June 17/2013

Bible Quotation for today/The blind and mute man both spoke and saw
Matthew 12/12-22: " Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath day.”  Then he told the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out; and it was restored whole, just like the other.  But the Pharisees went out, and conspired against him, how they might destroy him.  Jesus, perceiving that, withdrew from there. Great multitudes followed him; and he healed them all,  and commanded them that they should not make him known:  that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying,  “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen; my beloved in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my Spirit on him. He will proclaim justice to the nations.  He will not strive, nor shout; neither will anyone hear his voice in the streets. He won’t break a bruised reed. He won’t quench a smoking flax, until he leads justice to victory.  In his name, the nations will hope. Then one possessed by a demon, blind and mute, was brought to him and he healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw

Latest analysis, editorials, studies, reports, letters & Releases from miscellaneous sources 

Opening a new front against Assad/By/Hussein Shobokshi/Asharq Alawsat/June 17/13
What happened to the Arab superpowers/By: Samir Atallah/Asharq Alawsat/June 17/13


Latest News Reports From Miscellaneous Sources for June 17/13

Israel PM: Don't be fooled by new Iranian president
U.S. Slams Syrian 'Campaign of Intimidation' against Lebanon
The head of the Lebanese Option Party, Ahmed al-Asaad, Claims Receiving Death Threat, Holds Nasrallah and State Responsible for Salman's Murder

4 Dead, Including 2 from Jaafar Clan, as Car Comes under Fire in Arsal Outskirts
MP. Ahmad Fatfat: Berri is Hizbullah Tool in Constitutional Council Crisis
Al-Rahi Slams March 8 and 14, Says Legitimate Armed Forces Lebanon’s Sole Protector
Iran’s new, democratically elected president faces battle with Guards on nuclear issue

Canada Expresses Deep Concerns over Syrian Conflict and Its Spillover Effect in the Region
March 14 to Hand Memo with over 50 Signatures to Suleiman Next Week
Nasrallah Congratulates Rowhani for 'Earning People's Trust'

Report: Hizbullah, Revolutionary Guards Training Syrian Soldiers
Hizbullah Slams German FM, Describes Accusations as 'Void'
N. Lebanon: Al-Abboudiyeh Residents Block Highway over Attack from Syria
Syria Condemns 'Irresponsible' Egypt Move to Cut Ties

UNRWA in Aid Appeal for Syria's Palestinians
Report: Saudi Arabia Wants Missiles for Syrian Rebels
King Abdullah: Jordan Can Protect Itself from Syria War Threats
Egypt's Morsi Severs Relations with Syria: We Stand against Hizbullah for Interfering in the War
Kuwait Constitutional Court Scraps Poll, Approves Electoral Law

Syrian Observatory: Qaida-Linked Militants Blow up Shiite Hussainiyah
British Warplanes Divert Egyptair U.S.-Bound Flight after Threat
Netanyahu: Keep Up Nuclear Pressure on Iran
Iran Press Hail President-elect as 'Sheikh of Hope'

Gulf Leaders Welcome Rowhani's Victory
Israel Says Khamenei, Not President, Decides Iran Nuclear Policy
Syria Opposition Urges Iran Review Policy after Rowhani Win
White House: 'Hopeful' over election of Rohani

Bible-burning Egyptian cleric jailed for 11 years

U.S. Slams Syrian 'Campaign of Intimidation' against

Naharnet/A U.S. official has condemned the “campaign of intimidation and threats” carried out by the Syrian regime against Lebanon, saying it is a sign of Damascus' failure to abide by U.N. Security Council resolutions.
The official also slammed in remarks published in An Nahar daily on Sunday the letter sent by Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem on June 13 to his Lebanese counterpart Adnan Mansour. He said the letter included veiled threats to Lebanon a day after the air raids on the northeastern town of Arsal. “Such threats are clear examples of the Syrian regime's failure to abide by Security Council resolution 1559, 1680 and 1701,” the official said on condition of anonymity. He urged all parties in the region to steer clear of attempts to drag Lebanon to the Syrian conflict. Mansour revealed on Thursday that Muallem called on the Lebanese army to "control the border to preserve security and stability.”The Syrian FM also urged the Lebanese authorities to "take the necessary measures that strengthen the joint efforts … to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the two states."
A Syrian helicopter gunship bombed Arsal on Wednesday, prompting the Lebanese army to issue an unprecedented statement in which it warned that it will immediately retaliate to any future attacks.

