May 26/2013

Bible Quotation for today/Do Every Thing For God's Glory
01 Corinthians 10/23-33: "We are allowed to do anything, so they say. That is true, but not everything is good. We are allowed to do anything—but not everything is helpful. None of you should be looking out for your own interests, but for the interests of others.  You are free to eat anything sold in the meat market, without asking any questions because of your conscience.  For, as the scripture says, “The earth and everything in it belong to the Lord.” If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you decide to go, eat what is set before you, without asking any questions because of your conscience.  But if someone tells you, “This food was offered to idols,” then do not eat that food, for the sake of the one who told you and for conscience' sake— that is, not your own conscience, but the other person's conscience. “Well, then,” someone asks, “why should my freedom to act be limited by another person's conscience?  If I thank God for my food, why should anyone criticize me about food for which I give thanks?”Well, whatever you do, whether you eat or drink, do it all for God's glory.  Live in such a way as to cause no trouble either to Jews or Gentiles or to the church of God.  Just do as I do; I try to please everyone in all that I do, not thinking of my own good, but of the good of all, so that they might be saved.

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

March 14 drifts away from the state/By Michael Young/The Daily Star/May 26/13
Hezbollah, banned in Europe/By: Ana Maria Luca/Now Lebanon /May 26/13


Latest News Reports From Miscellaneous Sources for May 26/13

Nasrallah Says Will Win Battle against U.S., Israel and Takfiris: We Won't Allow Breaking Resistance's Backbone
North Lebanon violence lingers, four killed
HIC Calls on Announcing Tripoli Arms-Free City
Hezbollah, Syria government forces push for advance in Qusair

Sunni unity essential for Lebanon: Saudi mission
Syrian Regime Unleashes Artillery Barrage on Qusayr Backed by Hizbullah, Takes Key Town
Hezbollah must prevent sectarian strife, Sleiman says
Hezbollah: EU making big mistake
Israel and Syria crisis pose dangers to Lebanon: Hezbollah
Hezbollah slams state for failing to prepare in event of Israeli attack
Hezbollah minister bows out of wine institute launch
In Lebanon, Salafists are on the move

Ali says Syrian victory in Qusair definite
Over 2,500 refugees from Qusair arrive in Lebanon

Report: Ministers Loyal to Jumblat to Boycott Cabinet Session
Report: Lebanon's Parliament to Convene to Discuss Extension of Parliament's Term
Sami Gemayel Slams Aoun, Says Adoption of 1960 Law 'Defeat for Christians'

Report: Phalange Stands Out in Election Registrations over 1960 Law Row
Qabbani Warns on Liberation Day: Sharp Disputes are in Favor of Israel
Arslan Backs Jumblat's Proposal to Extend Parliament's Mandate over Tense Situation

Asiri Holds Dinner Banquet for PMs, Calls for Unity among Lebanese
Miqati Calls on Liberation Day for 'Unity' against 'Plots'

Saudi FM Says Assad Should Not Have Role in Geneva Talks
Iran Says Never Sent 'Military Forces' to Syria
Regime likely to succeed in bid to take Qusair, secure vital

Jordan king says extremism 'grown fat' on conflict
Israel and Syria crisis pose dangers to Lebanon: Hezbollah
Israel says Syria seeks to provoke conflict

Saudi Arabia warns against Iran's nuclear program
Palestinian-Israeli peace deal 'still possible': Abbas
U.S. spy servers found in Syria spark queries

