August 18/14


Bible Quotation for today/A Prayer for Help

Isaiah 33 /01-09: "Our enemies are doomed! They have robbed and betrayed, although no one has robbed them or betrayed them. But their time to rob and betray will end, and they themselves will become victims of robbery and treachery. Lord, have mercy on us. We have put our hope in you. Protect us day by day and save us in times of trouble.  When you fight for us, nations run away from the noise of battle.  Their belongings are pounced upon and taken as loot. How great the Lord is! He rules over everything. He will fill Jerusalem with justice and integrity  and give stability to the nation. He always protects his people and gives them wisdom and knowledge. Their greatest treasure is their reverence for the Lord. The brave are calling for help. The ambassadors who tried to bring about peace are crying bitterly.  The highways are so dangerous that no one travels on them. Treaties are broken and agreements are violated. No one is respected any more.  The land lies idle and deserted. The forests of Lebanon have withered, the fertile valley of Sharon is like a desert, and in Bashan and on Mount Carmel the leaves are falling from the trees.


Latest analysis, editorials from miscellaneous sources published on August 17 & 18/14

Hezbollah-backed stealth conference in Washington DC/By: Faris Ghadry/ August 18/14

Plotting a conspiracy on the run/By: Jamal Khashoggi/Al Arabiya/August 18/14

Are we looking at a new Thirty Year War/Dr. Theodore Karasik /Al Arabiya/August 18/14

Why did Hamas change its tune/By: Ron Ben-Yishai/Ynetnews/August 18/14

ISIS bringing enemies together/By: Abdulrahman Al-Rashed/Asharq Al Awsat/August 18/14

Sunnis must learn from their mistakes in Iraq/By: Tariq Alhomayed/Asharq Al Awsat/August 18/14


Lebanese Related News published on August 17 & 18/14

Ghosn: Implicit compromise led to Assir's escape

Aoun taken to hospital after breaking his shoulder
Mahfoud: UCC might correct official exams

Asiri: We Won't Allow ISIL to Impose itself on Lebanon

Twelve militants captured; two ISF members freed

Political deal underway: Wage hike before extension

Palestinian official: Ain al-Hilweh still secure

Rai: East and West must stop financing terrorism
Report: 12 Jihadists Arrested in Army Ambush in Arsal
Report: Syrian Troops Warn Tufail Residents to Evacuate Village ahead of Shelling it
Building Evacuated in Tripoli over Fears of its Collapse

Rai: East and West must stop financing terrorism

Read more:
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News ::

Mashnouq: I Have Performed My Duties Regarding Parliamentary Elections


Miscellaneous Reports And News published on August 17 & 18/14

A solid Netanyahu-Sisi-Abbas lineup confronts Hamas-Islamic Jihad at resumed negotiations in Cairo

Netanyahu: Hamas will not be able to cover its military defeat with a diplomatic victory
Bennett calls on Israel to immediately halt negotiations with Hamas

Israel ties security needs to Gaza deal

Hamas won't give up on Gaza

Hamas says Israel must accept Palestinian demands or face long war

Iran tells UN nuclear chief no talks on missiles

Kurdish fighters, US warplanes in push to retake Mosul dam

US confirms airstrikes near Mosul dam, Arbil

ISIS ‘caliph’ Baghdadi visits west Anbar towns

British PM promises action against ISIS

Iraq wants strong, lasting relationship with Saudi Arabia, says president

ISIS executes 700 people from Syrian tribe

Canada Is Selling Arms to Everyone It Can

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait to abide by UN blacklistings


A Hezbollah-backed stealth Christian conference: An ecclesial and political Stance is a Must
Elias Bejjani/17/08/14
A very suspicious Christian conference to be held next month in the USA. Hopefully the Lebanese Churches' facilities and leading clergymen, as well as the Christian Lebanese politicians and parties will have the faith, transparency and courage to dwell on the issue in question and give a clear, straightforward and genuine explanation with either a condemning or supporting position. Below the info about this questionable conference


Hezbollah-backed stealth conference in Washington DC
FARID GHADRY August 15, 2014

iraqi newswire (
A Hezbollah-backed conference entitled “In Defense of Christians” (IDC) will be held in Washington DC on September 9 thru 11. The conference gathers many of the Christian spiritual and community leaders with influence over the Levant theology and politics
Its title “Protecting and preserving Christianity where it all began” makes all the sense in the world, and its purpose, summarized below, does hit every chord perfectly:
“In the birthplace of Christ, Christians suffer for their faith and their communities are dwindling toward extinction. Christians in Syria, Egypt, the Holy Land, Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon—including more than a million Armenians across the region—all these and more face a time of crisis. We must act now to protect them in their ancestral homelands, countries where they have been driving forces of stability and pluralism for over 2,000 years.”
However, when you consider who is behind this organization, only then you realize its danger.
Allegedly, its major backer and bankroller is a Lebanese-Nigerian businessman and a Hezbollah ally named Gilbert Chagouri. My sources in Washington tell me several Federal US Agencies may be investigating Chagouri for funding Hezbollah’s terror. He is also a close business associate of Michel Aoun, the Lebanese General who stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Hassan Nasrallah. Michel Aoun appointed his man in Washington, Toufic Baaklini, to manage IDC operations in his capacity as President of IDC.
Mr. Chagouri’s goal is to exploit the insecurities many Christians feel as sectarian wars rage in the Levant and to take sole control of their communities to serve the wretched agenda of Iran and Hezbollah. “In Defense of Christians” already announced that their second conference will be held in al-Quds (The Arabic name for Jerusalem). With a successful conference under its belt in Washington DC, I predict we will see IDC begin to attack US allies in the region in support of the axis of evil in the Middle East.
Another character who allegedly may be involved is Jamal Daniel, a US businessman with strong ties to the Assad regime. As a Syrian-American, I know how loyal the Daniel family is to Assad, which goes back to the sixties when Atef Daniel, Jamal’s father, helped Assad rise to become President of Syria.
There are, also, some question marks surrounding some of the Christian and civilian leaders participating in this conference when it comes to their anti-Israel rhetoric and strong support for Assad, Hezbollah, and Iran.
For example, Patriarch Bechara al-Rahi of Lebanon has close ties to the Assad regime. He claimed to a Lebanese newspaper, on December 9, 2011, that Assad is launching reforms in the midst of Assad butchering civilians. To this day, al-Rahi remains an apologist for Assad.
Amongst the public figures attending the conference is also Syrian-born Patriarch Gregorios III Laham, a known critic and adversary of Israel and a very close ally to the Assad regime. In December 2010, Laham was quoted as saying that attacks against Levantine Christians were part of a “Zionist conspiracy against Islam”.
James Zogbi, on the advisory board of IDC, will be a keynote speaker. Zogby is the founder of the Arab-American Institute and a rabid critic of Israel. He rarely misses an opportunity to criticize and attack Israel.
Many good people unwittingly have associated themselves with IDC. US Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lethinen (R – FL) and Ex-Attorney General the Honorable John Ashcroft come to mind (There are many more). This only show the deceptive practices of Iran, behind IDC, when its agents are able to recruit patriotic Americans without a hint of their involvement in IDC. My guess Hezbollah was able to recruit them because IDC is using September 11 date to trick them into believing they stand behind the Great Satan.
Although IDC is supposed to be an avid proponent of Christianity, the organization is unable to explain some facts when it comes to that support.
How could IDC explain that Hezbollah assassinated Lebanese Christian MP Jebran Tueini and Antoine Ghanem as well as kill Christian army officers, journalists, and innocent Christian bystanders who died from their bombs? How can they explain how Assad assassinated the up and rising star President Bashir Gemayel and President Rene Mouawad as well as explain all the Assad massacres of Christians in Lebanon over the last 15 years?
Are those participating in the IDC conference realize they are associating themselves with terror against Christians? Seriously, how many Muslim terrorists you know killed Christian Presidents who reached the apogee of their careers? Only Assad and Hezbollah have committed such atrocities against Christians. The same Assad and Hezbollah this conference is kowtowing to.
There is no doubt that the Christians of the Middle East need protection from the onslaught of Islamic extremists. There is no doubt that it is the responsibility of all western leaders to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with all the Christians in the Levant and beyond. Personally, as a Muslim, I realize that without the Christians, our region would be far worse politically, economically, and socially. We owe them much and some of us wish we were in power to lead the way for a better future for all the Christians in the region without resorting to violence and terror.
I say to all the Patriarchs and the Cardinals, you all have a heavy responsibility to think about your decision. Associating yourself with mass murderers that have gassed Muslim women and children is not exactly conducive to better relations in the future with the Muslim world. Once you cross that Rubicon, it will be much harder for the next Hariris to help mend the relations.
Look at the Christians of the March 14 Movement in Lebanon to find a common solution based on peaceful co-existence, not anger, or terror. March 14 do not kill Christians or any other people. March 14 does not terrorize Muslims or Christians. Once you commit yourself totally to someone who gassed Muslims and still to this is torturing Muslims in his prisons, you are committing millions of innocent Christians to face the consequences of associating Christianity with terror against Islam.
I say to these leaders that there is a better and brighter future ahead. I urge all the Christian leaders to stand by US allies, and not against them. I urge all the Christian leaders to support the March 14 Movement in Lebanon.
Iran, Assad, and Hezbollah are a weak answer to a difficult question many of you have the right to ask considering the pressures facing you. Some of these pressures Assad concocted deliberately against you to force you to join him (Read this Newsweek article and the US State Department confirming Assad is the one who forged ISIS). History is clear about who are the terrorists and your association with them will not be swept under the rug.
Co-mingling with Iran, Hezbollah, and Assad will not serve the Christian faith in the end. Rafic al-Hariri proved there is a way for all faiths to co-exist peacefully during times of turmoil. This is why Hezbollah and Assad assassinated him. They did it to reach this point in time when you are forced to support their terror. In reality, you do have a choice to walk away from Assad and his ilk.
All American Christians and the American public should boycott this Hezbollah backed conference set-up to dominate the Christian faith in the Levant to be under the control of the terror of Iran, Hezbollah, and Assad.
Finally, my question is, “Where are the liberal Gulf countries in all of this”? Why the Saudis or the Emiratis do not stand behind the Christian leaders to back, morally and financially, a conference in the US as a countermeasure to what Iran is doing? If anything, it is the Sunni assurances the Christian communities need the most; yet, we permit them to slip away to become another lost moon orbiting the gravity of Iran instead of supporting them for all times to be independent minded and most important feel secure and safe in practicing their faith.
Read more: Hezbollah-backed stealth conference in Washington DC | Farid Ghadry | The Blogs |
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The Invitation For the Above Confrence

