April 14/14


Bible Quotation for today/Wethering Of The Fig Tree

Matthew 21,17-27/: "He left them, went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there. In the morning, when he returned to the city, he was hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the side of the road, he went to it and found nothing at all on it but leaves. Then he said to it, ‘May no fruit ever come from you again!’ And the fig tree withered at once. When the disciples saw it, they were amazed, saying, ‘How did the fig tree wither at once?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only will you do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, "Be lifted up and thrown into the sea", it will be done. Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive.’ When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, ‘By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?’Jesus said to them, ‘I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?’ And they argued with one another, ‘If we say, "From heaven", he will say to us, "Why then did you not believe him?" But if we say, "Of human origin", we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.’So they answered Jesus, ‘We do not know.’ And he said to them, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

Latest analysis, editorials, studies, reports, letters & Releases from miscellaneous sources For April 14/14

Maliki makes allies of Sunni extremists/By: Abdulrahman al-Rashed/Al Arabiyia/April 1414


Latest News Reports From Miscellaneous Sources For April 1414
Lebanese Related News

Geagea: I Would Not Have Run in Elections if I Wasn't Certain of March 14 Support

Rifi: Rifaat Eid outside Country, No New Violence

Al-Rahi: Parliament Must Take into Consideration State's Capabilities when Studying Wage Scale

Qaouq Urges President Who Can Fortify Lebanon against 'Israeli, Takfiri Aggressions'

Three Children Killed in House Fire in Akkar

Report: Washington, Paris Seek Presidential

Security Plan to Be Implemented in Beirut Soon

Jumblat: My Bloc Will Object to New Wage Scale that Lacks Clear Funding

Car thief arrested in Jbeil

MEA blames passenger fall on Syrian war

Miscellaneous Reports And News

Nuclear Chief Says Iran Needs 30,000 New Centrifuges for Fuel

Report: Iran says entitled to enrich uranium at 90% weapons-grade level

Iran court overturns ex-US Marine's death sentence

US looking into Syria toxic gas reports

Assad Says War Turning in Regime's Favor

Fierce Air Raids on Rebel Bastions in Damascus Province

Syria war creeps towards Assad's coastal heartland
Kiev bows to Moscow, devolves near-autonomous powers on restive pro-Russian regions
2 Dead, 9 Hurt as Ukraine Special Forces Clash with Pro-Russia Militias

Israel Police, Palestinians Clash at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to meet without US presence

Liberman: Palestinians repeating pattern of stepping back at last minute

Armenia Names New Prime Minister

Report: Iran scraps plan to send warships to Atlantic  

Geagea: I Would Not Have Run in Elections if I Wasn't Certain of March 14 Support

Naharnet /Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea stated that the deterioration of the situation in Lebanon led him to run in the presidential elections, reported the Saudi daily al-Watan. He told the daily: “I would not have run in the elections if I was not certain of the March 14 alliance's support for me.”He made his remarks in an interview to the daily that will be published on Monday. “The alliance is very close to endorsing my candidacy,” continued Geagea. “We have our own political agenda and we must seek, with all our powers, to implement it,” he stressed. “Lebanon has become an open ground for chaos, which leaves it vulnerable to further deterioration,” warned the LF chief. “Traditional remedies” are no longer possible given this reality,” he noted. Geagea therefore urged officials to assume their responsibilities towards the state and citizens. “Strong individuals should assume official posts in order to strengthen the state,” he declared. “Lebanon should have a strong president who is capable of implementing a strong political program,” he continued. Geagea is so far the only official to announce his nomination for the presidential elections. He is scheduled to announce his program next week. Lebanese media have in recent weeks identified other presidential hopefuls as Kataeb Party chief and ex-President Amin Gemayel and MPs Butros Harb and Robert Ghanem, who are like Geagea members of the March 14 alliance. Other potential candidates are Hizbullah allies Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun and Marada Movement leader MP Suleiman Franjieh.

