LCCC ENGLISH DAILY NEWS BULLETIN
Quotation for today/Woe
to those who call evil good, and good evil
Isaiah 5/21-30: "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe to those who are mighty to drink wine, and champions at mixing strong drink; who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice for the innocent! Therefore as the tongue of fire devours the stubble, and as the dry grass sinks down in the flame, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust; because they have rejected the law of Yahweh of Armies, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. Therefore Yahweh’s anger burns against his people, and he has stretched out his hand against them, and has struck them. The mountains tremble, and their dead bodies are as refuse in the midst of the streets. For all this, his anger is not turned away, but his hand is still stretched out. He will lift up a banner to the nations from far, and he will whistle for them from the end of the earth. Behold, they will come speedily and swiftly. None shall be weary nor stumble among them; none shall slumber nor sleep; neither shall the belt of their waist be untied, nor the latchet of their shoes be broken: whose arrows are sharp, and all their bows bent. Their horses’ hoofs will be like flint, and their wheels like a whirlwind. Their roaring will be like a lioness. They will roar like young lions. Yes, they shall roar, and seize their prey and carry it off, and there will be no one to deliver. They will roar against them in that day like the roaring of the sea. If one looks to the land behold, darkness and distress.
Latest analysis, editorials from miscellaneous sources published on August 25 & 26/14
From 9/11 to Foley’s murder, extremism lives on/By: Abdulrahman al-Rashed/Al Arabiya/August 26/14
The world needs a shock to act and put an end to ISIS’ victories/Jamal Kashoggi/Al Arabiya/August 25/14
Besieged Iraqi town of Amerli desperately needs U.S. help/By Michael Knights/August 25 /14
Will the Gulf Lose Qatar/By: Salman Aldossary/Asharq Alawsat/August 25/14
The Syrian opposition has failed to get its message out/By: Fayez Sara/Asharq AlAwsat/August/14
Lebanese Related News published on August 25 & 26/14
ISIS in Lebanon would have killed off Hezbollah: jihadist
Jordan charges eight over terror plots, recruiting for Hezbollah
Nusra may resort to force to free Roumieh inmates
Nazarian tells EDL contract workers to end 'riots'
Rumors of militants' return to Arsal baseless: officials
Fatfat: No presidential election in the offing
Al-Rahi to Visit Vatican, Discuss Presidential Impasse
Cost of Lebanon remittances falls in Q2
Mashnouq Says 'Secrecy' Needed to Ensure Safe Release of Arsal Captives
Report: Hariri Discussed with Berri 'Logical Settlement' to Resolve Presidential
'Hefty Catch' at Dahr al-Baydar Checkpoint
Kataeb: Unreal Initiatives Must Stop because They Only Harm the Presidency
Silence on Berri-Jumblat Presidential Initiative to 'Guarantee its Success'
Tripoli Man Wounds 5 with Grenades before Attempting Suicide
Report: Islamist Gunmen Infiltrate Arsal, Assault Residents
Miscellaneous Reports And News published on August 25 & 26/14
Obama has taken no decision on Syria airstrikes: White House
Amid talk of renewed cease-fire negotiations, Hamas says 'nothing new' to report
Israeli air strikes reduce Gazan high-rise towers to dust, while Israelis flee in droves from Hamas fire
'Hamas a less threatening enemy than previously thought,' Nahal intelligence officer tells 'JPost'
Amid talk of renewed cease-fire negotiations, Hamas says 'nothing new' to report
European Jewish Congress says continent ‘ripe’ for ISIS attack
Hamas claims it seizes Israeli reconnaissance drone in Gaza
Egypt in new truce plan with no let-up in Gaza war
Kidnapped American journalist freed in Syria after Qatari mediation
ISIS captures major Syrian air base in northeast
Foley killer identified, says British newspaper
Syria ‘ready’ to work with U.S. against ISIS
Germany says no plans to reengage with Assad due to ISIS threat
Deadline passes for Iran to explain nuclear weapons research
Iran airs TV footage of purported Israeli drone
Iran deputy foreign minister to visit Saudi Arabia
Doha proposes more discussions in Gulf dispute: sources
Libya facing split between rival governments, says official
Boko Haram leader says ruling Nigerian town by Islamic law
Yemen: Fears of war grow as mediation with Houthis fails
Decisions by outgoing Libyan Congress 'illegal': PM
Nusra may resort to force to free Roumieh inmates
The Daily Star/BEIRUT: The Nusra Front may use force to free militants detained in Lebanon’s prisons, a prominent Nusra commander told the Turkish Anadolu News Agency Monday. “We may resort to the military option to release our detained [militants] from Lebanese prisons,” he said. The Nusra Front is believed to be holding three soldiers and 15 policemen, out of the total 29 security personnel and troops held captive by militant groups after the eruption of clashes in the northeastern border town of Arsal. “We call for honest negotiations because it is the only solution,” said the Nusra Front commander, referring to negotiations with the Lebanese government over the release of abducted security personnel being held by the militant group. According to the Nusra commander, Hezbollah is preparing to launch an attack on the Syrian region of Qalamoun and is trying to “disrupt negotiations" by forcefully reclaiming the captives. He warned that such a move would prompt the killing of the captive soldiers. The Muslim Scholars Committee had been mediating between the militant groups and the Lebanese government in an effort to secure the release of detained security personnel before announcing the suspension of its role Friday. The militant’s demands remain ambiguous after the government pushed for a media blackout over negotiations. The Syrian go-between for the militants and the Muslim Scholars Committee, Ahmad al-Qusair, told The Daily Star last week that the release of innocent Islamist inmates in Roumieh featured prominently in the demands. He said that negotiations had come to an impasse because the government considered the militants’ demands as coming at too high of a cost. The government’s official stand over the militant dossier has been a “no-compromise” policy. Several officials, including Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk, repeatedly rejected the idea of offering concessions in return for the abducted soldiers, stressing that the release of militants from Roumieh prison was not on the table. However Sheikh Adnan Amama, spokesperson for the Muslim Scholar’s Committee, told The Daily Star that “the militants we were negotiating with rejected the idea of military action.” “They didn’t want to be embroiled in a hostile war in Lebanon when their fight was in Syria,” Amama said. Speaking on the militants’ reported demands for the release of Islamist detainees held at Roumieh prison, Amama said they had yet to reach the stage of listing exact names. The suspension of the Muslim Scholar’s mediation efforts reflected the challenges in negotiating between the committee and the government; it was unclear which party, local or external, would resume efforts. The suspension of the committee’s role also appeared to be aimed at giving foreign actors a chance to mediate with Al-Qaeda-affiliated militants entrenched in Arsal’s outskirts. Militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria are still holding 11 soldiers, as well as the body of a deceased soldier. The Nusra Front still holds 15 ISF captives and three Army hostages.
