and tame all those who are still criticizing or seeking to thwart Syrian interference in Lebanon.
Torn between Hezbollah’s campaign to bring him down and Syria’s demands, Hariri will be walking a very thin line in the coming weeks and months. If the Saudi-Syrian deal survives, Syria will clearly be “back.” If it fails, Hezbollah will be able to carry out its threats. Until then, the only solution left for those who still believe in the principles of March 14 is to show a united front through improved rhetoric, clear commitments and a unified position.
We wish them luck.
**Hanin Ghaddar is managing editor of NOW Lebanon
President Gemayel kicks off Zahle visit
September 18, 2010 /NOW Lebanon’s correspondent reported on Saturday that Kataeb Party leader Amin Gemayel arrived in Zahle for a two-day visit. Gemayel will meet with Kataeb officials as well as with residents from Zahle during a dinner on Saturday evening, the correspondent added. -NOW Lebanon
Hostage, three gunmen die in Iran kidnap rescue, report says
September 18, 2010 /One hostage and three gunmen who held six Iranians captive in a restive southeastern region of the country have been killed in a rescue operation, the official IRNA news agency said on Saturday. Gunmen had attacked a bus on Thursday and seized six people- five soldiers and a bank clerk- between the towns of Iranshahr and Chabahar in Sistan-Baluchestan province. "In a successful operation by the Revolutionary Guards, five of six hostages have been freed. One has been martyrd and three of the culprits have been killed," Jalal Sayah, a provincial security official told IRNA without saying when this happened. The Sunni militant group Jundallah (Soldiers of God), in a statement on its website junbish.blogspot.com, claimed the attack, adding that it had killed a "number of security forces" during the assault.-AFP/NOW Lebanon
Minister of State Adnan as-Sayyed Hussein : STL remains even if cabinet resigns
September 18, 2010 /In an exclusive interview with NOW Lebanon published on Saturday, Minister of State Adnan as-Sayyed Hussein said that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) will remain, even if the Lebanese cabinet were to resign. “The STL will remain because it is supervised by the UN,” Sayyed Hussein said. “The criticisms of Prime Minister Saad Hariri by some parties do not benefit the government or the people,” he added. Former General Security chief Jamil as-Sayyed said on Sunday that “[PM Hariri] should take a lie detector test to prove he did not support or fund false witnesses in the STL,” investigating the 2005 assassination of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri, and vowed to take his rights “with his own hands.”
Sayyed Hussein called for fostering domestic stability to ensure that the work of state institutions be carried out.-OW Lebanon