LCCC ENGLISH DAILY
Bible Quotation for today/Warning
to the Rich
James 05/01-06: "And now, you rich people, listen to me! Weep and wail over the miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches have rotted away, and your clothes have been eaten by moths. Your gold and silver are covered with rust, and this rust will be a witness against you and will eat up your flesh like fire. You have piled up riches in these last days. 4 You have not paid any wages to those who work in your fields. Listen to their complaints! The cries of those who gather in your crops have reached the ears of God, the Lord Almighty. Your life here on earth has been full of luxury and pleasure. You have made yourselves fat for the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered innocent people, and they do not resist you."
Latest analysis, editorials, studies, reports, letters &
Releases from miscellaneous sources For November 09/13
Iranian Havoc/Hassan Haidar/Al Hayat/November 09/13
DEBKAfile/Geneva fallout: Iran becomes a nuclear power, followed by Saudis. Israel loses trust in Obama/November 09/13
Political resistance//The Daily Star/November 09/13
Opinion: The Story of US–Egyptian Relations/By: Abdel Monem Said/Asharq Alawsat/November 09/13
Opinion: Kerry’s model of preemptive surrender/By: Amir Taheri/Asharq Alawsat/November 09/13
Latest News Reports From Miscellaneous Sources For November 09/13
Lebanese Related News
Suleiman Says his Saudi Visit Beneficial for Lebanon
Foreign-backed Future wants Hezbollah isolated: Musawi
Lebanese official faces embezzlement claims
Is Tripoli on the brink of new civil war?
Lebanese Army following up on Israel spying devices
AUB student's father insists death an accident
Mikati urges U.S. to realize gravity of refugee crisis
FPM, Future ‘share some thoughts’ in rare meeting
Political money soils LAU elections
Doctors protest after shooting at Beirut hospital
Lebanon denies presence of harmful Israeli tomatoes
Report: Lebanon to File Complaint against Israel over Espionage Stations
3 Dead in Iqlim al-Kharroub Car Crash
Association of Lebanese Banks Downplays Significance of S&P Downgrade for Three Banks
Charbel, Shaar Set Security Plan Guidelines, Say Army to Deploy in 'All Tripoli Regions'
Miscellaneous Reports And News
Netanyahu: Israel 'Utterly Rejects' Iran Deal as 'Very Bad'
Netanyahu slams proposed deal with Iran in harshest words to date
Kerry: No nuclear deal with Iran yet, important gaps remain
Compromise will likely lead to nuclear Iran,’ says expert
The ticking clocks of Iran's nuclear program
World powers go to Geneva as Iran nuclear deal nears
Zawahiri disbands main Qaeda faction in Syria
Russian Foreign Ministry says Syrian opposition refuses to take part in proposed Moscow talks
Palestine: Israel 'only suspect' in Arafat death
Russian defense, foreign ministers to visit Egypt
20M kids in Mideast to get polio vaccine: UN
US naval convoy crosses Egypt's Suez Canal
Denmark to Help with Shipping of Syria Chemical Arms
Jordan to Take Saudi Seat on Security Council
Hassan Haidar/Al Hayat
Iran is working on two interwoven tracks. On one track, it is taking advantage of the mutual exchange of positive signals between itself and Washington in order to spread the notion that it now has extensive clout in the region and complete freedom to deal with its affairs, under the pretext that the Americans are now on the verge of recognizing its influence in the region and its sponsorship of Shiite footholds in some of its countries. On the other, it is taking a series of escalatory steps in our region, meant to inflame existing regional tensions, with the aim of increasingly embarrassing the United States vis-à-vis its allies and of pressuring the latter to go along with what it views as American regression. And while it suffices itself with luring the West with marginal “concessions” of pure form on the issue of its nuclear program, expressing doubts about Western intentions despite speaking of the possibility for talks with the P5+1 group of countries reaching a framework agreement, it seeks to take the utmost advantage of the obscurity dominating the phase of exploring intentions. It does this by trying to impose itself as party to everything that concerns the region’s affairs, in particular the negotiations meant to be take place at the Geneva II conference, with the aim of affecting their course and coordinating with Moscow to thwart their main goal of forming a transitional authority in Damascus. Yet the refusal of the Arabs, and especially of Saudi Arabia, to distinguish between the regimes of Khamenei and Assad, and their insistence on considering them both to represent a single entity waging a battle to preserve the sectarian Syrian regime in the face of its people, has led the Americans to break their stride. This might be temporary, but it has clearly appeared in the preliminary talks held in Geneva two days ago, which failed to set a date for the conference – since Damascus still rejects the notion of a transitional phase – or to reach an agreement over Iran’s participation.