Sent: 7/11/2014 2:10:26 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Dear Friends:
At this moment across the Cradle of Christianity, our brothers and sisters are being persecuted and martyred for their faith. We are told in Hebrews 13 to continue to remember those mistreated as if we ourselves are suffering. As Christians, we are called to band together to shine a bright light on this ongoing, deteriorating situation in the Middle East, and to make it an issue of urgency for our fellow faithful and policymakers alike.
I write today on behalf of the Board of Directors of the newly constituted non-profit, non-partisan organization, In Defense of Christians (IDC). Our mission is threefold: awareness, advocacy and unity.
To that end, I would like to invite you to attend IDC’s inaugural Summit for Middle East Christians, in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday and Thursday, September 9,10th and 11th, 2014 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. The theme of this first-of-its kind conference is Protecting and Preserving Christianity, Where It All Began.
Distinguished speakers already committed to attend include His Eminence Leonardo Cardinal Sandri, Prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Oriental Churches, His Eminent Beatitude Mar Bechara Boutros al-Rahi, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, Ambassador Tom Farr of Georgetown University, and members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
This two-day Summit will provide us with an opportunity to join with the Diaspora of the Christian and religious minority communities to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters, and to hear from distinguished lay and religious speakers on the front lines of providing relief, shaping public policy, or ministering to the spiritual needs of those suffering at the hands of brutal regimes focused on extinguishing the light of faith in the land where Christ lived, taught and sacrificed for us.
We promise this will be a rewarding time to be informed and, we hope, inspired to stand shoulder to shoulder with those of us who support freedom and faith for all. To confirm your ability to serve as a speaker, or if you have any questions please contact me at 703-501-1024, our IDC’s Executive Director, Andrew Doran, at 734-276-7799.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sincerely yours,
Toufic Baaklini
In Defense Of ChristIans (IDC)

Report: Syrian Troops Warn Tufail Residents to Evacuate Village ahead of Shelling it
NaharnetظSyrian government troops have reportedly urged the residents of the eastern border village of Tufail to evacuate it ahead of a planned shelling, said the Kuwaiti al-Anbaa newspaper on Sunday.
The remaining residents of the village were warned to evacuate the area otherwise they may be harmed in the shelling. One of the officials in the village informed western Bekaa lawmakers that the warning was issued by Syrian forces, demanding that the evacuation take place “within hours.”The troops have alleged that gunmen were in the area. The official however denied such claims, saying that 12 families are residing in Tufail and the only gunmen in and around the region are Hizbullah members. He revealed that the officials were working on evacuating the Tufail Syrian refugee camp in the Arsal area, “but we were later surprised with the call to evacuate the remaining residents of the village.” In April, Tufail was isolated after the only road that leads to the town came under the control of Syrian government troops.
The town is located at the end of the eastern mountain belt's plains, in an area that is 24 kilometers inside Syrian territories. Tufail is surrounded by Syrian lands to its north, east and south, and by the Lebanese villages of Ham, Maarboun and Brital to its west. More than 4,000 Lebanese nationals reside in Tufail, Christians and Muslims, among them there are around 25 soldiers in the army and some 5,000 Syrian refugees.

Palestinian official: Ain al-Hilweh still secure
The Daily Star/BEIRUT: Palestinian refugee camps are stable and neutral said the head of the Palestinian National Security Forces in Lebanon, Maj. Gen. Sobhi Abu Arab Sunday, negating allegations that factions within the camps are stirring up clashes. “[The] rumors are all false ... there has not been any assault on the Army nor any recorded incident in the camp,” said Abu Arab in a meeting with Sidon MP Bahia Hariri. The Security Forces head said that Palestinian camps have committed to a neutral stand in light of recent events in Arsal and Tripoli. With regards to the Palestinian Elite Security Force, tasked with overlooking the security and stability of the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp, Sobhi said that an expansion into other camps is underway. However he added that “the decision to expand the security force to cover the rest of the camps does not stem from a sense of danger.” The circulation of the Elite Security Force will begin with Sidon’s Mieh Mieh camp, Beirut’s Burj al-Barajneh, Sabra and Shatila camps, as well as the Beddawi camp. For her part, Hariri stressed the importance of the Palestinian presence in Lebanon remaining neutral, emphasizing the need to distance the camps from what is going on locally and in the region. The Sidon MP noted the commitment of all Palestinian forces to the stability in Lebanon, hailing their efforts in maintaining security in the Ain al-Hilweh camp. “This wouldn’t have happened had it not been for the understanding of all Palestinian factions,” concluded Hariri.