Nasrallah Says Will Win Battle against U.S., Israel and Takfiris: We Won't Allow Breaking Resistance's Backbone
Naharnet /Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah stated Saturday that the resistance will win the battle against the “United States, Israel and the Takfiris just like it emerged victorious in previous wars,” assuring that he will not allow the “breaking of its backbone.”
"I say to all the honourable people, to the mujahedeen, to the heroes: I have always promised you a victory and now I pledge to you a new one in Syria," he said in a speech he gave at a ceremony marking the 13th anniversary of Israel's military withdrawal from southern Lebanon.
Nasrallah considered that what is happening in the neighboring country is very crucial for Lebanon, explaining that through the stand his party is taking, it is defending Lebanon, Syria and Palestine.
The Shiite leader warned against the implementation of an American-lead project in the region through the war in Syria.
“The events in the last couple of years have proved that there is an axis lead by the United States while the rest are working under its orders. Everyone knows this axis is supported by Israel while al-Qaida and other Takfiri organizations from around the world were paid to take part in it,” he detailed.
Nasrallah remarked: “The Takfiris are the most prevailing group in the Syrian opposition.”
“If Syria falls in the hands of the Takfiris and the U.S., the resistance will become under a siege and Israel will enter Lebanon. If Syria falls, the Palestinian cause will be lost.”
The Hizbullah chief announced that many efforts were made to draw an end to Syria's war: “Several suggestions and settlements that were accepted by the Syrian regime were rejected by regional countries because they do not want (Syrian President Bashar) Assad's regime to stay in power.”
He pointed out: “Since the beginning of Syria's war we have said Assad's regime has its positives and negatives. Reform is required and the only way to reach this is through political dialogue.”
Nasrallah revealed getting in contact with both Assad and members of the opposition to reach a settlement.
“But I swear Assad said yes, whereas the opposition rejected the suggestion,” he stated. “Part of the Syrian opposition abroad has a vision and is ready for dialogue whereas others work under the Pentagon's orders.”
On his party's involvement in the battles alongside Assad's forces, he said: “A political and economic world war was launched against Syria and thousands of fighters were sent without anyone complaining.”
“Meanwhile, Hizbullah's involvement was considered a foreign interference,” he noted.
Nasrallah explained that Syria is the resistance's backbone: “We cannot stand still and let them break the resistance's main supporter.”
He said Hizbullah fighters joining the war in Syria “go willingly and aspire to take part in the resistance.”
“You will find tens of thousands of fighters that are ready to take all fronts and participate in the battles. No one is forced into the war,” he assured.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights announced on Thursday that 104 Hizbullah members had been killed in Syria since last autumn.
Hizbullah combatants have become increasingly involved in Syria's conflict, fighting alongside President Assad's forces.
Initially Hizbullah said it wanted only to defend 13 Syrian villages along the border where Lebanese Shiites live, and the Sayyeda Zeinab shrine, revered by Shiites around the world.
However its elite fighters later encircled the rebel-held central town of Qusayr with regime troops before the launch on Sunday of a withering assault on the strategic border town that is home to 25,000 people.
Hizbullah denied its involvement in Syria for some time, quietly burying fighters killed in the fighting there.
But the movement stopped hiding its dead when its leader Sayyed Nasrallah on April 30 paid homage to fighters killed across the border.
"Syria has true friends in the region who will not allow Syria to fall into the hands of the United States, Israel and Takfiri groups," he said in a televised address.
Before tackling the Syrian matter, Nasrallah began Saturday's speech by criticizing the Lebanese state's stance towards arming and strengthening the army to face Israel, saying that everything done in Lebanon to confront Israeli threats and attacks was established by the resistance.
“By the resistance, I do not mean Hizbullah only, but everyone who made an effort,” he clarified.
Nasrallah elaborated: “Since July 2006, Israel has been preparing and setting plans for wars. They realized their weaknesses and say they are ready for war.”
“Israel threatens Lebanon on a daily basis and has been mobilizing its forces on the border for months. It is bombing Syria and threatening it. Israel is ready for war,” he added.
He asked, however: “What did the Lebanese state do regarding being prepared to face what happens in the region?”
“We do not have shelters or safe accommodations in Lebanon. Is it also required from the resistance to take care of matters of civil aspects?”
“If directions, political cover and armaments were granted to the army, it could fight against Israel similarly to the resistance,” he pointed out.
“Israel fears the resistance whereas many in Lebanon are wondering how to get rid of it.”
Commenting on the clashes in Tripoli, Nasrallah urged the end of the “absurd battle.”
“Those rooting for the victory of the Syrian regime or the opposition's rebels must go fight in Syria instead. Leave Tripoli neutral from Syria's conflict,” he stressed.
"We must agree that the only guarantee for civil peace and for our coexistence is the army and the state."
The Hizbullah chief explained that his party submitted its nominations for the parliamentary elections, even before the March 14 alliance, because it rejects vacuum.
“We are in front of two options that are either an elections based on the 1960's law or extending the parliament's term, or a miracle that would lead to reaching consensus over a new law,” he elaborated.
“But we are against vacuum.”
Several officials submitted on Friday their candidacies to the upcoming parliamentary polls, including the Free Patriotic Movement, the AMAL movement, the March 14 Independent MPs, the Lebanese Forces and Hizbullah, despite strong objections over the adoption of the 1960 electoral law at the polls to avoid uncontested victories.
In its eighth round of talks, the parliamentary electoral subcommittee failed again on Monday to reach an agreement over a new electoral law as Speaker Nabih Berri did not set a date for a new session.
This failure has raised fears of a political vacuum in Lebanon or that the parliamentary elections will be held according to the 1960 law or that the term of the current parliament will be extended.
Monday is the deadline for candidates to file their requests to run for the elections according to the 1960 law.


Hezbollah, Syria government forces push for advance in Qusair
By Erika Solomon/Daily Star /BEIRUT: Syrian government forces and the Lebanon's Hezbollah launched a fierce campaign to seize more rebel territory in the border town of Qusair on Saturday, sources on both sides of the conflict said. Rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad said additional tanks and artillery had been deployed around opposition-held territory in Qusair, a Syrian town close to the Lebanese border. "I've never seen a day like this since the battle started," said Malek Ammar, an activist speaking from the town by Skype. "The shelling is so violent and heavy. It's like they're trying to destroy the city house by house."
More than 22 people in opposition-held areas were killed by Saturday afternoon, most of them rebels, and dozens were wounded, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Rebels are largely surrounded in Qusair, a town of 30,000 that has become a strategic battleground. Assad's forces want to take the area to secure a route between the capital Damascus and his stronghold on the Mediterranean coast, effectively dividing rebel-held territories in the north and south.
The opposition has been fighting back, seeing it as critical to maintain cross-border supply routes and stop Assad from gaining a victory they fear may give him the upper hand in proposed U.S.-Russia led peace talks next month. Syria's two-year uprising against four decades of Assad family rule began as peaceful protests but devolved into an armed conflict that has killed more than 80,000 people.
Assad's forces are believed to have seized about two-thirds of Qusair, but the price has been high and rebels insist they are preventing any further advances. An official close to Hezbollah told Reuters that the fighters' advances in Qusair were happening at a very slow pace. "We are in the second phase of our plan of attack but the advance has been quite slow and difficult. The rebels have mined everything, the streets, the houses. Even the refrigerators are mined." Assad and Hezbollah forces have also been working to capture territory in areas surrounding Qusair. Manar TV, Hezbollah's media wing, said the Syrian army recaptured the Dabaa airport near the town, which rebels had seized several weeks ago. The fighting in Qusair has also highlighted the increasingly sectarian tone of Syria's political struggle, which is not only overshadowing the revolt but threatening to destabilize the region. Israel has launched two air strikes in Syria, and Lebanon, which fought its own sectarian-fuelled 15-year civil war, has seen a rise in Syria-linked violence.
Syria's Sunni Muslim majority has led the struggle to topple Assad, and has been joined by Islamist fighters across the region, some of them linked to the militant group Al-Qaeda.
Assad comes from the minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, and has relied on an army led mostly by Alawite forces. He has been bankrolled by regional Shiite power Iran, a longtime ally, and now increasingly by the country's Lebanese proxy, Shiite Hezbollah, founded as a resistance movement to Israel.
Syrian rebels now say that whatever the outcome, they will plot sectarian revenge attacks on Shiite and Alawite villages on either side of the border. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory, which has a network of activists across Syria, said Assad forces led by Hezbollah were trying to advance from three directions in the city."Every area they didn't have a foothold in, they are trying to gain one now," Rami Abdelraham, head of the Observatory, told Reuters by telephone. Rebels from across Syria say they have sent some of their units into Qusair. Colonel Abdeljabbar al-Okaidi, the Aleppo-based regional leader of a moderate, internationally-backed Supreme Military Council said he and the Islamist brigade al-Tawheed had sent forces to the outskirts of the town to help the Qusair fighters. But activist Malek Ammar said no forces had arrived yet and insisted the rebels locked in Qusair were still on their own. "No one is helping Qusair other than its own men," he said.