ISIS in Lebanon would have killed off Hezbollah: jihadist
The Daily Star/BEIRUT: Detained jihadist Imad Jomaa, whose arrest sparked five days of intense clashes between militants and the Lebanese Army in the northeastern town of Arsal earlier this month, confessed to plans of establishing an Islamic State between the Bekaa Valley and North Lebanon. He also divulged that all Hezbollah loyalists would have been either detained or killed.
“Al-Nusra head in Qalamoun Aba Malek al- Souri and his twenty nine groups had agreed on launching a united assault on Arsal” Jomaa told Lebanese judicial authorities. The confessions were aired by LBC TV during its 8 o'clock news bulletin Monday.The assault against Lebanese villages and Army soldiers was meant to create a state of chaos that would start in the Bekaa Valley, and would later spread to North Lebanon, Jomaa rreportedly said. Jomaa added that an "Islamic State," under the authority of Abdallah Azzam brigade Spokesperson Sirajeddine Zureiqat, would have been declared in the captured areas between the Bekaa Valley and north Lebanon, . Jomaa confessed to being responsible for coordinating the operation and dividing the twenty nine groups that fell under his command into seven factions that would eventually control Army headquarters and villages extending from the Bekaa to northern Lebanon. “Sleeper cells in those regions would work on sparking instability” he said, adding that he was arrested three days prior to the launching date of the operation. Militant groups and factions had agreed on a pact with regards to the treatment of Christians, Shiites and Army soldiers, said Jomaa.
The Shiite sect was the primary target, he said, highlighting that militant groups were set to detain all men and women affiliated to Hezbollah. Jomaa admitted that in addition to detaining Hezbollah supporters, militant groups would also kill any individual who is over the age of fifteen and declares his allegiance to the resistance movement. Christians would have been spared according to Jomaa, who also disclosed that the original plan called for the capture of the largest possible number of Army soldiers. The Army’s arrest of Jomaa, who had switched allegiance from the Nusra Front to ISIS, triggered five days of clashes between Lebanese soldiers and Islamists from Syria. Twenty-nine soldiers and members of the Internal Security Forces went missing after the fighting and are believed to be held by the Nusra Front and ISIS.
Hezbollah challenges March 14 to present 'vision'
The Daily Star/BEIRUT: Hezbollah called upon its rivals in the March 14 coalition to present a political vision to end the three-month political stalemate since former President Michel Sleiman's term ended.
“We advise March 14 to submit a political vision and tell the people what they want,” Hezbollah deputy leader Sheikh Naim Qassem said in remarks published Monday.
Lebanon has been without a head of state since the May 25 end of Sleiman's term, with lawmakers failing in 10 attempts to elect a successor due to lack of consensus.
“Tell the people what you are doing to address the problem of the country, and what are you positively offering [them],” Qassem told March 14, pointing to the coalition’s contradictory stances on Parliament’s extension. “You say you oppose the extension of Parliament’s mandate when you are seeking an extension. You have disrupted Parliament under the pretext of electricity workers and its [Parliament’s] illegitimate [role] because the Mikati government had resigned,” Qassem said. "Rely on your accomplishments and do not count on the achievements of ISIS,” he told March 14 in reference to the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS). ISIS fighters Sunday captured a major military air base in Syria’s northeast, eliminating the last regime-held outpost in a province otherwise already dominated by the jihadist group, activists and state media said. Tabqa airfield – home to several warplane squadrons, helicopters, tanks, artillery and ammunition bunkers – was the third military base in the area to fall to ISIS in the last month. Those victories are part of ISIS’ aggressive push to consolidate its hold on northern and eastern provinces in Syria, while also expanding the boundaries of its self-styled caliphate straddling the Syria- Iraq border. Hezbollah fighters are fighting alongside Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces in the conflict.
March 14 supports the Syrian opposition but has distanced itself from ISIS and other radical groups fighting Assad. “We have a good opportunity ahead of us. Grab it in order to reach an understanding and dialogue,” Qassem said, addressing March 14. “We are outstretching our hand. We are ready for an intellectual dialogue to discuss principles. We are ready for a serious dialogue, for agreements, for commitments,” he stressed. Qassem, nevertheless, did not have high hopes. “There are no solutions in Lebanon in the foreseeable future,” he said. "It seems that we will have to wait too long for developments in Syria, Iraq and Palestine, and is not clear how long this period will last.”