Arab attempts to correct the course taken by the American stance are coupled with repeated demands for Iranian Revolutionary Guard (Pasdaran) and Lebanese Hezbollah forces to withdraw from Syria, and for Tehran to stop encouraging Iraqi Shiite militias to join those defending its ally. In the face of Arab insistence on breaking the hegemony of Russia’s vision for a solution in Syria, and placing limits on any role to be played by Iran, the Iranians have resorted to directing blows at the two weakest Arab links: Yemen and Lebanon. Thus the Houthis have unexpectedly ignited the security situation in Northern Yemen and thwarted repeated efforts towards appeasement, while the secessionists, some of whom are sponsored and funded by Tehran, have caused tension in Southern Yemen. This is despite the fact that the national reconciliation conference in Sanaa, sponsored by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), had taken several important steps forward on the path to restoring stability. Similarly, the latest speech by the Secretary-General of Hezbollah has clearly revealed his insistence on preventing any step from being taken in Lebanon that might lead to strengthening the role of the state and activating its constitutional institutions. He also declared, speaking for Tehran, that the decision was his to make, whether with regard to forming a government cabinet, electing a president or determining foreign policy, while paying no heed to the threats of collapse knocking at the door of the country’s economy and social structure. And the repeated eruption of the security situation in Tripoli does not depart from such a trend. Tehran is trying at the same time to take advantage of the Muslim Brotherhood’s predicament after the series of relapses it has suffered, especially in Egypt. For this purpose, it is putting forward proposals to a puzzled Turkey and a secluded Hamas movement, so as to attract them towards itself once again, after the rupture caused by its stance on the Syrian regime, with the aim of forging a new alliance to besiege the moderate Arab line, their common rival. Tehran may well resort to escalation in other areas, among them Bahrain, where national dialogue is being impeded as a result of signals from Iran, while the country’s leadership asserts that dialogue represents the only way to resolve any problems.Yet Iran’s assault is based much more on its ability to wreak havoc than its ability to take control of the situation in the countries targeted. It also assumes that victory in Syria belongs to Bashar Al-Assad’s regime, something which is inconsistent with reality, despite some of the military obstacles encountered by the opposition. Likewise, it assumes that relations between the United States and its Arab allies have reached a dead-end due to the difference in their methods, something which was negated by John Kerry’s visit to Riyadh a few days ago, the results of which are beginning to appear.
Geneva fallout: Iran becomes a nuclear
power, followed by Saudis. Israel loses trust in Obama
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis November 8, 2013/Israel’s most painful lesson from the two-day Geneva conference on Iran’s nuclear program is that the man who guaranteed to defend Israel’s security, President Barack Obama, is now marching hand in hand with Tehran towards a nuclear-armed Iran. This is the reality behind the fuss and excitement surrounding the signing ceremony in Geneva Friday, Nov. 8, and the slick words gushing forth to put a convincing face on the interim deal put together between Iran and the Six Powers Thursday and Friday. President Obama broke the news to NBC Thursday night: “There is a possibility of a phased agreement, the first part of which would stop Iran from further expanding its nuclear program. We are offering modest relief from the sanctions, but keeping the core sanctions in place, so that if it turned out during the course of the six months when we're trying to resolve some bigger issues that they're backing out of the deal or… not giving us assurances that they're not developing a nuclear weapon, we can crank that dial back up," the US president said.
Friday morning, when US Secretary of State John Kerry was heading for Geneva to join Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif for the final signing stage, it was still unclear what Iran is willing to concede.
This is because no one was ready to admit exactly what the agreed “freeze” applied to and how far it is from “dismantlement “
Iran had in fact already achieved all the makings of a nuclear bomb and was holding them in place ready for assembly. Uranium enrichment will furthermore continue although at a low grade.
At any moment, Tehran may decide to assemble those components and produce a bomb and has the capacity to do so before the US or Israel catch on to what is happening.
The accord to be signed Friday elevates Iran automatically to the rank of a nuclear power, which already holds Syria, Iraq and Lebanon under its sway. The radical alliance binding Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Syria’s Bashar Assad and Hizballah’s Hassan Nasrallah has triumphed. Israel fell down badly by trusting the Obama administration to break this axis up before it spreads more violence and havoc across the region.
Before setting off for Geneva, Secretary Kerry warned Israel that the breakdown of talks with the Palestinians would result in a third “intifada.”
But he made no reference to the Iranian nuclear intifada now looming over Israel and the entire Middle East.
Before coming to Jerusalem, the US Secretary visited Riyadh. But there was nothing much for him to discuss with King Abdullah and Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal, because both had accepted that there is no chance of turning the Obama administration from its chosen track which results in Iran enjoying the freedom to pursue a nuclear weapon amid progressively enhanced sanctions relief.
Some time ago, the Saudis took what they saw as appropriate preemptive action.
On Jan. 1, 2013, Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and defense minister, traveled to Islamabad and commissioned Pakistan to build nuclear weapons for a multibillion fee. Those weapons were assembled in Pakistan and held ready for transfer to Saudi Arabia at a moment’s notice. Last week, former Israeli Military Intelligence (AMAN) chief Amos Yadlin told a conference in Sweden that if Iran got the bomb, “the Saudis will not wait one month. They have already paid for the bomb and will go to Pakistan and bring back what they need.”So the countdown to a nuclear Saudi Arabia begins with the signing of the "interim" Iranian nuclear deal in Geneva. Its first result will be the deployment of a Sunni Muslim Arab nuke versus a Shiite Iranian bomb. Israel’s reputed nuclear program remains in its decades-old holding position. The burgeoning nuclear standoff will inject a further unstable element in the volatile Middle East.Washington has not chosen that road out of stupidity or blindness as some dismayed Israeli officials are saying. The plan appears to be not only to present Israel with a nuclear challenge, but to put a damper on Russia’s strategic and military momentum in the region.Even if this calculus proves correct it will take years for it to unfold. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu admitted he was stunned by the terms of the accord negotiated with Iran, calling it a “monumental, historic mistake” and “Iran’s deal of the century.”Tehran has conceded nothing and receives limited sanctions relief, he said.