Hezbollah, banned in Europe
By: ANA MARIA LUCA /Now Lebanon
The EU is likely to blacklist the party’s military wing
ANA MARIA LUCA For France, Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria alongside the Assad regime was a reason to agree to blacklist it in the EU. (AFP Photo) At the beginning of this week, the United Kingdom submitted an official request to the European Union to list Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah's military wing as a terrorist organization. The move was shortly followed by supportive statements from both France and Germany.
"Given the decisions that Hezbollah has taken and the fact that it has fought extremely hard against the Syrian population, I confirm that France will propose to place Hezbollah's military wing on the list of terrorist organizations," French Prime Minister Laurent Fabius said on Wednesday after the Friends of Syria meeting in Amman.
The move from the EU Troika also comes almost a year after a suicide attack attributed to Hezbollah left 6 dead in the Bulgarian sea side resort town of Burgas in July 2012. At the same time that the Bulgarian investigation into the Burgas attack was underway, Cyprus was dealing with the case of Taleb Hussam Yacoub, a Swedish-Lebanese national who admitted in court that he had been recruited by Hezbollah. The young man described his role as a courier in several European capitals, as well as his surveillance missions on Israeli tourists in Cyprus and Turkey. However, it was Hezbollah's involvement in Syria and its increasing evidence of support to Bashar al-Assad's regime that made France and Germany abandon their hesitation, analysts say.
"They want to show they're doing something. Hezbollah has been involved for a while in Syria, and there is a desire in the West, not necessarily to intervene themselves, but to stop others from doing so," Alan Mendoza, the director of the London-based Henry Jackson Society think tank told NOW.
Contacted by NOW, the European External Action Service spokesperson said that the institution was not able to comment on possible proposals for designations under the EU autonomous terrorist list. "All designations under the EU list of persons, groups, and entities involved in terrorist acts require a unanimous decision by the Council," Maja Kocijancic, spokesperson for the EU head of diplomacy, told NOW. She also explained that before reaching the EU Council, the proposal has to be seen and discussed by the CP 931 working group, which consists of delegates from member states' interior and foreign ministries. The proposal made by the UK was submitted, as required by the EU regulations, two weeks before the working group is scheduled to meet at the beginning of June


Hezbollah minister bows out of wine institute launch
By Brooke Anderson/The Daily Star /BEIRUT: Caretaker Energy Minister Gebran Bassil stepped into the shoes of his counterpart at the Agriculture Ministry, which is headed by a Hezbollah official, to announce the imminent launch of a national wine institute Friday. The Lebanese Wine Institute is gearing up for an official opening next week, Bassil announced, as part of “an investment in the future.”
Bassil was joined by caretaker Economy Minister Nicolas Nahhas, Louis Lahoud, the director-general of the ministry, and former minister Salim Wardy, who is active in the sector.
Bassil was standing in for Agriculture Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan, as Hezbollah’s policy does not allow its members to deal with alcohol. Building on the success of an already growing and thriving industry, the country’s private and public sectors are joining forces to create an institution that will regulate and set standards for its wine. “The country has a responsibility to encourage the sector. So many Lebanese are buying land and starting wineries,” Bassil said. “Lebanese wine is a success story, and we need to build on the sector,” said caretaker Economy and Trade Minister Nicolas Nahhas. “The institute is fundamental to develop the sector and to have our voice heard, and take our wine to the next step. This is an investment in the future.”
The institute, an idea first proposed 10 years ago when the country’s first wine law was implemented, will see the private and public sector working together to regulate the industry and impose international standards. The new system is inspired by the French certification system Appellation d’Origine Controlee, and deals with issues such as over-harvesting, medal sticker abuse, diluting and misrepresentation.
Earlier this month, around 100 winemakers and members of the Agriculture Ministry traveled to Paris to promote Lebanese wine with a tasting event.
The institute, scheduled to open sometime next week, will be located in Dbayyeh, and the eight members, comprised of both the private and public sectors, will meet in the coming days to determine administrative posts.
Until now the industry has more or less been regulating itself through the Union of Wine Producers. But with a growing number of vintners now representing Lebanon, many of whom rely on their exports for profit, both the producers and the government felt it was time to work together to organize the sector. When the Civil War ended in 1990, there were only five wineries, including Chateau Musar, which made a name for themselves and put Lebanese wine on the map when it won critical acclaim at the U.K.’s Bristol Wine Fair back in 1979. By 2005, the number of wineries in the country had grown to 30. Today, Lebanon is home to 40 wineries, yielding an annual revenue of $37 million. Lebanese wine exports, mainly to Europe and North America, total more than 160,000 liters per month.
Experts believe the new initiative has the potential to bring new life to an old industry that dates back to 5000 B.C., when the Phoenicians, believed to be the first winemakers, began exporting to neighboring lands.
However, some warned there could be a downside to the institute. “While I welcome the creation of a wine institute, I hope it will add more impetus to the good work the wine producers have done to promote Lebanese wine and not get it bogged down in bureaucracy,” said Lebanese wine writer Michael Karam, who has long advocated for a unified plan for marketing and standards of the sector.
“I sense the ministry has identified the potential of Lebanese wine and I hope that in helping to promote the sector that they listen to the experience of the Lebanese wine producers who have been selling their wine all over the world for decades.” Habib Karam (no relation to Michael), who owns Karam Winery in the southern town of Jezzine, worries that smaller producers and those from outside the Bekaa Valley – where 90 percent of the country’s wine is made – will not be underrepresented. “At the end of the day, it’s the big winemakers who want to dominate the field,” he said. Still, he said he was willing to “give them a chance.”