4 Dead, Including 2 from Jaafar Clan, as Car Comes under Fire in Arsal Outskirts
Naharnet /Four people were killed, including two members of the Jaafar clan, when their car came under gunfire in Arsal's barren mountains, state-run National News Agency reported. "Gunmen killed three members of the Jaafar family and a man from the Amhaz family while they were passing through the Qaa area of the Bekaa," a security source told Agence France Presse, referring to two Shiite clans. A fifth man was seriously injured in the incident, he said. "The five men were smuggling fuel when they were ambushed," the source said.
The incident occurred in an agricultural part of Qaa, home to a predominantly Sunni population.
Tensions were running high in the wake of the incident, the source said, with armed members of the Jaafar family gathering around five kilometers from the town of Arsal.
The National News Agency said the four were shot dead while inside a Cherokee vehicle in the Raqef valley in the barren mountains of the town of Ras Baalbek, identifying them as Ali Karami Jaafar, Mohammed Ali Ahmed Jaafar, Hussein Sharif Amhaz and Ali Haidar, “a Turkish national whose mother is from the Lebanese family of Seifeddine and who is a resident of the town of al-Nabi Othman.”
Voice of Lebanon radio (93.3) said gunfire erupted in the Bekaa town of al-Labweh “as a response to the crime committed against one of the town's residents in the region's barren mountains.”
For its part, Voice of Lebanon radio (100.5) said the security situation deteriorated around the town of Arsal after four members of the Jaafar clan were killed in “an ambush by a group of Arsal residents.”
“Army units went on full alert at all military bases and checkpoints in the Bekaa as a precaution against any repercussions from the ambush against the Jaafar family,” the radio station said. “The intersections of the town of al-Labweh have been closed,” al-Jadeed television reported.
LBCI television said the four were killed in “Wadi Raqef, a border area between al-Qaa's barren mountains and Ras Baalbek.”“As the Lebanese army went through Arsal's barren mountains to recover the bodies, it was surprised with the presence of around 200 gunmen in the area, which prompted it to withdraw for a while and call in reinforcements,” MTV reported.
But al-Jadeed said later that “the two slain members of the Jaafar clan were transported to the town of al-Qasr while the slain member of the Amhaz clan was transported to al-Batoul Hospital in the Bekaa ahead of being transferred to the family home.”
"A checkpoint erected by the Amhaz clan seized a number of Arsal residents and the army is trying to remove the checkpoints," OTV said.
A statement issued later by Arsal's residents said "the Wadi Rafeq incident is aimed at stirring discord between the residents of Arsal and the region and at inciting sectarian strife." “We strongly condemn attacks on civilians, regardless of their identities, especially on the clans and people of our region,” the statement said.
“As we condemn the massacre, we urge security forces to unveil the perpetrators as quick as possible and to bring them to justice, and we disavow the perpetrators, regardless of their identities,”
The residents vowed that they will provide security forces with any information they obtain concerning the identities of the perpetrators. According to information obtained by OTV, the ambush “might be linked to the ambush that killed (Arsal resident) Ali al-Hujairi in Hermel.”
“Ali Ahmed al-Hujairi was killed in an ambush by Hizbullah supporters in the barren mountains of (the town of) Beit Jaafar between Akkar and Hermel,” Arsal municipality's deputy chief told MTV on Tuesday.
The state-run National News Agency said unknown attackers shot dead Hujairi as he was driving his pickup truck that was loaded with rocks, accompanied by Syrian workers. On Tuesday evening, NNA said a number of gunmen gathered in central Arsal in protest at the killing of Hujairi. Sunni cleric Sheikh Mustafa al-Hujairi, Ali's brother, delivered a speech before the gunmen and called for "jihad and vengeance," NNA said.
The Syrian crisis has led to frequent security incidents in the areas of Arsal and Hermel near the border with the war-torn country. Several Lebanese army troops were recently killed in an armed attack by Syrian gunmen on their checkpoint in Arsal's outskirts.