Al-Rahi: Parliament Must Take into Consideration State's Capabilities when Studying Wage Scale
Naharnet/Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi hoped on Sunday that parliament would take into consideration the people's rights as it studies the new wage scale during a session on Tuesday.
He said: “We hope parliament will take into consideration the people's rights and the state's capabilities when studying the scale.” He made his remarks during a sermon on the occasion of Palm Sunday.
In addition, the patriarch said that needed reforms at state institutions linked to the wage scale should be tackled by parliament during its session next week.The Joint Parliamentary Committees referred on Friday the new wage scale to parliament after arduous discussions that were accompanied by demonstrations by the Syndicate Coordination Committee that was pressuring lawmakers to refer the scale to parliament. Parliament is scheduled to meet on Tuesday in order address the scale. Commenting on the presidential elections, al-Rahi hoped that Speaker Nabih Berri would schedule parliament sessions in order to address the polls and possible candidates. He urged the need for consultations among the political parties in order to reach an agreement on a presidential candidate so that the polls would be held within the constitutional deadline, which began on March 25. Al-Rahi had remarked on Friday that the patriarchate does not meddle in the presidential elections, saying that this issue concerns parliament alone. He added that he will accept any legitimately-elected president regardless whether he is a member of the March 8 or 14 alliance. President Michel Suleiman's six-year term ends in May. but the constitution states that parliament should choose a new head of state within a two-month period. Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea was the first to announce that he will run for the presidency and is set to unveil his presidential program next week.

Rifi: Rifaat Eid outside Country, No New Violence

Naharnet/Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi confirmed Sunday that Arab Democratic Party leader Rifaat Eid left the country as an unprecedented security plan got underway in Tripoli, reassuring that the northern city will not witness any new round of sectarian violence. “From now on, there won't be any new round of violence in Tripoli and (former) Prime Minister Saad Hariri is seriously thinking of turning Syria Street into a … piece of art, similar to what martyr premier Rafik Hariri did in Beirut,” Rifi said. “Military conflict, fighting, wars and shelling will be things that belong to the past,” Rifi added, during a reconciliation between the al-Aswad and al-Lisa families which he sponsored at his Tripoli residence. The justice minister, who had served as the chief of Internal Security Forces for several years, stressed that “the security plan will continue and the residents of Tripoli and the North will support it.” “Most fugitives have become outside the country and according to confirmed information, Rifaat Eid is also outside the country, contrary to what some reports have claimed,” added Rifi. Turning to the issue of the presidential election, the minister emphasized that there is no “excuse” to delay the vote.
“I tell the Lebanese that we don't have any security excuse or any other excuse that prevent holding this constitutional election,” Rifi underlined. On Saturday, Arab Democratic Party spokesman Abdul Latif Saleh was detained by the army for several hours after he told al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper that Eid was still in Tripoli. The military judiciary had issued on Tuesday an arrest warrant in absentia against Eid, days after he was charged with belonging to an armed group, possession of arms and inciting sedition.  Security forces kicked off last week a security plan in Tripoli, seizing arms depots and detaining wanted suspects, who are involved in security chaos in the area. Tripoli has witnessed around 20 sectarianly-motivated gunbattles in recent years between the rival neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen. The war in Syria has played a major role in aggravating the tensions between the two districts.

Jumblat: My Bloc Will Object to New Wage Scale that Lacks Clear Funding
Naharnet/Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat stressed the importance of reform at public administrations in order to ensure the success of the new wage scale, reported the daily An Nahar daily on Sunday. He explained: “My parliamentary bloc will object to the new wage scaled if it lacks clear means of funding.” “We will not advocate the scale, despite the legitimate need for it,” he added.
He also revealed that his National Struggle Front bloc will convene on Monday in order to tackle this issue. The Joint Parliamentary Committees approved on Friday the new wage scale after arduous discussions over its funding and despite disagreement over some issues that will be tackled during a parliamentary plenary session. It has since referred the wage scale to parliament that will hold a session on Tuesday to address the issue. The Syndicate Coordination Committee, which had been staging demonstrations to pressure the Joint Parliamentary Committees to adopt the wage scale, met on Sunday in order to discuss its next measures following the scale's referral to parliament. It warned that it may stage a sit-in in protest against the Joint Parliamentary Committees' amendments to the scale, saying that it will convene on Monday in order to address its future actions. Head of the private school teachers association Nehme Mahfoud meanwhile told An Nahar: “We received assurances from lawmakers that the wage scale will not implemented in installments.” “We will study all possibilities in order to be prepared for what may take place at parliament on Tuesday,” he revealed. The SCC had warned of escalation in the protests, of an open-ended strike and of boycotting the correction of official exams if parliament fails to endorse the new wage scale. Former Prime Minister Najib Miqati's cabinet approved in 2012 a new salary scale for public employees ending a long dispute that had prompted the SCC to hold several sit-ins and strikes. President Michel Suleiman signed the decree mid-June 2013 and it was referred to the joint parliamentary committees for further scrutiny. The wage increase will be retroactive from July 1, 2012. The state treasury will have more than $1.2 billion to cover as there are over 180,000 public sector employees including military personnel