Syrian Regime Unleashes Artillery Barrage on Qusayr Backed by Hizbullah, Takes Key Town
Naharnet/Syrian forces entered a key objective north of the besieged central town of Qusayr on Saturday, the army said, battling rebels inside the former military airport of Dabaa.
"The Syrian army infiltrated Dabaa airport from the northwest, and now fighting is taking place inside the airport after they broke the rebel defense lines," an army source said.
Activists said elite troops from the army and its ally Hizbullah led the attack. The former military airport lies just outside Qusayr on the only road north of the town.
Earlier on Saturday, forces loyal to Assad unleashed their heaviest artillery and rocket barrage yet in a week-long battle to dislodge rebels from a strategic western town, activists said. Pro-Assad troops, including fighters from Hizbullah, have been trying to push rebels out of Qusayr. They have gained ground, but rebels have clung to some positions.
Rami Abdul Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told Agence France Presse "the fighting and shelling, which took place on Saturday on the main roads inside and outside of Qusayr, are the most intense since the beginning of the offensive." He said Qusayr, rebel areas north of the town like Hamdiyeh, Dabaa and Arjuneh have been subjected to heavy bombardment by regime forces using surface-to-surface missiles. Qusayr is a key prize for the rebels, a conduit through which weapons and fighters can be channeled from Lebanon, only about 10 kilometers (six miles) away. It is also important for Assad's forces because of its strategic location between Damascus and the Mediterranean coast, the Alawite heartland of the embattled president's regime. Rahman said "the intensification of the fighting can be explained by Hizbullah's desire to score points before the speech their leader Hasan Nasrallah is due to deliver this evening," marking the 13th anniversary of Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon. On Friday, anti-regime demonstrators across Syria denounced the Hizbullah chief, waving placards reading "Nasrallah, impostor of the resistance," and "Homs is not Jerusalem," a reference to the group's slogan about liberating Jerusalem.Source/Agence France PresseAssociated Press.

Sunni unity essential for Lebanon: Saudi mission
The Daily Star/ BEIRUT: Sunnis are a main component in Lebanon and their unity and moderation are essential for national unity in the country, the Saudi Embassy said in a statement Saturday.
The statement was issued a day after Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Assiri hosted for dinner caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam, former prime ministers Omar Karami, Salim Hoss and Fouad Siniora along with caretaker Youth and Sports Minister Faisal Karami. “Their excellencies were just as always advocates of moderation, openness, dialogue and principles on which Lebanon is based,” said the statement. “At the forefront of these principles is that Sunnis are a major component in Lebanon and that their unity and moderation is an essential pillar of Lebanese national unity,” the statement said. It added that Assiri conveyed to the participants the greetings of Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz and his hopes that the country would witness stability and prosperity.
The dinner comes amid deep divisions in the Higher Islamic Council, the top Sunni administrative body in the country. Members of the council who are close to the Future Movement extended the body’s term for one year at the end of 2012, contrary to the will of Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani, the head of the council. Qabbani considered the move illegal and that the body’s term had expired by the end of 2012. He held elections for the council last month despite a decision by the State Shura Council to ban the polls. He argues that the Future Movement plans to strip the grand mufti of his powers by introducing reforms to Decree 18, which organizes the affairs of Dar al-Fatwa. Sources told The Daily Star Friday that current and former prime ministers could ask Qabbani to step down.
Members of the Higher Islamic Council who are close to the Future Movement thanked the Sunni officials for their stances on the council controversy during a special meeting in Tripoli Saturday.
“The council praises the strict and wise stances of their excellencies concerning behaviors and decisions by [some in] Dar al-Fatwa that violate laws and regulations,” said a council statement after the meeting. The statement said Qabbani’s decisions come contrary to those of the council and judiciary and jeopardize the unity of Muslims. The council’s special session in Tripoli came in light of ongoing armed clashes between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad in the city that have left at least 28 dead. The council called on President Michel Sleiman and Mikati to take necessary measures to restore calm in Tripoli. “The council calls on the president and the caretaker prime minister to swiftly take legal and security measures to deter anyone tampering with the security of the city and the north,” said the statement.

Lebanon Sunni leaders call for urgent plan in Tripoli

May 24, 2013/The Daily Star /BEIRUT: A number of Lebanon’s Sunni leaders called on security agencies to adopt an urgent plan to end the fighting in the northern city of Tripoli Friday, after six days of battles killed 24 people.
Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, Prime Ministe designate Tammam Salam and former prime ministers Omar Karami and Fouad Siniora made the plea to restore order in the city.
“We call on security agencies to implement an urgent plan to prevent an armed presence in all the neighborhoods and streets of the city of Tripoli in order to reach an arms-free Tripoli,” said a statement following a meeting at Mikati’s office at the Grand Serail in Downtown Beirut. The statement also rejected the “militia-like armed presence” elsewhere in Lebanon and called on security and judicial authorities to take measures to stop those tampering with the country’s security. The leaders condemned attacks on the Lebanese Army in Tripoli and called on military and security institutions to “strike with an iron fist at anyone who violates the law or carries arms regardless to which party he belongs.”Two Lebanese Army soldiers were among the dead in the latest bout of fighting that broke out Sunday and has killed 24 people. Many other soldiers were among the wounded that security officials say has reached 200 casualties.