Al-Rahi to Visit Vatican, Discuss Presidential Impasse
Naharnet /Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi is expected to travel to the Vatican on Thursday to meet with Pope Francis and senior officials. According to al-Joumhouria newspaper published on Monday, talks will focus on the presidential deadlock and the exodus of Christians and minorities in Iraq and Syria. 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. Media reports had said that the Vatican considers the presidential elections in Lebanon as a battle of existence that surpasses the Maronites and focuses on the active Christian role in state posts in the country and the Middle East. Last week, al-Rahi headed a delegation from the patriarchs of the Orient to the Iraqi Kurdish region of Erbil. Islamic State militants in Iraq have been waging a campaign against minorities in Iraq, forcing thousands of people to flee their homes. Pope Francis called last week for collective action through the United Nations to "stop unjust aggression" in Iraq. Al-Joumhouria reported that al-Rahi will head to Australia after the Vatican on a pastoral visit.
Report: Hariri Discussed with Berri 'Logical Settlement' to Resolve Presidential Crisis
Naharnet/Al-Mustaqbal movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri has reportedly informed Speaker Nabih Berri that he backed a “logical settlement” on the presidential deadlock by agreeing on personalities, who are currently not candidates.Al-Akhbar daily said that Hariri's proposal on the settlement, includes the withdrawal of the candidacies of Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea and his rival Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun to “agree on a personality who is capable of protecting the political understanding.”Hariri suggested the names of former Minister Jean Obeid and Army chief Gen. Jean Qahwaji, said al-Akhbar. Geagea is backed by the March 14 alliance. But Aoun has not officially announced his candidacy, saying there should be consensus on him first. The names of Obeid and Qahwaji have made the rounds as possible candidates after the parliament failed to find a successor to President Michel Suleiman, whose term expired in May. The lawmakers of Aoun's Change and Reform bloc along with the majority of the March 8 MPs have been boycotting parliamentary sessions aimed at electing a president, causing a lack of quorum. Their boycott is aimed at preventing Geagea from reaching the country's top Christian post. According to al-Akhbar, Hariri made it clear to Berri that the new president should make guarantees to Hizbullah that its arsenal would not be under scrutiny for the time being. “But this president should reach clear understandings with us on the management of the (country's) political and economic affairs,” he allegedly said. The March 14 alliance's officials, including the Mustaqbal movement leader, have for long called on Hizbullah to hand over its weapons and integrate with the Lebanese army.
Silence on Berri-Jumblat Presidential Initiative to 'Guarantee its Success'
Naharnet/Speaker Nabih Berri has stayed mum on efforts he is exerting along with Progressive Socialist Party chief MP Walid Jumblat to resolve the presidential deadlock.
Local newspapers quoted Berri as saying on Monday that he “cannot talk about any possible progress to guarantee the success of the work we are doing.”He said, however, that the efforts exerted by him and Jumblat are aimed at reaching a “settlement on the presidency.”Lebanon has been without a head of state since May when President Michel Suleiman's six-year term ended amid the failure of the rival MPs to find a successor. Asked by his visitors about a draft-law proposed by the Change and Reform bloc to make a constitutional amendment to have direct presidential elections, Berri said: “This suggestion can only be made during the ordinary legislative session.” “The parliament is now in an extraordinary round,” he said. The Change and Reform proposal was made on Thursday. MP Ibrahim Kanaan defended it by claiming that the amendment is constitutional and is aimed at boosting the role of Christians in governing the state's affairs. Parliament's first ordinary session starts on the first Tuesday after March 15 while the second begins on the first Tuesday after October 15. “This means that the proposal cannot be discussed
Fatfat: No presidential election in the offing
Antoine Amrieh| The Daily Star/TRIPOLI, Lebanon: Future MP Ahmad Fatfat Monday said the March 14 coalition welcomed any effort to achieve the presidential election but ruled out an early vote.
“March 14 forces are exerting every effort to hold the presidential election,” Fatfat told reporters at his home in the northern city of Tripoli. “We welcome any positive effort in this regard.”
Lebanon has been without a head of state since former President Michel Sleiman's term ended in May 25, with lawmakers botching several voting attempts due to lack of consensus.
Fatfat, however, saw no chance of an early election. “There is no [immediate] prospect of the election of a new president,” he said, dismissing local newspaper reports that a new head of state could emerge in September. Fatfat accused Hezbollah of having an “ultimate interest at this stage” to keep the presidential seat vacant in order to maintain their upper hand on Lebanon.
He also criticized MP Michel Aoun for submitting a draft law suggesting electing the president via popular vote. “I’m not sure what Gen. Aoun wants. Either he becomes the president or he will accept nothing ... and he hides behind Hezbollah to prevent the election of a new president,” Fatfat said. “This is why I don’t expect [Aoun] or Hezbollah to be convinced of any initiative launched by Speaker Nabih Berri or MP Walid Jumblatt.”Berri and Jumblatt had said Sunday that they were working together on a political compromise to break the presidential stalemate.
Fatfat also hailed March 14’s flexibility on the presidential election. “Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea has previously announced his willingness to pull out of the presidential race in favor of a personality that supports March 14’s fundamental principles,” he said. “This proves March 14’s flexibility in accepting any initiative, after having mulling it of course.” Speaking on ISIS, Fatfat slammed Jumblatt over his remarks, criticizing him for commenting in defense of Hezbollah but not acknowledging other remarks that he deemed harmful.
“Perhaps we should wait for another statement from MP Jumblatt as he did not respond to remarks made by Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil who said ISIS stretches from Mosul to Baabda,” Fatfat said, adding that he “regrets” that Jumblatt did not see that Bassil’s remarks have harmed the Lebanese government, of which the Druze MP is a member. Jumblatt had said he disagrees with statements saying Hezbollah and the Islamist State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) were similar. Fatfat stressed that there cannot be peace and stability in Lebanese as long as Hezbollah continues to fight in Syria.