Twelve militants captured; two ISF members freed

The Daily Star/BEIRUT: The Lebanese Army arrested twelve Syrian militants involved in the Arsal clashes during an ambush east of the border town Sunday, with two abducted ISF members freed by Arsal militants earlier that day. The twelve Syrians were detained for trying to enter Arsal illegally through an eastern border crossing on the village’s outskirts, a source told The Daily Star.
When contacted by The Daily Star, a military source neither confirmed nor denied the arrest, refusing to disclose any more details. "The arrest of the militants may complicate the release of other kidnapped members from the Army and the ISF, especially since it followed the release of two ISF members which was done in goodwill," Muslim Scholars Committee member Adnan Amama told The Daily Star. "The militants may say: you see how the Army and the Government reacted after we released two of their members." The release of the ISF members came after Lebanese officials urged an indication of goodwill on the part of the captors before carrying out negotiation requests. “Officials said that they would begin to tackle the requests of the militants as soon as they showed a sign of goodwill,” said Amama.
The released ISF members, Medyan Hasan and Kamal Misilmani, were transferred by the Muslim Scholars Committee to Army Intelligence, who then transported them to the Abrah barracks.
"Lebanese officials requested the release of as many captives as possible," he added, saying that the release is meant to prompt officials to meet the militants' requests. "The release is meant to show a commitment to negotiations between the two parties," Amama said. Political and security officials have promised to improve the humanitarian situation in Arsal, vowing to normalize the situation in the border region, he added. According to Amama, the militants are requesting better treatment for refugees and Arsal residents who were wounded during the clashes.
Amama said that easing harsh security measures against refugees and Arsal residents was another condition in negotiations. “They want security forces to stop treating residents and refugees as though they were all militants,” Amama said. The Committee of Muslim Scholars has mediated the cease-fire and is overseeing talks to release the captured soldiers. The release of the ISF members was without conditions said Arsal resident, Sheikh Mustafa al-Hujeiri, who facilitated the release of the ISF members. "We are continuing efforts to release the largest possible number of security forces and the Muslim Scholars Committee will not fail this regard,” he added.  Hujeiri said that there could be more abducted security personnel who remain unclaimed by militants, adding that the captured members are distributed between the Nusra Front, various ISIS brigades and other militant groups. All kidnapped members are still alive, Hujeiri confirmed. “I want to thank Sheikh Mustafa Hujeiri and the Muslim Scholars Committee, had it not been for him we would have never been released,” said one of the released ISF members to MTV. “He had been put, more than once, in situations where he and his family could have been killed and he defended us with all his power,” he said. “And thank God, as you can see we weren’t even hurt in a minor way.” A total of 38 members of security forces - 22 Lebanese soldiers and 19 policemen - were taken captive by militants who overran Arsal. Several members have been released since the start of negotiations over the captured soldiers. The five-day ferocious clashes, which had erupted on Aug. 2 over the arrest of Syrian militant commander Ahmad Jomaa, were, according to the Army Commander Gen. Jean Kahwagi, a premeditated attack on the military.

Asiri: We Won't Allow ISIL to Impose itself on Lebanon
Naharnet /Saudi Arabia Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awadh Asiri stressed om Sunday that Lebanon's stability and security “should be a red line,” reported Voice of Lebanon radio (93.3).
He told the radio: “We will not allow the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or any other group to impose itself on decisions in Lebanon.”“We hope that the unrest that was witnessed in the northeastern town of Arsal will not be repeated in any other region in Lebanon,” he added. “This unrest should prompt Lebanese unity to fortify the country,” said the ambassador. “National unity alone will protect Lebanon and preserve its stability,” he stressed. Clashes broke out on August 2 between the army and Islamist gunmen in the northeastern border town of Arsal in wake of the arrest of a prominent member of al-Nusra Front, Imad Jomaa.
A number of soldiers were killed and wounded in the unrest that ended with a ceasefire on August 7.
The gunmen withdrew from the town, but abducted a number of soldiers and security forces.
Asked about any possible dialogue in the future between the Mustaqbal Movement and Hizbullah, Asiri replied: “Saudi Arabia welcomes and encourages the Lebanese political powers to hold dialogue and reach agreements that favor Lebanon's interest.”
“Dialogue and communication is needed among all the Lebanese in order to discuss the constitutional deadlines that will help restore normalcy in the country,” he stated.
tructive dialogue, in any form, will benefit Lebanon in the short and long terms,” he emphasized to VDL (93.3). The pan-Arab daily al-Hayat reported last week that a meeting between head of the Mustaqbal Movement MP Saad Hariri and Hizbullah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah is not on the agenda of the former premier.
The meeting between the two officials will not be held any time soon as the rift with Hizbullah is still acute.
Circles close to Hariri told the newspaper that the sharp differences with Hizbullah, in particular regarding its involvement in battles in neighboring country Syria and the negative repercussions of the party's decision, is the main reason for the wide gap between the two leaders.

Rai: East and West must stop financing terrorism
The Daily Star/BEIRUT: Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai called on eastern and western states to stop funding terrorism Sunday, urging them to stop sending militants to battle in Iraq and Syria.
Rai renewed his appeal to the international community to stop financing terrorist organizations with money and weapons. The Patriarch also urged states to cease “from sending mercenaries to demolish, murder and displace” innocent citizens in Syria and Iraq. “The Arab League, the United Nations, the Security Council and the International Criminal Court should join the fight against terrorist organizations and protect religious minorities," said Rai during Sunday Mass at his summer residence in Diman. Rai urged international organizations to assist in returning the Christians of Mosul to their homes and to observe the protection of all their rights. Rai also said that he is set to visit Christians expelled from Mosul and Nineveh in the next couple of days. With respect to ISF and Army members captured by Syrian militants during the Arsal clashes, Rai prayed that "God would enable the government to liberate detainees from the military and Internal Security Forces." The patriarch lauded the principles of diversity and coexistence that are characteristic of the National Pact on Saturday night, saying that all components of Lebanese society constitute an added value to a united national fabric. “The National Pact is like the spirit of the Lebanese entity,” said Rai, highlighting that it is based on a rejection of religious theocracy as well as atheistic secularization. The patriarch spoke on the core principles of the National Pact, saying that the Lebanese have embodied all its components through an equal power sharing formula between Christians and Muslims in the fields of governance and administration. Rai said that the Lebanon “is fully independent, with an Arabic identity and belonging.”“ Lebanon collaborates with Arab and foreign countries while keeping a balance between both,” he added, saying that Lebanon grants neither entities guardianship nor privilege over the country. During a graduation ceremony hosted in Biel in Downtown Beirut, seventy students from the Lebanese diaspora were awarded certificates that would allow them to receive a Lebanese citizenship from the respective embassy or consulate in their home state. “Citizenship will give you and generations after you, all civil rights, and will keep [official] records of your names,” he said. “The immigrant cannot be equal to the deceased,” Rai added, saying that members of the Lebanese diaspora ought to be recorded in official records. The National Pact, set up by Christians and Muslims in 1943, is a charter that lays down the principles of coexistence between the two religions.

Mahfoud: UCC might correct official exams
The Daily Star/BEIRUT: The UCC might reconsider the correction of official exams Nehmeh Mahfoud,Head of the Association of Private School Teachers, told The Daily Star Sunday, saying that the union acts in accordance with what is best for the students. "We work in education and they work in politics, we are the ones who care about the future of our students,” Mahfoud said.
The union leader was aware that the education minister was using issuing passing certificates as a pressure card against the union, but “with the issuance of the certificates, the UCC is reconsidering what is best for the students,” and “might consider the correction of official exams.”Mahfoud said that the UCC will hold General Assembly meetings Monday and Tuesday, in which a decision will be made regarding the correction of the exams. “If the UCC decides to correct, and the minister refuses, let him take responsibility for ruining the students’ academic future,” said Mahfoud.
Education Minister Elias Bou Saab decided Saturday to issue passing certificates to thousands of students who took official exams, after efforts failed to convince teachers to back down on their boycott of correcting the tests. Bou Saab said that there is a precedent to issuing passing certificates and that Speaker Nabih Berri would adopt the decision to issue passing certificates in Parliament on the basis of a similar decision issued during the civil war in 1987 and 1988. Berri had held talks Saturday morning with Future MP Bahia Hariri, a former education minister, on the issue of the salary scale, the central dispute between the teachers and the government. “I have clarified to the UCC that the problem with passing the salary scale was merely political, something that is disrupting the whole country and had nothing to do with the draft law itself,” Bou Saab said. The Union Coordination Committee opposed issuing passing certificates to students who took official exams, saying that “there is not fairness or achievement when the best student and the worst are matched.”“The solution does not come by running away from the core problem and adding another problem like the issuance of passing certificates,” said Mahfoud in a statement Saturday. “We will not allow lawmakers to extend Parliament’s mandate before resolving the salary scale,” he added. The UCC leader said that the union will definitely confront plans to extend Parliaments mandate, not disclosing the specific method in which it will do so. “Parliament had already extended its mandate once without producing anything new, so if they convene in a session to extend their mandate, without resolving the salary scale, we will not let them exit the premise before they do so,” warned Mahfoud.