North Lebanon violence lingers, four killed

May 25, 2013/ By Antoine Amrieh The Daily Star /TRIPOLI, Lebanon: Sniper fire killed at least four people in Tripoli Saturday after another night of clashes in the northern Lebanese city between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Three of the deaths - Bassem Asaad al-Dannawi, Husam al-Hantour and Hassan al-Banni - all hailed from Bab al-Tabbaneh, security sources said, adding that a resident from Jabal Mohsen, Nader Sleiman, was also killed in the day’s fighting. At least seven people, including two soldiers, were also wounded.
The four deaths, the result of sniper fire, came after a tenuous calm had set in the morning hours of the day following a night of clashes that saw renewed use of mortar bombs and rocket-propelled grenades.
Intermittent sniping could be heard in parts of the city early Saturday including in Bab al-Tabbaneh, Al-Mankoubine, Zahrieh, Al-Rifa and Al-Bakkar. In the afternoon, however, fighting spread beyond the traditional frontlines, with several bystanders wounded as a result of gunfire. One of the wounded was a young girl from the Shehadeh family who was shot near Wadi al-Nahleh cemetery.
Saturday’s fatalities raised the death toll from the renewed fighting that erupted Sunday to 28. Almost 250 have also been wounded in the daily clashes that have rocked the port city. Clashes overnight between the rival neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh, which supports the uprising in Syria, and Jabal Mohsen, where loyalty to Assad is strong, were not as intense as previous nights.
On Friday, local militiamen from Bab al-Tabbaneh rejected Lebanese Army deployment in their neighborhood or a cease-fire to end the violence until the head of their rivals in Jabal Mohsen, Arab Democratic Party chief Rifaat Eid, was handed over to authorities. MP Mohammad Raad, who heads the Loyalty to the Resistance parliamentary bloc, accused Saturday political sides of preventing the Army from restoring order in Tripoli.
“He asked why some were insisting on preventing the Army from carrying out its duties to restore stability in the north and [why] are they pushing this area ... toward a situation where the state can no longer carry out its responsibilities there,” Raad said, according to a statement from Hezbollah. “Is this the logic of the transition to the state?” he asked, referring to the slogan adopted by the opposition March 14 coalition. “The state that some want a transition to is [a state] where they can monopolize power, in the absence of the partnership of others,” he said. “And if the other [side] insists on genuine partnership in decision-making in the country, the exclusionists reject the state ... and sabotage its institutions as they did with the Parliament and government and they may even [target] the post of the presidency,” he added.
President Michel Sleiman Friday linked the events in Lebanon’s second-largest city to the crisis in neighboring Syria. The renewed hostilities in Tripoli erupted shortly after Syrian troops backed by Hezbollah fighters launched a major offensive in the rebel-held city of Qusair, near the Lebanese border.Sleiman, during a ceremony to mark Liberation Day, said the Lebanese resistance should prevent Lebanon being plunged into sectarian strife, whether within its borders or beyond, in a clear reference to Hezbollah’s activities in Syria.

Sami Gemayel Slams Aoun, Says Adoption of 1960 Law 'Defeat for Christians'
Naharnet/Phalange Party MP Sami Gemayel lashed out at politicians on Saturday for submitting their candidacy based on the 1960 law, considering it as a “defeat for the Christians.” “If we continue in this path then within 48-hours we will have to adopt the 1960 law, which will be a real defeat for all Christians,” Gemayel said in a press conference.
He lashed out at Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun, who filed on Wednesday his candidacy to the upcoming elections, despite his strong objections over the adoption of the 1960 law.
Aoun argues that he wants to prevent any uncontested victories. Gemayel described discussion over the adoption of a new electoral law as a “charade,” saying: “We are committing a crime. We should correct this historical mistake that we are all responsible for it.”During a meeting held under Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi in Bkirki last month, Maronite leaders pledged that they would not run for elections under the law that was used in the 2009 polls. The meeting was attended by Aoun, Marada movement chief Suleiman Franjieh, Phalange MP Sami Gemayel and LF MP George Adwan. Although the Phalange was not part of the 403 candidates that have so far registered to run for the June polls, the other Christian parties made on Friday their registrations at the interior ministry in addition to al-Mustaqbal.
The Phalange seemed to be the only party standing out of the March 14 alliance. He noted that the situation will remain the same in the country during the upcoming four years if the elections took place based on the 1960 law.
“We will bring the same faces to parliament through the adoption of the 1960 law, in fact we are extending the term of the current parliament by adopting this law,” the MP said.
Gemayel called on President Michel Suleiman, Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Miqat, Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn and Interior Minister Marwan Charbel to assume their national responsibilities and restore calm in the northern city of Tripoli. “Why haven't officials imposed a curfew in the city... The government can't protect Tripoli.” the MP wondered.
He called on officials to dispute the lingering disputes before holding the elections, noting that the country is on the “edge of a civil war.”At least 26 people were killed and around 204 others have been wounded in the fighting that erupted in Tripoli on Sunday. The violence is tied to the conflict in Syria, where a Sunni-led uprising is fighting to overthrow the regime of President Bashar Assad, an Alawite.
The fighting in Tripoli, which has flared sporadically since the beginning of the Syria conflict in March 2011, has been largely confined to the two neighborhoods of Alawite Jabal Mohsen neighborhood against those in the adjacent Sunni Muslim Bab el-Tebbaneh district.

Qabbani Warns on Liberation Day: Sharp Disputes are in Favor of Israel

Naharnet/Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani warned on Liberation Day that Israel would take in its advantage the increasing local disputes.
“On May 25, 2000 Lebanon registered its first real victory against the Jewish state,” Qabbani said in a statement on Saturday. He pointed out that the “victory proved to the world that our land is precious.” Qabbani congratulated the Lebanese on the occasion and called on the citizens and politicians to remember that Israel is waiting for the right opportunity to target the country. “No matter how sharp our differences were, we should vow to confront Israel together,” he said. Lebanon marks today the anniversary of Israel's May 2000 withdrawal from southern Lebanon. This year's anniversary comes at a time when Hizbullah is facing growing criticism in Lebanon for its involvement in the war in Syria.

Arslan Backs Jumblat's Proposal to Extend Parliament's Mandate over Tense Situation
Naharnet/Lebanese Democratic Party leader MP Talal Arslan announced on Saturday his support for Progressive Socialist Party chief Walid Jumblat's proposal to extend the parliament's term to avoid a deteriorating security situation. “I support the proposal of MP Walid Jumblat to extend the legislature's mandate,” said Arslan from Ain el-Tineh following talks with Speaker Nabih Berri.
“I urged Berri to extend parliament's term for two years because the security situation does not allow transparent and democratic polls to take place,” said the Druze leader.
Jumblat told reporters following talks with Berri on Friday that he supported an extension “because we can't hold elections in this tense atmosphere.”
"Amid these bleak circumstances, I don't think that it is useful to engage in the elections farce,” said Jumblat, another Druze chief. “The elections shouldn't turn into a source of strife and sectarian divisions,” said Arslan on Saturday, urging politicians to be transparent when raising issues in public. In a statement he issued on the occasion of Liberation Day, Arslan threw his weight behind Hizbullah, saying “the journey of the resistance will continue because it has become a necessity.”Liberation Day commemorates the Israeli army’s withdrawal from south Lebanon in May 2000.
Arslan slammed Hizbullah's critics, saying they should prove what they have done for the nation instead of criticizing it.
“What the resistance is doing today for the sake of Lebanon and Syria is a patriotic and Arab nationalist duty,” the MP said. Hizbullah has been widely criticized locally and internationally for supporting Syrian regime troops against the rebels mainly in the town of al-Qusayr that lies near Lebanon's northeastern border. Regime forces backed by Hizbullah fighters pressed on Saturday an assault they launched almost nearly a week ago.

