LCCC ENGLISH DAILY NEWS BULLETIN
Bible Quotation for today/A
Call to Holy Living
01 Peter 01/13-23: "So then, have your minds ready for action. Keep alert and set your hope completely on the blessing which will be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. Be obedient to God, and do not allow your lives to be shaped by those desires you had when you were still ignorant. Instead, be holy in all that you do, just as God who called you is holy. The scripture says, “Be holy because I am holy.” You call him Father, when you pray to God, who judges all people by the same standard, according to what each one has done; so then, spend the rest of your lives here on earth in reverence for him. For you know what was paid to set you free from the worthless manner of life handed down by your ancestors. It was not something that can be destroyed, such as silver or gold; it was the costly sacrifice of Christ, who was like a lamb without defect or flaw. He had been chosen by God before the creation of the world and was revealed in these last days for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from death and gave him glory; and so your faith and hope are fixed on God. Now that by your obedience to the truth you have purified yourselves and have come to have a sincere love for other believers, love one another earnestly with all your heart. For through the living and eternal word of God you have been born again as the children of a parent who is immortal, not mortal. As the scripture says, “All human beings are like grass, and all their glory is like wild flowers. The grass withers, and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord remains forever". This word is the Good News that was proclaimed to you".
Patriarch Al Raei is a Sheppard that does not know his Sheep
Elias Bejjani/All genuine appeals calling on the Maronite Patriarch to execute his holy duties and patriotic obligations are falling on deaf ears and a hardened heart. Unfortunately our Patriarch Al Raei is a hopeless patriotic case and can not deliver what he does not own. Meanwhile, modesty, faith, Honesty and devotion are graces from Almighty God that He generously entrusts to those whom he selects to carry His message and preach His word. Sadly our derailed Patriarch Al Raei has been misusing and abusing these graces. In contrary to the Biblical teachings he is boldly siding with the Syrian Assad regime criminals and butchers through all ways and means. In Lebanon he is covering Hezbollah's weaponry and fighting the sovereign and patriotic leaders and parties. All his aids are pro-Assad and Hezbollah. This derailed clergyman is a Sheppard whom his sheep does not him and he himself does not his sheep. He is the wrong clergy in the wrong time.
Pope Francis: We are all called to be friends with Jesus. Don’t be afraid to love the Lord
Latest analysis, editorials, studies, reports, letters & Releases from miscellaneous sources For December 04/13
Israel fears Obama is leading region towards catastrophe/By: Ron Ben-Yishai/Ynetnews/December 04/13
DEBKAfile/Tehran: Mossad and Saudi intelligence are designing super-Stuxnet to destroy Iran’s nuclear program December 04/13
What Iran can do/The Daily Star/December 04/13
The Revolution was a Revolution/By: Ali Salem/Asharq Alawsat/December 04/13
Reports From Miscellaneous Sources For December 04/13
Lebanese Related News
Miqati: We Won't Cover Anyone in Tripoli and We Won't Forgive Those Who Blew Up the Two Mosques
Hariri reiterates call for arms-free Tripoli
Army arrests 21 over clashes in Lebanon's Tripoli
Army Carries Out Raids in Tripoli after Taking Charge of Security
Hezbollah offers young jihadis virtual training ground
Hezbollah says intervention in Syria prevents Iraq-style violence in Lebanon
Hezbollah's virtual training ground
Riyadh’s Iran policy preventing thaw in ties: Hezbollah
Geagea Says Hizbullah Revealed its True Colors, Calls for Swift Formation of Cabinet
Mustaqbal: Army Must Implement New Duties in Tripoli 'Firmly and Fairly'
Qaouq Demands March 14 to 'Stop Covering Up' for Attackers against Tripoli Residents
Five wounded in Lebanon refugee camp blast
Damascus blast kills four as rebels take Christian town
Corruption in Lebanon rises, ranking 127: survey
Lebanon indicts 13 over foiled Beirut bomb attack
Future presents draft laws for social services
Siniora warns of presidential vacuum
Al-Lino's Bodyguard Wounded in Blast during Ain el-Hilweh Funeral
FPM Bloc Urges End of Takfiri Attacks against Nuns in Syria, Says Christians' Lives 'in Danger'
Qahwaji: Army to Confront Security Violators Wherever They May Be
Death Penalty Ordered for 9 Suspects over Explosives-Laden Car in Maamoura
Samaha Trial Postponed to May 2014
Lebanon in 127th Place in Global Corruption Index
Miscellaneous Reports And News''
Ahmadinejad and Rouhani trade blame over Iran's economic woes
Report: Western firms line up to trade with Iran
Kerry: With global anti-Semitism on the rise, Israel's
voice must be heard everywhere
Ya'alon: Israel's relations with US excellent
Veteran Labor MK raps Netanyahu for 'sparring with US'
White House Steps Up Bid to Forestall New Iran Sanctions
French forensic experts find Arafat did not die of poisoning, source says
Army source to 'Post': Syrian cross-border shooting 'was not stray fire'Bennett: Israel must not be 'hostage' to one country
Hariri reiterates call for arms-free
December 03, 2013/The Daily Star