The head of the Lebanese Option Party, Ahmed al-Asaad, Claims Receiving Death Threat, Holds Nasrallah and State Responsible for Salman's Murder

Naharnet /The head of the Lebanese Option Party, Ahmed al-Asaad, called the killer of the student committee official “a beast,” holding Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and Lebanese authorities responsible for his murder and claiming that he had received a death threat. Holding a photo of Hizbullah members wielding batons and assaulting protesters, al-Asaad pointed to one of them, saying: “We believe he is the beast who killed Hashem Salman.” Al-Asaad asked for the people's assistance in identifying him and informing investigators. Last Sunday, Hizbullah members attacked protesters from the Lebanese Option Party and killed Salman after shooting him in the abdomen outside the Iranian embassy in the neighborhood of Bir Hassan in Beirut's southern suburbs. The demonstrators had barely time to stage their rally near the mission when they came under attack by the Hizbullah members who were wearing black shirts with yellow ribbons around their arms. During his press conference, al-Asaad accused Nasrallah of lying that a probe was under way into the man's death. “A clergyman doesn't lie and only speaks the truth,” he said. “You are responsible for Salman's assassination,” he said. The head of the Lebanese Option Party, a Shiite politician who is a fierce critic of Hizbullah, also laid blame on the armed forces and mainly army chief Gen. Jean Qahwaji for failing to prevent Salman's murder. “The army's communique proved to the Lebanese people that the military institution is a Hizbullah follower. This is a shame,” he said.
Al-Asaad called on Qahwaji to resign. The army's vague communique had said that upon the arrival of a convoy belonging to a political party to Bir Hassan, a fight broke out between members of the convoy and some citizens during which an individual opened fire from a pistol that led to the serious injury of a man, who later died. While addressing reporters, al-Asaad was interrupted by an aide who allegedly told him that his office had received a death threat. But an unwavering al-Asaad went ahead with his press conference, calling for a rally next Sunday near the Iranian embassy where last week's attack took place. He dubbed it “the demonstration of Martyr Salman” and urged all the people to participate in the rally by only holding Lebanese flags.

Al-Rahi Slams March 8 and 14, Says Legitimate Armed Forces Lebanon’s Sole Protector
Naharnet/Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi slammed both the March 8 and 14 alliances on Sunday for “tarnishing Lebanon’s image” and paralyzing state institutions in addition to shoving the country in Syria's crisis. In a harshly worded sermon at Our Lady of Lebanon basilica in Harissa, al-Rahi called for “national reconciliation among politicians and mainly the so-called March 8 and 14 alliances that have tarnished Lebanon's image and its coexistence.” The patriarch also accused the two foes of preventing the parliamentary elections from taking place and paralyzing the formation of a new “strong and capable government” that should be able to confront the economic crisis and the security chaos. Al-Rahi said the coalitions have also paralyzed constitutional institutions, and pushed the Lebanese people in Syria's war and its repercussions after getting involved in the neighboring country's crisis. The president threw his support behind President Michel Suleiman, who attended the mass along with first Lady Wafaa. Premier-designate Tammam Salam and several caretaker cabinet ministers and lawmakers were among those present at the ceremony, which was held to reinaugurate the basilica after the end of renovation work in its ceiling and front windows. Al-Rahi announced his “full support to Suleiman in any initiative aimed at salvaging” the country. He also backed the army, saying “the legitimate armed forces are Lebanon's sole protector.” The patriarch called for ending extremism and said there should be strong efforts to establish democratic states in the region that respect human rights.


March 14 to Hand Memo with over 50 Signatures to Suleiman Next Week
Naharnet/The number of signatures on a memo that the March 14 alliance seeks to hand President Michel Suleiman on Hizbullah's role in Syria has reached more than 50, An Nahar daily reported on Sunday.
Pan-Arab daily al-Hayat quoted March 14 officials as saying that a delegation will visit Suleiman on Tuesday. A copy of the document will also be handed over to the United Nations and the Arab League, the reports said.
The memo says the majority of the Lebanese disapprove Hizbullah's involvement in Syria's war and criticizes caretaker Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour, saying he neither represents Lebanon nor the foreign ministry. It accuses him of being a Hizbullah complicit. Its signatories call for deploying the Lebanese army on the northern and northeastern border to prevent the smuggling of arms and the infiltration of gunmen.
The memo also lauds Suleiman's stance from the Syrian crisis and reiterates the commitment to the Baabda Declaration and the policy of dissociation. Hizbullah has been instrumental in the fighting alongside regime troops in Syria. It played a major role in taking over the central town of Qusayr that lies 10 kilometers from Lebanon's northeastern border.
The party's fighters are also actively backing government troops in the fighting in Homs and Aleppo, activists said.