Hezbollah: EU making big mistake

May 25, 2013/Daily Star/BEIRUT: Hezbollah's deputy chief says the European Union would be making a "big mistake" to label the Lebanese group "terrorist."Sheikh Naim Kassem told Al-Mayadeen TV Friday that such threats "do not concern" or worry the group. He did not elaborate. France this week joined an EU push to declare the group a terrorist organization amid frustration with Hezbollah's support for Syria's military. France's move could prove pivotal after Germany joined a British effort to name Hezbollah terrorist. The U.S. has long pressured Europe add Hezbollah to its terrorist list, which would hamper its operations in Europe.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said France will ask that the military branch of Hezbollah be considered as a terrorist organization

In Lebanon, Salafists are on the move
By Rami G. Khouri The Daily Star /The sudden escalation of fighting in the north Lebanese city of Tripoli is troubling on two fronts and noteworthy on a third. The troubling dimensions are the chronic nature of urban warfare in Lebanon’s streets and the direct linkages between the Tripoli battles and the fighting in the Syrian town of Qusair. The noteworthy element is the growing role of Salafists in the Tripoli fighting, which is part of a remarkable expansion of Salafist groups’ public action in political and military spheres across the Middle East in recent years. Credible reports from Tripoli repeatedly chronicle the increased military role of Salafists in the city, directly reflecting the heightened clashes mirroring the fighting between pro- and anti-Syrian government forces in Syria. Tripoli has long had its own localized confrontation between the Sunni-dominated Bab al-Tabbaneh quarter and the majority Alawite and mostly pro-Bashar Assad quarter of Jabal Mohsen.
Several new elements have transformed this chronic local tension spot into something much more ominous: the direct linkages between the clashes in Syria and in Tripoli, the movement of growing numbers of Salafist fighters into north Lebanon and other parts of the country in recent years, the movement of fighters from north Lebanon into Syria to support anti-Assad rebels, and the Lebanese Salafists’ self-imposed role of countering the influence of Hezbollah in Lebanon and in the fighting in Syria – especially in Qusair this month.
This is not a sudden or unexpected development. Salafists have operated in small numbers in isolated parts of urban or rural Lebanon for some years, often expanding in direct proportion to adjacent conflicts in Iraq and Syria. Pockets of militants battled the Lebanese Army and security forces in the north a few years ago, mainly in the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp. More recently, Lebanese security officials have been quoted in the press as expressing concern about the growing numbers of Salafists moving into Lebanon, anchoring themselves in Salafist-dominated urban neighborhoods such as Bab al-Tabbaneh or in some Palestinian refugee camps outside the control of the Lebanese state, such as Ain al-Hilweh in the south.
The militant nature of the Salafists adds a significant dimension to the nonviolent ways of the majority of Arab Salafists who tend to focus on recreating the “pure” Islamic lifestyles and societies from the earliest decades of the Islamic era, during and immediately after the days of the Prophet Mohammad. Most Salafists across the Arab world in recent years have operated quietly at the neighborhood level, seeking primarily to promote basic Islamic values (faith, modesty, charity, mercy) in the personal and communal behavior of individual men and women. Active political participation in public life was left to the Muslim Brotherhood or its various derivatives, who sought power at a national level, or to jihadists who waged their own battles across their imagined global battlefield.
So today we can witness two important developments occurring simultaneously across parts of the Arab region. Some Salafists have emerged from the shadows to participate in public politics and contest parliamentary and executive power, such as in Egypt and Tunisia most dramatically; and, a few Salafist groups have turned to military means to defend their local, regional or global causes, as we see in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq most clearly.
This means that we now have at least three distinct and identifiable kinds of Islamist movements in the Arab world that are engaged in public political, social or military action: Hezbollah- and Hamas-like resistance groups that are heavily anchored in individual nationalisms; parties like Ennahda in Tunisia and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Morocco and Jordan that operate within the available channels of political participation and contestation; and, Salafist militants that use violence and intimidation to impose their strict ways on society. It is fascinating that none of these three groups have demonstrated any credible capacity to provide programs that promote long-term socio-economic growth or address issues such as education quality, environmental protection or cultural creativity. The dominant focus of these different Islamist groups on resistance and identity issues allows them to be very successful in opposition mode, but their ability to manage a city or a country remains mostly untested. In the few cases where they have enjoyed executive or legislative incumbency, such as in Egypt, Jordan, Gaza, Sudan and Tunisia, they have proved mostly amateurish and incompetent. So the troubling acceleration of fighting in Tripoli represents much more than a challenge for the Lebanese people. It reminds us that the expanding militancy of Salafist Islamists is a growing regional phenomenon that once again – as with Islamism everywhere – highlights important grievances that cause people to worry and then to act, but does not suggest any practical solutions to those grievances and vulnerabilities that continue to spread across our increasingly fractured and frail region.
*Rami G. Khouri is published twice weekly by THE DAILY STAR. He can be followed on Twitter @RamiKhouri.