The interim agreement, said Netanyahu, buries the possibility of a peaceful final accord for dismantling Iran's nuclear program once and for all. “Israel is not obliged by this agreement and will do everything it needs to do to defend itself and defend the security of its people,” he said. His words carried two messages:
1. Israel has abandoned its trust in Barack
Obama ever complying with his pledge to its security and will henceforth act on
2. Israel’s only remaining course now is to exercise its military option against Iran’s nuclear capability – whether openly or covertly.
For five years, Binyamin Netanyahu has repeatedly warned the world that Israel was ready for military action to preempt a nuclear-armed Iran. Each successive repetition was received on a diminishing scale of credibility. His response to the Geneva accord is therefore anyone’s guess.
Hagel: Israeli threats, sanctions helped push Iran to nuclear talks
By HERB KEINON, JPOST.COM STAFF 11/04/2013
Rouhani says he's not optimistic about nuclear talks with West.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who continued to pound the drum Monday against any concessions to the Iranians during negotiations, received a nod of approval from an unexpected source on Monday: US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. “I think Prime Minister Netanyahu is legitimately concerned, as any prime minister of Israel has been, about the future security needs of their country,” Hagel said in an interview with Bloomberg’s Jeffrey Goldberg, part of which was published on Monday. Related: Iran's charm offensive wanes, Khamenei calls Israel 'illegitimate, bastard regime'Analysis: US-Iran nuclear deal unlikely to meet Israel’s minimum demandsGoldberg wrote that Hagel said Netanyahu’s threats of military action, along with the pressure of sanctions, may have encouraged the Iranians to take negotiations seriously.
“It’s true that sanctions – not just US sanctions but UN sanctions, multilateral sanctions – have done tremendous economic damage,” Hagel said. “Even many of Iran’s leaders have acknowledged that. And I think that Iran is responding to the constant pressure from Israel, knowing that Israel believes them to be an existential threat. I think all of this, combined, probably brought the Iranians to where we are today. Whether the Iranians will carry forth on that, we’ll see.”His words came just a week after Secretary of State John Kerry, in remarks widely interpreted as aimed at Netanyahu, said the US would not succumb to “fear tactics” aimed at preventing negotiation with Iran. Netanyahu, meanwhile, used a press opportunity with visiting Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski to draw attention to the massive anti- US and anti-Israel rally on Monday in Tehran marking 34 years to the takeover of the US Embassy there. “While we are meeting here in Jerusalem, tens of thousands of people are chanting ‘Death to America’ in the streets of Tehran,” he said. “If you want to see the true face of this regime, see it there – chants of ‘Death to America.’” Netanyahu, referring to the debate in the West whether Iran has changed, said “they have obviously changed their style. They speak now in English and they smile. Yeah, they smile in the talks in Europe.”But, he said, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who rules Iran, fuels the hatred in the streets.
“That’s the real Iran. That’s the boss of Iran. That’s what Iran wants to do, this country that sends terrorists around the world, including to Washington, DC, to kill the Saudi ambassador; this country that participates in the mass murder of tens of thousands of men, women and children in Damascus; this country that continuously defies UN Security Council resolutions telling it to stop developing nuclear weapons. This country is saying, chanting ‘Death to America.’” Referring to Iran’s negotiations with the P5+1 (the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany) which will resume on Thursday, Netanyahu said that the Iranians “shouldn’t be given a free pass. They shouldn’t be given a partial deal that allows them to keep most or all of their nuclear weapons capability for the exchange of reducing sanctions. America and the P5+1 should listen to the chants of ‘Death to America” in Tehran, [and] give no discounts to
Tehran.”Rouhani 'not optimistic' about nuclear talks
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday that he was
not optimistic about the success of nuclear talks with the West, echoing
statements made by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on his Twitter
"The government is not optimistic about the Westerners and the current negotiations," he was quoted as saying by Iranian news agency IRNA. "But it does not mean that we should not have hope for removing the problems," Rouhani added, referring to international sanctions that have crippled the Islamic Republic's economy. On Sunday, Khamenei tweeted that he was not optimistic about the outcome of the negotiations, and that even if they failed, it would increase Iran’s self-reliance. "I am not optimistic about the negotiations but, with the grace of God, we will not suffer losses either," Khamenei said. "I do not think the negotiations will produce the results expected by Iran." He advised against “trusting an enemy who smiles” and “expresses a desire for talks,” while on the other hand says “all options are on the table.”Despite that, he backed Rouhani by urging hardliners in Tehran not to undermine the talks. "No one should consider our negotiators as compromisers. This is wrong. These are our own children, the offspring of the Islamic Revolution," Khamenei said. “Our negotiators are in charge of a difficult task and no one should weaken an agent who is engaged doing work,” he added. The next round of talks between Iran and the P5+1 group, made of the US, Russia, China, Germany, France and Britain, is due to take place on Thursday and Friday in Geneva.
Is Tripoli on the brink of new civil war?