MP. Ahmad Fatfat: Berri is Hizbullah Tool in Constitutional Council Crisis
Naharnet /Al-Mustaqbal bloc MP Ahmed Fatfat has accused Speaker Nabih Berri of being a Hizbullah tool after two Shiite judges boycotted the meetings of the Constitutional Council. In an interview with An Nahar daily published Sunday, Fatfat said: “What happened at the Constitutional Council showed that Nabih Berri is an execution tool to what Hizbullah says.”Three judges, two Shiites and a Druze, boycotted earlier this week the meetings that were aimed at discussing a report drafted by the council's president, Judge Issam Suleiman, on the petitions filed by President Michel Suleiman and the Change and Reform bloc to challenge the 17-month extension of parliament’s term. Fatfat said that both Berri, a Shiite, and Druze leader Walid Jumblat are capable of influencing the judges. The lawmaker denied that al-Mustaqbal had been playing any role in the paralysis of the council's work. “Those paralyzing the Constitutional Council are those who are not attending the meetings,” Fatfat said. “It's obvious that this absence is the result of a political decision.”
The council has set another meeting for next Tuesday but it is not likely to convene over lack of quorum. The approval or the rejection of the challenges requires the go-ahead of seven out of the council's half-Christian half-Muslim members and a quorum of eight members is needed to vote on challenges. The lack of quorum would make the 17-month extension law valid after the end of parliament's mandate on June 20.
Asked what measures al-Mustaqbal would take if the council remained crippled, Fatfat said: “We are heading towards a political confrontation that could reach civil disobedience.”“We will ask the people not to pay their bills and taxes and to confront the state because everything is crippled in it under the force of arms,” he told An Nahar.The March 14 alliance is studying the measures to confront Hizbullah's weapons, he said.


Nasrallah Congratulates Rowhani for 'Earning People's Trust'
Naharnet/Hizbullah secretary-general Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah cabled Hassan Rowhani on Sunday congratulating him on his victory in Iran's presidential election.“Hizbullah along with all the mujahideen in this country of resistance congratulate you … for aptly earning the big trust of the great people,” Nasrallah said in the cable. He told Rowhani that his victory met the “expectations of the Iranian people,” and “renewed the trust of the vulnerable friends and brethren in the Arab and Islamic world.” Rowhani, a moderate cleric, was declared Iran's new president on Saturday, ending eight years of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's conservative grip on the top job.
Rowhani, a former top nuclear negotiator who has championed more constructive engagement with world powers, was declared outright winner with 50.68 percent of votes cast in the election.
Iran is Hizbullah's biggest backer and supporter, and has also thrown its weight behind the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, helping it battle an uprising now in its third year.

Canada Expresses Deep Concerns over Syrian Conflict and Its Spillover Effect in the Region
June 16, 2013 - Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement:
“I am deeply concerned about the situation in Syria and its effects on the broader region. In recent days and weeks, the Syrian conflict has spilled over into neighbouring countries, with sometimes deadly consequences.
“I will be visiting Jordan later today to meet Nasser Judeh, my counterpart there, to discuss how Canada can best help Jordanians cope with the influx of refugees. Canada will continue to support Syria’s neighbours, who are bearing a heavy burden as the violence in Syria continues to have consequences beyond its borders.
“Thousands of Canadians visit the countries neighbouring Syria every year for summer vacation and to meet up with family in the region. This year, I am extremely concerned for the well-being of many of those who may be considering travelling to these areas, including the most volatile parts of Lebanon. I encourage travellers to be informed of developments in those areas and to think twice about destinations where violence has occurred or is threatened. Canadian citizens should register online with the Registration of Canadians Abroad system.
“Those who decide to travel to these areas should pack their common sense. If the Syrian crisis spreads, our ability to assist may be limited due to the security impediments and an insecure environment.”
Canadian citizens in Lebanon requiring emergency consular assistance should contact the Canadian embassy in Beirut at (961-4) 726700, or call Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada’s Emergency Watch and Response Centre collect at 613-996-8885. They may also send an email to
Finally, we encourage Canadians to stay connected to the latest travel advice and advisories at, also available via our Travel Smart Mobile Web App. They can also follow us on Twitter or find us on Facebook.
For more information, visit Country travel advice and advisories-Lebanon.

