August 23/14



Bible Quotation for today/Divisions in the Church
01 Corinthians 01/10-17: "By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ I appeal to all of you, my friends, to agree in what you say, so that there will be no divisions among you. Be completely united, with only one thought and one purpose. For some people from Chloe's family have told me quite plainly, my friends, that there are quarrels among you. Let me put it this way: each one of you says something different. One says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Peter”; and another, “I follow Christ.” Christ has been divided into groups! Was it Paul who died on the cross for you? Were you baptized as Paul's disciples? I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius. No one can say, then, that you were baptized as my disciples. Oh yes, I also baptized Stephanas and his family; but I can't remember whether I baptized anyone else.) Christ did not send me to baptize. He sent me to tell the Good News, and to tell it without using the language of human wisdom, in order to make sure that Christ's death on the cross is not robbed of its power.


Latest analysis, editorials from miscellaneous sources published on August 22 & 23/14

Bashir Jemayel is still Alive and Not Dead/By: Elias Bejjani/August  23/14

Lebanon’s Christians, Hezbollah and an empty presidential post/Nayla Tueni /Al Arabiya/August 23/14

ISIS is a threat to all humanity/By: Amir Taheri /Asharq Alawsat/August 23/14
Canadian MP quits NDP caucus, leader too pro-Israel/By Arthur Weinreb/Canada Free Press/August  23/14

The crises in Syria and Iraq are joined at the hip/Eyad Abu Shakra/Asharq Alawsat/August 23/14

ISIS is now chasing the Surooris/By: Abdulrahman al-Rashed/Al Arabiya/August  23/14

Iran doing business with the Great Satan/Majid Rafizadeh/AlArabiya/August  23/14


Lebanese Related News published on August 22 & 23/14

Opposition: 15 Hezbollah fighters killed in Syria

Committee of Muslim Scholars suspends mediation

Kanaan: Amendment restores democracy

Amin Gemayel Meets al-Rahi: 'Bizarre' Proposal to Amend Constitution for Presidential Polls Isn't Viable
Opposition: 15 Hezbollah fighters killed in

Jumblatt to Davutoglu: I’m proud to be your friend
Nasnas urges government to fill vacancies in ESC

LF Says Aoun 'Exaggerating' IS Threat to Defend 'Alliance with Dictators'
Report: Hariri to Inform Aoun about Limited Chances to Reach Baabda
Security Forces Patrol Attacked for Removing Construction Violation in Baalbek
Salam to Head Lebanese Delegation to U.N. General Assembly
Salam Urges Arabs for More Funds to Rebuild Nahr al-Bared
EDL Calls on Employees to Return to Service on Monday

Berri Remains Mum on Change and Reform Proposal, Says 'Others Should Talk with Aoun'


Miscellaneous Reports And News published on August 22 & 23/14

Iranian Regime Regional Threats and Strategic Responses, a book by Dr. Walid Phares

Iraq: Abadi rejects Maliki’s advice on government formation

UN: death toll from Syrian civil war tops 191,000

Iran to send aid to Gaza via Egypt: report
Israeli boy, 4, killed by Gaza mortar in south; Rocket sirens wail in Tel Aviv

Hamas conducts summary mass executions against IDF intelligence penetration

Gunmen execute 18 alleged collaborators in Gaza; Israel launches air strikes

Gaza war stops director attending Sarajevo film festival
U.N.: death toll from Syrian civil war tops 191,000
Police: Swiss mosque shooting kills one
Top Iraqi cleric urges leaders not to delay government
Iraqi, Kurdish forces try to rout ISIS in two towns
Iran denies report linking Iraq cooperation to nuclear talks
Backers of Yemen rebels gather in Sanaa amid crisis talks
U.N. slams ‘paralysis’ on Syria as death toll soars

GCC states to hold “critical” meeting on Qatar: Diplomat


Bashir Jemayel is still Alive and Not Dead

By: Elias Bejjani
It is a historical fact that patriotic, national, religious causes cannot be killed by assassinating their founders or those who lobby for them. In fact, the contrary usually happens.
History shows that major worldwide religions spread after the departure of their founding leaders. Christianity, for example, spread all over the world after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The Pharisees crucified Jesus, believing his death would put an end to his new religion. They were disappointed, and Christianity became the number one religion in the whole world. Luke 12:4 in the Holy Bible reads, “Don’t be afraid of those who kill the body and can do nothing more.”
In 1982, following in the steps of the Pharisees, Lebanon’s collaborators joined by some regional tyrants deluded themselves into believing that assassinating President-elect Sheik Bashir Jemayel, would also kill the Lebanese cause. They thought killing Bashir would destroy Lebanon’s history and identity, and sever the Lebanese from their roots.
What happened 2000 years ago, happened again in a way. History repeated itself and the contemporary Pharisees were no more lucky than the Pharisees of old. Today the Lebanese cause is known worldwide and every day more Lebanese everywhere are committing themselves to it.
On the 33 anniversary of Bachir’s election as Lebanon’s president, we renew our vows and declare again our commitment to Bashir’s cause and dream, to our national Lebanese identity, to liberation, to basic dignity and to holy resistance against the occupation.
Bashir’s cause is not dead. It cannot die, will never die as long as one Lebanese remains committed to Bashir’s patriotic beliefs and loyalty to Lebanon, to 7000 years of history and civilization … Lebanon the 10452 km2.
Bashir’s national dream for Lebanon is not dead, for no criminal can kill dreams about freedom. Dreams are acts of intellectual imaging and portrayal of aspirations, objectives and hopes that people endeavor to fulfill in reality. Bashir’s dream is alive in the hearts and spirits of every patriotic Lebanese all over the world.
Our deep-rooted Lebanese identity is unique. It was carved by our faithful ancestors in Lebanon’s mighty mountains and planted with sweat and blood in its holy soil throughout six thousand years of heroism and sacrifices. Generation after generation, Lebanese have built Lebanon and made it into a fort and oasis for freedom, and an asylum for the persecuted…. Lebanon may not be a big country, but it is big in deeds. For 7000 years Lebanon was successful in surviving with dignity, through hundreds of invaders, tyrants and conquerors…all were forced to depart in humiliation, defamed. Bashir gave our identity worldwide dimension and made it a cause and purpose for each and every Lebanese.
Lebanon’s liberation is the aim of every patriotic Lebanese. Virtues of dignity and resistance are known characteristics for Lebanon and its people. They are deeply rooted in Lebanon’s holy soil and in the Lebanese minds, spirits and conscience, as well as in their noble conduct and faith. Bashir portrayed and personified wisdom, patriotic conduct, courage, national devotion and leadership traits, all the distinctive Lebanese virtues. He carried the liberation torch, and never abandoned the Lebanese cause, and became its martyr.
Bashir Jemayel scared those who feared truth, justice and sainthood. He frightened collaborators, traitors and those who never believed in Lebanon’s history and identity. Bashir was a nightmare for all Lebanon’s enemies when he was alive, and still is, sixteen years after his assassination.
Sheik Bashir, Sheik Bashir, 33 years after your departure, you are still in our conscience and hearts. Your dream is still our dream, and we are still fighting for the same cause. Lebanon is still occupied and the 10452 km2 are not yet liberated. But in spite of all hardships and difficulties, the torch that you carried is still held high, and the battle rages. By God’s will, the fight will not cease before the complete liberation of our Lebanon, the Lebanon that you loved, cherished and worshipped.
Bashir, Bashir, you are alive. When the Pharisee’s murdered you, only your flesh passed away. And in that moment your sanctified image was burned forever into the hearts of your people. Your heroism was sealed. Bashir, you speak to the conscience of every Lebanese who believes. You live on in us, our blessed heritage.
Long Live Free Lebanon.
*This article was first published in year 2000.