Aoun admitted to hospital after breaking his shoulder
The Daily Star/BEIRUT: Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun was transferred to hospital Sunday after he broke his shoulder, an MP from the former general’s parliamentary bloc told The Daily Star. “The incident happened earlier today and I am heading to the hospital right now to check on him,” said MP Alain Aoun, Aoun’s nephew. The lawmaker said that the FPM leader, who was referred to Serhal Hospital, broke his shoulder after he slipped, adding that he was in a stable condition. Aoun, 80, heads the largest Christian parliamentary bloc in Lebanon and is a presidential candidate backed by the March 8 coalition

Political deal underway: Wage hike before extension
Hassan Lakkis| The Daily Star
BEIRUT: Talks between rival Parliament blocs are cooking up a comprehensive deal that will start by passing the wage hike and end by extending Parliament’s term and resolving the budget spending matter, a legislative source told The Daily Star.
If the efforts succeed, the source said, the Parliament will hold a legislative session soon, in which it will discuss and pass the long-awaited ranks and salaries scale. However, passing the hike is most likely to come after reducing the pay rises, in accordance with the Future Movement’s position on the matter.
The Parliament would also find a legal exit for Education Minister Elias Bou Saab’s issuance of passing certificates for Grade 9 and 12 students, the source said. Although the students will receive their certificates before any legislative action, the approval will mean the minister's decision will have legal backing.
In turn, dealing with these two issues would form a good counter-argument to Speaker Nabih Berri’s view that Parliament’s previous extension was useless, the source said. After extending Parliament’s term, a step that will almost definitely occur according to the source, lawmakers will then move to resolve the public spending dispute.
In this vein, again according to the same source, the deal will include finalizing the $11 billion extra-budgetary spending of former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora's Cabinet. This will eventually lead to resolving the public spending matter, allowing the current Cabinet to pay public sector employees’ wages.
Siniora and the Future Movement have refused to finalize the current budgetary talks before coming to a final agreement on the legitimacy of the spending performed previously under Siniora's government.
However the sources said that nothing new was underway concerning presidential elections, especially after Hezbollah’s leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah confirmed Friday that March 14 should discuss the issue with MP Michel Aoun, March 8’s only presidential candidate so far.
The sources said that objections to the extension by FPM, Lebanese Forces and Kataeb cannot stop it, because the extension draft law will eventually go into effect if the President does not approve it within a month. In the case of presidential void, all the members of the Cabinet should approve the law, or else the mandate will be automatically renewed.
The opponents to extension are most likely going to complain to the constitutional council again, the source said, as they did last year. However, such a complaint is not expected to hinder the renewal of the parliamentary term.
Lebanese lawmakers had extended the mandate by 17 months in a 10 minute-session in May 2013, despite wide condemnation by many civil society and political groups. The excuse for the extension was the turmoil caused by the security situation, which is the same justification given by many MPs supporting another renewal.
The deal might come despite an ongoing tension between the Future Movement and Hezbollah, especially after the former’s officials seemed to discard any possibility of direct dialogue anytime soon.
An article published Sunday by the pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat said that Future sources consider the dispute over Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria as a “central matter that cannot be skipped over.”
The sources reportedly criticized Hezbollah’s leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah for neglecting the importance of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s return to Lebanon in his last speech Friday.
Al-Hayat said that neutral observers had noticed that none of Hezbollah’s officials had called Hariri to congratulate him for returning, “as dictated by the protocols regardless of the disagreements.”
“Starting from his eagerness to break the environment of Sunni-Shiite tension, Hariri has deepened the dialogue with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri ... due to his central position in the Shiite sect,” the sources added. However, a similar dialogue with Hezbollah is not possible as long as Iran insists on “fighting in the Syrian war through Lebanon.” If Hezbollah’s withdrawal from Syria depends on an Iranian decision, the Future officials said: “This should be treated as a military intervention in Lebanese affairs.”
Many Future MPs Saturday condemned Nasrallah’s speech, stressing that Hezbollah’s armed existence in Syria was not protecting Lebanon, but furthering its exposure to terrorist extremism.
“Contradicting Nasrallah’s claim that his fighting in Syria protects Lebanon, Arsal’s incident confirmed that Hezbollah’s participation in the Syrian war has not protected Lebanon, and that extremism creates more extremism,” Future MP Nabil de Freij said in a radio interview. Amin Wehbi, another Future bloc member, also denounced Nasrallah’s speech as “arrogant” saying the party’s existence in Syria pushed the Lebanese to experience the Syrian people’s suffering.


ISIS ‘caliph’ Baghdadi visits west Anbar towns
By Staff writer | Al Arabiya News /Sunday, 17 August 2014
Locals in the western Iraqi towns of Rawa and Qaim have said the leader of militant group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, who has dubbed himself a “caliph,” had paid them a visit on Friday.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who allegedly appeared in a widely-shared video last month while he gave a sermon in the militant-held city of Mosul, visited ISIS fighters in both towns, Al Arabiya News Channel’s Iraq correspondent reported. Baghdadi visited the towns accompanied by dozens of cars loaded with fighters. Residents speculated that Baghdadi would then be heading to Raqqa province in northern Syria, an ISIS stronghold, on Saturday evening. The July video was allegedly the first ever official appearance by Baghdadi. He was dressed in black robes and a black turban, has dark eyes, thick eyebrows and a full black beard. He spoke eloquent classical Arabic, but showed little emotion. “I am the wali (ruler) who presides over you, though I am not the best of you, so if you see that I am right, assist me,” he said, wearing a black turban and robe. “If you see that I am wrong, advise me and put me on the right track, and obey me as long as I obey God in you.”The video was released on at least two websites known to be used by the group. It bore the logo of al-Furqan, the group’s media arm. Last Update: Sunday, 17 August 2014


A solid Netanyahu-Sisi-Abbas lineup confronts Hamas-Islamic Jihad at resumed negotiations in Cairo
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 17, 2014/
Israeli warplanes over Gaza
A three-way bloc fronted the talks for a durable truce in Gaza when they resumed in Cairo Sunday, Aug. 17. debkafile’s intelligence sources report exclusively that Egyptian President Abdel Fatteh El-Sisi, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas have lined up in a solid phalanx against the Islamist Hamas-Islamic Jihad alliance.
Their lineup, backed from the wings by Saudi King Abdullah and Russian President Vladimir Putin, set itself five objectives:
1. To confront Hamas with a solid political-security front which is beyond its power to break.
2. To corner Hamas into accepting the Egyptian ceasefire proposion unchanged and unconditionally.
3. To compel Hamas to disarm, i.e. dismantle its rockets and tunnels, so pulling the teeth of its military wing, Ezz e-Din al-Qassam.
4. To distance the Obama administration from the triple bloc’s dealings with the Palestinian Islamist factions.
5. To keep the Europeans from interfering in those dealings.
The foreign ministers of Britain, France, Germany and Italy meeting in Brussels offered Friday to take charge of Gaza’s border crossings and work to prevent illegal arms flows.
Saturday, Cairo, Jerusalem and Ramallah politely informed Brussels that they preferred to handle this situation on their own and no European diplomatic or security assistance was needed.
The quiet shaping of this three-way alliance for resolving the Gaza conflict, by means of a sustainable cessation of hostilities, kept most of Israel’s and world media guessing, says debkafile. In the interests of tight secrecy, Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon chose to keep the rest of the cabinet in the dark as well, incurring loud complaints from ministers.
The proposition the three partners have formulated puts Hamas and Jihad on the spot. The Arab world has abandoned them and their only source of funding is Tehran. So their choices are grim: Face an escalated war that Israel will fight until the bitter end, or swallow hard and accept the only proposition on the table which is tantamount to disarmament and capitulation.
Their isolation is complete. The Egyptian, Israeli and Palestinian leaders have managed to cut Hamas away from any backing in Washington, Qatar and Turkey as well as blocking its path to Moscow.
To encourage Hamas to choose the right path, the Israel Air Force is cruising around-the-clock over Hamas bases and command centers in the Gaza Strip, ready at a signal to switch to the offensive if the Palestinian fundamentalists make the wrong choice in Cairo.
Mahmoud Abbas, who appeared to be sitting on the sidelines of the Gaza conflict during Israel’s month-long military operation, finally threw in his lot with Sisi and Netanyahu when it came to the crunch.