BEIRUT: Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri reiterated Tuesday his call for declaring Tripoli an arms-free city and blasted the regime of President Bashar Assad, accusing Damascus of instigating the repeated deadly clashes that have plagued the northern city. "We once again call for Tripoli to be declared an arms-free city and for an end to all the disturbances it is experiencing,” Hariri said, according to a statement from his office. " Tripoli belongs first and foremost to its people, from all sects and movements. It is not a mailbox for miscalculated conflicts or an arena for settling political accounts and regional aspirations,” he added “It will not be, under any circumstance, a hotbed for the Syrian regime and its allies in Lebanon,” the leader of the Future Movement said. Tripoli has witnessed 18 rounds of clashes between supporters and opponents of the regime in Damascus since the uprising against President Bashar Assad in early 2011 began. The clashes that erupted this weekend killed 13 people and wounded more than 100. “It seems that the supporters of the Syrian regime in Lebanon don’t want Tripoli to rest or to put an end to the tension and chaos that plague it with each round of combat,” he said. He also expressed confidence that Tripoli would remain under the jurisdiction of the state and under the rule of law which he said should achieve justice and security. Last week’s clashes erupted after repeated attacks against Alawite residents of the city. A local group claimed responsibility for some of the attacks, warning of similar incidents if the suspects in the Aug. 23 Tripoli bombings are not handed over to authorities. Twin car bombings targeted separate mosques in Tripoli on Aug. 23 killing 47 people. Seven suspects have been charged with involvement in the explosions. Some of the suspects have links to the pro-Assad Arab Democratic Party based in Jabal Mohsen and Syrian intelligence. “We are also confident that the forces in the city will stand against all attempts to evade justice and cover up the crimes and bombings that targeted it,” Hariri said. He also commented on the situation in Syria’s Christian town of Maaloula, saying the Syrian regime had allowed extremist rebel forces to retake control of the historic area.
“The regime of Bashar Assad is overjoyed nowadays of having divided the Syrian Revolution and allowed the return of Jabhat al Nusra or ISIS and other Al-Qaeda groups to the Christian town of Maaloula, which falls now under the control of armed groups that do not respect the concepts of the Revolution, its values and objectives,” he said. He said news of rebels forcibly evacuating nuns from Maaloula “should make every Syrian struggling for freedom and human dignity feel ashamed.” The former prime minister, who has been a supporter of the Syrian opposition, also called on Syrian leaders and figures inside Syria and abroad to work on releasing the nuns and securing their safety. “Assaulting citizens, detaining monks and nuns and breaching the sanctity of churches and monasteries and religious symbols are indecent and unacceptable acts that all honorable Syrians should denounce, in addition to all those who are concerned with leading Syria toward a democratic civil regime that protects everyone’s rights to the freedom of belief and expression,” he said.
Israel fears Obama is leading region towards catastrophe
By: Ron Ben-Yishai/Ynetnews/Published: 12.03.13/ Small, ideological group encircling Obama, calling for final deal with Iran, regardless of price, forcing US to lose international leadership position. In Israel, officials believe Israel lost ability to influence White House on deal with Iran, pointing to greatest crisis of confidence in 20 years
The Israeli political-security establishment is increasingly concerned at what seems to be an American desire to reach a deal with Iran regardless of the price. To make matters worse, even those who oppose publically clashing with the Americans say that de facto, contact between the policy makers in Obama's White House and Jerusalem has been effectively cut off. There are of course formal communications between Washington and Israeli leaders, but Israeli officials believe that in the situation born out of the post-Geneva agreement, Israel has pretty much lost its ability to influence Obama regarding Iran and other international issues.Finance Minister Yair Lapid said Monday that the US is and remains Israel's most "strategic asset," but some in Jerusalem are singing a different song; they have no problem openly saying that Obama is leading the region towards a catastrophe.
The way things look from Israel now, the assumption is that Obama has fortified himself behind a small and closed ideological circle. This circle believes in partial non-interventionism and has an aversion to international conflicts – not only in the Middle East but also in South East Asia. In regards to Iran, this circle believes in pursuing a permanent deal that allows Iran to reach the nuclear threshold, while containing the nuclear program in such a way that will bar Iran from ever crossing the threshold or attaining a nuclear weapon without the West noticing. In Israel, officials say that if this outline becomes a reality, then it would be nothing short of a disaster for Israel. It would mean Iran will be three months away from creating the material it needs for a first nuclear bomb. Nonetheless, officials will admit that as far as they know there has been no real progress in Iran's "arms group" – the group which develops the prototype for the Iran's nuclear centers and then its warheads.
Not the same US
In Israel there are those that believe that Obama's administration is eager – if not to say anxious – to reach an agreement, maybe even more than the Iranians who are suffering because of the massive sanctions enacted against them. Jerusalem believes that the American desire to reach an agreement originates from Obama's inner circle which wants the administration to survive the next three years without conflict. The prevalent assessment – in both Jerusalem and other Mideast capitals – is that members of Obama's inner circle stem from the left wing of the Democratic Party and believes that the Iraq and Afghanistan have tired the US public from bloodshed, and is thus interested in an administration that will focus on domestic issues like economic and social policy.