Iran’s new, democratically elected president faces battle with Guards on nuclear issue
DEBKAfile Special Report June 15, 2013/Hassan Rouhani, 64, will take office as President of Iran on August 3 with the endorsement of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who Saturday congratulated him as the winner of Friday’s election by 50.7 percent in the first round of voting. Rouhani garnered 18 million ballots out of the 72 percent turnout of 50 million eligible voters, with the help of “reformist’ sympathizers and minority communities. With the news,
spontaneous celebrations spread across Iran. The president-elect told the people that his success was “a victory of moderation over extremism.”
DEBKAfile attributes Rouhani’s upset victory to an unprecedented combination of circumstances:
1. The hard-line camp couldn’t get its act together. Khamenei failed to persuade the Revolutionary Guards (Pasdaran) chiefs to withdraw their candidate, Tehran mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf’s, in favor of his favorite, National Security Adviser, Saeed Jalili. So the ayatollah turned to Rouhani.
Although a solid member of the Islamic Revolutionary establishment, Rouhani looked capable of inspiring hope in the Iranian people, and using his mild personality to persuade the international community to relax some of the sanctions strangling the Iranian economy over Iran’s nuclear program.
2. Outgoing president, Mahmoud Ahmaninejad took his revenge on the extremists who had ostracized him for nearly four years. Familiar as no one else with the tricks used by the regime to rig elections, he stood watch to make sure that this vote was clean.
3. Khamenei and the clerics devoted enormous efforts to blocking the candidacy of Ahmadinejad’s crony, Esfandyar Rahim Mashee, and pragmatists like former president Hashemi Rafsanjani. They were so wrapped up in their factional struggles that they failed to notice Rouhani, the only clerical candidate, creeping up behind them. He stole the hearts of the Iranian street by promises they were longing to hear, to free political prisoners, guarantee civil rights, return "dignity to the nation,” address the dire state of the economy and embark on “constructive interaction with the world.”
The infighting between Khamenei’s henchmen and the Guards was still going on early Saturday morning. Rouhani, concerned about a plot to falsify the election, turned up at the Interior Ministry and demanded an early tally of ballots and publication of first partial results.
They were accordingly released at 6.45 a.m. local time, less than seven hours after the last polls closed - but only after the Guards general Mohammad Reza Naqi was told to leave the building.
4. Khamenei tends to alternate hard-line presidents with less pugnacious successors, say DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources. Rouhani is generally portrayed hopefully by Western and Israeli media as a moderate. But when the supreme leader struck a quiet deal with him as successor to Ahmadinejad, he knew his record as a loyal product of Iran’s clerical elite who, a decade ago, served as Iran’s National Security Adviser, and is at one with the Islamic Republic’s missions and goals.
At the same time, his style is conciliatory and sublte and he has gone out of his way to save Iran from confrontation with bigger and stronger opponents. For instance, as Iran's chief nuclear negotiator between 2003 and 2005, Rouani ordered the temporary suspension of uranium enrichment activities when the United States invaded Iraq in 2003 so as not to give the Americans a pretext for attacking Iran as well.
A readiness for a more flexible approach to Iran’s nuclear controversy with the West was hinted at by the supreme leader. In his message of congratulation to the new president Saturday night, Khamenei wrote: "I urge everyone to help the president-elect and his colleagues in the government, as he is the president of the whole nation.”
Rouhani’s first task will be to draft a detailed plan marking out the boundaries of Iranian concessions for obtaining the partial lifting of sanctions to restore the flow of frozen oil revenues to the country’s empty coffers.
This will entail the new president going head on head against the Revolutionary Guards on two scores. He must fight the powerful corps first over their refusal to consider nuclear concessions and, second, to start breaking up the Pasdaran’s vast monopolistic empire which, no less than international sanctions, stifles the country’s economic life.
The Guards are already spoiling for this fight and may not wait for the new president to take office in August. Saturday night, shortly after Rouhani was proclaimed victor, rumors were flying around Tehran of a Revolutionary Guards military coup conspiracy to prevent him from taking office. Gen. Reza Naqi, who tried to interfere in the counting of ballots, was heard commenting two days before the vote: “Never mind who is elected, or how, we consider it our duty to get rid of any undesirable president.”
President-elect Rouhani would do well to heed this remark.