Security Plan to Be Implemented in Beirut Soon
Naharnet/The army and Internal Security Forces' security plan that has been implemented in the northern city of Tripoli and in the eastern Bekaa Valley will soon be brought to Beirut, reported the pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat on Sunday. The plan will soon be implemented in Beirut's western neighborhood, southern suburbs, and Tariq al-Jadideh district. The army and ISF have been given the green light to enter these areas, said the daily. Sources monitoring the plan told Asharq al-Awsat that the success of the security plan can be attributed to the local, regional, and international cover being granted to it. On Thursday, the army deployed in the Bekaa Valley at the start of the security plan after armed forces took full control of all checkpoints on the road linking the towns of Arsal and Hermel near the Syrian border. The Lebanese army tightened its grip on Saturday on Baalbek's al-Sharawina neighborhood and carried out raids in search of suspects, succeeding in the arrest of one of the most dangerous fugitives, Ali Khodr Jaafar. A similar security plan had gone into effect in the northern city of Tripoli where scores of suspects have been arrested for their involvement in several rounds of fighting between the rival neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen.

Report: Washington, Paris Seek Presidential Elections on Time, Avoid Endorsing Candidates

Naharnet/The United States and France are eager for Lebanon stage the presidential elections on time, reported the Kuwaiti daily al-Anba on Sunday. Informed sources told the daily that the two sides are keen that the elections are held within the constitutional deadline, adding that they will not voice their preference to any candidate. Saudi Arabia is likely to adopt this position as well, said the daily. Moreover, al-Anba noted that regional and international powers are not tackling the presidential elections, leading observers to believe that resolving pending issues will take place a few days before the elections. They warned however that the possibility of a presidential vacuum has not been ruled out. Washington and Paris have voiced their rejection of vacuum, with the sources noting that foreign powers will not play a role in the elections until local affairs over the issue are resolved. The foreign powers will likely only intervene if they sense that Lebanon is headed towards a vacuum in the country's top post, added al-Anba.
President Michel Suleiman's six-year term ends in May but the constitution states that the parliament should choose a new head of state within a two-month period, which was on March 25.
Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea was the first to announce that he will run for the presidency and is set to unveil his presidential program next week. Lebanese media have in recent weeks identified other presidential hopefuls as Kataeb Party chief and ex-President Amin Gemayel and MPs Butros Harb and Robert Ghanem, who are like Geagea members of the March 14 alliance. Other potential candidates are Hizbullah allies Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun and Marada Movement leader MP Suleiman Franjieh.

Three Children Killed in House Fire in Akkar
by Naharnet/Three children from the Hammoud family died on Sunday in a fire that erupted in a house in the northern region of Akkar, reported the National News Agency. It said that the fire may have been caused by electrical wire friction. Voice of Lebanon (93.3) said that the fire broke out at the residence of Jamal Hamad, while NNA identified the children as Hassan, 4, and Nouhad, 3, and Mehdi, three months. The house is located in a remote region in the outskirts of the town of Halba. Civil Defense teams are working on extinguishing the blaze. Forensic experts have since arrived at the scene and launched an investigation in the incident. The victims have since been transported to Dr. Abdullah al-Rassi Government Hospital. President Michel Suleiman later expressed his sorrow over the deaths, stressing that those responsible for the incident should be held accountable, reported al-Jadeed television.