So, in an attempt to secure another presidential term for the Democrats in 2016 they want the US to be free of new international entanglements. As a result, Western officials believe, the US has lost its ability to efficiently conduct diplomacy as well as its ability to undertake clandestine operations, like assisting certain groups among the Syrian rebels.
Accordingly the US has shifted from the leading regional superpower in the Mideast – as well as most of the world – to a force "leading from behind." In other words, the US has moved aside and now allows other nations to lead the handling of international crises, like the French-led efforts in Libya and Russian management of the Syrian crisis.
By the way, not so long ago there were those in Israel who called on the White House to coordinate its positions with Russia in a bid to bring about a viable peace in Syria's civil war. The White House thought well of the idea but for any number of reasons it failed to actualize. The result is now known to everyone: Russian President Vladimir Putin forced Obama into accepting the Russian solution for Syrian chemical disbarment.
Nonetheless, Israeli officials note that the deal eventually reached in regards to Syria is positive, and seems to be implemented according to plans. However, the deal offers Syrian President Bashar Assad a new air of legitimacy, proof that the deal is in fact being carried out as agreed.
So what are Israel's demands in regards to a final agreement with Iran?
Jerusalem does not want Iran to remain a hop, scotch, and a leap from nuclear capabilities but rather they want Iran completely stripped of its ability to enrich uranium and to create plutonium. Israel's minimum demand is that any agreement will push Iran's nuclear program at least two or three years back. Israel's diplomatic-security establishment feels that the current agreement does not take into account the Israeli position, and on the basis of this feeling the Israeli establishment has decided not to compromise on a number of key points and is adamant in its determination to prevent the interim agreement from turning into a permanent one. For example, Israel wants any future and final deal to address the issue of the "arms group." This means that unlike the interim agreement, the final one will set up a number of mechanisms for making sure that the Iranians will not develop a nuclear detonation center nor build warheads or bombs that can be air-dropped. In addition, Israel is demanding that the US pressure Iran into promising it will halt its terror funding activities.
Confidence crisis peaking
Jerusalem and other Mideast states feel that as a result of the Geneva agreement and the events leading up to it, especially what has been characterized as Iranian President Hassan Rohani and Foreign Minister Javed Zarif's 'charm offensive', Iran managed to pull itself out of international isolation and is now gaining more and more influence in the region. The most immediate winner of this process is the axis of radical Shiites, which as Iran's proxy are also gaining power at the expense of the Sunni bloc lead by Saudi Arabia, which bridges between Gulf States, Turkey and Egypt. In addition, the relief in sanctions has led economic forces in Europe and Asia to compete for future arms contracts with Iran. The feeling in Jerusalem is that the dam has been broken and the way for Iran to circumnavigate sanctions in the future has been paved. Even now, the Turkish Finance Ministry has authorized financial interactions with Iran. From Israel's perspective, all these issues must be addressed in the final comprehensive deal, but decision makers in Jerusalem and army leaders in Tel Aviv are pessimistic, because of what they call Washington's deaf ear. Obama did invite Netanyahu together with a delegation of Israeli specialists to advise the US on future negations with Iran, and the group has yet to take off to the US, hinting that everything is still supposedly in the open. However the feeling is that when push comes to shove Israel will have to deal with an Iran that is on the US-sanctioned nuclear threshold – at least until Khamenei decides to move forward. A crisis of confidence of this magnitude has not been felt between the two nations for over two decades, at least since George H. W. Bush suspended US aid because of Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir's expansive settlement policy.
Riyadh’s Iran policy preventing thaw in ties: Hezbollah
The Daily Star/December 03, 2013/BEIRUT: Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah said Tuesday Saudi Arabia was maintaining a hostile policy toward Iran, preventing the normalization of ties between the two regional heavyweights. “Iran’s administration has been trying to open doors with Saudi Arabia for years now but all these attempts failed because Saudi Arabia closed these doors,” he said in an interview on OTV. “Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said on several occasions that he is willing to visit Saudi Arabia ... but Saudi Arabia has not yet issued any positive response,” he said, referring to the recent visit by Zarif to Arab states following the historic deal over Tehran’s nuclear program. Nasrallah said Riyadh had ever since the Islamic Revolution in 1979 maintained a hostile policy toward Iran, including fighting proxy wars in different countries. He also dismissed that differences between Riyadh and Tehran were sectarian. “ Saudi Arabia wants all countries and governments in the Arab and Muslim worlds to be under its command which is why I don’t see the dispute between [Iran and Saudi Arabia] as sectarian but merely political,” Nasrallah said. During the interview, Nasrallah confirmed reports he had recently received a delegation from Qatar in Beirut but did elaborate on the reasons behind the meeting. Nasrallah said his party had maintained a channel of communication with Doha despite differences between the two over the crisis in neighboring Syria.
Geagea Says Hizbullah Revealed its
True Colors, Calls for Swift Formation of Cabinet
Naharnet Newsdesk 03 December 2013/Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea said on Tuesday that Hizbullah revealed its true colors and is acting according to its own will, pointing out that the cabinet must be swiftly formed to end the paralysis in the country. “Hizbullah has set its strategy and is bluntly contradicting the laws and constitution,” Geagea said via Skype during the LF annual convention in Melbourne, Australia.