Nazarian tells EDL contract workers to end 'riots'
The Daily Star/BEIRUT: Energy Minister Arthur Nazarian called on striking EDL contract workers to give up on their ineffective 'riots,' saying no good will come from them. Nazarian stressed on the necessity to “give up the riots because they do not bring any good and they represent an occupation of EDL, affecting the company’s ability to function.” EDL Chairman Kamal Hayek echoed Nazarian, stressing that the law protected everyone and calling on the workers to “calm down” because what they were doing were “riots and not rightful demonstrations.”The pair spoke at a news conference at the Energy Ministry at noon, which was also attended by former Labor Minister Salim Jreissati. The main speaker at the event, Jreissati criticized the striking contract workers, warning of possible legal repercussions while saying the law being protested was fair. “A law shall only be modified by a law, and not by any violence in the street or assaults on public properties,” he said.
He argued that the “era of showing off force against the state has ended,” adding that the workers were committing many “criminal acts” during their protests. “The penal code states many crimes that you are committing now,” he said, addressing the workers, “including the crime of violating the freedom to work with the aim of pressuring public authorities.”
“Your crimes are witnessed, and what you are doing is not at all a strike that the relevant laws allow.”Jreissati said employing all of the approximately 2,000 striking workers “violates the most basic legal rules” and stressed that the Parliament’s law was clear on the matter. Describing Electricite du Liban’s decision to limit its employment needs to 879 workers as a fair arrangement, Jreissati slammed the politicization of the workers’ movement. “Lift your grasp off the innocent workers,” he said, addressing politicians he did not name, “because the law protects the rights of those workers.” His speech came after some 200 striking electricity contract workers blocked all entrances to the Electricite du Liban headquarters earlier Monday, with one of them trying to light himself on fire in protest. Security sources told The Daily Star the protesters had sealed off all four entry points to EDL, preventing employees from entering the premises. Some protesters burned tires at the EDL headquarters in the Beirut neighborhood of Mar Mikhael. The sources said a protester, identified as Amer Musa, sipped fuel and poured some on his body in an attempt to light himself on fire.
But Musa became nauseous after drinking fuel and was rushed a nearby hospital. Riot police deployed outside EDL stood guard, preventing any confrontation between the protesters and employees.
Around 9 a.m., EDL employees gave up on entering the building and left, while the company’s chairman and members of the board of directors headed to the nearby Energy Ministry for an urgent meeting with Energy Minister Arthur Nazarian. EDL has called on striking workers to report to duty Monday. A similar call for attendance was issued by the service provider National Electric Utility, which warned the workers would face strict measures if they failed to show up for work Monday. NEU, which has a contract with EDL to perform maintenance work in south Lebanon and the southern part of Mount Lebanon, employs many of the striking workers. The protesters have said they were ready for a showdown with their employer Monday, insisting they would not back down on their demand for full-time employment at EDL for all of the nearly 2,000 contract workers. EDL has only agreed to hire 897 of them.
How can we defeat ISIS if we don’t understand it?
Monday, 25 August 2014
Jamal Khashoggi/Al Arabiya
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been digging its own grave, just as it has irrationally led many to their graves. It did not disappoint all those who followed its rise and predicted the inevitability of its end, as it carried the seeds of its own destruction within itself. Last year, I published an article entitled “What history teaches us about Syria’s extremists.” At the time, ISIS was emerging in Syria and rebelling against those involved in the revolution. It was like an uninvited guest. I wrote about a story that took place in the Indian continent in the 18th century; the story of a young fighter who became the Emir of Peshawar after the success of the Islamist corrective movement to liberate the city from the rule of the “Maharajah” in just two months. “The world needs a shock to act and put an end to ISIS’ victories” After the imposition of hardline provisions by the new emir on the tribal population of the region, they rebelled against him and brought back the Sikhs and their army to rule again. They did not rebel against the emir alone but against the whole movement, and its spiritual leader.
It is a classic story that is now repeating itself and proves the Hadith of the Prophet “no one burdens himself in religion but that it overcomes him.” However, the damage will not be limited to that, as it will extend to reach the whole Syrian Revolution, which dreamed of a free, democratic and pluralistic state. It will also reach the aspirations of the Iraqi Sunnis to justice, equality and a better life.
The movement of takfirist jihadist salafism will lose again everything after it emerged and overcame all those who fell under its control, including the Sunnis. We will witness the joy of Mosul, similar to when Kandahar celebrated the defeat of the Taliban in 2001. No one likes extremism. We cannot be optimistic about it yet. In the end, ISIS will fail, whether after long or short battles. Nevertheless, it will remain a dangerous terrorist movement that is secretly active on the same land where it was governing, just as its predecessor, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. However, its defeat will increase its violence and hatred. Its destructive idea won’t vanish as well because what has been established and prepared through decades and even spread beyond the limits to reach mosques in Europe and the whole world, cannot disappear in one year.
The world will militarily triumph over ISIS and its affiliates, but it needs to work hard in order to prevent the emergence of another generation of the organization.
Today’s militants are the third generation of takfirist jihadist salafism. Its first generation emerged in the 1990s in Egypt and then in Algeria, where it intensified its activities. The second generation emerged after the 9-11 attacks, represented by al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. As for now, we are witnessing the third generation with the rise of “caliphate” and ISIS.
However, one must admit that despite the impact of the war on terror and the media and intellectual campaigns against it, the takfirist jihadist salafism hatching machine is still productive and active. Even more, ISIS’ recent victories in Mosul and beyond stimulated it, attracting rebels and garnering a new generation of fighters. The world needs a shock to act and put an end to ISIS’ victories at least, which has attracted more extremists. During the past month, ISIS witnessed a record rate of enrollment, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The Observatory estimated that more than 6,000 new fighters in Syria joined ISIS last month. The real shock began when ISIS began to target religious minorities, and very shortly after that, beheaded American journalist James Foley. These acts have pushed the United States to act against them through limited bombing operations that helped the Kurdish fighters in their battle against ISIS over Iraq’s largest dam near Mosul last week.