November 08, 2013/ By Youssef Diab, Misbah
al-Ali The Daily Star
BEIRUT/TRIPOLI: Tripoli looked as if it was on the brink of a new civil war Thursday as a Lebanese judge issued a court summons for Ali Eid, the head of the pro-Assad Arab Democratic Party, in connection with the deadly twin car bombings in the northern city. Scenes of Army vehicles, security checkpoints and barricades across the city were reminiscent of the 1975-90 Civil War. Since the latest round of fighting subsided last month, not a single day passes without a clash being reported between Sunnis and Alawites. Caretaker Interior Minister Marwan Charbel, meanwhile, promised new security measures to restore law and order to the city, ravaged by frequent fighting between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Gunmen in the Alawite Jabal Mohsen neighborhood, whose residents support the Assad regime, have frequently clashed with rival gunmen in the largely Sunni district of Bab al-Tabbaneh, whose residents back the anti-Assad uprising. The repercussions of the Syrian conflict are not confined to Jabal Mohsen and Bab al-Tabbaneh, but have expanded to other neighborhoods across Tripoli, prompting many Christians to move to settle in other towns and villages in the neighboring Koura district.
Some Tripoli residents allege that the combatants are not residents of the city. A large number of them come from outside Tripoli, but still manage to tamper with its security, paralyze its economic activity and threaten the city’s social life, residents claim. Sunnis and Alawites used to live together in the mixed neighborhood of Tabbaneh, but the Civil War and the Syrian occupation exacerbated tensions, driving the two communities to segregate.
Fadi Mohsen, a Sunni lawyer and political activist in Tripoli, said he was more worried about the city’s fate than demographic division. “Those who placed the bombs in front of the Al-Salam and Al-Taqwa mosques must be legally punished ... But Alawites are our brothers, neighbors and families.”Joseph Ishak, a real estate broker in the northern city of Zghorta, said that many of Jabal Mohsen’s residents had moved to Zghorta and its surroundings for security reasons. Similarly, residents in Bab al-Tabbaneh have moved to Al-Mina to escape the fighting in their neighborhood. A judicial source told The Daily Star that Military Investigative Judge Riad Abu Ghayda set Tuesday 10 a.m. as the date for Eid to turn himself in for interrogation in connection with the Tripoli bombings. If Eid fails to show up, an arrest warrant will be issued against him, the source added.
Military Prosecutor Saqr Saqr charged Eid and his driver, Ahmad Mohammad Ali, earlier this week with helping Ahmad Merhi – a key suspect in the Tripoli bombings – flee to Syria.
The charges came a week after Eid, a staunch supporter of Assad who has the backing of his Alawite community, defied a summons over the Tripoli bombings targeting the Al-Taqwa and Al-Salam mosques in August which killed at least 47 people and wounded over 500.
Eid remains at large. Security forces raided Eid’s home Tuesday in the northern village of Hikr Daher near the Syrian border but he was not found. Abu Ghayda issued Thursday arrest warrants for Eid’s driver and another detainee, Shehadeh Shdoud, after the judge interrogated the two men who are charged with smuggling to Syria suspects involved in the bombings. While Ali was charged with sneaking Merhi out of Lebanon, Shdoud was accused of transporting Syrian national Sukaina Ismail to Syria. Ismail is accused of escorting individuals who transported the two booby-trapped cars from Syria to Lebanon.
Abu Ghayda also turned down a request for the release of Sheikh Ahmad Gharib, detained over his role in the Tripoli blasts, according to the judicial source. Gharib was charged with tasking two Syrians to set up a monitoring and planning cell in order to carry out terrorist acts in Lebanon including the Tripoli bombings. The bombings were linked to the 31-month war in Syria as Lebanon is sharply split in its support for the Assad regime and armed opposition groups fighting to topple it. At least 16 people were killed and over 80 wounded in the last round of fighting between the two neighborhoods last month. Following the deployment of Lebanese troops in Tripoli last month, a tenuous truce has taken hold in the area, amid fears of renewed hostilities as the war in neighboring Syria drags on. Charbel said a new security plan would be implemented in Tripoli in the next few days. He spoke to reporters after inspecting Army and police units deployed in Tripoli and attending a meeting at the house of the city’s Mufti Sheikh Malek Shaar. The meeting was also attended by caretaker State Minister Ahmad Karami representing caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, Future MPs Khaled Daher, Mohammad Kabbara and Mouin Merhebi and Tripoli’s Police Chief Brig. Bassam Ayoubi.
“We have drawn up the broad lines of the security plan, pending a consensus on these lines. Preparatory meetings will take place in the next few days,” Charbel said after the meeting. He said Internal Security Forces, backed by the Lebanese Army, would deploy in areas they have not entered before to prevent renewal of fighting. Asked what the government would do with the proliferation of arms and gunmen in Tripoli, Charbel said: “We are not demanding the handover of arms, but the security forces would not be a false witness and anyone carrying unlicensed arms will be arrested.”
Doctors protest after shooting at
Political resistance November 08, 2013/The Daily Star
Ever since its founding back in the 1980s, Hezbollah has vigorously defended its policy of resistance against Israel and its aggressions against Lebanon. In the wake of Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanese territory more than a decade ago, support for Hezbollah’s resistance efforts has remained, albeit with important disputes over exactly how this policy should be pursued. But in surveying the political scene in 2013, and especially after the eruption of a popular uprising in Syria two years ago, Hezbollah’s tone has taken a worrying turn for the worse. This week, for example, Hezbollah officials spared no effort as they used the language of threats, personal attacks, insults and general intimidation in taking aim at their March 14 political rivals. The ongoing ratcheting up of Hezbollah’s tone is likely based on one of two things. One possibility is that the party is coasting on a wave of self-confidence based on its military involvement in Syria. On this front, however, people have become used to hearing about victories, on a near daily basis, by the Syrian regime and its allies, such as Hezbollah.