Lebanon’s Christians, Hezbollah and an empty presidential post
Friday, 22 August 2014 /Nayla Tueni /Al Arabiya
It’s no secret that the fears of Lebanese Christians increased after the terrorists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) displaced and attempted to eliminate Christian and non-Christian minorities.
These fears are not exclusive to Christians. They now include all the Lebanese people, ever since the events in Arsal. A question on the circumstances of this reality has begun to surface, although has not become public yet. Will Lebanon’s Christians once again resort to arms like they did in 1975 against Palestinians and others? In other words, will they act outside the state’s legitimate protection and attempt to defend themselves? We only raise this question because there are some voices speaking out on extremist fundamentalism, which threatens the entire region, the image of civilized Arabism and real Islam. What pushes us towards openly speaking about this affair is that we sense some sort of agreement with the entire Lebanese people, or at least some sort of consensus, on the threat of ISIS and the criminal Takfirist (apostasist) fundamentalist phenomenon. There’s such a consensus but no united vision yet to confront this threat. “I don’t think the danger against the Christians should push them towards acting outside the state’s logic of protecting all citizen” One prominent figure who expressed this consensus is Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who agreed with the opinions of other parties as he spoke on the “existential threat” Lebanon and the region is facing. But is it enough for Lebanese to unite over the description of danger and its nature while everything else is subject to disputes and disagreements and while we head towards crises which feed on one another?
The presidential vacuum
I don’t think the danger against the Christians should push them towards acting outside the state’s logic of protecting all citizens. Any tendency to restore the logic of self-protection will neither serve the Christians nor the Lebanese people as a whole. At some point, it will also be dangerous to employ the presidential vacuum crisis to call for projects like federalism and other ones which would harm Christians and Lebanon’s unity in the future. These orientations - even if suggesting them is justified in certain circumstances - will provoke other conflicts. They also clearly undermine the formula upon which the Taif Agreement (which was signed to end the Lebanese civil war) was based on. So where’s the interest of Christians in these unprecedentedly dangerous circumstances in manipulating the national charter and opening the doors for an unknown situation where no-one knows will lead? Amidst all this, we wonder why the Christians haven’t gotten straight to the point and closed the entrance of all evils to Lebanon by electing a president? Filling the post of the presidency upon solid political, security and moral fortification that will guarantee the protection of Lebanon and end all excuses to extend the parliament’s term.
If Nasrallah is concerned about coming together with others to confront ISIS - and although we are not convinced by his justifications on why his party is still in Syria and despite his denial regarding this involvement’s effect in dragging Takfirist terrorism into Lebanon - why doesn’t he make the initiative of taking a flexible stance that paves the way to reaching a consensus over a new Lebanese president, instead of obstructing attempts to end the presidential crisis?


Committee of Muslim Scholars suspends mediation
Daily Star/BEIRUT :The Committee of Muslim Scholars announced Friday that it is, in principle, suspending its role as a negotiator over captured security personnel, expressing hopes that other actors would step in to fill its place. “We suspend our [role as] mediators until better conditions are available,” committee member Sheikh Adnan Amama said to media outlets after a decisive meeting with Prime Minister Tammam Salam. “Our withdrawal will make way for other intermediaries who may have greater pull with respect to the issue,” he said. “A file of this caliber has many challenges,” Amama added, expressing hopes that “better conditions” would surround the case. The Committee of Muslim Scholars met with Prime Minister Tammam Salam Friday afternoon. “If the government sticks by the 'no-compromise' policy during the meeting, then the door to negotiations would be closed,” Amama said prior to the meeting. The Committee of Muslim Scholars had previously cited rumors that Qatar or Turkey might be brought in as foreign intermediaries.However, Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk said in remarks published Thursday that Lebanon was working to free the kidnapped soldiers and policemen without the help of any foreign mediator. Last year, Qatar, with mediation from General Security head Abbas Ibrahim, played a crucial role in the release of nine Lebanese pilgrims taken hostage by rebel groups in Syria. The 4 p.m. meeting in the Grand Serail which had been billed as lasting no more than 30 minutes, in the end lasted close to two hours.
Amama said the scholars were waiting for Lebanon’s official response to demands put forward by militants from the Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) to free 29 Lebanese soldiers and members of the Internal Security Forces who were seized during clashes in the border town of Arsal in early August. The prime minister’s office said that it would not disclose any information concerning the meeting, continuing the government's information blackout over the negociations. In addition to Amana, the delegation from the Committee of Muslim Scholars includes Ahmad al- Kurdi, Samih Ezzedine, Ghayth al-Solh and Ibrahim Beydoun. With regards to the release of Roumieh prisoners that are allegedly included in the demands, Amama said that they had “yet to reach the stage of listing exact names.”“There is a general demand for releasing Syrians placed under injustice,” he said, emphasizing that speculation over the identities of the exact suspects is still “premature.”The committee member said the government had already carried out humanitarian demands, such as the delivery of aid and the treatment of refugees wounded during clashes. The committee was earlier reportedly weighing the option of withdrawing from its role as intermediary after Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk said that the government would not make “compromises” with the militants and after rumors circulated that external actors would step in. Unconfirmed sources from the Central News Agency have alleged that the Nusra Front would release a video of the eleven Army captives in the next few hours.
The video was said to contain vital information that may change the direction of the case. The CNA reported that the suspension of mediations resulted from the emergence of new complications, saying that the involvement of international actors in mediation efforts was likely behind the suspension.  The suspension of the Committee of Muslim Scholar’s role also came after militants altered certain demands and amplified others, the CNA reported