This setback will certainly lead to a “cooling” recess for people sympathizing with the organization, and this will surely constitute an advantage in the long battle to eradicate the organization.
Why did the world fail to stop the expansion of ISIS? Saudi King Abdullah is angered by many; the scholars who failed to act and the world that was not enthusiastic about the idea of establishing an international center to combat terrorism under the auspices of the United Nations.
As a result, he gave the ambassador to Washington and the Saudi representative in the United Nations $100 million as a donation to the center, so that the world would act and get involved in the fight against terrorism.
U.S. President Barack Obama said recently that ISIS is a cancer that must be eradicated. French President Francois Hollande said that the world is passing through the most dangerous phase and called for an international conference to find ways to confront ISIS.
It is clear that a military confrontation has begun to prevent ISIS from gaining new territory, especially in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Iraqi army has not regained confidence because of sectarian and political strife within itself, so they would not want to help a sectarian army obtain air forces. This may change if Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi forms his government and succeeds in including eminent Sunnis in it. This means that we are facing a long war fueled through the people of the region, while Americans and Europeans select afterwards who to protect and support and who to leave behind. It is a priority for both groups now that ISIS loses the war.
If the military war on the ground is difficult and complex, the mental war is more difficult. Let us imagine a meeting room with all those who are affected by the war on terrorism, such as the Saudis, Egyptians, Iranians, Emiratis, Qataris, Jordanians, Turks, Americans and Europeans, and even Israelis, being required to develop a plan to eradicate ISIS.
How would they agree when each one of them has his priorities, visions, and his own analysis of the causes of this phenomenon? Added to that, some are secretly dealing with the organization. To make things worse, there is mistrust and accusations being traded between them.
How can we eradicate the disease when we have not yet agreed on its causes? We all describe the disease as bloody, rebellious, terrorist, murderer, savage and external. We all believe that it should not exist in this 21st century but we did not agree yet on its roots. We do not know its genetic DNA and we did not even agree on a name or definition. It attacked us under many names; sometimes as al-Qaeda, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat in Algeria, and today under the name of ISIS, Ansar al-Sharia, Boko Haram, al-Shaabab and the Taliban. Do all of the above constitute one group or are they different movements that resort to the use of violence, murder and atonement?
Each one of them has qualities, history and causes that distinguish them from each other. Where is the truth and who knows it? How can we defeat something if we do not know what it is?
Syria ‘ready’ to work with U.S. against ISIS
Staff Writer, Al Arabiya News
Monday, 25 August 2014
Syria said on Monday that it is “ready” to work with the United States and other world powers in fighting terrorism, as its ally Russia urged Western and Arab governments to overcome their distaste for President Bashar al-Assad. “Syria is ready for cooperation and coordination at the regional and international level to fight terrorism and implement U.N. Security Council resolution 2170,” Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem told reporters in Damascus. He confirmed, in response to a question, that the country’s willingness to do so would extend to cooperating with the United States and Britain.
“They are welcome,” he said. Muallem added that Syria was willing to participate in such efforts as part of a regional or international coalition, or on the basis of bilateral cooperation.But, he said, “We must feel that the cooperation is serious and not double standards.”
“Any violation of Syria’s sovereignty would be an act of aggression.”
His comments come as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) advances in several parts of Syria, including Raqqa province, where it seized the army’s last provincial outpost on Sunday.
Muallem’s statements also came shortly after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged Western and Arab governments to overcome their distaste for Syrian President Assad and engage with him to fight ISIS insurgents. In comments likely to irritate Washington, Lavrov said the United States had made the same mistake with Islamic State as it had with al Qaeda, which emerged in the 1980s when U.S.-backed Islamist insurgents were fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. “I think Western politicians are already realizing the growing and fast-spreading threat of terrorism,” Lavrov said, referring to Islamic State advances in Syria and Iraq. “And they will soon have to choose what is more important: a (Syrian) regime change to satisfy personal antipathies, risking deterioration of the situation beyond any control, or finding pragmatic ways to unite efforts against the common threat.” Russia has been Assad’s most prominent international backer in the civil war that broke out in early 2011 and in which the United States and the West, as well as many Gulf and Arab states, backed the rebels seeking to oust him. ISIS has now emerged as the strongest rebel faction, capturing large areas of both Syria and Iraq and declaring a caliphate on the territory it controls. “At the start the Americans and some Europeans rather welcomed (Islamic State) on the basis it was fighting against Bashar al-Assad. They welcomed it as they welcomed the mujahideen who later created al Qaeda, and then al Qaeda struck like a boomerang on Sept. 11, 2001,” Lavrov said. “The same thing is happening now,” he said, adding that the United States had only started fighting the group after it began rampaging across Iraq and approaching the capital Baghdad. The United States has conducted more than 90 air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq, and Washington is considering taking its fight against the militants to neighbouring Syria.
Damascus said on Monday it must be involved in coordinating any air strikes on its territory.
Backing this stance, Lavrov said: “If... there are plans to combat Islamic State on the territory of Syria and other countries, it is indispensable that it is done in cooperation with legitimate authorities (there).” Having long been denounced by Washington and others for protecting Assad, Lavrov made clear that Russia now feels vindicated. “At one time we were accused of supporting Bashar al-Assad and preventing his overthrow.... Now no one is talking about that,” he said. The Americans and Europeans were now starting to acknowledge “the truth they have long recognised in private conversations: namely that for the region and for the interests of the West, the main threat is not the regime of Bashar al-Assad but the possible threat of seizure of power by terrorists in Syria and other states of the region.”[With AFP and Reuters]
The Syrian opposition has failed to get its message out
By: Fayez Sara/Asharq AlAwsat
Monday, 25 Aug, 2014
Not many would disagree that the level of discourse among the Syrian opposition some three-and-a-half years after the eruption of the uprising in Syria is currently in a sorry state.