He noted that the party “doesn't want cover or support from any Lebanese side and will go on with what it believes despite our points of view.” Hizbullah has dispatched fighters to battle alongside the Syrian regime against rebels seeking the overthrow of President Bashar Assad. The conflict, pitting a Sunni-dominated rebel movement against Assad, has raised sectarian tensions in Lebanon and Lebanese Sunni fighters have also been killed while fighting alongside Syrian rebels. Several politicians have called on Hizbullah to abide by the Baabda declaration that calls for disassociating Lebanon from regional conflicts, and to maintain Lebanon's best interest.
The Baabda Declaration was unanimously adopted during a national dialogue session in June 2012. It calls for Lebanon to disassociate itself from regional crises, most notably the one in Syria. Lebanese parties are sharply divided over the crisis in Syria as the March 8 alliance continuously expresses its support to Assad, while the March 14 camp voices its support for the popular revolt. Geagea called for the swift formation of the cabinet that abides by the constitution and not “foreign strategies.”He also pointed out that the upcoming presidential elections should be free and not based on compromises “Whoever wants to run for presidency is his right,” Geagea said. The LF leader said that coordination is ongoing in the March 14 coalition, saying that the “general situation in difficult and delicate but not hopeless.” In September, President Michel Suleiman said that he would challenge the extension of his mandate if the parliament took such a move amid soaring political tensions and the failure to form a new government.His term ends in May 2014.
Mustaqbal: Army Must Implement New
Duties in Tripoli 'Firmly and Fairly'
Naharnet Newsdesk 03 December 2013/The Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc condemned on Tuesday the eruption of clashes between the rival neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen in the northern city of Tripoli, saying that the army should assume its duties in containing the unrest. It said in a statement after its weekly meeting: “The army should assume its new duties in a firm and just manner.”It made its remarks in reference to the army being granted on Monday authority over all security forces in the city for a period of six months in an effort to put an end to the clashes. The battles in Tripoli must be halted and the army must be allowed to exercise its duties, demanded the Mustaqbal bloc. It also stressed the need to bring to justice the assailants behind that attack against Jabal Mohsen laborers and the perpetrators behind the bombing of al-Taqwa and al-Salam mosques in Tripoli in August. “Tripoli should be transformed into an arms-free city, a step which we hope will be implemented gradually throughout Lebanon in order to eliminate the possession of illegitimate weapons in the country,” it declared.
Several Tripoli municipal workers from Jabal Mohsen were shot in their feet on Thursday in the area of al-Zahriyeh. The attacks were claimed by the “Military Committee to Avenge the Victims of the Tripoli Bombings,” referring to deadly twin car bomb blasts that targeted Sunni mosques in Tripoli in August that killed 45 people. Commenting on Hizbullah fighters' participation in the conflict in Syria alongside the country's regime, the Mustaqbal bloc lamented the loss of lives among the Lebanese fighters, appealing to their families “to raise their voice against their sons having to wage other country's wars.” Hibzullah has acknowledged that it is involved in the fighting in Syria, saying that its fighters are protecting holy religious sites and combating takfiri groups.
Hariri: Tripoli Will Not Be
Transformed into Den for the Syrian Regime in Lebanon
Naharnet Newsdesk 03 December 2013/Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri condemned on Tuesday the latest round of clashes between the rival Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen neighborhoods in the northern city of Tripoli, saying that the city will not be used as a pawn in regional disputes. He said in a statement: “Tripoli will not, under any circumstances, become another den of the Syrian regime and its allies in Lebanon.”
He therefore reiterated the need to transform Tripoli into an “arms-free” city. Tripoli belongs to all of its residents regardless of their sects and affiliations, stressed Hariri. “We are all responsible for confronting the dangers that are facing Lebanon,” he declared, while accusing Syria's allies in Lebanon of fueling the unrest in Tripoli. “We are confident that Tripoli will overcome the difficult phase it is passing through and it will not despair in urging the state and its institutions to put an end to the disputes and instilling justice in the city,” said the head of the Mustaqbal Movement. “We are confident that those keen on the city will not allow a deal to be struck at the expense of the rights of the victims. They will ensure that the culprits are put on trial for the terrorist bombings and other crimes that have been committed in the city,” he stated. Tripoli has been rocked with the latest round of clashes between the neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen. Fighting linked to conflict in Syria frequently erupts between the rival neighborhoods, with residents of Bab al-Tabbaneh supporting Syrian rebels and residents of Jabal Mohsen backing the Syrian regime. At least ten people were killed and 40 wounded in the latest round of fighting that broke out on Saturday.
FPM Bloc Urges End of Takfiri Attacks
against Nuns in Syria, Says Christians' Lives 'in Danger'
Naharnet Newsdesk 03 December 2013/Change and Reform bloc urged on Tuesday stopping Takfiris from attacking nuns and holding them captive in Syria, warning of “a danger on the lives of Christians” in Lebanon and the East. "Our lives and our future are in danger and everything the East and Lebanon were built upon is also under threat,” MP Alain Aoun stated after the weekly meeting of the Free Patriotic Movement MPS.