Egypt's Morsi Severs Relations with Syria: We Stand against Hizbullah for Interfering in the War
Naharnet/Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi on Saturday announced the "definitive" severing of relations with war-torn Syria, which is suffering from more than two years of civil war.
Egypt "decided today to definitively break off relations with the current regime in Syria, to close that regime's embassy in Cairo and to recall Egypt's charge d'affaires" from Damascus, Morsi told thousands of Islamist supporters in a Cairo stadium for a "Support for Syria" rally. Morsi also slammed Hizbullah's interference in the Syrian war. "Egyptians stood by Hizbullah in 2006 and today we stand against the party for its involvement in the war against the people," he said. The Egyptian president stressed: "We demand Hizbullah to leave Syria."

Syria Condemns 'Irresponsible' Egypt Move to Cut Ties

Naharnet/The Syrian government on Sunday condemned Egypt's decision to cut ties with Damascus and back the armed uprising against President Bashar Assad, calling it an "irresponsible" move.
"The Syrian Arab Republic condemns this irresponsible position," an unnamed Syrian official told state news agency SANA. The official said Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi had joined the "conspiracy and incitement led by the United States and Israel against Syria by announcing the cutting of ties yesterday.”
"Syria is confident that this decision does not represent the will of the Egyptian people," the official added, accusing Morsi of announcing the severing of ties to deflect attention from internal crises.
Morsi, an Islamist who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood, announced Saturday the "definitive" severing of relations with war-torn Syria, and the recall of Egypt's charge d'affaires in Damascus.
He called for the international community to impose a no-fly zone and denounced the role of Hizbullah in Syria, where its members are helping the army battle rebels.
Egypt is Sunni Muslim, as are the vast majority of rebels fighting to overthrow Assad, whose Alawite sect is an offshoot of Shiite Islam.
Source/Agence France Presse.

Kuwait Constitutional Court Scraps Poll, Approves Electoral Law

Naharnet/Kuwait's constitutional court on Sunday scrapped last December's parliamentary election which was boycotted by the opposition but approved the controversial electoral law that sparked the boycott.
The court, whose rulings are final, called for a fresh election to replace the current loyalist-dominated parliament, in the verdict read out by presiding judge Yousef al-Mutawah.
Kuwait's emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, decreed the controversial amendment to the electoral law last October intensifying a bitter dispute which had engulfed the emirate since 2006, sparking street protests, some of which turned violent. The electoral law passed in 2006 allows each eligible voter to choose a maximum of four candidates. The amendment reduced the number to just one. Islamist, nationalist and liberal opposition groups had charged that the emir's decree was unconstitutional and that it had enabled the government to manipulate election results and subsequent legislation. Opposition members had warned of serious consequences if the court upheld the decree, saying it would effectively undermine Kuwait's parliamentary system. The emir had vowed to accept the court's verdict whatever it might be.
Kuwait was long looked upon by neighboring Gulf states as a beacon of democracy with its vibrant parliament and freedom of speech. But the image has been tarnished by years of non-stop wrangling since the electoral law was changed in 2006. The 50-seat parliament elected in December's now scrapped vote was entirely composed of MPs loyal to the government, which is appointed by the emir, as a result of the opposition boycott.
Source/Agence France Presse.

Iran press hail president-elect as "Sheikh of hope"

AFP/The election of moderate cleric Hassan Rowhani as Iran president signals a return of hope and reforms and that the people desire a policy of moderation over extremism, newspapers said on Sunday.
"A salute to Iran and to the Sheikh of hope," the pro-reformist Etemad daily declared on its front-page over a color picture of a smiling Rowhani flashing a V-for-victory sign. "The sun of my moderation has risen," said Arman, another pro-reformist publication. Rowhani was declared Iran's new president on Saturday, ending eight years of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's conservative grip on the top job that had isolated the Islamic republic internationally.
Shargh, another reformist daily, said Rowhani's election means "the return of hope and victory for reformers and moderates" who backed his candidacy against the divided conservatives in Friday's election. Conservative newspapers said the 64-year-old Rowhani's win was a "victory of the Iranian people". It reiterated a message from supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in praise of the conduct of the vote in which 72.7 percent of the electorate turned out. "The real winner is the Iranian people," said Tehran Emrooz, which had campaigned for Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, the conservative mayor of the Iranian capital who came a distant second.
The conservative daily Jomhuri Eslami said Rowhani's choice is "Iran's yes to moderation and no to extremism". Rowhani, it said, "sends the message that Iranians hate extremist thought and want moderation [as the policy] that runs the country".But it added that "moderate does not signify compromise with the dominant powers and forgetting rights of the Iranian people. The president must use reason and logic for recognizing their rights".
Rowhani, a former top nuclear negotiator who has championed more constructive engagement with world powers, was declared outright winner with 50.68 percent of votes cast in the election.