In contrast to what it should be in terms of seriousness, responsibility, and the ability to identify and discuss problems realistically, it just doesn’t measure up. Nor can it help find solutions to these problems, which renders it marginal and without influence, detached from its basic tasks.
More importantly, it is too general and does not address specific demands. It focuses on general slogans instead of meaningful demands and objectives.
It is a discourse of conflict rather than conciliation, and focuses too much on a few details without considering their links with the larger issues. It is also confused, and sometimes gives the wrong impression. Often it is even contradictory to the extent that the listener is unable to recognize the objective of the discourse.
The opposition discourse, as described above, appears in documents and statements, and also in speeches, as well as media interviews and articles. This is not limited to the discourse of opposition figures, but also extends to the discourse of political groups, whether they are parties or alliances, because those who formulate the discourse are members of the leadership of the opposition.
The main reasons for this are twofold. First, the reality is that in the last five decades the Syrian regime’s control of politics and society lowered the level of ideological discussion a great deal. Political groups were banned or strictly controlled by incorporating them into the regime within its “Progressive National Front,” which was led by the Ba’ath Party. Political figures were also excluded and marginalized, exiled or detained, or co-opted by the regime in one way or another.
The second reason for the poor state of the opposition discourse lies in its current circumstances and conditions. Those who, prior to the outbreak of the revolution, had some public profile were forced to adopt the marginalized discourse allowed by the regime, while the words of those who were members of the persecuted internal opposition or in exile were largely hostile and adversarial. The demands of covert existence made it very difficult to develop political and media skills that western politicians take for granted. The ideological, political and organizational differences between the opposition groups and parties resulted in a kind of stereotyping of their communication with the public and other political groups, and most of their statements were either self-glorifying or condemned others, even labeling them as traitors—including people who were their comrades and brothers just a short time before.
Despite the existence of a Syrian opposition for many decades, it has been shaped by the limited opportunities open to its members to properly develop as a public opposition. This can be seen in the brief “Damascus Spring” of the previous decade, when opposition figures who could articulate clear and understandable objections to the regime or give their take on events and developments failed to emerge. Instead, the opposition offered documents and statements, few of which were worthy of consideration—and even those few remained captive to many confused explanations and were full of problems.
The great Syrian revolution, with all its demands for freedom, justice and democracy, provided a historic opportunity for the country’s opposition to make changes and rid its discourse of its problems; but this did not happen. The will of the opposition forces was too weak to break them out of their political and organizational tunnel vision, and those opposition forces which began to form quickly amid the heat of the conflict with the regime—and amid the campaigns of killing, detention and displacement of activists and field commanders—could not create an alternative to the troubled and marginalized discourse used by the opposition.
What is certain is that the poor state of the opposition’s discourse in general does not mean that there were no positive signs regarding their rhetoric and discourse during the last decade—like what appeared in the speech of the formation of the Damascus Declaration for National Democratic Change in 2005, for example, and at the opposition conference in Cairo in 2012. This was clear in defining the aims of the opposition, including the Syrian National Coalition, and was a valuable step towards developing a new discourse, one that is serious and responsible, looks at things realistically, and puts the opposition on course to bringing about real change and taking the Syrians out of the crisis created by the Assad regime. The misery, insignificance, and flaws of the opposition’s discourse are not the inevitable fate of the Syrians, their revolution and the opposition.
Will the Gulf Lose Qatar?
By: Salman Aldossary/Asharq Alawsat
Monday, 25 Aug, 2014 /The Gulf has not experienced times as difficult as the ones we are currently living through today. In addition to the unprecedented tensions in the region, changes in foreign policies that were previously solid and clear, and the apathy of the most powerful country in the world, there is also now the current dispute between the Gulf’s Arab states adding fuel to the fire.
Vigilance in dangerous times is a necessity, especially now that there is a consensus between Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain that their sister state Qatar is not, in reality, ready to change its policies, ones which have greatly harmed these three countries. After countless meetings and talks, ministers traveling to and fro between this capital and that, and committees observing, recording and submitting their reports, the final decision on the crisis remains with these three countries who have been extremely patient with Doha, to such an extent that it would not be prudent to bet on their remaining so any longer.
It is clear that the Gulf states can no longer tolerate Doha’s often rebellious policies toward its neighbors. What is also clear is that Qatar can no longer do anything to gloss over its mistakes in this regard. Nor can it dismiss a number of thorny issues related to certain groups and its relationships with them. Would Qatar one day be able to turn around to Hezbollah, the Houthis, the Muslim Brotherhood and others of their ilk and say, “Thank you for your help . . . but we’ve decided to end our relationship with you now,” suddenly cutting off its ties with all those who use it as a launching pad to harm its neighbors, while at the same Doha protects them and offers them sanctuary? It is worth reminding ourselves that, despite hopes that Qatar would take steps to resolve the dispute with its neighbors, it was only one day after the meeting between the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Bin Khalifa, and the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, that a new director-general was appointed at Al-Jazeera, one known for his unambiguously confrontational and inflammatory positions toward Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain. What message, then, was Doha hoping to send when it made this move? And what kind of reconciliation could possibly occur when it continues to pursue these “brotherly” policies with its “siblings”? Notice we are here talking about open and public decisions. We haven’t yet touched upon the kind of decisions that are made away from public view. The sheer magnitude of Qatar’s mistakes is no secret to people in the Gulf. Their countries have tolerated Doha for years in the hope that it would return to the Gulf fold. Alas, its unruliness has now gone beyond even that, adopting an irritating and harmful set of policies, policies aimed unambiguously against its neighbors. And when confronted with bundles of evidence amassed by those neighbors to prove the truth of their positions, Doha simply replied that no one should interfere in its foreign policy or try to direct it, that nations are not measured by their size but by their ambitions. Doha believes that even if its policies are harmful to its neighbors, those neighbors still do not have the right to interfere in “sovereign matters.” Our Qatari brothers forget that none of the 28 member states of the EU are allowed to go against the general policies of the organization—the crisis over Ukraine is a case in point.