He added: “We all warn against the danger of Takfiris and if their ideology is not capable of tolerating a nun, how can it accept any other political ideology?”“We hope everyone condemns the kidnapping of the nuns (in Syria) and employs their international connections to free them.”12 nuns were reported missing on Monday, as Syria's rebel forces, including jihadists from the al-Qaida-affiliated Al-Nusra Front, recaptured the Syrian famed Christian town of Maalula, which lies north of Damascus. The nuns among the few residents left in the hamlet, and were sheltering inside the Mar Takla convent. Religious officials said on Tuesday that the Syrian rebels have taken the nuns to the nearby rebel stronghold of Yabrud. The FPM lawmakers also tackled the situation in the northern city of Tripoli, pointing out that they had suggested entrusting the army with security-related matters back in 2012.
“We remind everyone that we suggested entrusting the army with Tripoli's security on May 23, 2012 but the cabinet then rejected the proposal,” Aoun said. “Today's decision was made after Tripoli turned into a city that is not under the state's authority and we hope President Michel Suleiman and caretaker Prime Minister Najib Miqati's judgment is not incomplete.”Miqati announced Monday evening that the army will be entrusted with Tripoli's security for six months and that all security agencies in the city will be put under its command. The ongoing round of clashes between the rival Tripoli neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen has left at least 10 people dead and 100 others wounded since Saturday. Fighting linked to conflict in Syria frequently erupts between the rival districts, with residents of Bab al-Tabbaneh supporting Syrian rebels and residents of Jabal Mohsen backing the Syrian regime.
Hezbollah offers young jihadis virtual
Roi Kais Published: 12.03.13/Ynetnews/New site recreates past Hezbollah operations in flash. Organization hopes to develop more sophisticated games in future. Play and Resist" is the name of a new website launched by Hezbollah, offering a slew of flash-based games allowing youngsters to get acquainted with the terrorist group's endeavors against the State of Israel from 1982 until 2000 – the year the IDF exited Lebanon. As of publication, five games have been uploaded to the website. In addition to the game itself, the site offers an explanation of the activity or operation at hand. Thus, for example, you can practice firing a Katyusha rocket on Israel's northern communities like Hezbollah did in 1996, prompting Operation Grapes of Wrath . Surfers can also try their hand at the event leading up the first Lebanon War in Beirut in 1982. The radical Shiite group's operation against Israeli outposts and South Lebanon Army in 1986 was called by Hezbollah "The Invasion of Sujod" and also appears on the site together with a game version. An additional game emulates the operation that killed Brigadier-General Erez Greenstein, the commander of the IDF's Lebanon Communication Unit who died when an improvised explosive device detonated in February 1999. Another flash game simulates a Hezbollah attack on IDF's Galgalit outpost in January 2000. The Hezbollah-affiliated television station Al-Manar has begun marketing the site, broadcasting a piece which includes sections of the video game next to archive footage from the actual operations.
Muhamad Yunis, the manager of Hezbollah's "Islamic Resistance" site – part of the organization's electronic communication unit – was interviewed by Al-Manar. He expressed a wish that "the series of 'freedom' games currently working on flash be upgraded to 3D and adapted to smart phones." According to Yunis, "This is our small contribution to the great history written by jihadi fighters of the Islamic resistance." The message is resonated in the site itself: "Welcome to the site 'play and resist' which belong to the Islamic resistance in Lebanon site. It contains a series of games which tell the story of the resistance, its activities and its response against the criminality and the terror of the Zionist enemy in our region." The site contains an email address to which visitors are encouraged to send comments and suggestions, as well as ideas for new games. While Nasrallah's organization is partaking in actual war games in Syria and is taking on casualties, against Israel the games remain within the frame of psychological warfare.
Report: Western firms lining up to revive business with Iran
Ynet Published: 12.03.13/Wide set of European, US companies stand to regain lost Iranian trade in wake of Geneva agreement, Wall Street Journal reports. From Siemens to Nestle, western companies 'following developments closely' While Israelis are considering the strain on relations with the US in the backdrop of the Geneva nuclear deal, in Tehran the future looks bright, at least economically. As part of the agreement, western powers identified a small group of sectors for Iranian sanction relief, but a much wider set of European and US companies also stands to regain lost Iranian trade, the Wall Street Journal reported. The list includes pharmaceutical firms and medical-equipment makers as well as food companies and traders. Western governments singled out Iran's automotive and aviation sectors for temporary sanction relief, while allowing petrochemical exports and trade in gold and other precious metals. But the deal also clears the way for GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi to restart selling many of the drugs they had cut back on because of increasingly stiff financial sanctions, according to the report. Germany's Siemens may now also be able to send in more medical devices. These and billions of dollars of other goods have long been classified as humanitarian in nature and not specifically subject to sanctions, the WSJ explained. But banking and insurance restrictions enforced as part of the overall sanctions regime prevented companies in many cases from getting paid, curbing European and US exports to Iran of everything from wheat and chocolate bars to diabetes medicine, the report said. Swiss food company Nestlé was among those forced to scale down its Iran business after banks refused to transfer revenue back from Iran. In response to the report, the company said it was "following closely the developments in this process, but it is too early to say how they will affect our operations." Procter & Gamble Co, whose Oral-B mouthwash continues to be sold in Iran, declined to comment.