However, the problem with this scenario is that so many “strategic” points have been taken by Syrian government forces and their allies that people begin to wonder about the credibility of the latest breathless reports that the rebels are on the verge of some type of crushing military defeat. Another possibility is that Hezbollah is becoming increasingly frustrated by its drawn-out entanglement in Syria. Perhaps Hezbollah officials are beginning to realize that holding off a massive Israeli onslaught against their home territory is quite different than waging a wide-scale offensive, on many different fronts, outside Lebanon, where the locals are willing to fight and die to defend their families and homes. The end result, however, is that Hezbollah officials, from Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah on down, are doing nothing to create a healthy political atmosphere in Lebanon. They are fond of lecturing about commitment to coexistence, but the only words they have for their partners is “support our views or we will consider you enemies.” The message they have rolled out is clear: We will dominate, whether through political or other means, namely force. And the latest language has contained threats that Hezbollah will move from its current “defensive” actions to something else, namely attack. Lebanese that believe this method of politics is harmful to the country’s national interest, meanwhile, should make this point of view known, forcefully, and study how to respond to such belligerence. They can appease, or they can resist. Resistance, as Hezbollah has always pointed out, takes many forms, and it is hoped that the resistance to Hezbollah’s intimidation will remain political.
November 08, 2013/The Daily Star
Ever since its founding back in the 1980s, Hezbollah has vigorously defended its policy of resistance against Israel and its aggressions against Lebanon. In the wake of Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanese territory more than a decade ago, support for Hezbollah’s resistance efforts has remained, albeit with important disputes over exactly how this policy should be pursued.
But in surveying the political scene in 2013, and especially after the eruption of a popular uprising in Syria two years ago, Hezbollah’s tone has taken a worrying turn for the worse.
This week, for example, Hezbollah officials spared no effort as they used the language of threats, personal attacks, insults and general intimidation in taking aim at their March 14 political rivals.
The ongoing ratcheting up of Hezbollah’s tone is likely based on one of two things. One possibility is that the party is coasting on a wave of self-confidence based on its military involvement in Syria. On this front, however, people have become used to hearing about victories, on a near daily basis, by the Syrian regime and its allies, such as Hezbollah.
However, the problem with this scenario is that so many “strategic” points have been taken by Syrian government forces and their allies that people begin to wonder about the credibility of the latest breathless reports that the rebels are on the verge of some type of crushing military defeat. Another possibility is that Hezbollah is becoming increasingly frustrated by its drawn-out entanglement in Syria. Perhaps Hezbollah officials are beginning to realize that holding off a massive Israeli onslaught against their home territory is quite different than waging a wide-scale offensive, on many different fronts, outside Lebanon, where the locals are willing to fight and die to defend their families and homes. The end result, however, is that Hezbollah officials, from Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah on down, are doing nothing to create a healthy political atmosphere in Lebanon. They are fond of lecturing about commitment to coexistence, but the only words they have for their partners is “support our views or we will consider you enemies.”
The message they have rolled out is clear: We will dominate, whether through political or other means, namely force. And the latest language has contained threats that Hezbollah will move from its current “defensive” actions to something else, namely attack. Lebanese that believe this method of politics is harmful to the country’s national interest, meanwhile, should make this point of view known, forcefully, and study how to respond to such belligerence. They can appease, or they can resist. Resistance, as Hezbollah has always pointed out, takes many forms, and it is hoped that the resistance to Hezbollah’s intimidation will remain political.
Foreign-backed Future wants Hezbollah isolated: Musawi
November 08, 2013/The Daily Star /BEIRUT: The U.S. and Saudi Arabia seek to isolate Hezbollah and besiege the party inside Lebanon through its allies in the Future Movement which is obstructing Parliament and preventing the formation of a new Cabinet, Hezbollah MPs said Friday. “[U.S. Secretary of State John] Kerry's remarks bear a U.S.-Saudi political design: to try to isolate Hezbollah and besiege it as well as downsize the group and its role in Lebanese affairs,” MP Hussein Musawi said during an Ashoura gathering in the eastern city of Baalbek. “Therefore, statements by the Future parliamentary bloc correspond with such stances [because] the bloc has never refrained from obeying American orders and it is an extension to the U.S.-Zionist foreign policy,” he added. During a news conference in Saudi Arabia earlier this week, Kerry voiced support for the formation of a government in Lebanon in the absence of intimidation by Hezbollah. Kerry also said that it was important to prevent Hezbollah from defining the country's future. MP Nawwaf Musawi, during a separate Ashoura gathering in Khiam, south Lebanon, said the need by some countries to “punish the resistance group” stemmed from Hezbollah’s successes in Lebanon defending against Israeli threats and in Syria against jihadists. “[The resistance's strength] was one of the main reasons that angered this regional country [Saudi Arabia] and began manifesting its anger through its agents in Lebanon against the resistance,” Musawi said. In a recent speech, Hezbollah’s chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah said Riyadh was angered by developments in Syria that favored the regime of President Bashar Assad. “It [Saudi Arabia] gave an order to provoke and cause destruction and disruption in Lebanon and we saw how Parliament was paralyzed and the formation process has been disrupted,” Musawi added. The March 14 group has repeatedly boycotted legislative sessions of Parliament, arguing that that the legislative branch cannot convene in the presence of a resigned government. Musawi rejected the pretext used by the March 14 to boycott the sessions, saying the legislative and the executive branches are two independent entities that can function separately.