Opening a new front against Assad

By/Hussein Shobokshi/Asharq Alawsat
With Iran's economy already struggling, a boycott of its products in the Arab world could be devastating. Russia could also expect a boycott of its products, says Shobakshi Calls for sanctions have made a powerful return to the Arabic political scene. This time they target Iranian and, to a lesser extent, Russian products, as well as companies associated with Hezbollah.
There is a new and increasing conviction that economic punishment is a means of pressure that must be applied effectively. In Kuwait, a populist campaign was launched that called for the boycott of Iranian products. Many traders began to return Iranian commodities to their suppliers.
Because of their support for the bloodthirsty Assad regime—which has now been killing its own people for over two years—Iran, Russia, and the Hezbollah terrorist militias have become overt enemies of the entire Muslim world. They chose to support the bloody regime and, in doing so, became actively hostile to hundreds of millions of Muslims and Arabs.
It was the wrong choice, and it is very clear that a heavy price must be made paid for this decision.
Iran’s economy is suffering as a result of its extraordinary support for Bashar Al-Assad’s regime, a regime which is politically bankrupt, financially ailing, and militarily fatigued. It has got to support him to its last breath, however, to stop the regime from falling.
Iran’s economy is also suffering greatly due to the sanctions imposed over its controversial nuclear program and its ongoing support for the terrorist Hezbollah militias, which has cost it massively.
The Revolutionary Guard, however, views this as an investment, and a campaign which has persuaded the Arab street that it is a party interested in resistance and its leader is a widely popular leader. But with the militias entering into Syria to fight alongside a despotic regime, and in an abhorrent sectarian manner, the ugly mask has dropped to reveal an even uglier face. It has caused Iran’s investments in Hezbollah disappear, and has turned Hezbollah and its leader into an enemy in the eyes of most Muslims, their politicians and their scholars, and a target on which to wage war, because it is classified as a terrorist and takfiri organization and more importantly, a conspirator.
Now, Iran has entered into an economic confrontation the cost of which will be paid by the public. Despite the development of Iran’s relations with the new regime in Egypt, the scholars there have started warning about the dangers of what Iran was doing in supporting a bloody regime, which has killed Syrians mercilessly for two years.
Iran and Hezbollah’s militias are suffering from color blindness regarding despotism and terrorism. While they looked at Saddam Hussein as a tyrant and a criminal, they did not dare judge Assad in the same way, although all the same attributes apply to him too. It is the despicable sectarianism which has spread in ignorance under the cover of religion, Arabism and resistance.
The boycott of Iran and Russia and Hezbollah gradually enters the serious phase, with the Syrian conflict becoming more intense, and with Hezbollah’s intervention and the increase in the numbers of the dead and injured at the hands of the regime. It is a part of an ugly confrontation, but one that is necessary.
Getting rid of Assad and his regime is clearly difficult and complicated, because he has followers who benefit from his staying in power, because they were part of the fabricated story, which was peddled over many decades, and that makes the price of getting rid of him very high, as high as the damage done by the regime.