Opposition: 15 Hezbollah fighters killed in Syria
The Daily Star/BEIRUT: The opposition National Syrian Coalition said 15 fighters from Lebanon’s Hezbollah had been killed in recent battles against Syrian rebels in the village of Flita in Syria’s mountainous Qalamoun region on the border with Lebanon. “In Qalamoun, 15 members of the terrorist Hezbollah militia have been killed in clashes with revolution fighters in the outskirts of Flita,” the coalition said in a statement Thursday. It claimed that the rebels captured several new positions in the rugged region. In the same statement, the coalition said the Syrian regime forces dropped several barrel bombs on the outskirts of the east Lebanon town of Arsal during clashes with rebels Thursday. Hezbollah and regime forces retook a number of villages on the Syrian side of the border this spring, including Flita. The regime, backed by Hezbollah, has worked in recent months to clear out the remaining rebel fighters from Qalamoun, which has been used as a transit point for fighters and weapons entering the country from Lebanon. On Thursday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition-aligned group that documents causalities from the more than 3 year old civil war, reported that at least 561 Hezbollah fighters had been killed in Syria since it began openly fighting on the side of the regime early last year. The resistance party says it is fighting in Syria to prevent Islamist militants from bringing the battle into Lebanon. Syrian rebels have been blamed for a spate of car bombs that rocked Lebanon over the past year, mainly targeting areas with Shiite majorities and Lebanese Army positions


Kanaan: Amendment restores democracy
The Daily Star/BEIRUT: The Free Patriotic Movement's proposal to amend the Constitution is a bid to restore democracy and ensure proper Christian representation in Lebanon's top post, Change and Reform bloc MP Ibrahim Kanaan said Friday. “The Lebanese people have the right to elect their president and the current proposal would reinstate that right to the people,” Kanaan said at news conference in Parliament explaining the party's draft law for a direct election of the president. Kanaan explained that the amendment would be limited to the second clause of Article 49 of the Constitution and did not entail a change of Lebanon’s political system from a parliamentary system to a presidential one. “For those who claim that amending Article 49 leads to undermining the national reconciliation pact, we remind them that this clause has been amended several times over the past 25 years and in a negative way, twice for extending presidential mandates and twice to hold the presidential poll at the last minute,” Kanaan said. He argued that the proposed amendment “this time is aimed at resolving once and for all the deadlock in the presidential poll in which Lebanon is currently caught up.”Under the proposed amendment, the president would be elected in two rounds of direct voting by the electorate. In the first round, only Christians would vote. But in the second round the whole electorate, both Muslims and Christians, would choose among the two candidates who scored the highest in the first round. The proposal, initially put forth by bloc leader and head of the Free Patriotic Movement Michel Aoun in June, does not stand a chance to be passed in Parliament, with March 14 coalition parties dismissing it as an attempt to meddle with the Constitution to serve the interest of one person. The proposed amendment was blasted before the draft law was presented by Kanaan.
Future MP Issam Araji said the timing was was not suitable to “deal a blow to the constitution and the Taif Agreement” which sealed national reconciliation ending 15 years of devastating Civil War. “Aoun might think that his proposal for direct election from the people would increase his chances, but Constitution should not be changed for the sake of a single person,” Araji said in an interview with Voice of Lebanon Radio. Lebanese Forces MP Fadi Karam slammed the proposal, saying “it is a maneuver aimed at serving the interest of one person seeking to retire in Baabda Palace,” in reference to Michel Aoun. Although he has refrained from announcing his candidacy, Aoun is vying for the top post with the backing of the Hezbollah-led March 8 coalition.  March 8 MPs have boycotted several sessions to elect a successor to President Michel Sleiman, whose tenure expired on May 25, in the absence of an agreement on a compromise candidate.

Jumblatt to Davutoglu: I’m proud to be your friend
The Daily Star/BEIRUT: MP Walid Jumblatt Friday congratulated Turkish Prime Minister-designate Ahmed Davutoglu on his recent appointment, saying he was proud to be his friend.
Turkish President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan Thursday named Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu as his successor as prime minister. In his cable, Jumblatt hailed Davutoglu for his diplomatic expertise “that has contributed over the years to restore Turkey’s great regional role in line with its history, its weight and its location.” Jumblatt expressed hope that Davutoglu’s role as prime minister would “help achieve a quantum leap in the new Turkish politics and in preserving democracy, pluralism and diversity in Turkey at a time when the entire region has shifted to unilateralism, chaos and obscurantism.” “I’m proud of my friendship with Davutoglu, which has been going on for many years,” he said, pointing to the many difficult stages and successive crises experienced by Lebanon all the way to Syrian conflict “which, unfortunately, turned into a devastating war.”