A Siemens representative said it "doesn't want to speculate about possible outcomes (of the nuclear pact) and their implications." Meanwhile, in Iran a public debate regarding the agreement, albeit a quiet one, is still be waged. Hardliners who oppose reconciliation with the US have not publically challenged President Hassan Rohani but warned him of the implications. “Our ideology will not be undermined by some negotiations,” Mohammad Reza Naqdi, the hard-line head of the paramilitary Basij force, told reporters prior to the signing of the agreement.
While the agreement was widely embraced by the Iranian public, experts doubt calm will be maintained for long. They estimate that just one nod from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei will be enough to unleash mass rallies against the agreement, the New York Times reported. “They are biding their time,” watching from the sidelines, eager to pounce on any perceived signs of backtracking, weakness or capitulation, said Farshad Ghorbanpour, an Iranian journalist close to the Rohani government. “When the opportunity arises they will strike back, searching for pretexts and playing into possible snags during the negotiations,” he said. “This is in no way a done deal.”
If such a signal is made, hardliners have the funds and willingness to mobilize considerable opposition. “Instead of being able to put political muscle on the streets, his (Rohani's) only chance of survival is to improve the economy,” Ghorbanpour said. But even there, the hard-liners play a critical role, according to the NYT. “There is a group of nouveaux riches who found wealth in the sanctions,” said Saeed Laylaz, an economist with close ties to the Rohani government. For years, the new Porsches, Maseratis and Ferraris snaking their way through the narrow alleys of upscale North Tehran were among the most visible effects of the sanctions.
The drivers of these luxury cars, mostly young men in their 20s, are commonly referred to here as “aghazadehs,” the children of those with connections to power.According to Mr. Laylaz, “instead of trying to take their wealth, Mr. Rohani will ask them to invest it into the economy.”
Qaouq Demands March 14 to 'Stop Covering Up' for Attackers against Tripoli Residents
Naharnet Newsdesk 03 December 2013/Hizbullah official Sheikh Nabil Qaouq on Tuesday demanded the March 14 alliance to “stop covering up” for those involved in the attacks against the northern city of Tripoli's residents.
"It is time for March 14 to stop justifying and covering up for those involved in the attacks against innocents in Tripoli,” Qaouq said during a Hizbullah event in the Beirut neighborhood of Shiyyah. "They should stop conspiring to maintain the siege on (the Tripoli neighborhood of) Jabal Mohsen.”He also called on Hizbullah's political foes to adopt a “national strategy to face the Takfiri danger that threatens Lebanon and the Lebanese.”Qaouq elaborated: “Lebanon can no longer tolerate any justification for Takfiri terrorism and any attempt to use criminal bombings for political purposes.” “It is no longer acceptable to condemn the crime and at the same time cover up for the attackers.”"We tell Takfiris and their masters that bombings in Lebanon will only make them more desperate, but they will strengthen our power in the battlefield. They are too weak to change political equations in Lebanon and Syria.”The Hizbullah official urged March 14 to stop “sectarian incitement and tension.”"We call for hurrying up in the formation of a new cabinet that preserves national interests and secures stability,” he said.
Lebanon in 127th Place in Global Corruption Index
by Naharnet Newsdesk 03 December 2013/Lebanon was ranked in 127th place in a survey carried by graft watchdog Transparency International on corruption in the public sector in 177 countries. TI collates expert views on the problem from bodies such as the World Bank, African Development Bank, Economist Intelligence Unit, Bertelsmann Foundation, Freedom House and other groups. It then ranks countries on a scale of 0-100, where 0 means a country's public sector is considered highly corrupt and 100 means it is regarded as very clean. Lebanon received a score of 28 while the bottom-ranked countries, which included Iraq, Syria, Libya, Sudan and South Sudan, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti and Yemen, scored 10 to 19. In its Corruption Perceptions Index for 2012, Lebanon scored 20. At the top, between 80 and 89, aside from Denmark and New Zealand, were Luxembourg, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Singapore, Norway, Sweden and Finland. Denmark and New Zealand are nearly squeaky-clean, the graft watchdog said in its survey. The duo were also deemed the world's least corrupt in 2012, alongside Finland. Worldwide, almost 70 percent of nations are thought to have a "serious problem" with public servants on the take, and none of the 177 countries surveyed this year got a perfect score, said the Berlin-based non-profit group.Transparency International's annual list is the most widely used indicator of sleaze in political parties, police, justice systems and civil services, a scourge which undermines development and the fight against poverty. Source/Agence France Presse/Naharnet.