Qaouq Urges President Who Can Fortify Lebanon against 'Israeli, Takfiri Aggressions'
Naharnet/Deputy head of Hizbullah's Executive Council Sheikh Nabil Qaouq on Sunday stressed his party's insistence on the election of a new president, noting that the Lebanese have a chance to choose their next head of state with a “purely Lebanese will.” “The Lebanese are before an extraordinary opportunity to elect a president for the republic with a 100% Lebanese will,” Qaouq said during a Hizbullah ceremony in the South. “We strongly insist on the election of a new president and reject any extension of the current president's term, as this is a final and well-known stance and we won't back down from it,” the Hizbullah official added. He pointed out that the national interest and the “critical period” require the election of a president who can “protect Lebanon's identity, position and national role.”The new president must be “entrusted with strengthening Lebanon's position in the face of the Israeli and takfiri aggressions,” Qaouq went on to say. “This is how we understand the presidential juncture and we will perform our national duties accordingly.” The constitutional timeframe to elect a successor to President Michel Suleiman began on March 25, amid the president's refusal of any extension of his term -- which ends May 25.  Hizbullah had boycotted a March 31 national dialogue session following a war of words with the president over the so-called army-people-resistance equation. The party's secretary-general Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has said that Suleiman's “latest stances have made him lose his role as national dialogue moderator.”

2 Dead, 9 Hurt as Ukraine Special Forces Clash with Pro-Russia Militias
Naharnet /At least two people were killed and nine wounded on Sunday in gun battles between Ukrainian special forces and pro-Kremlin militias that threatened to scuttle the first international talks on the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War. The clashes across the ex-Soviet state's separatist eastern rust belt broke out a day after masked gunmen stormed a series of police and security service buildings in coordinated raids that Kiev blamed on the "provocative activities of Russian special services." The heavily Russified region has been riven by unrest since a team of Western-backed leaders rose to power in February on the back of bloody protests against the old regime's decision to reject an EU alliance and look for future assistance from the Kremlin. Russia has since massed around 40,000 soldiers along Ukraine's eastern frontier and threatened to halt its neighbor's gas supplies over unpaid bills -- a cutoff that would impact at least 18 EU nations and threaten further retaliation against the Kremlin.
Saturday's attacks were especially unsettling for both Kiev and Western leaders because of their remarkable similarity to events leading up to Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula last month.
The balaclava-clad gunmen were armed with special-issue assault rifles and scopes most often used by nations' crack security troops.
Many wore unmarked camouflage uniforms similar to those seen on the highly trained units that seized the Black Sea peninsula in early March. They also moved with military precision and cohesion.
But Russia denied any involvement. And it sternly warned Kiev late on Saturday that the use of force against pro-Russian protesters could ruin the chances of the two sides sitting down for U.S.-EU mediated talks in Geneva on Thursday.
Ukraine's Interior Minister Arsen Avakov announced the launch of an "anti-terrorist" operation in the eastern Donetsk region early on Sunday morning. He said crack units from Ukraine's SBU security service moved first into the city of Slavyansk to regain control of a police station that had been seized by about 20 militants on Saturday. But Avakov admitted that his troops had to "regroup" after meeting stiff resistance and suffering casualties. "There are dead and wounded on both sides. On our side -- an SBU officer. The head of the SBU's anti-terrorist center has been wounded, as have four others," Avakov wrote on his Facebook page. "On side of the separatists -- an unidentified number. The separatists have started to protect themselves using human shields."
Russia's state-run RIA Novosti news agency cited one local protester as saying that a civilian had also been killed and two others injured. The local administration separately reported a series of heavy clashes on a highway linking Slavyansk with the region's capital Donetsk to the south. The Donetsk administration said one person was killed and four wounded in an "ongoing armed standoff" on a stretch of the road connecting Slavyansk and the town of Artemivsk. The statement added that authorities were still checking to see "whose side the casualties were on."
Slavyansk residents meanwhile reported a run on stores and general panic among locals in the poor mining town of 100,000 people.
"By nine in the morning, the stores had run out of bread," 47-year-old Yelena told Agence France Presse as attack helicopters hovered overhead. "Everyone is in panic. People are waiting for a war to break out." Saturday's raids drew expressions of grave concern from world leaders and Russian warnings against any use of force against the militants. The U.S. State Department said John Kerry phoned his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Saturday to make "clear that if Russia did not take steps to deescalate in eastern Ukraine and move its troops back from Ukraine's border, there would be additional consequences." EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she was "gravely concerned" and urged Russia to pull back its troops from the border and to "cease any further actions aimed at destabilizing Ukraine." But she also praised Kiev's new leaders "for pursuing their law and order operations in a measured way, in order to establish the authority of the state." Britain's Foreign Office on Sunday said the wave of occupations of government buildings was "a dangerous escalation." "Assumptions that Russia is complicit are inevitable as long as Moscow does not publicly distance itself from these latest lawless actions. NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen also said that the "reappearance of men with specialized Russian weapons and identical uniforms without insignia, as previously worn by Russian troops during Russia's illegal and illegitimate seizure of Crimea, is a grave development." But Russia's Lavrov warned that the Geneva talks would be in jeopardy if Kiev used force against "residents of the southeast driven to despair." The latest wave of unrest began last weekend when protesters seized the seat of government in Donetsk after similar actions in the eastern cities of Lugansk and Kharkiv.
The Donetsk protesters heavily fortified the building and announced the independence of the "Donetsk People's Republic" -- the flag of which has gone up over newly seized security buildings across the region. Pro-Russian protesters in the region fear a loss of their rights to speak Russian and the collapse of an already depressed economy if their government cuts ties with their close and historical ally.
But many of the pro-Russian protests have only drawn crowds of a few hundred and local polls showed the majority of citizens in the Russian-speaking east preferred to remain part of Ukraine.
Source/Agence France Presse