There is no doubt that Doha wants to prove that its policies will neither affect its membership of the Gulf Cooperation Council nor its relations with its neighbors. And it will use all the means at its disposal to get the message across to both its own citizens and across the Arab world and beyond, that it is staying the course it has been traveling—no matter what the cost. As for the rest of the Gulf, they will also stay their own course, one they have been on for the last 18 years, patiently tolerating Doha’s policies. No one in the Gulf wants to lose Qatar, no one wants it to isolate itself, and no one wants—and this is more dangerous—for Qatar to enter into alliances with other countries such as Iran. The question is, however: is this what Qatar wants?
Besieged Iraqi town of Amerli desperately needs U.S. help
By Michael Knights August 25 /14
Michael Knights is the Lafer Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
This weekend, the international community appeared to finally wake to the looming humanitarian crisis in Amerli, a town of 12,000 Shiite Turkmen in northern Iraq that has been under attack by the Islamic State for more than 60 days. On Saturday, Nickolay Mladenov, head of the U.N. Assistance Mission in Iraq, urged the international community in a tweet “to relieve the #Amerli siege and ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance.” Amerli is the only major Shiite community still behind the Islamic State’s front lines. In nearby towns, Shiite Turkmen families captured by the Islamic State have been split up, men and boys taken to be killed and women and girls bused away to be used as human shields, sold as chattel and sometimes raped and murdered. Now, the Islamic State seems to be redoubling its efforts to overrun the town. Its outposts are less than a mile away from the makeshift perimeter set up by poorly armed residents, and its rockets make it impossible for Iraqi helicopters to bring supplies and take out the most vulnerable. If the fragile defense fails, we face the risk of another Srebrenica, the July 1995 massacre of more than 8,000 Bosnian civilians under the noses of the U.N.
With a safe haven only four miles away in the Kurdish-controlled area to the north, the international community, particularly the United States, needs to intervene immediately to facilitate the opening of a relief corridor to Amerli. The presence of thousands of Shiite civilians in territory controlled by the Islamic State presents the terrorist movement with the opportunity to undertake a sectarian provocation that would eclipse its previous crimes and plunge Iraq irretrievably into full-scale disintegration. If Iranian-supported Shiite militias liberate Amerli on their own, any relief operation might turn into a sectarian rampage as these forces take revenge on local Sunnis. But if the United States facilitates a joint effort to relieve Amerli, similar to the recent recapture of the Mosul dam, the fight against the Islamic State and efforts to stabilize Iraq could be greatly strengthened by another example of cooperation between the federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Relief of the town offers the possibility of an unparalleled win-win-win: Baghdad and Iran would protect an important Shiite community; Kurdistan would show its non-Kurdish minorities that it will protect them; and Turkey, the Turkmen’s historic protector, can live up to its responsibilities, most likely by arranging aerial medical evacuation, as it did when the town was hit by a truck bomb in 2007.
Iraqis have tried repeatedly to relieve Amerli by themselves but failed. On Aug. 8, a column of Iranian-backed Shiite militiamen sought to punch through from the north, but their column was shot to pieces by an Islamic State tank. A single U.S. drone could have dispatched the tank at almost no risk to friendly forces or civilians. Having worked in Iraq for more than a decade, I would not lightly advocate any use of force by the U.S. military. But Amerli represents an unusually clear-cut opportunity to reduce human suffering, weaken the Islamic State and neutralize a key risk to Iraq’s fundamental stability. It is not the top of a slippery slope to unintended escalation: In fact, Amerli is a uniquely dreadful situation with a simple, achievable solution — coordinated U.S. airstrikes with a joint Baghdad-KRG offensive to open a humanitarian corridor. Flying over Iraq right now is a Predator drone carrying a Hellfire missile, and that missile will probably one day be shot into a tank hulk on a training range when it reaches its expiration date. Or it could save 12,000 people if it is used today.
Israeli air strikes reduce Gazan
high-rise towers to dust, while Israelis flee in droves from Hamas fire
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis August 25, 2014/Community leaders of 40,000 dwellers of the dozens of kibbutzim, moshavim and small towns adjoining the Gaza Strip spoke out Monday, Aug 25: "It is no longer possible to hide what is going on and the country must hear the truth," they said: “The populated front line facing the Gaza Strip is no more.” Some bluntly blamed this fiasco on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and their management of the operation against Hamas.
The collapse of the Israeli line outside Gaza is analogous in strategic terms to the fall of the Bar Lev line 41 years ago which permitted the Egyptian artillery and tank assault across the Suez Canal, some veteran reservists said. Others pointed out that, whereas the IDF should have carved out a sterile security zone inside the Gaza Strip, Hamas had managed to depopulate a strip of territory on the Israeli side of the border by relentless cross-border short-range rockets and mortar fire, and was now dictating events in southern Israel.
On the 50th day of Operation Defense Edge, people living in the south were outspokenly critical of Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz and his deputy, Maj. Gen. Gadi Eisenkott, in contrast to the early days of the operation. They are now blamed for failing to present the security cabinet with “creative military solutions” for combating Hamas tactics.