Netanyahu: Hamas will not be able to cover its military defeat with a diplomatic victory
08/17/2014 11:23
PM's comments come just prior to resumption of talks between Israel and Hamas on Sunday in Cairo: “Only if there will be a clear answer to our security needs will we agree to any understandings."
Hamas is mistaken if it thinks that it can cover its military defeat over the last month with a diplomatic achievement, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at the opening of Sunday's cabinet meeting.Netanyahu's comments came just prior to a resumption of the indirect talks between Israel and Hamas on Sunday in Cairo.
In an apparent response to Hamas's threats to engage Israel in a long war of attrition if its demands are not met, Netanyahu said that “if Hamas thinks we cannot stand for a long period, it is mistaken.”
"In the turbulent and unstable Middle East, it is not enough just to have more strength, you also need determination and patience,” he said. “Hamas knows that we have a lot of power, but perhaps it thinks we do not have enough determination and patience. And it is making a big mistake there as well.”Netanyahu said Israel is a “strong and determined” nation, whose citizens and soldiers showed “amazing resilience and fortitude” and which will stand “united and firm” until “quiet and security” is returned to the country's citizens. Netanyahu said Hamas suffered a harsh military blow, which included the destruction of their terror tunnels system that they spent years building, the killing of “hundreds of terrorists,” the interception of thousands of rockets, and the prevention of terror attacks from the “land, sea and air.”“If Hamas thinks that by a continuation of a drizzle of rocket fire, we will make concession, it is mistaken,” Netanyahu said. “As long as the quiet is not restored, Hamas will continue to absorb very hard blows.”Netanyahu stressed that the Israeli delegation to the indirect talks in Cairo is working under “very clear directives” to stand firm on Israel's security demands. “Only if there will be a clear answer to our security needs will we agree to any understandings,” he said.

Khamenei: US' treatment of black people is an anti-human rights act like its support of Israel
By JPOST.COM STAFF /08/17/2014 11:04
Iranian supreme leader takes to Twitter in wake of controversial shooting of black teenager by police, calling the US "an enemy of human rights."Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei continued to attack the human rights record of the United States on Sunday, on the background of the shooting death by police of a black youth in Ferguson, Missouri that has sparked unrest.
Khamenei has taken to Twitter in recent days to criticize arch-enemy America, declaring that, "Brutal treatment of black ppl isn’t indeed the only anti-human rights act by US govt;look at US’s green light to #Israel’s crimes."The Iranian leader called out the US for what he considers its hypocrisy on his Twitter account: "Today the world is a world of tyranny and lies. The flag of #HumanRights is borne by enemies of human rights w/US leading them! #Ferguson." The US has in the past called out Iran for violating the rights of women, gay people and political dissenters, even sanctioning the Islamic Republic for the violations. "Look at how US govt treats black community! It's not about 50-100 years ago but it's about today!" Khmaenei tweeted. "Racial discrimination is still a dilemma in the US," he wrote Sunday, posting photos depicting police discrimination and brutality, as well as bruised and beaten black victims of the violence.The shooting death of black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer has sparked protests in Missouri, which have at times turned violent. On Saturday Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency and announced a curfew to go into effect between midnight and 5 a.m. CDT (0500 to 1000 GMT), after a week of racially charged protests and looting over the Aug. 9 fatal shooting in the suburban St. Louis community.
Tensions ran high all week but escalated on Friday evening, pitting mostly black protesters against mostly white police as the demonstrators swarmed through a residential and retail district that has become a center of the unrest, and some in the crowd looted a handful of stores that night. Brown's family and supporters have demanded for days that the officer who shot Brown be held accountable. The US Department of Justice is investigating the shooting for any civil rights violations, and the St. Louis County Police department has also launched a probe. Reuters contributed to this report.


Israel ties security needs to Gaza deal
By Staff writer | Al Arabiya News
Sunday, 17 August 2014
Israel will not agree to any long-term ceasefire in Gaza at indirect talks in Cairo unless its security needs are clearly met, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday.
“The Israeli delegation in Cairo is acting with a very clear mandate to stand firmly on Israel’s security needs,” Netanyahu told ministers at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.
“Only if there is a clear answer to Israel’s security needs, only then will we agree to reach an understanding,” he said.
Cairo talks
His comments came as talks between Israelis and Palestinians for a long-term truce in Gaza resumed in Cairo, with just over a day left before a temporary ceasefire is set to expire.
The talks have dragged since Aug. 4, when both sides agreed a renewable temporary ceasefire to end a month of fighting that killed almost 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza.
The talks started in the headquarters of the Egyptian intelligence -- who mediate the negotiations -- in the absence of some Hamas leaders who were expected in Cairo later in the day.
Hamas demands
Hamas' head of foreign affairs, Osama Hamdan, said offers made to the Palestinian delegation in Cairo fail to meet the aspirations of the people, raising doubts about the chances of reaching a truce with Israel in the Egyptian-brokered talks.
“Israel must accept the demands of the Palestinian people or face a long war,” Hamdan said on his official Facebook page on Saturday.
During the cabinet meeting, Netanyahu warned that Hamas, which he said had suffered a major military blow, would not walk away from the Cairo talks with any political success.
“If Hamas thinks it will make up for its military losses with a political achievement, it is wrong,” Netanyahu said. “If Hamas thinks that by continuing the steady trickle of rocket fire it will force us to make concessions, it is wrong. As long as there is no quiet, Hamas will continue to suffer heavy blows,” Netanyahu added.
“Hamas knows we have a lot of power but maybe it thinks we don’t have enough determination and patience, and even there it is wrong, it is making a big mistake,” he said.
Meanwhile, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the Palestinians would not back down from their demands, central of which is a lifting of Israel’s eight-year blockade on the enclave, and that the outcome of the talks was in Israel’s hands.
“We are committed to achieving the Palestinian demands and there is no way back from this. All these demands are basic human rights that do not need this battle or these negotiations,” Abu Zuhri said.
“The ball is in the Israeli occupation’s court,” he said.
Last Update: Sunday, 17 August 2014 KSA 15:09 - GMT 12:09