"The disruptions today which are deliberate are the result of direct foreign orders,” he said. “This country gave orders to disrupt political life in Lebanon and to increase political and media campaigns against the resistance group,” the MP said, claiming that such campaigns were fully funded by the regional state. Hussein Musawi also criticized his rivals in the Future Movement for its repeated calls on Hezbollah to withdraw its fighters from Syria.
“The Future Movement speaks everyday about the Baabda Declaration and the need for Hezbollah to withdraw from Syria whereas it is denying its own interference at all levels in the Syrian crisis as it is involved in the terrorist, Takfiri [jihadist] plan,” he said.
Russian Foreign Ministry says Syrian opposition refuses to take part in proposed Moscow talks
By Bassem Mroue And Laura Mills, The Associated Press | The Canadian Press – BEIRUT - Syria's main Western-backed opposition group has refused to participate in talks in Moscow with Syrian government organizations on resolving the country's humanitarian crisis, the Russian Foreign Ministry and opposition figures said Friday. Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said the Syrian National Coalition is "blocking and refusing to participate" in the talks. Russian officials had hoped the talks would bolster prospects for a proposed peace conference the U.S. and Russia are trying to convene in Geneva. The coalition has demanded guarantees, including that President Bashar Assad would step down in any transitional Syrian government, as a condition for going to Geneva. Damascus has said Assad will stay in his post at least until his terms ends in 2014 and that he may run for re-election. Friday's rejection came after Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said Thursday that the opposition had "responded positively" to a proposal for such talks. Kamal Labwani, a member of the coalition, told The Associated Press on Friday that the group refused to go to Moscow because "Russia is not a fair mediator and is part of the conflict." He was referring to Moscow's support to the Syrian government since the crisis began in March 2011. "Russia can become a fair mediator when it orders Assad to leave Syria," Labwani said by telephone from Paris. "When (Russia) wants to support the criminal, it will lose." The coalition long has called on the international community to help secure aid to civilians, particularly in rebel-held areas blockaded by government forces. The Russian foreign ministry spokesman said the Moscow initiative had "received an active and positive response among a number of opposition group leaders." "Unfortunately, the Syrian National Opposition and individual leaders who consider it a counterproductive ploy are blocking it and refusing to participate," he said. Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday that the timeline for having a peace conference in Geneva is failing "primarily because representatives of the opposition aren't ready to take part without preconditions." "This intransigence and these demands are being asserted by the National Coalition, which claims to be the only representative of the Syrian people, but which doesn't represent even a majority of the opposition groups that are opposing Assad's regime," Lavrov told reporters. Even though focusing only on the Syrian humanitarian crisis alone, the proposed Moscow talks would have represented a diplomatic breakthrough, with opposition and representatives of governmental groups sitting down at the same table.
Meanwhile, the government of Denmark said Friday that Copenhagen is willing to help take chemical weapons out of Syria by sea and provide bodyguards for a key U.N. official there.
The United Nations unofficially asked whether Denmark could contribute ships to transport the weapons from Syria for destruction, Defence Minister Nikolai Wammen said. He said it is too early to put a number of how many Danish ships and personnel would be involved. Foreign Aid Minister Christian Friis Bach said there are no plans for the weapons to be destroyed in Denmark. In Syria, activists said Syrian troops launched a major offensive Friday to recapture the international airport of the northern city of Aleppo. The Aleppo Media Center and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said troops attacked a base protecting the airport, closed for almost a year. Rebels captured the base in February.The government advance comes a week after government troops captured the strategic town of Safira, southeast of the Aleppo airport, after weeks of fighting. State-run news agency SANA reported that gunmen killed eight people wounded several harvesting olives in Khnaifes village in the central province of Hama. SANA said that some 40 "terrorists" attacked the harvesters and kidnapped two women. State media refers to rebels as terrorists. Syria's civil war has touched off a humanitarian catastrophe across the region. More than 2 million Syrians have sought refuge abroad. The United Nations said this week that more than 9 million Syrians — out of the country's pre-war population of 23 million — are in need of humanitarian assistance. More than 120,000 people have been killed, according to the Observatory, which closely monitors the fighting in Syria. The U.N. said in July that 100,000 Syrians have been killed in the fighting and has not updated that figure since.
*Mills reported from Moscow. Associated Press writer Albert Aji in Damascus, Syria, contributed to this report.
Zawahiri disbands main Qaeda faction
November 08, 2013/The Daily Star /BEIRUT: The leader of al-Qaeda has ordered the re-organization of jihadist efforts in Syria and Iraq by abolishing the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) and giving the Nusra Front sole responsibility for activities in war-torn Syria. In an audio tape relayed via Al-Jazeera television on Friday, Ayman Zawahiri lays out 14 points to resolve the rivalry between the two al-Qaeda-inspired groups.
The Nusra Front first emerged in early 2012 and is now believed to be led by Abu Mohammad Golani. In April of this year, Abu Bakr Baghdadi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, announced the formation of ISIS and said that the Nusra Front had merged with his group. Golani denied the news the following day, while maintaining that his group remained loyal to al-Qaeda.