Israel Police, Palestinians Clash at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa

Naharnet /Palestinians and Israeli police clashed at the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City on Sunday, police said. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the violence erupted when police opened one of the walled compound's gates to non-Muslim visitors, according to the regular visiting hours. "Stones and a number of Molotov cocktails were thrown at police," he told AFP.
"Police responded by using stun grenades and entered the Temple Mount area," he added, using the Jewish term for the site where tradition says the biblical Jewish temples once stood. A later police statement said that a woman was arrested and two policemen were slightly injured. The temple site is revered as Judaism's holiest place. The compound also houses the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque, and is considered the third holiest site in Islam. Although non-Muslim visitors are permitted, Jews are not allowed to pray at the site. Rosenfeld could not say if Jews were among those seeking to visit the site on Sunday. Source/Agence France Presse

Kiev bows to Moscow, devolves near-autonomous powers on restive pro-Russian regions
DEBKAfile Special Report April 12, 2014/The Ukrainian government has offered sweeping autonomous powers to restive, pro-Moscow regions of the country, in an attempt to hold its head above water against Moscow, without a source of revenue or a viable army. Acting prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk told regional leaders and businessmen Friday, April 11, in the eastern town of Donetsk, where pro-Russian separatists have declared a People’s Republic, that he is ready for parliament to consider a law on referendums. The referendum staged by Crimea last month caused the region to join the Russian Federation and practically precipitated the revival of the Cold War. The devolution of power to the regions is a major concession by the pro-Western administration in Kiev to Moscow which, backed by 40,000 troops on Ukraine’s borders, demands recognition of the rights of Russian speakers living in the country’s east and south by means of a federal system..
Yatsenyuk proposed handing “executive committees” in each region, all financial, economic, administration and other powers,’ giving them “the ability to attract investment.” The central government is ready to meet “the legal demands of every resident of the country,” he said. With the separatist movement spreading – Saturday, armed men in camouflage occupied a police building in Slaviansk, 150 km from the Russian border - the provisional government in Kiev met the protesters half-way to avert Ukraine’s breakup into pro-Western European and pro-Russian regions. His only condition was that the regional administrations recognize central government in Kiev. The prime minister did not refer to the Crimean breakaway from Ukraine when he addressed the separatists. It was clear to both sides that the strategic peninsula's annexation to Russia was water under the bridge and any international deal on the future of Ukraine would have to accept it as an accomplished fact and move on.
The offer of devolution came six days before the foreign ministers of the US, Russia, the European Union and Ukraine are due to meet in Geneva to discuss how to defuse the world powers’ confrontation over Ukraine.  Yatsenyuk’s offer sounded like a trial balloon to show Moscow how far the West was willing to go for an accommodation. The Donetsk protesters turned him down on the spot, but the rules of the game are laid down in Moscow. . Even so, up until the four-way foreign ministers’ meeting in Geneva, local separatist firebrands will increasingly assert their claims in one trouble spot after another by taking over power centers in their regions. Clashes cannot be ruled out with the provisional authorities when they show resistance. debkafile: The provisional Ukrainian government’s offer of near-autonomous powers to the regions is the first backward step to be taken by the US and EU from its confrontation with Moscow since Crimea’s breakaway.
Russian troop concentrations on Ukraine’s borders are clearly there to stay, and Moscow has further turned the screw by its “gas sanction” against Ukraine, which is being charged a much higher price for its gas and told to settle payment for past supplies. If Moscow makes good on a threat to cut off Ukraine for non-payment of bills, supplies to the rest of Europe would be disrupted.
From the early days of the Ukraine crisis, debkafile’s sources reported that the government set up in Kiev had no chance of survival; nor were its leaders qualified to rule a country of 46 million – and certainly not to stand up to Russian military and economic might. Nevertheless, the Obama administration and NATO officials continued to issue a stream of portentous denunciations against Moscow – and Friday, more Crimean officials were added to the US sanctions list - even though it must be obvious to Washington that the US, Europe and NATO combined are short of the traction – military, economic and political – for forcing Moscow to accept the provisional regime. The billions of dollars they have laid out for propping it up went on a lost cause.