March 14 drifts away from the state
By Michael Young/The Daily Star
From the start of the debate over a new election law months ago, Hezbollah had a strategic objective, which it defined as a consequence of the fighting in Syria. The party’s overriding aim in the event of the decisive erosion or collapse of President Bashar Assad’s regime was to ensure that any law would guarantee Hezbollah and its allies a majority in parliament, or at least deny one to March 14.
Unfortunately, the reaction of disparate forces in March 14 was not to focus on what Hezbollah sought to achieve, but to satisfy their own parochial interests, accelerating the breakup of the opposition. Hence, the Lebanese Forces and Kataeb, who realized that the 1960 law would again win them only small parliamentary blocs, supported an Orthodox proposal that would have expanded their representation in parliament, but also have likely ensured that March 8 won a majority.
Geagea has since reversed himself on the Orthodox proposal. That’s commendable, for the law would not only have been bad for Lebanon’s national unity (with all the caveats in that idea), but also for Christians, who would have seen their divisions institutionalized.
Geagea’s about-face was justified by the fact that the Orthodox proposal could not have passed in parliament. That’s perhaps true, but the law he ended up supporting, namely a hybrid law, had very little chance of being approved either. And the systematic undermining of the 1960 law by most Christian politicians only ensured that no election law would ever apply. This leaves Lebanon on the threshold of a prolonged political vacuum, without a new parliament and with Tammam Salam seemingly unable to form a government.
This void at the top may have a serious impact on the armed forces, many of whose senior officers, including the commander, Jean Kahwagi, have either retired or are slated to retire this year. Without an effective government in place, replacing these officers will be delayed, at a time of great political tension. All those who rejected the 1960 law outright, when they could have said it would apply in the absence of any agreed alternative, have left Lebanon dangling.
The Lebanese Forces have reacted with anger against those making this claim. Their response has been to defend the need to ameliorate Christian representativeness. No one is suggesting that this is not important (even if it became clear that the Lebanese Forces and Kataeb were preoccupied mainly with their own representativeness), but they should have looked at the bigger picture, the same picture that Hezbollah, for our misfortune and similarly opposed to the 1960 law, never abandoned.
That picture is the control of the Lebanese state, its government, president, parliament, the armed forces and security agencies. Today March 14 is no longer advancing on that front. Instead, its main Sunni component, the Future Movement, has seen its ties with the Lebanese Forces deteriorate thanks to disagreement over the Orthodox proposal. One can fault Geagea, but it’s equally true that Future failed to adequately gauge Christian dissatisfaction, which would have allowed March 14 to devise a consensual approach to the election law.
The loss of momentum in March 14 began some time ago, with the defection of Walid Jumblatt the first and most severe of its setbacks. The absence of Saad Hariri, whatever its cause, has little helped the situation. And the discord generated by the election law has completed the transformation of the coalition emerging from the 2005 emancipation movement into a shadow of its former self.
This steady decline was most powerfully reflected in the elections at the Order of Physicians last weekend, While one should not go too far in reading March 8-March 14 dynamics into the process, since other factors were at play, the reality is that the outcome nevertheless confirmed in the mind of the public how weak March 14 had become.
This would not really matter if Lebanon’s identity and future were not at stake. March 14 once set itself up as a defender of the state. That mantra disappeared during the mandate of Najib Mikati, when the prime minister became a favorite target of March 14. Perhaps this was explicable, in that March 14 could not applaud a state dominated by Hezbollah and its allies. But in the process confidence in the state itself suffered, and March 14 lost its bearings and its cohesiveness.
The conflict in Syria further complicated the situation for March 14. The revolt against the Assad regime unleashed political forces that from the beginning threatened to engulf Lebanon. Hezbollah’s direct participation in the fighting took these risks to a higher level. The imperative for March 14 in this context was to help secure the stability of the state and do what it could to prevent Lebanese society from going down the path to civil war. That is not to say that the coalition should stay silent about Hezbollah’s actions, but rather that it should keep its eye on safeguarding peace in a state that March 14 intends (or must intend) to take over again one day.
This is impossible, some will respond, because of Hezbollah’s operations in Syria. No one can justify the party’s participation in the Assad regime’s repression, but did we ever expect it to behave otherwise? The Lebanese can wish the Syrian revolution the very best, but not adopt measures to endanger civil peace at home. And if Hezbollah ignores the impact on civil peace, then March 14 must exploit its shortcoming to win back levers in the state, without falling into the trap of sectarian strife. March 14 has no convincing project other than the state. It should not surrender it to Hezbollah.
**Michael Young is opinion editor of THE DAILY STAR. He tweets @BeirutCalling.