Nasnas urges government to fill vacancies in ESC
Dana Halawi| The Daily Star
BEIRUT: President of the Lebanese Economic and Social Council Roger Nasnas called upon the government Thursday to break years of stalemate and appoint a new assembly for the ESC. “We are trying to raise awareness so that our politicians and our public opinion will understand that the ESC has a very important role to play in economic and social life. Therefore they [ministers] should set aside their demands in terms of representatives in order to let the institution work again,” he told The Daily Star in an exclusive interview.
The ESC is an institution that was created within the scope of the Taif agreement. The organizational law governing the body’s operations was adopted by Parliament in 1995, and the ESC’s first assembly was appointed by the government in 1999.  The council gathers representatives of Lebanon’s civil society and is composed of 72 members from different sectors and backgrounds. Nasnas was elected as president in December 2000 and still holds this responsibility today. However, his activities have been largely limited to keeping the institution operational until the appointment of new members. “The inability to appoint new members is due to the paralysis in state institutions,” Nasnas said, adding that action should be taken soon to enable to council to assume its full responsibilities. The ESC’s main role is to advise the government in its economic and social policy.
“It is very important to appoint the assembly and then the civil society will be able to participate by enriching the society and government with its studies and practical expertise in the different sectors of the economy,” he said. “This will help in formulating a broad economic and social strategy.”Although the lack of a full assembly has curtailed the ESC’s activities, Nasnas said that he has been able to create momentum for the council by communicating and creating direct links with economic and social councils worldwide.  “I created a great image for Lebanon through the council and proved its presence outside the country,” he said. Nasnas added that he participated in a meeting in Bucharest last May which gathered economic and social councils from around the world. The participants, thanks to the efforts of Nasnas, sent a letter to Prime Minister Tammam Salam informing him that they would pressure their governments to support Lebanon regarding the issue of Syrian refugees. “I also received an email today from ESC in Congo offering to help on the Syrian refugee issue,” he said. Nasnas has also launched several workshops and conducted important studies in cooperation with experts in order to draw a clear vision that can be implemented upon the appointment of any government.  The studies conducted by Nasnas and his team of experts covered issues such as the state of private high school education, the economic and social crisis, small and medium enterprises, social security reform and costs of production in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. Nasnas has also invited experts from foreign councils to review the law that was prepared by the Parliament for the establishment of the council. “The law that was adopted by the Parliament for establishing the council should be reformed,” he said. “A team of experts did a study on how it should be reformed in terms of structure and earmarking money to members in addition to changing other items in the law.”



ISIS is a threat to all humanity
Amir Taheri /Asharq Alawsat
Friday, 22 Aug, 2014
How should one define the group that, under different names, has produced a genuine tragedy in parts of northwestern Iraq? Before the true extent of the group’s atrocities became widely known, devotees of the politically correct discourse referred to the group as “militants.” At the start of his presidency in the US, Barack Obama labeled the precursors of the group as “extremists.” He shied away from describing them as “terrorists” because that was the term that his predecessor George W. Bush had used. In Western Europe, those who still chase the mirage of multiculturalism suggested an even friendlier term: “Islamic fighter.” So, is the self-appointed Caliph Ibrahim of the “Islamic State,” aka Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, an extremist, a militant a, terrorist or an Islamic fighter?
It may be possible to suggest that none of these terms accurately describe a movement that operates across quite different ideological trajectories. The terms used so far all imply the existence of a spectrum of behavior that can be understood in terms of human reality. An extremist is someone who pursues an ideological objective with exceptional zeal by investing more than his share of time and energy in trying to achieve it. Extremists are found on both ends of the ideological spectrum, right and left. Mikhail Gorbachev was a mainstream Communist of his time while Kim Il-sung of North Korea was the extremist version. On the right, Iran’s Mullah Mohammad Khatami is the mainstream version of the same ideology of which Mullah Mohammed Omar in Afghanistan is the extremist. The trouble with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is that it has broken out of any conceivable range of political activity.
The term “militant” does not fit ISIS either. A man, or a woman, who spends more than a fair share of his or her time to promote an idea or a political program within acceptable rules of behavior, could be regarded as a militant. Such people exist in all political parties, trade unions and cultural associations. They are the ones who attend all meetings, going door-to-door to peddle their ideology, and spend their days off and holidays working for the cause. Their aim is to score points by working harder than others in the context of fair competition. That term does not apply to ISIS because it recognizes no rules apart from those set by itself, and does not want to win an argument through hard canvassing. It does not even want to impose any point of view, just its naked and brutal domination.
The term terrorist is also inapt in the case of ISIS. A terrorist tries to instill fear in an adversary from whom he demands certain concessions. For example, the Basque movement ETA used bomb attacks and individual assignation of officials as a means of forcing the government in Madrid to consider independence for the Basque provinces. However, ETA did not want Spain to obey its rules in every single aspect of life. ISIS, on the other hand, uses murder and mass murder as an end in itself. It does not want to persuade, cajole or convince anyone to do anything in particular; it wants everything.
The term “Islamic fighter” is equally misplaced for ISIS. An Islamic fighter is a Muslim who fights a hostile infidel who is trying to prevent Muslims from practicing their faith or, worse, entice them to apostasy. That, however, was not the situation in Mosul. No one was preventing the city’s Muslim majority from practicing their faith, let alone forcing them to convert to another religion. ISIS kills people because they simply exist as human beings. In any case, both in Syria and Iraq, ISIS has killed more Muslims than members of any other religious community. A Muslim fighting against the occupation of his land by a hostile power may also be regarded as an Islamic fighter, as is the case with some in Chechnya. Even there, indiscriminate killing as practiced by ISIS would have no place.
So, if none of the terms discussed above apply to ISIS, how can one define a phenomenon that has made even Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Boko Haram and the Khomeinist gangs appear “moderate” in comparison? The international community faced a similar question in the 18th century when pirates acted as a law unto themselves, ignoring even the most basic norms of human interaction. The conundrum was discussed in lengthy negotiations that led to the Treaty of Utrecht (1713) and the Treaty of Rastatt (1714). In order to define the lawless pirates, a new judicial concept was developed: crime against humanity. Individuals who committed that crime would be described as “enemies of mankind” or “hostis humani generis” in Latin. That meant that individuals and groups convicted of such a crime were no longer covered by any penal code or even the laws of war. They had set themselves outside humanity by behaving like wild beasts.
In the 18th century Britain used the concept to hunt down pirates across the globe, notably in the Caribbean. Thomas Jefferson, the third US President, invoked the same principle to justify sending an expedition to wipe out pirates in Algiers. After the Second World War, the Allies used the same concept to put Nazi chiefs on trial in Nuremberg. For the past 10 years, the United Nations has referred to the same concept in a series of trials against the Khmer Rouge mass-killers in Cambodia.
ISIS represents a marriage of nihilism and crimes against humanity. Like the pirates of yesteryear it has attracted criminals from many different nationalities. In fact, the European Union estimates that 2,000 of ISIS’s 10,000 fighters are citizens of EU states. There are also Tajiks, Uzbeks, Pakistanis and Russians from Dagestan. Because ISIS does not want anything specific, there can be no negotiations with it. Because it recognizes no laws, not even the laws of Islam, there is no reason why it should be treated with judicial kid gloves.
ISIS is not an Iraqi or Syrian or Lebanese problem, but a problem for the human family as a whole. It is not the enemy of any particular religion, sect or government: it is an enemy of humanity and deserves to be treated as such.