Israel PM: Don't be fooled by new Iranian president

By HERB KEINON06/16/2013/J.Post
Netanyahu warns the world: "Moderate" Hassan Rohani must not entice world to soften sanctions, no deluding ourselves.Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made clear in Sunday's cabinet meeting that he was unimpressed by new Iranian President Hassan Rohani's 'moderate" credentials, saying that he too calls Israel the "Great Zionist Satan." Netanyahu, in his first public reaction to Rohani's victory, advised the world not to have any illusions, or to now be enticed to soften sanctions on Iran."We are not deluding ourselves," he said. "We need to remember that the Iranian ruler at the outset disqualified candidates who were not in line with his extreme world view, and from among those whom he did allow, the one seen as least identified with the regime was elected. But we are still speaking about someone who calls Israel the 'great Zionist Satan." Netanyahu said that in any event it was Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country's Supreme Leader, who determines Iran's nuclear policy, and not the country's president."The more the pressure on Iran increases, the greater the chances of stopping the Iranian nuclear program, which still remains the worlds' greatest thereat," Netanyahu said. In a reference to former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami, who served from 1997- 2005, Netanyahu said he too was considered moderate by the West but did not bring about any change in Iran's "aggressive" policies. "In the last 20 years the only thing that has brought about a temporary freeze of the Iranian nuclear program was Iranian concern in 2003 about an attack against it," Netanyahu said, alluding to fears in Tehran at the time that the US, which had just gone into Iraq, might do the same with Iran as well. "Iran will be judged by its actions," Netanyahu said. "If continues to stubbornly develop its nuclear program, the answer needs to be clear: stopping its program any way possible."

What happened to the Arab superpowers?

By: Samir Atallah/Asharq Alawsat
In the Arab world, there were four historic superpowers: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Syria. These four states are split predominantly along two axes, namely the Islamic world and the Arab world. As for Egypt, it had a third sphere of influence in Africa. Iraq tried to outpace Saudi Arabia in the Gulf, while Damascus and Baghdad also competed to exclude Egypt prior to, and following, the Camp David Accords. This was part of an Iraqi an attempt to revive the Abbasid Caliphate, while Syria, for its part, was attempting to restore the Umayyad version.
After it signed a peace agreement with Israel, Egypt saw its role in the Arab world decrease, while its influence over Africa increased. As for Syria and Iraq, they moved in every direction, but particularly against each other. In the 1970s, another political power emerged surrounding the Palestinian Cause, which had been born in Cairo. However, with Egypt’s isolation, Ba’athist Iraq and Syria pursued this in order to expand their influence and gain more allies. We can also turn to the smaller countries that were seeking to fend off their larger rivals. Lebanon was viewed as being part of Syria, and Kuwait as being a part of Iraq. Baghdad and Damascus failed to deal with these two respective countries as independent states. Iraq, for example, had three thousand diplomats registered at its embassy in Kuwait—an unprecedented figure. If the Lebanese foreign minister ever visited Syria, he would find himself summoned to the presidential palace to meet his Syrian counterpart, along with the president, speaker of parliament, and prime minister.
The way that the so-called Palestinian revolution dealt with the state of Lebanon was no better. For example, Yasser Arafat had his own private military band at Beirut’s international airport to meet guests. As for Lebanese nationals, they had to obtain special permission to keep their homes and jobs, with this often being denied to “protect” the “security” of the revolution.
The Palestinian resistance left Beirut for Sudan and Yemen, while the Syrian army withdrew from Lebanon, and Iraq no longer even has an embassy in Kuwait, let alone an army of diplomats. Following this, Iraq and Syria have witnessed significant conflict over the years, with the entire region becoming embroiled in the violence.
So what happened? If you want a short answer, it is because these states failed to act according to laws and international standards and norms. This is not to mention the fact that arrogance and unpredictability ruins everything, and that implementing the concepts and vision of the tenth century in the late twentieth century can only lead to disaster. This is something that demonstrates a failure both to understand history and to respect other people’s rights and dignity. As a result of all this, Iraq today is as you see it, and the same goes for Syria. As for Egypt, it is waiting for more assistance from Qatar to deal with the problems of over-population, with estimates indicating that the population may hit one hundred million by the end of the decade. Only Saudi Arabia remains within its own borders, and within international standards and norms, and I think that those who previously criticized the kingdom for its “conservatism” are now eating their words.

Bible-burning Egyptian cleric jailed for 11 years

By REUTERS06/16/2013/CAIRO - A Cairo court sentenced an Egyptian Muslim preacher to 11 years in jail for blasphemy on Sunday for burning a Bible during a protest last year outside the US embassy.
Convictions for insulting Islam are common in Egypt, ruled by Islamists after the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011, but more rare for cases involving the minority Christian faith.
Ahmed Mohamed Mahmoud, known as Abu Islam, who runs his own religious television channel, led a demonstration in September against a U.S.-made anti-Islam video posted on the Internet.