LCCC ENGLISH DAILY NEWS BULLETIN
Bible Quotation for today/You received without payment; give without payment.
Matthew 10,8-15/"Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment. Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for labourers deserve their food. Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave. As you enter the house, greet it. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgement than for that town."
Latest analysis, editorials, studies, reports, letters & Releases from miscellaneous sources For July 07/14
ISIS has reshuffled the regional cards/By: Huda Al Husseini/Asharq Alawsat/July 07/14
Bin Laden is dead, Long Live al-Baghdadi/By: Abdulrahman al-Rashed/Al Arabiya/July 07/14
Shifting the balance of power in Syria and Iraq/By: Raghida Dergham/Al Arabiya/ July 07/14
Did U.S. policies lead to Baghdadi’s Caliphate/Bakir Oweida/Al Arabiya/July 07/14
Reports From Miscellaneous
Sources For July 07/14
Lebanese Related News
Pope Denounces 'Scourge of Unemployment'
Al-Rahi Urges Berri to Hold Daily Parliamentary Sessions to Elect President
Dr. Samir Geagea: Aoun wants to cheat the people
SNC: Hizbullah Trading with Refugees' Organs to Fund its War
Hezbollah: Vacuum in Lebanon encourages terror
Notorious Kidnap Gang Chief Arrested in Brital
Israeli Troops Open Fire at Shepherd, Fail to Abduct him
Earthquake Rattles Northeast of Sidon, Felt in Beirut
SCC Announces Wednesday General Strike, to Continue Boycotting Exam Correction
Saudi Jails Rights Activist for 15 Years
Syria planes strike inside Lebanon near border town
'Free Sunnis Brigade' to Mashnouq: You Won't be Able to Stop Us from Staging Our Operations
Report: Ibrahim Convinced Lebanon Will 'Inevitably' Be Forced to Set up Syrian Refugee Camps
Lebanon experiencing 'seismic attack'
Machnouk: Berri starts debate on parliamentary polls
ISIS preparing attacks in Lebanon: report
Banker defends corruption comments, denies slander
Alain Aoun: Agreement over amendment possible
Hariri launches art exhibition in Old Sidon
Machnouk: Sidon project meets international standards
EDL: Paltry funding means less power
Miscellaneous Reports And News For July 07/14
Netanyahu unequivocally condemns murder of Arab teen Abu Khdeir
One of six Jewish nationalists arrested confesses to revenge killing of Arab teen
Rocket fire pummels South amid calls for Gaza operation
Abbas urges UN to
investigate alleged revenge killing of Arab boy by Jewish extremists
Six Jewish males under arrest in connection with murder of Palestinian youth. They deny the charge
Iraq Analyzing Jihadist Sermon Video for Authenticity
Jewish Extremists Held over Palestinian Teen Murder
Was it a Rolex? Caliph’s watch sparks guesses
ISIS expels thousands in east Syria
Ukraine's First Big Win over Rebels Dims Truce Hopes
Egypt's Sisi says independence for Iraq's Kurds would be 'catastrophic'
Pope Denounces 'Scourge of
Naharnet/Pope Francis denounced "the scourge of unemployment" during a visit to one of Italy's poorest regions on Saturday, and said businesses had a responsibility to help get people back into work.
"It is necessary to put human dignity at the center of every point of view and every action. Other interests, even if legitimate, are secondary," he told a crowd of thousands during a mass in the Molise region.