The prime minister and defense minister this week turned to covering their dilatory tactics against a full-scale war by disseminating predictions “from official sources” that this would be a “week of diplomacy” and truce negotiations would be resumed in Cairo. This kite didn’t fly for long. Hamas was too full of triumph over the Zionist foe to bow to terms dictated by Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority and refused to be cowed in compromise - even by the heavy ordnance the Israeli air force is throwing at the Gaza Strip’s tallest buildings and high officers. Indeed, history shows that aerial blitzes rarely cause their objects to capitulate, unless augmented by ground action. In an interview Sunday to Iranian TV, Hamas political chief Khaled Meshaal acclaimed the “great Hamas victory” over the Israeli army and thanked Tehran for the assistance which made it possible. Monday morning, Palestinian Hamas leaders Izzat Rishak and Osama Hamdan added their voices to Meshaal’s by rejecting “talk” of an imminent ceasefire in Gaza and flatly turning down the amended Egyptian truce proposal as a basis for negotiations.
The exclusion of a “diplomatic option,” say our military sources, puts the ball back in the Netanyahu-Ya’alon court.
Air strikes are again proving unequal to halting or deterring Hamas’ rocket offensive – exactly as they did before Operation Defensive Edge began. So Israel’s options boil down to a choice between a war of attrition – which Netanyahu has publicly vetoed – and overcoming his revulsion to ground operations in the Gaza Strip – preferably a series of short, sharp surgical strikes.
Three days ago, debkafile reported: Both sides were preparing Saturday night, Aug. 23, for an impending battle on Gaza Strip soil. Heavy IDF ground forces were poised ready to enter the territory – initially to demolish Hamas’s short-range rocket and mortar launches, which have disrupted the lives of neighboring Israeli communities and forced their mass evacuation. Hamas has been firing those short-range weapons from 3-7 km inside the Gaza Strip. Once they appreciated the effectiveness of their tactics, Hamas planners escalated the barrage Monday, launching 140 rockets and mortar shells, salvo after salvo, against a broad Israeli population, which has begun to register casualties and extensive damage. This was meant as a goading challenge to the commanders of the Israel army ranged around the Gaza border, to come in and fight - if they dare. Netanyahu government can hardly avoid calling a spade a spade, namely calling the conflict a “war” instead of an operation and treating Hamas as “the enemy,” which has to be beaten in a ruthless all-out national effort by every means available. The present situation, whereby Israeli air strikes reduce Gaza’s buildings to dust without stopping Hamas rocket attacks, juxtaposed opposite vanishing Israeli communities reduced to refugees is untenable.
From 9/11 to Foley’s murder, extremism
Monday, 25 August 2014
Abdulrahman al-Rashed/Al Arabiya
It was following negligence and a lack of attention that the al-Qaeda organization flourished and attacked U.S. soil on Sept. 11, 2001. The event marked the beginning of the war on terror.
A new era of the war on terror is about to begin after news of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) execution of American journalist James Foley shocked the world. The act signals that similar crimes by the organization are in the pipeline. It will also succeed at wakening concerned parties - Western ones as well as regional ones since they are also threatened by the organization and its sympathizers.
The past 13 years witnessed some of the largest wars against rebellious groups in history. These wars included military confrontations, security pursuits, financial rewards, freezing of bank accounts and shutting down propaganda-disseminating media outlets. Despite all that, these wars have failed, despite the murder and arrest of al-Qaeda’s major leaders.
“Extremism is a disease that plagues the Arab world, many Muslim countries and Muslim minority societies in European countries and even in China”
Many of the organization’s leaders were killed or detained but the group’s ideology continued unabated. So, our enemy is not al-Qaeda or ISIS or the al-Nusra Front but the concept itself - the concept of religious extremism which is a source of inspiration and energy. It’s the reason Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi emerged as the leader of ISIS, just as the late Osama Bin Laden emerged as the leader of al-Qaeda.
This concept is also the reason why tens of thousands of youths arrived in Syria and Iraq prepared, or rather willing, to die.
The world’s war
Our war - the world’s war, Muslims and others - is against evil ideas. Al-Qaeda is an idea and so is ISIS. It is not about building an army or expanding on the map or gaining oil fields. It’s about a “sacred” group that rules in the name of God and claims to get closer to him by offering human sacrifices. Even if American troops, or Iraqi troops, or Iraqi tribes succeed at killing Baghdadi and his rival Golani and the thousands of terrorists who follow them, the rebirth of al-Qaeda under a new slogan is almost certain.
We are locked in a struggle with extremism - a struggle that hasn’t ended since Ayatollah Khomeini took over power in Iran and since Juhayman al-Otaybi occupied the Grand Mosque in Makkah in 1979.
Extremism is a disease that plagues the Arab world, many Muslim countries and Muslim minority societies in European countries and even in China. It’s an Ebola-like disease, meaning it’s not enough to get rid of the patients; you must also fight the virus. ISIS, and al-Qaeda before it, should not only be seen as a threat to the West and followers of other religions as most of its victims are Muslims and most of those are Sunni Muslims. Therefore, the biggest burden in the new round of the war on terror is on Muslim countries, their governments and their intellectual figures.
I am certain that the extremist thought will end and will not be reborn for another 100 years if its sources of education, media and funding are dried out. However, the Islamic world still refuses to admit to the problem of extremism which lies within it. On the one hand it fights against extremism on the security level. On the other hand, it tries to shift the blame onto others instead of admitting its illness and the need for a long and harsh treatment. The virus of extremism has infiltrated society and culture. It’s due to this virus that many act like brainwashed people and roam the streets of their cities repeating the same ideas and defending extremism, willing to spread its teachings. And so, whenever counter-terrorism forces kill one hundred of them, a thousand more of them are born.