Plotting a conspiracy on the run

By: Jamal Khashoggi/Al Arabiya
Sunday, 17 August 2014
“We must pay attention to what is secretly being plotted against us”. Did you read this sentence in a newspaper today? You must have done so because it is a frequent circulated sentence by many writers and officials. It is a simple and easy excuse to justify the consecutive errors, revolutions and collapses in the region in light of the inability to reform. What happened and is happening is nothing but “a conspiracy that was plotted at night”. But what if there were no conspiracy? What if the problem was real and we are treating it through wrong solution? If so, the problem will escalate and become bigger and stronger than the treatment.
Three issues are orbiting in the region. Their reality is almost lost amid the multi-plot novels, the Arab Spring, ISIS and the Houthis. What is the truth behind each one of them?
The Arab Spring is a historic event that was indispensable. It is the outcome of the regimes’ errors and failures. Any historian can link the failure of the Arab Spring to the erroneous establishment of most of the Arab countries after the First World War. If historians do not unanimously agree on that, they would definitely agree when they get back to the time of military coups, when military men took over the reins of power. They exterminated the educated political class that was before them, accusing it of corruption and despotism, drowning themselves in a more evil form of corruption and tyranny with their lack of experience and poor management. The economy deteriorated, education got worse and injustice spread. The Arab military formed a ruling class that monopolized power and money, so it was normal for the people to get angry. There are some who reject this objective analysis and prefer to say that it is a foreign conspiracy, an American project, and a plot set by the former American Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld a decade ago and is now being achieved, therefore we must face this plot and besiege its perpetrators. These are mere illusions and bullfights against the history power. It will not stop the Arab Spring movement from progressing towards freedom, political participation and a better life. Conspiracy theories will only postpone it until the eruption of another explosion that will be harsher than ever.
The Houthis and Iran
The Houthis are an Iranian plot. This is what many politicians and writers believe. However, this simplifies a bigger phenomenon that is contributing today to the formation of a new Yemen. Yes. The Houthis do not hide their relationship with Iran. It is not a secret that the latter backed the Houthis with money and weapons, but Iran wouldn’t have been able to fund them if they did not exist at first.
The correct interpretation is that they are a “late fundamentalist Zaidis’ revenge”, which was attacked on the intellectual and political level after the fall of the Imamate, which resisted fiercely and remained unbeaten until after the harsh civil war. The result was a contrasting inflexibility from the Republican Yemen, so it marginalized the Zaidi sect, especially on the political level that was threatening the legitimacy of the Republicans. The political side of the Zaidis is very deep; it is a key component. What made things worse is the ideological attack that targeted them by the Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood who were active, even in the Zaidis stronghold in northern Yemen. And this is what triggered the “Zaidi fundamentalism”. After this objective interpretation, some conspiracy theorists can say that former President Ali Abdullah Saleh is the first one who supported the Houthis. Others can say that they are an Iranian tool. Both theories are correct: they collaborated indeed with Saleh, and welcomed and boosted the support coming from Iran. Nevertheless, it is erroneous to say that they are “affiliated” to them. It is rather a mutual interest relation.
The new Yemen
Knowing the reason behind the emergence of the Houthis, will help in dealing with the prevention of their evil side, or cooperating with them to achieve the stability of Yemen that matters for its neighbors. Being maddened and saying that they are “created by Iran” suits for a mobilizing article and not a strategic political act.
As for ISIS, it was subject to endless “plots” stating that it is Iranian, American, Syrian and Iraqi, and is of Jewish origins. They published photos of ISIS leaders with Senator John McCain. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was quoted saying that the U.S. contributed in its formation. And of course, none of the above is true in my opinion.
“In the end, the Arab Spring will continue; it is like water, it will make its way in the end”
Jamal Khashoggi
ISIS is an angry political religious movement. It is the alternative when we cancel the peaceful political debate. We will have to deal with a young man with a disheartening face and speech, shouting “I come to kill you”, rejecting democracy and the peaceful rotation of power. He does neither believe in half-solutions nor in participation. He belongs to a movement that believes that it is the sole truth. Its ideology belongs to an extremist school of Ahl al-Hadith.
It only chooses the Hadith that promotes and justifies its anger and its vision of an Islam that is purely detached from all sects. We need courage to bring it back to its real roots so that we can face it on the intellectual level. It gets affiliated to those who reject it, and insists on joining them. I tend to compare it to Juhayman and his group, with the admiration of some of Sayyid Qutb’s ideas but not all of them. Perhaps, what weakens the confrontation with ISIS most, is the quarrel about its affiliation.
When settling accounts, it is useful to push it away towards the opponents, like saying that it is the military and terrorist wing of the Brotherhood, without paying attention that they hate the Brotherhood as much as they hate the Iranians. Politics is naturally “dirty”, and any analyst can find circumstances indicating the relation between Iran and al-Qaeda, or that Bashar al-Assad turned a blind eye on ISIS’ activity. Even more, both turn a blind eye on each other. Some can define it as affiliation, but they are like their “Houthi” enemies, engaged in the game of politics and exchange of interests. They pass through interim stances that vary with phases, gains and losses. ISIS is an “Islamic extremist” organization as much as it is a skilled “Machiavellian” one. It is like those who “gamble” with everyone, and until now, it is the one that won the final round of the game.
In the end, the Arab Spring will continue; it is like water, it will make its way in the end. It is better to support it as it needs a big brother that cares for it until it reaps for the benefit of everyone. As for the Houthis, they are a real Yemeni constituent that benefits from Iran, but their roots are purely Yemeni. They became a key player in the formation of the new Yemen, and those who want a stable Yemen, must deal with them. ISIS is also the outcome of its environment: intolerance, anger, failure and tyranny. There is a causal relation between the organization and the Arab Spring, but they have the same vision when looking forward to the future. If we understand their ideological root, we will know their weak point, and we will be able to triumph over them.
**This article was first published in Al-Hayat newspaper on Aug. 16, 2014.
Jamal Khashoggi is a Saudi journalist, columnist, author, and general manager of the upcoming Al Arab News Channel. He previously served as a media aide to Prince Turki al Faisal while he was Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States. Khashoggi has written for various daily and weekly Arab newspapers, including Asharq al-Awsat, al-Majalla and al-Hayat, and was editor-in-chief of the Saudi-based al-Watan. He was a foreign correspondent in Afghanistan, Algeria, Kuwait, Sudan, and other Middle Eastern countries. He is also a political commentator for Saudi-based and international news channels.
Last Update: Sunday, 17 August 2014 KSA 12:15 - GMT 09:15

Are we looking at a new Thirty Year War?

Sunday, 17 August 2014
Dr. Theodore Karasik /Al Arabiya
The Thirty Years' War was fought from 1618 until 1648 between Protestants and Catholics and political struggles between the Holy Roman Empire and other powers. It ended with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. The rivalry and destruction brought famine and economic hardship to all of Europe. Some pundits are arguing that MENA may be entering a period of long-term instability with no end in sight. The expansion of the Islamic State, the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli violence, and the arc of instability across Africa may see several decades of upheaval and change. Are we in the beginning of such a period of time? The answer is yes.
The key to the issue of a new Thirty Year War – from 2014 to 2044 – is searching for the common denominators. Clearly religion, terrorism, and proto-state formation are the greatest factors. Quite recently, the Islamist militant group Ansar al-Sharia declared Benghazi an “Islamic Emirate” after claiming to have taken total control of Libya's second largest city, seizing military barracks with rockets and ammunition. The official spokesperson of the extremist group told local Radio Tawhid that “Benghazi has now become an Islamic emirate.” The announcement makes for the creation of yet another Islamic state-let in the MENA region including the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Jabhat al-Nusra intends to form an Emirate in Syria in the near future. Of course, there have been other Islamic Emirates announced in the past notably in Afghanistan, Egypt, Gaza, and Iraq before the Arab Spring. But there seems to be a new urgency—and opportunity—to create these alternative state-lets.
The emergence of Emirates based on Salafist-Jihadist thought is a troubling development. Although these emirates illustrate the collapse of governance across a broad expanse of territory, endangering lives, creating chaos, and forcing the evacuation, deportation, arrest, and even execution of those not “inclusive” of the new “regime”. There is also other attributes at play: the mosaic of ethnicity, tribes, religion, and secularism that are at war with each other on multiple levels that allows Salafi-Jihadists to come to power. According to an Arab official, these Emirates are an alternative state structure that excludes everyone but the pious. But there are other more subtle attributes that make these states—Emirates—more dangerous for the entire region.
Salifist-Jihadist Emirates are the wave of the future in the turbulent areas of the MENA region. The events in Libya, specifically in Benghazi, are the most recent manifestation of an Emirate experiment and it is important to connect the dots on Emirates formation. Of course, some may question the creation of the Islamic State as part of this effort. The announcement of the Islamic State by “Caliph Ibrahim” on the first day of the Holy Month of Ramadan this year is not related to the events in Libya directly but is instead part of the evolution of the Jihadi-Salafist universe that are recognizing that now is the time to announce proto-states. These proto-states build alternative government structures and are attractive recruitment tools across the region and beyond because they offer “a new vision”. Such emirates could erupt on the Sinai Peninsula and in Houthi controlled areas of Yemen in the coming year or two.
Surrounded by threats
The ongoing warfare between Hamas and Israel may ebb and flow but there continues to be major trouble on the horizon. Israel’s ongoing Gaza operation means that Israel is now completely surrounded by threats. Not only will Islamic Jihad, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Popular Resistance Committees, and the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades not give up, but they will continue to attempt to kill as many IDF personnel as possible through terrorism. To the north, east, and south, Hezbollah, the Islamic State, and al-Qaeda affiliates are all threatening to Israel—mostly in terms of separate agendas. This threat to Israel not only takes the shape of Hezbollah-backed, Iranian Quds, Syrian troops but also the Islamic State and the groups attempts to penetrate Jordan. While ISIS tried once already to enter Jordan, there will likely be future attempts that will be used to draw the Israelis into Jordan as well as the United States due to existing security agreements between Amman, Tel Aviv, and Washington, D.C. The result may be an unholy mess, one where the IDF will not want to be engaging enemies on all fronts—and a threat that seems to have no end in any reasonable amount of time.
“Instead of the “old” Thirty Years War mostly confined to Europe, the “new” Thirty Years War will be globa”
Dr. Theodore Karasik
Across Northern Africa, is an arc of instability rising where religion and insurgency plays a major, seemingly unstoppable role. The nexus of piracy, terrorism, drugs, and transnational crime are turning the entire northern part of the continent—including the Sahel and the Maghreb, into a wide arena of instability. Terrorist groups and trans-regional criminal organizations are benefiting from the remnants of the pirate economic model from ransom to illegal trade to launch attacks against governments and civilians thereby hurting state stability in a number of different countries from Kenya, Nigeria, Yemen and North Africa. In the Horn of Africa, Al-Shabaab continues to enjoy the freedom to organize, train and access logistics, including weapons and munitions, attacking at will both soft and hard targets in Somalia and Kenya. Weapons supplies for Al-Shabaab are increasingly coming from Yemen and Libya where arms and ammunition transit due to weak border controls and internal upheaval. In addition, piracy in the Gulf of Guinea is considerably different than piracy off the coast of Somalia where more states are under severe duress.
State meltdown
Poor governance in Nigeria has produced insurgent-like activities, which have in turn produced piracy including groups such as Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force (NDPV), Boko Haram, Ansaru, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MOJWA) and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Transnational organized criminal networks seize on this chain of instability for political and economic gain and spread their operations throughout West Africa. When combined with the upheaval of the Levant, then it is clear that that there is a wide arena of grievances that will afflict the region for years and perhaps decades to come.
Overall, the pieces are all in place for a new Thirty Year War. The groups operating from Mali to Iraq are slowly turning into one overarching network of communication, duplication of objectives, subverting economies and governments, and rallying portions of the trans-regional populations—specifically youth-- to turn against their elected leaders, regimes, and clergy. The fighters who are in today’s killing fields will be tomorrow’s leaders of radical, violent groups who share one goal in common: State meltdown. State meltdown will continue to be a phenomenon for the foreseeable future unless there are strong, robust efforts to fix these problems now before the next five years elapse or the following 25 years will be extremely traumatic for the entire world economy and supply chain networks. So instead of the “old” Thirty Years War mostly confined to Europe, the “new” Thirty Years War will be global. The contingencies for such a new war need to be planned now.
Dr. Theodore Karasik is the Director of Research and Consultancy at the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis (INEGMA) in Dubai, UAE. He is also a Lecturer at University of Wollongong Dubai. Dr. Karasik received his Ph.D in History from the University of California Los Angles.