Tehran: Mossad and Saudi intelligence are designing super-Stuxnet to destroy Iran’s nuclear program
DEBKAfile Special Report December 3, 2013/Iran’s
semi-official Fars news agency “reveals” that Saudi Arabia and Israel’s Mossad
are “co-conspiring to produce a computer worm more destructive than the Stuxnet
malware to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program.” The report appeared Monday, Dec. 2,
during foreign Minister Javad Zarif’s tour of Arabian Gulf capitals,with the
object of easing tensions between the emirates and Tehran. Riyadh was not on his
itinerary. In 2010, Stuxnet, reputed to have been developed by the US and
Israel, was the malworm which attacked the software of Iran’s uranium enrichment
program and caused a major slowdown, as well as disrupting its only nuclear
reactor at Bushehr. The Iranian agency now claims that Saudi intelligence
director Prince Bandar Bin Sultan and the head of Israel’s Mossad Tamir Pardo
met in Vienna on Nov. 24, shortly after the six world powers signed their first
interim nuclear agreement with Iran in Geneva.
The two spy chiefs brought with them teams of Israeli and Saudi cyber specialists to discuss “the production of a malware worse than Stuxnet to spy on and destroy the software structure of Iran’s nuclear program,” according to Fars. Riyadh was willing to put up the funding estimated roughly at $1 million. This plan was approved after the Geneva deal was roundly castigated by Saudi Arabia for acknowledging Iran’s rights to enrich uranium as “Western treachery,” while Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu called it “a historic mistake” and a danger to the world.
Without spelling this out, the Iranian source suggested that President Barack Obama, who in 2010 was ready to go along with the Stuxnet attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, had changed course and opted out of further cyber war after deciding to make Iran his strategic partner in the Middle East. Israeli intelligence had therefore turned to Saudi intelligence, said the Iranian source.
The same source “disclosed,” without citing dates, that the Saudi prince and the Israeli spy chief had rendezvoused a number of times in the Jordanian port of Aqaba. When those meetings became an open secret in the Middle East, Saudi Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz is said to have warned Bandar that the close direct collaboration between the two agencies was causing concern in the royal house.
In another “revelation,” Fars claimed that Prince Bandar secretly visited Israel under cover of French President Francois Hollande’s state visit on Nov. 17-18, ahead of the Geneva meeting on Iran’s nuclear program. This source said the Saudi prince took part in the high-powered Franco-Israeli discussions in Tel Aviv on ways to halt Iran’s nuclear progress.
debkafile’s intelligence sources infer four motives from the manner and timing of the Iranian news agency’s story:
1. To draw the Crown Prince into reprimanding Bandar for being over-zealous in his partnership with an Israeli head of intelligence and so embarrass him at home. This fits into the context of the succession struggle which our Gulf sources report is afoot in Riyadh. A group of princes is campaigning for Salman’s removal as Crown Prince. Bandar is one of them.
By highlighting his association with Pardo, the Fars publication seeks to discredit Bandar and stir up trouble to sharpen the infighting in Riyadh, with a view to weakening Saudi Arabia’s hand against Iran.
2. Tehran is getting seriously worried about the Saudi-Israeli intelligence partnership and the prospect of them acting together for covert operations, including cyber warfare, against their nuclear projects. Going public on this partnership is intended to show the Iranian people that the regime is on top of these dangers and well prepared to forestall them.
3. Detractors of the Geneva accord in Tehran are being warned by the regime that formidable external threats lie in wait for the national nuclear program and they would be well advised to desist from their opposition to the deal with the six powers, because it weakens the country’s defenses.
4. The Fars disclosures were picked up and run by Russian media on Dec. 2 - albeit shunned by Western publications – evidence of the close cooperation between Iranian and Russian intelligence services.
No part of these reports is confirmed from any other sources.
What Iran can do
December 03, 2013/The Daily Star /Iran’s foreign minister is on a tour of states in the Gulf, where his discussions with host officials are focusing on two items that are usually mentioned in such encounters: bilateral ties and stability. But since the visit by Jawad Zarif comes in the wake of Iran’s interim agreement with world powers on its nuclear program, the meetings take on a special importance. During one stop, Zarif commented that Iran and Saudi Arabia “should work together in order to promote peace and stability in the region,” a formula that is being repeated as he makes various stops in the Gulf. It’s a noble and needed objective, but the phrase “work together” is where several points should be made. In fact, Iran could begin by working by itself, and sort out a handful of pressing issues that are directly relevant for its neighbors across the Gulf. One is the eastern region of Saudi Arabia, where Tehran could take immediate steps to reduce the worrying level of sectarian tension and prove its good intentions by staying out of its neighbor’s affairs. Moving along the peninsula, the next point of focus lies in Bahrain, where Iran also has a special role to play, namely refraining from any involvement in the struggle between the authorities and a richly complex opposition. From there it’s on to the UAE, where a long-standing source of tension is the issue of Iran’s occupation of three small islands belonging to its neighbor – if Iran is interested in stability and good ties, ending that occupation tops the agenda. There is also the forgotten war raging intermittently down in the southern part of the peninsula, in Yemen, where Iran has involved itself by supporting the Houthi movement of Shiite rebels. Iran has plenty of cards to play if it truly wants to see an improvement in its relations with individual Gulf countries and this region as a whole. If such an initiative is taken in one or more of these areas, it would be a fitting follow-up to Tehran’s declared intentions to turn over a new leaf in the arena of foreign relations. Over the years, the comments by Iranian officials about intentions to improve ties with the rest of the world could fill an entire library. Many people hope that things will be tangibly different this time around, in a region increasingly worried about sectarian tension, weapons proliferation and economic challenges. The Islamic Republic’s leaders have often adhered to a hard-line stance in their dealings with the Gulf, perhaps believing that Gulf countries must take into consideration the views and interests of such a dominant neighbor as Iran. But a quick look at the economic clout wielded by Dubai, where Iranian know-how and capital have flowed in recent years, is enough to show how much Iran needs its neighbors. The central question for Iran’s neighbors these days is whether tangible steps will follow the upbeat rhetoric.