Hamas conducts summary mass executions against IDF intelligence penetration
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis August 22, 2014/Hamas put 18 Palestinians before firing squads as Israel informers Friday, Aug. 22. Eleven were executed at a police station in Gaza City; then seven were shot dead publicly in a square outside the central mosque.
The Palestinian fundamentalists exposed the excruciating brutality of their methods to warn off Israel’s Shin Bet and army intelligence from future targeted killings of its commanders. Hamas has avoided confronting the IDF which is massed outside the Gaza border and moved the war to its home front.
The Islamist rulers of the Gaza Strip know they have to contend with local Palestinians willing to serve Israel, because of their total exposure to the loss of family, friends, livelihood, homes - or even their lives - under IDF bombardment in retaliation for Hamas rocket fire against the Israeli population.
Those who have already suffered such losses are more than ready to act as the Israeli air force’s target markers – whether for remuneration, or to get back at Hamas rulers who have brought death and disaster down on them and their families.
Hamas security agencies hunted down the Palestinians who were suspected of leading the Israeli Air Force and its smart precision bombs to their targets this week: Military chief Mohammed Deif, whose fate is still unknown, and the commanders of southern Gaza.
The Palestinian Islamists, who lean heavily on Iranian and Hizballah advisers, seem to have taken a leaf out of their methods in order to halt Israeli liquidation of their military chiefs.
Some of the 18 victims summarily executed Friday were most likely innocent, but were not afforded due process to clear themselves of the charge of collaboration. That is the way of these extremists. By its action, Hamas set its feet on a course from which there is no return, only war to the end.
The gruesome images coming from the Gaza Strip brought to mind chillingly the video of the Islamic State’s unspeakable murder of the American journalist James Wright Foley aged 40, perpetrated in punishment for US air strikes in Iraq.
It took the Palestinian Hamas just three days to demonstrate it had not changed its spots and belonged to the same barbarian fraternity as IS.
The tragedies of 18 anonymous Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are not likely to affect the course of events in the Middle East. However they should at least dispel any illusions in the minds of Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu or even Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, that there is any prospect of drawing to the table the savage Hamas, any more than the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, for any kind of productive negotiations to end the Gaza conflict.
While those three leaders seriously seek a political resolution to the Gaza conflict, Hamas is eager for nothing but bloodshed.

Iranian Regime Regional Threats and Strategic Responses, a book by Dr. Walid Phares

 22 August 2014 /By INU staff,
Iran under the Ayatollahs is the most serious threat for the Middle East, says Dr. Walid Phares, in his latest book titled “Iranian Regime Regional Threats and Strategic Responses.” In his book, the author argues that the ongoing crisis in the Middle East particularly in Iraq and Syria and destabilization of the countries in Arabic Peninsula and North Africa are largely created by the Iranian regime. Dr. Walid Phares is an American scholar of Lebanese descent and an expert on global terrorism and Middle Eastern affairs. He was born on December 24, 1957 and immigrated to the United States in 1990. He holds undergraduate degrees in Law, Political Science, and Sociology from Saint Joseph University and the Lebanese University in Beirut. He obtained a Master’s Degree in International Law from the Université de Lyon in France and a PhD in International Relations and Strategic Studies from the University of Miami. He is currently a professor and commentator at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. where he teaches Global Strategies. Tehran’s meddling in its neighbors’ affairs particularly its most destructive role in Iraq, expanding military influence in the region through backing of terrorist networks, destabilizing moderate Arab states, intervening in Bahrain, training and arming Hezbollah in Lebanon, and backing Hawthi insurgents in Yemen are among the topics Dr. Phares discusses in his book. He also examines the Iranian regime’s involvement in Syria’s civil war, and discusses the Iranian resistance role as the Achilles’ heel of the regime. On dealing with Iran’s threat, Dr. Phares recommends the U.S. administration to reconstruct its policy and focus on regime change in Iran via “coherent and systematic support” of the Iranian opposition. He urges the administration to politically recognize the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) and its allies in the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). He also recommends the administration to invite the opposition movement leaders to the White House and Congress and grant them moral and political support. On the nuclear deal with Iran, the author recommends the U.S. administration to maintain current sanctions on the regime and consult with the Congress seeking their approval if such an accord is reached with Tehran.


Canadian MP quits NDP caucus, leader too pro-Israel
By Arthur Weinreb/ August 22, 2014/Canada Free Press

On Wednesday, MP Sana Hassainia, who represents the Montreal area riding of Vercheres-Les Patriotes, announced she was leaving the socialist NDP to sit as an independent until the next election. Fortunately for the NDP and Canada, she also said she will not run for re-election in the next federal election.
Hassainia gave a few reasons for leaving the party; she claimed leader Tom Mulcair was too authoritarian (who knew political leaders could be this way) and claims she was punished for having supported Muclair’s rival, Brian Topp, during the last leadership campaign.
But her main reason for parting ways with the progressive party was Mulcair’s pro-Israel position. Unlike Prime Minister Stephen Harper who is a staunch supporter of the only democracy in the Middle East, Mulcair’s position is what he calls a balanced approach. Unrealistically, as most progressives are, the NDP leader wants to see a utopian two-state solution where both Israel and the Palestinians, including Hamas whose main goal is to rid the world not only of Israel but of Jews, living side by side in harmony.
Although Mulcair has made several statements concerning what is happening in Gaza, what Mulcair said that the 39-year-old Tunisian-born MP found “despicable” was that Israel has a right to defend itself terrorist attacks from Hamas.
Hassainia’s position goes well beyond the normal lefty mantra that Israel deserves what it is getting because the country is occupying Palestinian lands or that Israel is engaging in a “disproportionate” response to rockets being fired into it. The MP clearly believes what Hamas believes; Israel should be wiped off the map and Jews in the Middle East should be exterminated. There is no other explanation for her criticism of Mulcair’s statement that Israel simply has the right to defend itself from acts of terrorism.
After her resignation, Mulcair said, “The NDP has a long-standing position in favour of the two-state solution in the Middle East—a safe, secure state within negotiated borders for Israelis and a safe, secure state within negotiated borders for Palestinians.” Obviously, the rookie MP is totally unaware of her party’s position on foreign affairs and probably of everything else.
Hassaina was first elected as an NDP MP as part of the so-called “orange wave” in 2011. The Liberals have had a rough time since former PM Jean Chretien retired and party replaced Chretien with a bad leader and ever since then have found even worse leaders to replace the former ones. By 2011, when Michael Ignatieff was leader, the electorate realized it was time for a change. The academic, who spent most of his adult life in the UK and the US, came home to visit and to become prime minister. Canadians were fed up.
Under the late Jack Layton, the NDP increased the number of seats they held in Parliament from 37 to 103 in 2011. For the first time in Canadian history, the NDP formed the official opposition while the Liberals were knocked down to third place.
Most of these new seats were won in Quebec and most of these new MPs, like Hassaina, were virtually unknown outside of their immediate families.
Hassainia’s ignorance of her own party is noticeable. In her resignation statement, she criticized Mulcair for not being more like Layton. She has never figured out that Layton worked his way to become leader of the Official Opposition by moderating the socialists’ stance on issues such as nationalizing banks and yes, even on foreign affairs. Muclair’s position on Israel is really no different than the previous leader’s was.
At least Mulcair can take comfort in the fact that losing Hassainia from the caucus will be no great loss to the NDP. Since first being elected in 2011, her main occupation seems to be dropping babies. She’s had two children since being elected three years ago and made the news in 2012 when she walked into the House of Commons with her newborn.
Canadian Press reports Nycole Turmel, the NDP whip, had an extremely difficult time getting the 39-year-old to show up in the House or do any parliamentary work. During the current year, Hassainia had the worst voting record of the 308 MPs, showing up for only 8.7 per cent of the votes.
She made not bad money for the little work she actually did.
With her belief that Israel has no right to defend itself and therefore should be destroyed by terrorists, Hassainia would not even be welcome in the fringe Green Party of Canada. Two weeks ago, the party forced its Jew president, Paul Estrin, to resign for daring to write a blog post referring to Hamas as terrorists. At least Green Party leader Elizabeth May prefaces her anti-Israel remarks by saying Israel has a right to defend itself. No doubt Hassainia would believe she’s as bad as Mulcair is
In a way it is unfortunate Hassainia did not decide to sit in Justin Trudeau’s Liberal caucus. As former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker might have quipped, the IQ of both parties would have gone up.
Goodbye and good riddance! This is a sentiment the NDP and its harshest critics can share.