Regime likely to succeed in bid to take Qusair, secure vital
By Nadia Massih/The Daily Star
BEIRUT: The Syrian government onslaught on Qusair is the first step in a major new regime strategy to secure the west of the country from Damascus to the Alawite heartland, analysts told The Daily Star.
Aided by a Hezbollah force, government troops last Sunday stormed the geographically important town, which has been in opposition hands since February 2012. Warplanes battered rebel positions from the air while soldiers took up sniper positions inside the town, pushing their way through rebel lines from its southern and eastern entrances – in what senior defense fellow at the Washington Institute Jeffrey White described as “the most intense fighting since Aleppo last summer.” Opposition activist Hadi Abdullah, from Qusair, said rebels repelled a government advance in the town’s outskirts Thursday while George Sabra, the acting head of the National Coalition, urged fighters to “rush to the rescue” of the town. However, analysts say that due to their superior military capacity and manpower, it is likely President Bashar Assad’s troops will overrun Qusair.
“If the regime decides that it must have Qusair and cannot accept defeat there, they will put in enough to be able to take it,” White said.
“There comes a point where [the rebels] motivations’ have to face the realities and the scale of the regime offensive. However resilient the rebel fighters might be, at the end of the day the city is encircled. There is not going to be cavalry coming over the horizon to save them,” added Aram Nerguizian, Middle East expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
These are forces with “fundamentally different capabilities ... The rebels just don’t have the kind of resources that the regime does. So the odds are stacked against them,” Nerguizian said.
The decision to commit significant forces to retaking Qusair marks the beginning of a new, more realistic strategy by the regime to hold all territory west of the Orontes River. Assad’s government views the uprising as an insurgency by terrorists, and has so far been trying a tactically ad hoc approach to quash the rebellion, spreading their resources too thin across the vast country as a result.
“For the better part of two years, you had a regime that was trying to fight everywhere using all of the blunt tactics that don’t work in terms of shaping public opinion and shaping the battle,” Nerguizian said. “But they have learned new tactics, and made a lot of the right choices in terms of how to fight a sectarian civil war.
“The regime is on the offensive. They are much more motivated now that they have a new sense of what their objectives are, and are focusing on specific targets as opposed to trying to win everywhere and as a result lose everywhere,” he added. “They know they need to focus on holding key nodes of power that includes demographic centers, key defense installations, key geographies – and by default that includes Qusair.”
The town is considered integral because it is a logistics hub for rebels. Its loss would sever their weapons supply-lines from Lebanon and leave their hard-won territory in Homs and Damascus province isolated and vulnerable to the so-called ‘domino effect.’
Moreover, the regime also has a significant sectarian motivation to focus on Qusair. “The regime has staked its offensive on retaking Qusair because it is an important smuggling route, but [even] more so because it is in the heart of the region linking Hezbollah to the Alawite mountains and Damascus to Homs and the Alawite heartlands,” said Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma.
By focusing on this corridor, the regime has begun to implement another new strategy: the battle for the highways. Assad has started to concentrate on vital road networks, arteries that link the capital to the strip of land where his sect dominates, as well as key bases within rebel terrain. Energy has been focused on the Damascus-Aleppo highway, the spine of the country, where control of the road is being fiercely fought over in the city of Maaret al-Numan in Idlib province. Although the government has its eye firmly on its base in western Syria, the road “allows the regime to keep supplies moving to bases with the rebel’s axis in parts of Idlib and Aleppo province,” said White.
The battle for Qusair is part of this logic, with the regime strategizing that if the country splinters and the western region breaks off – as is feared by those who view the war in an increasingly sectarian light – the Alawites will still have a route to the commercial and political centers in Damascus. Any decisive victory in Qusair will be largely down to the role played by Hezbollah’s dedicated and skillful fighters. Details on the numbers embedded in the town are scant, but White said it was probable there are “several thousand,” with at least 49 killed according to activists.
The massive regime push for the border corridor comes as the government “tries to exploit new assistance from Hezbollah ... to impress on the world that it will not be easily defeated,” Landis said.
The Shiite-majority group has a wealth of battlefield experience in both asymmetrical and urban fighting, repelling Israeli forces from South Lebanon in 2000 – in what was considered a huge moral and strategic victory for the group.“Hezbollah have been really decisive in Qusair. For some time the regime has lacked organization, morale, offensive capabilities, and units that were willing to attack and take causalities – Hezbollah gives them all that,” said White. Overtaking Qusair would also have wider geopolitical advantages for the regime. The U.S. and Russia are trying to drum up support from Damascus, the opposition and international actors for a peace conference next month designed to find a negotiated resolution to Syria’s crisis. If the battle for Qusair swings in the government’s favor, Assad will be able to translate these military gains into a stronger negotiating position.
“If they are able to hold Qusair, the regime will be able to say this huge swath of terrain from Damascus, and possibly down to Deraa, all the way up to Zabandi, parts of Homs to Latakia and Tartous is essentially under their control. This geographic continuity puts them a much better position for any potential negotiations at Geneva 2,” Nerguizian said

Saudi Arabia warns against Iran's nuclear program

Daily Star/RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal has warned against the danger of Iran's nuclear program to the region's security and said Iran should not threaten its neighbors since countries in the region harbor no ill-intentions to the Islamic Republic. "We stress the danger of the Iranian nuclear program to the security of the whole region," Prince Saud said Saturday in a joint news conference with Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid in the city of Jiddah. Turning to Syria, he also that Syrian President Bashar Assad and his regime should have no role in the country's future.Saudi Arabia announced last week the arrest of 10 more members of an alleged Iranian spy ring.

Saudi FM Says Assad Should Not Have Role in Geneva Talks
Naharnet /FP/Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said on Saturday that Syria's embattled President Bashar Assad should not take part in the proposed peace talks aimed at ending that country's deadly conflict.
"We support the will of the Syrian people, which has expressed its will clearly, saying it does not wish to see any role in the conference for Bashar Assad, or any of those whose hands are stained with Syrian blood," he told reporters in Jeddah. Saudi Arabia is among the Gulf states accused by Syria of arming rebels battling forces loyal to Assad since peaceful demonstrations in March 2011 rapidly became open conflict after a regime crackdown. More than 94,000 people have been killed in the two years since, according to rights activists. The peace conference is a joint Russian and U.S. proposal to bring together representatives of the Syrian opposition and Assad's regime. However, the opposition's long-standing position has been that it will not negotiate until Assad agrees to leave, and there is no formal precondition for the conference of him stepping down.
Faisal said he hoped that the conference, which is proposed to take place in Geneva, would lead to an "immediate ceasefire and meet the aspirations of the Syrian people to achieve a peaceful transfer of power."

Question: "What does it mean to lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6)?"
Answer: Proverbs 3:5-6 is a familiar passage to many: "Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths." Verse 5 is a complementary pair of commands. We are told, positively, to trust the Lord and, negatively, not to trust our own understanding. Those two things are mutually exclusive. In other words, if we trust in the Lord, we cannot also depend upon our own ability to understand everything God is doing.
First Corinthians 13:12 says, "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known." We only see part of the picture God is painting. If we are to truly trust Him, we have to let go of our pride, our programs, and our plans. Even the best-laid human plans cannot begin to approach the magnificent sagacity of God’s plan. “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom” (1 Corinthians 1:25).
Most of us have a desperate desire to understand, but in so many areas we must acknowledge that we cannot understand. We must approve of God’s ways, even when we can’t comprehend them. Isaiah 55:8-9 tells us why we often don't understand what God is doing: "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'" God sees the whole picture, while we only see our tiny corner of it. To trust in the Lord with all our heart means we can't place our own right to understand above His right to direct our lives the way He sees fit. When we insist on God always making sense to our finite minds, we are setting ourselves up for spiritual trouble.
Our limited understanding can easily lead us astray. Proverbs 16:25 says, "There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death." When we choose to direct our lives according to what seems right to us, we often reap disaster (Judges 21:25). Every culture has tried to get God to approve of its definition of right and wrong, but God never changes and His standards never change (Numbers 23:19; James 1:17; Romans 11:29). Every person must make a decision whether to live his or her life according to personal preference or according to the unchanging Word of God. We often will not understand how God is causing "all things to work together for good" (Romans 8:28), but when we trust Him with all our hearts, we know that He is. He will never fail us (Psalm 119:142; Philippians 2:13)