Sunnis must learn from their mistakes in Iraq

By: Tariq Alhomayed/Asharq Al Awsat
Sunday, 17 Aug, 2014
The head of a prominent Sunni Arab tribe in Iraq has said that Arab Sunni leaders and clerics in Sunni-majority provinces are prepared to join the new government, but only if certain “conditions” are met.
The news reports that covered this statement failed to clarify precisely what these “conditions” are, however wisdom tells us that Sunni participation in the new Iraqi government that Prime Minister-designate Haider Al-Abadi is seeking to form is vital. Abadi comes to replace Maliki, who has been rejected by all political forces in Iraq, not just the Sunnis. It is not in the interests of Iraq’s Sunnis at this point to repeat the mistakes that they committed following the fall of Saddam Hussein, when they boycotted the political process and let the opportunity to fix the situation in Iraq slip through their hands. This enabled some parties in Iraq to resort to political exclusion and rely on sectarian quotas. This is a state of affairs that the Americans also contributed to.
Today, Iraq’s Sunnis have a new opportunity to correct the situation and force all other political forces to respect their rights. This is something that cannot be achieved by boycotting the political process, only by participation and negotiation, particularly given the current attention that regional and international parties are giving to the situation in Iraq. It is important to strike the balance between meeting the legitimate demands of Iraq’s Sunnis, and others, and criminalizing and confronting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Iraq’s Sunnis have an important opportunity, and they must not repeat the mistakes of the past. The same applies to regional and international states; they too must not repeat their past mistakes. Mr. Haider Al-Abadi may not be the ideal alternative in Iraq, but ultimately he is the one who has been tasked with forming a new government. Abadi is someone who I first met in 2007, I know him, and have spoken with him.
Therefore, the story today is not about the fall of the tyrant Nuri Al-Maliki, but how to make the best political use out of this historic moment to serve the interests of Iraq and all Iraqis, as well as the region at large. Most importantly, Abadi today is incapable of becoming another Maliki.
Iraq’s Sunnis must participate in the new government and genuinely seek to fix the political and economic situation in the country. Regional states must also take the initiative to send envoys and ambassadors to Iraq. Now is the time for action, not hesitation or boycott. The only people who would benefit from this are the extremists, and most particularly Nuri Al-Maliki.
Therefore, we are confronted with a new and important political opportunity that Iraq’s Sunnis must take advantage of. Iraq’s Sunnis must also now take pains to differentiate themselves from ISIS, while the influential regional Arab states—and in particular Saudi Arabia—must restore normal political relations with Iraq by returning their ambassadors, and more, to the country. The goal is not to promote Iraq’s Arabs or Sunnis so much as it is to ensure that Iraq is for all Iraqis, and for the country to return to its traditional place in the Arab world.

Canada Is Selling Arms to Everyone It Can
Ben Makuch/Editor, Canada/Ynetnews
May 17, 2014
While Canada exports oil, maple syrup, and hockey players, it also deals a lot of arms. And Canadian military exports are growing: the latest available figures say sales jumped more than 50 percent from 2010 to 2011, with later years reportedly expected to spike. Which is why it isn’t surprising the Harper government is endorsing CANSEC—Canada’s premier defense trade show—and officially encouraging all Canadian armed forces personnel to attend the event in Ottawa less than two weeks from now. In a recently released government memorandum, the Chief Review Services office says CF soldiers and Department of National Defence personnel are “authorized and highly encouraged to visit the CANSEC 2014 exhibits,” because they’ll get the chance to “network with industry leaders.” In other words, soldiers and DND bureaucrats will rub shoulders with foreign army officers and arms producers touting the latest in war machines.
Besides international firms, CANSEC is showcasing the military technology scene in Canada—and it’s booming. Revision Military, a Montreal-based firm, just sold 90,000 next-generation helmets to the US Department of Defense, with countries like Denmark lining up for the future-soldier tech. It’s “Batlskin Viper” head gear brings to mind a Halo helmet. It has a lightweight polyethylene shell with protection from blunt force, blast, and ballistic threats, and a multipurpose front mount for all your night vision goggle needs.
When it comes to military technology, drones are Canada’s bread and butter with emerging companies all over the country. In 2011, little-known Waterloo company Aeryon dealt drones to Libyan rebels fighting General Gadaffi. Since, the Canadian drone company is known to count Saudi Arabia, the Canadian Forces, RCMP, and the US Army as clients. Aeryon specializes in surveillance drones and is the market standard for remote controlled systems the average Joe can master in minutes. It's currently rebranding their drones for commercial use in new agriculture and scientific markets, perhaps to shake connections with a dirty Libyan war and expand profits. From a government perspective, it’s no secret Harper is touting the emergence of Canadian arms tech as potentially lucrative business. He’s now mixing diplomacy with weapons pitches and questionable human rights records don’t disqualify customers.
Another Canadian company showcasing at CANSEC already has a lucrative production deal courtesy of the government. In February, through diplomatic channels Harper's negotiators helped a lubricate a $10 billion deal for General Dynamics Canada to build light armoured vehicles for the Saudi Arabian Army, a country known for public beheadings and not letting women drive.
There's a reason arms dealing is all the rage in Canada. With the War On Terror winding down and Canada’s own inglorious exit from a long Afghan mission, western nations are looking to recoup costs. One way is through weapons deals to foreign buyers. “Many countries, including Canada, are looking to expand defence industry exports to offset reduced demand at home,” says Dan Wasserbly, an Americas editor at IHS Jane’s. “In 2013 Canada was looking to expand the list of countries to which its defence industries may export controlled goods–but according to our records that was for the possible addition of Brazil, Chile, Peru, and South Korea,” he says. According to Wasserbly, Canada’s arms exports are regulated by the Export and Import Permits Act, with controlled items only exported to certain countries. While amendments can be made to who they sell to on that list, the bar is clearly low. It’s been reported that Harper already sanctions arms deals to countries with dicey records, like the automatic weapons deals to China, Russia, Egypt, Uzbekistan, and even Ukraine under the Yanukovych regime.
Topics: war, military, technology, drones, light, armoured, vehicles, halo, Canada, stephen, harper, power