Zawahiri blamed the leaders of both groups for acting without the knowledge of the central al-Qaeda leadership. "Abu Bakr Baghdadi erred by announcing the formation of ISIS without consulting or informing us... Jolani erred by rejecting ISIS ... without consulting or informing us," Zawahiri says in the first two points. In the next four points, Zawhiri orders the abolishment of ISIS and says it should continue as the earlier Islamic State of Iraq, while the Nusra Front should continue as an "independent branch" of al-Qaeda. Zawahiri then specifies the "wilaya makaniyya," or area of political activity, for each group: the Islamic State of Iraq should confine itself to Iraq, with the Nusra Front given sole authority for Syria. In points seven and eight, Zawahiri announces that both leaders, Baghdadi and Golani, are appointed to head their respective groups as "emirs" for a period of one year.
After that, the Shura council of each jihadist organization will file a report on their performances with the central al-Qaeda leadership, which will decide whether to retain them or transfer them elsewhere.
In points nine and ten, Zawahiri instructs each group to support the other "with men, weapons and money" and in the final four points, the al-Qaeda leader makes a series of pleas for attacks against jihadists and Muslims at large without sufficient legal evidence. During the re-shuffle, Zawahiri adds, "Muslims should not be persecuted for switching allegiance, even if they are mistaken" in doing so.
The shedding of blood of innocent Muslims, he concludes, will be dealt with severely. Both jihadist groups have undertaken attacks against Syrian regime forces and at times cooperated with each other and with other Islamist and mainstream Free Syrian Army rebel groups. But they have also engaged in infighting and actions against Syrian civilians that have raised the ire of the mainstream opposition.
Opinion: Kerry’s model of preemptive surrender
By: Amir Taheri/Asharq Alawsat
Offering a curtain-raiser to planned talks on Syria, US Secretary of State John Kerry has offered an analysis that is sure to doom the enterprise from the start.
“The outcome of this [the Syrian civil war] will not be determined on the battlefield, but at the negotiating table,” he said.
While such a platitude might be useful for table talk, adopting it as the basis for policy-making is scandalous. Had Kerry been familiar with history, he would have known that the outcomes of all wars are determined on the battlefield. Wars happen when a status quo that assures a balance of contradictory powers within a polity ceases to function. When that happens, the status quo becomes intolerable for one or more of the elements coexisting within it. Then one or more of those elements try to break the status quo by force, triggering conflict with other elements that continue to see their interests reflected in the existing order.
Politics in general, and diplomacy in particular, could be effective in preventing the breakdown of the status quo. Once the breakdown has happened, politics and diplomacy become weapons of war. Put another way, war could be described as the continuation of politics by other means. Politics and diplomacy are also useful tools in organizing the aftermath of a war by helping the loser accept defeat and encouraging the winner to temper his triumph.
However, while a war is going on the only thing that matters is seeking victory on the battleground. The party that entertains the illusion of winning through negotiations is certain to emerge as loser.
As far as the protagonists are concerned, politics and diplomacy could be used to mobilize domestic support, find external allies and split the adversary’s camp. Outside powers interested in the outcome of a war could also use politics and diplomacy to garner support for the side they favor. The most important political decision to make is to choose the side one wishes to support. The power that chooses not to take sides becomes an objective ally of the party that happens to be on the ascendancy on the battlefield at any given time.
At the start of the Syrian conflict, President Barack Obama seemed to have understood these facts.
When he stated unequivocally that President Bashar Al-Assad “must go,” he appeared to have chosen a side.
Three years later, Kerry, reflecting the changed position of his boss, has cancelled that choice. He now pretends that the US is pinning its hopes on a “political solution”.
One need not go back to the earliest records of human warfare at the dawn of history to realize that no war ever ended without victory for one side and, more importantly, admission of defeat by another.
Even wars that could last centuries, such as the duel between the Roman and Persian Empires or the Hundred Years’ War between England and France did not end until one side admitted defeat.
In the First World War, attempts at fixing the outcome through diplomacy started soon after the first shots were fired. However, the outcome was only determined when Germany admitted defeat. Even in the Second World War, diplomatic efforts were not late in coming. The Nazis dispatched Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s second in command, on a secret mission to England to negotiate a deal. It didn’t work. From 1942 until 1944, the Allies, Britain, Russia and the United States, conducted secret talks in Stockholm with Hitler’s emissaries in pursuit of a “diplomatic solution.” The outcome, however, was decided on the fuming ruins of the battlefield in Berlin.
What applies to wars between nations is also true in the case of civil wars.
The earliest examples, such as the Roman civil wars that pitted Marius against Sulla or Caesar against Pompeii, and the Iranian civil war between Khosrau II and Bahrām Chobin, reconfirm the pattern.
There is no standard duration for civil wars; they could last a few weeks or decades. The English Civil War lasted almost a decade. The American Civil War lasted four years, while the one in Mexico took almost 10 years. The Russian civil war after the Bolshevik seizure of power took three years, as did the Spanish one which ended with Falangist victory. The Malayan civil war of the 1950s took 11 years, while the Nigerian civil war of the 1960s ended after just four years. The Lebanese civil war took more than 15 years. The Congolese civil war lasted 20 years and, in a sense, still continues until this day.
In civil wars, external powers end up taking one side or another. Powers that do not take a side end up on the loser’s side.
What position the US adopts is of special importance for two reasons.
The first is that, like it or not, the US is the only outside power that could help shorten a civil war by taking sides. The second reason is that unless the US takes the lead, other countries capable of making a difference by supporting the anti-Assad rebellion will do nothing beyond diplomatic gesticulation.
By refusing to take sides, the Obama Administration gives the powers that support Assad, notably Russia and the Islamic Republic in Tehran, an advantage by reducing the costs of their policy of repression in Syria.