Israeli boy, 4, killed by Gaza mortar in south; Rocket sirens wail in Tel Aviv
LAST UPDATED: 08/22/2014 18:33
Gaza rocket slams into Ashdod synagogue, injuring three; Gaza mortar explodes near preschool in Eshkol, 1 wounded in Beersheba; Abbas expected to arrive in Cairo for talks. Medical officials in southern Israel announced the death of a four-year-old Israeli boy who suffered serious injuries when a mortar launched from the northern Gaza Strip directly slammed into a car before sundown on Friday.According to Channel 10, Magen David Adom rescue services rushed the boy to hospital, listing him in grave condition. A short time later, the boy was pronounced dead.
The incident occurred in a kibbutz in the Sha'ar Hanegev regional council. According to Channel 2, Palestinians in Gaza fired a barrage of mortars at the kibbutz, one of which exploded in a location near where the boy was standing.
The boy sustained serious injuries, and rescue services rushed him to hospital. A short time later, he was pronounced dead.
Rocket sirens were activated in Tel Aviv just before sundown on Friday as Palestinians in Gaza launched at least three projectiles at central Israel.
Witnesses reported hearing at least three explosions overhead. No word yet on whether any injuries or damage resulted from the incident.
Sirens were also heard in the adjacent suburbs of Tel Aviv, including Ramat Gan, Holon, Bat Yam, and Givatayim.
Earlier Friday, a rocket fired by Palestinians in Gaza slammed into a synagogue in the southern city of Ashdod, injuring three people.
According to police, the injuries resulted from flying shrapnel immediately after impact. The Magen David Adom rescue service reported that two people were lightly hurt and one moderately injured. Eight others were treated for shock.
Earlier Friday morning, a mortar shell landed near a preschool in southern Israel's Eshkol Regional Council during continued barrages of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. In Beersheba two rockets were intercepted over the city while a third exploded in a residential parking lot, wounding one person, police reported. The man was rushed to the hospital in moderate condition from shrapnel wounds. Several vehicles in the vicinity sustained damages.
Another rocket landed in open areas of the greater Tel Aviv area.
From midnight until 4:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon, some 70 projectiles from Gaza were fired into Israel and the Iron Dome rocket defense system executed eight interceptions, the IDF spokesperson said.
Rocket alert sirens blared throughout the morning in the South with 26 rockets launched so far at Israel by mid-day from the Gaza Strip. The Iron Dome rocket defense system intercepted five rockets and 21 struck open areas in Israel.
Sirens went off in the Eshkol Regional Council, the Ashkelon Coast Regional Council, Ashkelon and Beersheba.
Meanwhile, the IDF continued its campaign against terrorist elements in the Gaza Strip for a third day since a temporary cease-fire collapsed on Tuesday night with the resumption of rocket attacks from Gaza. The air force struck some 30 targets across Gaza on Friday from midnight until 4:00 p.m, the IDF said. Since Tuesday, the IAF killed 23 terrorists in Gaza.
Palestinian medical sources reported that one person was killed during the overnight air force strikes in central Gaza's Deir al-Balah.
On Friday morning, Palestinian sources in Gaza reported that four additional people had been killed in Israeli air strikes in the enclave.
After the killing of three of its senior commanders by Israel on Thursday, Hamas vowed early Friday that it would be “strengthened” in its quest “to lift the siege on Gaza” and “liberate Jerusalem and Palestine from the neo-Nazi occupier who destroys houses and kills women and children.”
Despite the ongoing hostilities, Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas was expected to arrive Friday evening in Cairo and hold talks over the weekend with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and to discuss developments regarding the Gaza conflict.
Hamas official Izzat al-Risheq, however, denied reports that exiled Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal was also slated to visit the Egyptian capital.
On Thursday, Abbas and Mashaal met in Doha to discuss ways of resuming the indirect talks with Israel over a long-term cease-fire in the Gaza Strip. The meeting was held in the presence of the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
After fighting resumed, Israeli and Palestinian delegates left indirect negotiation in Cairo that were aiming to secure a long-term truce. Egypt said it would continue contact with both sides.
**Khaled Abu Toameh, Yaakov Lappin and Reuters contributed to this report.