ISIS bringing enemies together
By: Abdulrahman Al-Rashed/Asharq Al Awsat
on : Sunday, 17 Aug, 2014
We are witnessing a unique situation in which different countries, parties and tribes now have no choice but to take a position against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). ISIS is the reason behind a strange gathering of opponents. Most of the Iraqi forces—whether Sunni, Shi’ite or Kurd—agreed to reconcile out of a mutual fear of ISIS. ISIS has also accelerated the departure of Nuri Al-Maliki from the premiership with most of his Sunni opposition now returning to Baghdad, ready to cooperate. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) reconciled with the government in Baghdad, returning two oil fields to its control and ending the enduring state of estrangement. Even US President Barack Obama has been forced to renege on his promise not to involve US troops in combat operations in Iraq since the pullout. Likewise, Iran has abandoned Maliki and Saudi Arabia has accepted his successor Haider Al-Abadi. What an extraordinary turn of events! The moral of this story is that there is no place for ISIS and that it is impossible to use it to manipulate the region. There has been a heated dispute over ISIS among the tribal leaders in Iraq’s western Sunni-majority Anbar province. Some tribes have declared that with the departure of Maliki, they are now ready to cooperate with the government to fight against the terrorist organization that threatens all. Other tribes have announced that they will continue to refuse to fight against ISIS, hoping to use its advance to ensure that all their demands are met. The fight to defeat ISIS will be a long and perilous one. While its opponents agreed to put aside their disagreements in order to fight against it together, ISIS is also demonstrating its intelligence, including the intelligence to exploit the political scene. ISIS wants to exploit the disagreements between the Sunni tribes in Anbar and Nineveh. While some regional governments are trying to be even more intelligent, seeking to use ISIS to threaten not only Iraq, but also Saudi Arabia. They sought to use the Sunni tribes that rebelled against Maliki to cover ISIS’s deployment in western Iraq, enabling it to recruit the largest possible number of angry and disenfranchised Iraqis.
Now, the terrorist organization has become a serious force in different parts of Iraq. It owns oil and wheat after seizing governmental silos. It also has advanced weaponry after seizing Iraqi army stores. ISIS is able to control large areas thanks to the increase in its numbers and the money it seized. ISIS, the common enemy, has now become a general red-line, regardless of the different goals and objectives being pursued by each party in the regional game.

Why did Hamas change its tune?

By: Ron Ben-Yishai
Ynetnews/ 08.17.14,
Analysis: Palestinian delegation to Cairo talks toughened negotiating positions because they have nothing to lose.
Over the weekend, the Palestinian delegation to the ceasefire talks in Cairo changed its tune. Officials from Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and even representatives of Mahmoud Abbas – who expressed optimism on Friday – tempered their tone on Saturday.
The delegation now says that the Egyptian proposal does not answer their demands and has threatened to let the ceasefire expire on Monday and begin a war of attrition against Israel.
There are two reasons for this turn around in public declarations.
The first is that Hamas and the other Gazan factions did not receive any concession in the Egyptian draft that they could not have elicited before Operation Protective Edge.
Essentially, the Egyptian proposal is an improved version of the understandings reached during Operation Pillar of Defense – it includes the transfer of salaries for Hamas' civil employees, which Israel first offered through UN envoy Robert Serry a month before the beginning of the military campaign.
Therefore Hamas and the other Palestinian factions must demonstrate resilience in the negotiations, which will create the impression they received a respectable concession when, in reality, they elicited nothing from Israel as a result of the fighting and Egypt only offered opening the Rafah border crossing under Palestinian Authority – and likely European – supervision.
This was not the "lifting of the blockage" that the Palestinians declared as the central aim of the operation. It is possible the Palestinians will reject the Egyptian offer during the negotiations that start Sunday in Cairo, preferring a de-facto ceasefire to a fruitless Egyptian proposal.
Currently the Rafah border crossing remains closed, and it will likely stay dormant for the extended future. Hamas is in a difficult position because the leadership in Gaza feels both a commitment and a need to ease the suffering of the locals and allow them to rehabilitate their lives.
The Gazans cannot return to their lives as long as there is no formal ceasefire and the fighting may resume. The factions may threaten Israel with a war of attrition, but they recognize that such a war would cause great suffering in Gaza and may even push the local population to rebel.
The second reason to the change in tone from the Palestinian delegation relates to meetings Hamas political chief Khaled Mashal conducted in Qatar over the weekend.
The political bureau leader, currently enjoying the luxuries of Doha, never wanted the temporary truce, preferring to negotiate a ceasefire while the fighting continued – hoping that the soft Israeli public would pressure the government and Netanyahu to give in to Hamas' demands.
Mashal has maintained his position and has even managed to influence the Palestinian delegation to toughen its stance and threaten Israel with war. Khaled Mashal was and remains the central source of the hardened Palestinian positions and their increasingly exaggerated demands.
Mashal clarified this today in an interview with Al Jazeera, where he reiterated that Hamas would not concede on a future seaport or airport.
The Israeli outlook
Israel has two plays in this game. It continues its diplomatic maneuvers with Egypt in order to assure that Hamas could not rebuild and rehabilitate its military wing even if the Rafah crossing is opened by the Egyptians.
Israel has also made it clear that opening a seaport and airport in Gaza was not feasible in the near future and that such a possibility would only be accepted if the Palestinians agree to turn over their weapon caches, including rockets and mortar, and handed over a map of all the tunnels dug under the Strip.
All of this, though, is in the distant future. In the short term Israel is essentially negotiating with Egypt to assure that the supervision of the Rafah crossing involves not only Palestinian Authority security forces, but also European ones.
On Friday the foreign ministers of the European Union announced they offered to send European personnel to supervise the Rafah crossing (as previously occurred after the disengagement from Gaza). They also offered to train the personnel deployed by Abbas – if such an agreement is reached – along the security barrier with Israel.
Israel is gladly advancing such initiatives as it is interested in returning Abbas to the Strip, but also because the Europeans have a reputation as honest supervisors.
Additionally, comprehensive negotiations – through Egyptian mediation – between Israel and the Gazan factions are deliberating on measures to implement of the new understandings, in such a manner that does not allow Hamas and Islamic Jihad to utilize the arrangement to rearm.
The Israeli conclusions:
•The calm will be maintained using the deterrence measures Israel achieved during the operation. If the calm is not maintained, Israel will act with force and will not allow the rehabilitation of the Strip until its deterrence is restored. It is possible a partial seizure of the Gaza Strip would be required in order to achieve an immutable deterrence that would lead to a few years of quiet.
•Prevention of reinforcement of Gaza by having Egypt destroy the smuggling tunnels around Rafah, with close supervision over crossings by Israel, and supervision of Strip projects by European and UNRWA personnel – to assure that the cement and other construction materials are not used by Hamas to manufacture rockets and dig tunnels.
•Preventing any political gain by Hamas to assure they do not strengthen their position on the Palestinian street or the international arena. Egypt and Israel see eye-to-eye on this issue, as Egypt has worked towards that end without any influence from Israel.
•The current estimate is that even though Hamas has not achieved its aims, it will maintain the ceasefire even without a formal agreement. Israel will accept that scenario, though it clarified that if hostilities resume the Israeli response will be forceful and disproportionate. Israel will not accept a war of attrition, and would prefer another incursion into Gaza over a war of attrition which denies southern residents the opportunity to return to their homes.