The Obama–Kerry decision to accept defeat without even attempting to make a stand could enter political history as a model of what one might term: preemptive surrender.
The good news is that the Syrian people are made of stronger stuff than Obama and Kerry.
Opinion: The Story of US–Egyptian Relations
By: Abdel Monem Said/Asharq Alawsat
I recently finished reading the memoirs of Dr. Saadeddine Ibrahim, professor of political sociology at the American University of Cairo, former president of the Arab Organization for Human Rights, former chief of the Arab Council for Childhood and Motherhood and of the Arab Thought Forum in Jordan, and founder of the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies.
The man’s history includes a lot more achievements. Reading his memoirs reminded me of an incident that happened in February 1981, when a seminar was organized on Egyptian–American relations by the American Enterprise Institute. During this seminar, Ibrahim presented a document, the analytical model of which I think may be useful in understanding the current relationship between the two countries.
The model was based on comparing relations between countries with relations between people, particularly between men and women. Relationships pass through phases. This begins with courtship, during which time each party seeks to know the other’s limits and capabilities. This is where interest and psychological consensus is specified and where each person’s responsibilities are made clear. If things are positive, the couple takes the relationship to the next level—that is to say, engagement. This phase includes an amount of commitment that requires more disclosure. In addition to that, mutual ambitions that may reach the extent of dreams emerge. This phase is followed by marriage, accompanied by the honeymoon phase where it appears that the couple has become one in terms of vision and opinion. But since things change, it’s only a matter of time before the couple discover each other’s defects which were previously diminished. This causes small arguments that quickly turn to open quarrels, thus leading to divorce.
At the beginning of 1981, Saadeddine Ibrahim applied this model on American-Egyptian relations. Back then, a new administration led by Ronald Reagan, the Republican with the conservative vision, was born. The courtship phase began in the wake of the October 1973 War. Henry Kissinger, whom late President Anwar Sadat referred to as “my friend” became a permanent visitor to Cairo. After Kissinger, Jimmy Carter also became Sadat’s friend. The two parties cooperated to reach the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty.
The Egyptian-American connection paved the way for a honeymoon which Reagan’s administration ultimately ended short for several reasons. Perhaps the most important of these reasons is that Reagan no longer viewed the Middle East with the same importance as his predecessors (Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter.) Although this model is somewhat light-heated, it appears appropriate when it comes to understanding American-Egyptians relations, whether before or after 1981. Somehow, the relationship between Washington and Cairo passed through the precise same phases between 1952 and 1956.
During this time, there was optimism with the eruption of the July revolution followed by divorce when the proposal to help build the Aswan High Dam was withdrawn. Following this there was the Eisenhower project and the clash in Lebanon in 1958. The latter led to a divorce that lasted until Kennedy’s administration noticed the importance of rebuilding bridges. This was some form of courtship that ended in a clash following America’s withdrawal of the wheat aid shipments in 1965 and the severance of diplomatic ties with the eruption of the 1967 June War.
Reagan’s administration cut the Egyptian-American honeymoon short. The 1980s witnessed many diplomatic scuffles and arguments, but relations lasted due to Egypt’s political and diplomatic activity. This period also saw Egyptian-Soviet relations being restored, in addition to American aid to Egypt, which at that time reached USD 1.3 billion in military aid and USD 815 million in economic aid. In any case, the US-Egyptian relationship endured but turned somewhat cold. The situation remained like this until the time came to restore this to previous levels. That moment was when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. Amidst this flagrant threat against the region’s security, Egyptian-American relations were ready for a new honeymoon that lasted throughout the entire 1990s. During this period, Kuwait was liberated, the Arab-Israeli peace process began and produced the Jordanian-Israeli peace and the Oslo Accords. Egypt, and particularly Sharm Al-Sheikh, was a center for negotiating and dealing with crises and obstacles. Egypt was also a passage for American forces in the East. Were it not for the argument over Israeli nuclear weapons during the mid-1990s, this decade would have been characterized by the closest relations between Cairo and Washington.
It’s always difficult to determine the exact time when relations began to deteriorate. As the new century began, Egypt first thought that the George W. Bush administration would be the same as the Bush senior administration. But that did not prove to be the case. The new president was not just thoughtless he was also surrounded by a group of obsessed neo-conservatives. The 9/11 attacks ignited a wave of new aggression in America’s approach. This can be seen in the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and accusing Arab countries, particularly Egypt, of being responsible for terrorism due to a lack of democracy.
During the last phase of the Bush administration, relations reached their nadir over the second Palestinian intifada and the American behavior towards Iraq and the Islamic world. Egypt has suffered at the hands of terrorism, like all other countries, but the American approach of dealing with this phenomenon is based on a twisted methodology that has produced poor results.
Bush’s second presidential term failed to soothe relations between Cairo and Washington, and it appeared as though Barack Obama’s presidency could pave way for a new era of relations.
What’s strange is that Cairo, during George Bush’s presidential term, was subject to right-wing’s criticism because it was considered undemocratic. But now during the Obama era, the criticism comes from the left-wing which believes that democracy will not exist in the Middle East, and particularly in Egypt, except via the Muslim Brotherhood. This logic is crooked and the movement collapsed after the June revolution. America subsequently filed for divorce after it suspended aid. What’s left is a thin line of aid and sporadic phone calls between Egypt and America’s ministers of defense. The current relations are thus in a phase of separation and divorce is usually the natural result of a separation that lasts for an extended period.