Maliki makes allies of Sunni extremists
Sunday, 13 April 2014
Abdulrahman al-Rashed/Al Arabiyia
Extremists like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), al-Qaeda’s branch in Iraq, have taken it upon themselves to support Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s project of remaining premier for another term. The answer to how a Sunni terrorist organization supports a rival Shiite leader lies in the rivals’ alliances. Chaos in the Anbar governorate and terrorism in Baghdad serve only one party in the elections - Maliki’s bloc. He aims to win the elections by pushing Shiite voters to stand by him against Sunni extremists and by benefiting from the ISIS’ operations and from the rebels who are in solidarity with the ISIS. Either that, or the lack of security will justify the declaration of a state of emergency and the extending of his term for another two years. This would happen thanks to Sunni extremists and fools among them.
There are groups worse than the ISIS, such as Sunni clerics like Sheikh Abdelmalek al-Saadi and others who issued fatwas (religious edicts) that prohibit participating in the elections. Such people have been responsible for the bad situation of Iraq’s Sunnis for the past ten years as they urged political boycotts due to their political ignorance: they thought they were marginalizing the regime when in fact they were marginalizing Sunnis. They have previously refused to participate in the constitutional referendum. As a result, the constitution was unfairly formulated.
“Maliki aims to win the elections by pushing Shiite voters to stand by him against Sunni extremists”
Abdulrahman al-Rashed
Then, they incited a boycott of the elections so they lost their governmental and parliamentarian share of the seats. Participating in governance and working with other sects to establish a new Iraq is the best guarantee for them and for their sons in the future.
What is outrageous is that Iran and the Syrian regime used Sunni terrorists to destabilize Iraq for seven years, once under the pretext of resisting occupation and now under the pretext of standing against Maliki’s government. It was later proven that those who ran terrorist operations in Iraq during that period were Baathist groups based in Damascus - groups linked to the Syrian regime which thought that expelling American troops from Iraq was crucial for its security. Meanwhile, Iran was bargaining with the Americans offering to curb Sunni and Shiite groups’ terrorist operations in exchange for security and political influence in Iraq. This is what Iran attained later.
Fatal mistakes
Why are a number of Anbar-based clerics committing such fatal mistakes? How can they be driven by allegations of a terrorist group like the ISIS? How can they be driven by the calls of clerics who live outside Iraq - clerics who enjoy a luxurious life with their children in the Jordan or Qatar? Maliki wants them to boycott the elections like they did twice before; this would be perfect for him. Terrorism is his card to frighten Shiites with Sunnis and urge them to vote for him instead of voting for his rival Shiite politicians. If he thinks he’s losing the elections, he’ll declare a state of emergency under the excuse of fighting the ISIS and the Anbar rebels. He will be the ruler by God’s command in Baghdad for at least two more years. He would have no partners in government and there will be no parliament holding him accountable since deputies’ terms end this summer and no elections will be held if a state of emergency is in place.
This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on April 13, 2014.