The crises in Syria and Iraq are joined at the hip

Eyad Abu Shakra/Asharq Alawsat
Friday, 22 Aug, 2014
Has the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) become the only phenomenon that sums up all the problems and complications of the Middle East?
I am not one who is keen to look for excuses for ISIS and its ilk, nor do I spend sleepless nights searching for mitigating circumstances and helpful explanations for its heinous crimes. No, there are no excuses and no mitigating circumstances for those whose only means of control, government, and communication is murder. I do not believe that in the 21st century, amid an information technology revolution, we can allow an extremist group that belongs in the Dark Ages to hijack Islam and claim monopoly over it. Its brand of Islam has nothing in common with the enlightenment and scientific achievements given to the world by the alumni and scholars of Gundeshapur, Baghdad, Fez and Cordoba.
There can be no excuses, either for ISIS or similar gangs, that—without consulting the rest of the world’s Muslims—are hell-bent on distorting their religion, destroying their lives and the future of their children, and pushing them into an unequal fight with the international community. The latter could easily eliminate them were it not for the oppositions of two distinct blocs: the first, made up of progressives and liberals who in principle refuse to meet violence with violence, and a second, comprised of racists and extreme conservatives who believe that the societies that produced Islamist extremists deserve to live with their atrocities as “punishment” for incubating them.
With all of the above in mind, I believe we must not allow unacceptable and dangerous extremists—or so-called “Takfirists”—to be the one and only face of our region and its complications. We must also draw attention to the fact that the poisonous regional climate has allowed dubious agents, thugs and despots to recruit brainwashed youth and use them in a battle whose aim is to derail Syria’s popular uprising and undermine its credibility.
Unfortunately, one has to admit that the leaders of the Syrian uprising were too slow to distance themselves from those who infiltrated it, extremists who crept in under the pretext of aiding it before turning their weapons on it. It must also be admitted that some states and media organizations in Arab and Muslim countries are indeed looking for excuses and explanations. They have been publishing and broadcasting foolish and irresponsible comments claiming that atrocities “are natural reactions against the injustice” suffered by Muslims and “Islamists” in our countries. I think this is poorly conceived demagoguery, as well as attempts to pander to those frustrated by the Palestinians’ suffering under heavy-handed Israeli occupation, the unease others feel about Iranian expansionism—with American and Israeli blessing—throughout Iraq, the Levant, the Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula, in addition to the failure of some Islamist political parties to hold on to power after their short-lived success in the aftermath of the “Arab Spring.”
The developments that have unfolded over the last few weeks have proven beyond doubt that there are some practices that cannot and should not be tolerated, especially when they reopen old religious, sectarian and ethnic wounds that the world has never really forgotten. Here we need to recall how the criminal Syrian regime claimed to be a protector of minorities in order to hide its crimes and corruption. Indeed, it has succeeded in portraying the uprising as an “extremist Takfirist movement,” and has promoted this lie to a Western audience willing to believe it and a ruling Israeli establishment that has been interested in playing this card for decades.
As if all this was not enough, even Mullah-ruled Iran has joined the fight against the Takfirists—the same Iran that specialized in seizing Western hostages in Iran, Lebanon and elsewhere in the Middle East during the 1980s and early 1990s; the same Iran that gives arms and money to the same Islamic groups in Palestine that it is currently fighting in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, where it regards them as “incubators of Takfirism.”
Where do we stand now? Well, after Barack Obama’s pronouncement that the Iranian thinking was “strategic” and not “suicidal,” which paved the way to serious regional cooperation between Washington and Tehran, he recently revisited his derogatory description of Syria’s moderate opposition as “former doctors, farmers, pharmacists and so forth” who could not defeat a regime supported by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. Furthermore, after Washington and other Western capitals ignored Bashar Al-Assad’s destruction of Syria’s cities, his use of chemical weapons and barrel-bombs, covering their betrayal with empty threats, they are now moving against ISIS . . . in Iraq.
Washington has moved swiftly and decisively—and rightly so—to put an end to ISIS’s brutal genocide against Christians and other minorities in northern Iraq. It also acted swiftly and decisively to stop Nuri Al-Maliki’s political blackmail, which made the assault by ISIS and its allies on Mosul, Sinjar, and even Jalawla near the Iranian border, possible.
It is absolutely right for Washington and Paris to attack ISIS, and to work to save Iraq from the abuses of the ex-premier Maliki and his associates. What is not right, however, is to pursue two different approaches and adopt double standards vis-à-vis Iraq and Syria, as the political and security atmosphere is the same in both countries.
Enabling Assad, whose regime is dependent on a blatantly sectarian regional project, has helped the creation and development of an extremist counter-reaction. Had the international community early on shown more willpower and decisiveness, and forced Assad to abdicate like it did with Maliki, it would have spared Syria political collapse, sectarian fragmentation, and massive devastation, not to mention the emergence of ISIS, whose fighters entered its territory from all over the world.
What the international community is currently doing in Iraq is necessary but by no means sufficient. Attacking ISIS, and saving what can be saved of Iraq’s identity through a broadly based government, excluding those with blood on their hands, must be the prescription for Syria too.
In Syria there is lethal civil strife as well as a land that has become a destination for foreign extremists. This means it will be impossible to achieve a humane and viable political solution if a regime that has committed genocide and ethnic and sectarian cleansing remains in place.


Amin Gemayel Meets al-Rahi: 'Bizarre' Proposal to Amend Constitution for Presidential Polls Isn't Viable
Naharnet /Head of the Kataeb Party Amin Gemayel revealed on Friday that he had proposed 25 years ago that direct presidential elections be held in Lebanon, while deeming the Change and Reform bloc's current proposal on the matter as a distraction. He said: “Direct presidential elections were viable 25 years ago, but not today.”He made his remarks after holding talks at Bkirki with Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi. Moreover, Gemayel added: “Some sides are making these bizarre proposals to amend the constitution at a time when we should be holding the elections at parliament.”He criticized the Hizbullah and Change and Reform blocs' boycott of parliamentary electoral sessions, saying that they are harming the highest Christian position in Lebanon at a time when Christians are being persecuted by Islamist extremists in the region. “We should be safeguarding the presidency seeing as Lebanon is the only country in the region that enjoys a Christian president,” he stressed.
“Direct presidential elections will have destructive repercussions on Lebanon and will betray the post of the presidency,” Gemayel declared He instead urged Hizbullah and the Change and Reform blocs to take the initiative and end their boycott, revealing that al-Rahi will launch an initiative to that end. The Change and Reform bloc proposed that in the first round of the direct elections, only Christians would vote for the candidates.  In the second round, the polls would be held at the level of the entire nation to pave way for both Muslims and Christians to choose the two candidates who received the majority of votes in the first round. The suggestion has been totally rejected by Change and Reform bloc MP Michel Aoun's rivals in the March 14 alliance. As for Aoun's allies in the March 8 alliance, An Nahar quoted the camp's officials as saying that they were “not at ease with the proposal.” The officials, who were not identified, did not give further details. Change and Reform bloc MP Ibrahim Kanaan snapped back at critics on Friday, claiming that the suggestion is constitutional and aimed at boosting the role of Christians in governance. “The Christians have been marginalized because they are being elected by people from outside their sects,” the lawmaker said. Lebanon's top Christian post was left vacant in May this year when the rival MPs failed to elect a successor to President Michel Suleiman over their differences on a compromise candidate. The majority of the March 8 alliance's MPs, including the Change and Reform bloc, boycotted the sessions aimed at electing a head of state, causing lack of quorum.