The Revolution was a Revolution
By: Ali Salem/Asharq Alawsat
I feel uncomfortable with the new wave of descriptions and words which slip into people’s minds through the small screen and from the new books that are being peddled around. They all revolve around one point—that the Egyptian revolution was not spontaneous, but was somehow manufactured by faraway hands, and by powerful minds, conspirators who worked for many years before Egyptians took to Tahrir Square. This explanation is based on an old saying which goes, “There is more to it than meets the eye.” Before anyone feels that I may, even for one moment, be feeling protective of January 25, or that I am defending its purity and its reputation, I point you to the fact that the reformists—and I am one of them—are incapable of seeing the good in revolutions. Rather, I accept them just as I accept storms, hurricanes and earthquakes. I accept them just as I accept history.
However, it is best to be mindful of the great enthusiasm which Egyptians showed for the events of January 25, 2011 and June 30, 2013, and their adoption of the idea that the noblest among them, who are the youth, were the ones who carried out the two revolutions and that these youths were the symbol of honor and purity. Bearing this in mind, it is risky to the psychological health of Egyptians for someone to come and tell them: “These youths were nothing but puppets in a political game! The strings of the revolution were weaved many years ago in textile factories belonging to American and Israeli intelligence!” This does not mean, of course, that these youths were aware that there was someone moving them—no, not at all—because apparently Western parties drew the path for them, which they walked. I know of course that the conspiracy mentality prevails over most of those who are interested in the Egyptian issue, and that they are searching for a foreign intelligence officer lurking behind every tree, but the real danger is that Egyptians may feel total despair and lose all hope.
Let me start with what I have said on more than one occasion in my explanation of the revolution, and my reference was the idea expressed by the American thinker Eric Hoffer, that in a dictatorial state, a revolution takes place if two conditions are met: if people’s living conditions relatively improve and if the grip of the security forces lessens at the same time. Therefore, you will notice the street leaders during a revolution are the educated, well-off youth. The revolution has destroyed Mubarak’s rule not because of its strength, but because of the weakness of the regime, its ignorance and its broken-down structure. Not even the best intelligence services in the world would have been able to forecast the weakness we saw in the security forces, which collapsed quickly. What happened, and is still happening in Egypt, did not need planners from the outside.
Even the tales about the breakouts from prisons and police stations must be taken with a pinch of salt, as this was most likely planned by the Muslim Brotherhood and their allies in Gaza and Sinai just hours before it took place.
It is natural that when a crisis erupts many rush to benefit from it. The miserable do not revolt, they live on their misery away from our sight. A revolution is carried out by people when their conditions improve and they start wanting more. No one planned the Egyptian revolution, no one wants to divide us, spread sedition among us, please us or pamper us. All that is happening is of our own making.
White House Steps Up Bid to Forestall New Iran Sanctions
Naharnet Newsdesk 03 December 2013/The White House warned Congress Tuesday that passing new sanctions -- even with a delayed launch date -- would give Iran an excuse to undermine an interim nuclear deal.
White House spokesman Jay Carney also warned a bipartisan coalition of senators who are suspicions of the deal reached last month and want to pile up more punishments for Tehran, that their move would be seen as a show of "bad faith" by U.S. partners abroad. The White House stepped up its rhetorical push to forestall new sanctions amid intense behind-the-scenes lobbying by top Obama administration officials targeting key lawmakers.
"Passing any new sanctions right now will undermine our efforts to achieve a peaceful resolution to this issue by giving the Iranians an excuse to push the terms of the agreement on their side," White House spokesman Jay Carney said. "Furthermore, new sanctions are unnecessary right now because our core sanctions architecture remains in place, and the Iranians continue to be under extraordinary pressure. "If we pass sanctions now, even with the deferred trigger, which has been discussed, the Iranians and likely our international partners will see us as having negotiated in bad faith." Carney argued that the passage of new U.S. sanctions -- even with a built-in six month delay -- would threaten the unity of the international coalition that has leveled punishing sanctions on Tehran. He also said if the interim deal is not translated into a final pact that Iran abides by, the White House would support new sanctions against Iran. Several groups of Republican and Democratic senators are working to reconcile various different sanctions measures, believing that they would strengthen Obama's hand in negotiations.
Under the deal reached between world powers and Tehran to freeze Iran's nuclear program last month, Washington committed to "refrain from imposing new nuclear-related sanctions" for the six months during which world powers will seek to hammer out a comprehensive settlement. Carney, however, would not say whether Obama would use his presidential veto to halt any congressional effort to impose new sanctions.
Source/Agence France Presse.