ISIS is now chasing the Surooris
Friday, 22 August 2014
Abdulrahman al-Rashed/Al Arabiya
It is true that extremism has reached an unprecedented level of oddness. Do not assume that the menacing Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is only threatening the United States and Arab governments, it is now also terrorizing other extremist groups. This month, ISIS declared war against the Surooris.
The Surooris are a radical group founded by Mohammed Suroor Zain al-Abedin, a Syrian mathematics teacher who worked at a Saudi school. He advocated an ideology refuting traditional Salafism and encouraging religious rebellion. It is believed that he was behind the thorough changes made to the conventional Salafist concept. This group became notorious for its use of takfirism (declaring rivals as infidels) against governments and intellectuals or anyone who disagreed with its religious and political views. The group, which used to terrorize people on websites and elsewhere, is now terrified. It is afraid of ISIS, which considers the Surooris infidels and issued a religious sanction to kill them.
“ISIS is the product of the Suroori teachings, which is the product of extremist ideologies that preceded them” Unexpectedly, the Surooris, the Muslim Brotherhood and other similar extremists have started warning people against ISIS. They all have turned against extremism and against whom they call the al-Khawarij party (the outlawed group). They called on all Muslims to fight against ISIS. The Suroori group is no less evil than ISIS. What happened is that ISIS has outsmarted them in their extremism and the group speaking in a more vile language than others have previously. In fact, I couldn’t stop myself from laughing at ISIS’ accusations against Suroori leaders of being agents of Western or Arab regimes and also accusing them of opposing the implementation of the Shariah and similar Islamic symbols.
All extremism is the same
What makes the Surooris think that their so-called sheikhs, religious scholars and students are superior to ISIS’ religious scholars and students? Extremism is the same whatever label it may carry. All extremists use “takfirism” against others and incite killing.
Now ISIS has stepped up its battles and threatened to kill other extremist leaders whether they belong to the Brotherhood, Surooris or Al-Qaeda; all of which were scared of ISIS’ acts and speeches that used to be their own weapon against other peace-loving Muslims.
Now they are swallowing the same bitter pill they used against others in the past. Although extremism is a menace that is harming the entire Muslim world, few have dared to stand and act against it. ISIS is the product of the Suroori teachings, which is the product of extremist ideologies that preceded them. This is the extremist ideology that first began with small issues, but has now grown to be a ghoul threatening Muslims from practicing Islam.

Iran doing business with the ‘Great Satan’
Friday, 22 August 2014
Majid Rafizadeh/AlArabiya
Intriguingly, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has been quiet about the bombings and attacks in Iraq by what they call “The Great Satan” - the United States. President Hassan Rowhani, the senior cadre of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, and state media also appear to be turning a blind eye to the American military campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
If there has been any criticism, it is mainly concentrated on broader American objectives in Iraq rather than recent developments. U.S. officials have also been less critical of Iran’s military activities, its assistance to Baghdad, and its troops on the ground in Iraq. Tehran and Washington - perceived as rivals - are apparently operating in Iraq side by side, while attempting to quell ISIS and bolster the new prime minister and government.
Change of tone
A recent speech made by Khamenei, who has long had a reputation of being anti-American, projects a significant shift in his tone and position towards the United States. Although last week he repeated his rhetoric that talks with Washington are “useless,” he added: “Of course, we do not prohibit continuation of the nuclear negotiations.”
“cooperation between the United States and Iran is not new. Particularly after 9/11, Tehran and Washington closely cooperated and built security alliances on several occasions”
The United States and Iran have been tacitly cooperating since ISIS made remarkable military advances in Iraq. Tehran and Washington were influential in pressuring former Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to resign. His departure was most likely followed by assurances to Maliki by Iranian and American leaders. Khamenei then publicly welcomed the appointment of new Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi.
This kind of cooperation between the United States and Iran is not new. Particularly after 9/11, Tehran and Washington closely cooperated and built security alliances on several occasions. This was initiated by holding bilateral, trilateral or multilateral talks.
Although publicly condemned by Washington, Iran offered assistance to overthrow the Taliban in Afghanistan, with a symbolical handshake between U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi at the U.N. headquarters. Iran also joined the United States to form a new government in Kabul.
In 2003, Tehran tacitly welcomed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, Iran’s strategic rival. The Iranian Foreign Ministry offered assistance to Washington, out of its national interest and fear of being invaded by the United States. Tehran emerged as the winner of the invasion, dominating Iraq socially, politically, economically, and in terms of security, while the U.S. position weakened gradually.
“If and when ISIS is pushed out of Iraq, Abadi and his government will be indebted to Washington and Tehran”
In 2007, when the conflict escalated in Iraq, Washington permitted its ambassador in Baghdad, Ryan Crocker, to meet with Hassan Kazemi Qomi, his Iranian counterpart.
In all the aforementioned cases of cooperation between Tehran and Washington, the underlying reasons lay in the convergence of political, economic and security interests outweighing their differences.
Influence on Iraq
If and when ISIS is pushed out of Iraq, Abadi and his government will be indebted to Washington and Tehran. As such, both countries will continue to wield significant political and economic influence in Iraq, while serving their own national, geopolitical, strategic and security interests.
Secondly, although this type of cooperation between Tehran and Washington might contribute positively to the nuclear talks and better diplomatic relations, the enemy of my enemy will not be considered my friend in this case.
There still exist significant gaps between American and Iranian regional and geopolitical objectives and ambitions. The underlying causes of tension are Iran’s stance towards U.S. strategic ally Israel, and Tehran’s support for Hezbollah and Hamas.