"Employment is a challenge that is the particular responsibility of institutions, the financial world and business." Italy scraped back into growth at the end of last year after suffering the worst recession since World War II, but unemployment in the eurozone's third-largest economy remains near record levels. The problem is particularly acute in Molisa, one of Italy's smallest regions, where official data showed 16.4 percent of people were without jobs in the first quarter of the year. Pope Francis met with young people earlier in the day to discuss youth unemployment -- a major problem in Italy, where 43 percent of people aged 15-24 are without a job. "We cannot resign ourselves to losing a generation that has no job and therefore has no dignity," he said. Agence France Presse
Earthquake Rattles Northeast of Sidon,
Felt in Beirut
Naharnet/An earthquake rattled the region northeast of the southern city of Sidon late on Saturday, reported LBCI television. The 4.1-magnitude quake was also felt in Beirut and nearby areas. The National Geophysical Center for Research stated that the epicenter of the tremor lies eight kilometers northeast of Sidon. Six aftershocks have since been reported, said LBCI. An Nahar added that the quake was felt in the Iqlim al-Kharroum, al-Chouf, Jezzine, and Sidon regions. Some houses in the areas suffered minor cracks from the quake, forcing their fearful residents to spend the night in their vehicles, reported Voice of Lebanon radio (93.3) Sunday. The last earthquake to hit Lebanon took place on May 25, measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale. According to the National Geophysical Center for Research, over 600 earthquakes with magnitudes below 3 degrees strike Lebanon each year. More than 20 earthquakes were reported between the regions of Bikfaya and Aley on March 15, 2012.
In 1956, a 6 degrees on the Richter scale earthquake struck Lebanon, killing 136 people and destroying 6,000 houses.
Dr. Samir Geagea: Aoun wants to cheat
BEIRUT - Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea reiterated his criticism of a proposal for constitutional amendments by Change and Reform bloc leader MP Michel Aoun, calling the initiative an attempt to escape from Lebanon’s ongoing presidential elections. “The people [responsible] for crippling the presidency have not stopped there; they have proposed a constitutional amendment in an attempt to cheat the people once again, and escape from the presidential elections,” Geagea said in a speech on Saturday night. “It is as if the person proposing this constitutional reform has chosen to forget that neither the government nor the parliament are working as they should be, and there is no president.” “The confrontation is still under way, and most of the Lebanese are on our side,” he added in reference to the presidential elections. On June 30, Aoun called for amending the Lebanese constitution to permit direct presidential elections, to be held over two rounds, in which the people would vote directly for the president. He suggested that in the first round, Christian voters would select two candidates, then in a second round, all Lebanese citizens would vote to choose between them. Lebanon has had no president since May 25, when former president Michel Suleiman's mandate expired, as the two rival blocs that dominate politics have been unable to agree on a successor. The Lebanese parliament has failed seven times to elect a president, each time unable to reach a quorum, as March 8 parliamentarians affiliated with Hezbollah and Michel Aoun’s Change and Reform bloc have not participated in the sessions.
SNC: Hizbullah Trading with Refugees' Organs to Fund its War
Naharnet/The opposition Syrian National Council has accused Hizbullah of “trading with the organs” of Syrian refugees to cope with the “financial hardship” the party is going through due its war efforts in the neighboring country. The party “has devised an emergency plan aimed at reining in its financial deficit which is growing day after day,” the SNC said in a “security report” published by CNN Arabic on Sunday.“The main reason (of the deficit) is the financing of the militias that are aiding the regime in Syria,” the SNC added. The Council, the biggest bloc in Syria's opposition-in-exile, had quit the umbrella National Coalition on January 20 in protest at the latter's participation in the Geneva peace talks with the regime. However, it rejoined the coalition in February after the collapse of the negotiations.
According to the report, which the SNC said was prepared in collaboration with friendly security sources inside Syria, the cost of Hizbullah's operations “is consuming 35% to 40% of the party's total budget, which has put it under an enormous financial pressure, not to mention the difficult Iranian economic situation that has reflected negatively on Tehran's financial aid to the party.”
Hizbullah's alleged “emergency plan” involves collecting taxes under the banner of “defending the sect,” the SNC charged. It also accused the party of sending envoys to “Shiite expats in West Africa and South America to raise donations” and organizing “a broad advertising campaign to raise donations in Iran,” noting that “high-ranking and influential Shiite scholars” are running the so-called campaigns.
“The party's extreme financial deficit has even prompted it to engage in a very covert manner in organ trade, especially livers and kidneys,” the SNC claimed, saying Hizbullah is “exploiting the destitution of Syrian refugees in Lebanon and deceiving them into selling their organs for $5,000 per organ, after which each would be sold for $90,000 in the global market.”
Organ trade is the trade involving inner human organs (heart, liver, kidneys, etc.) for organ transplantation. There is a worldwide shortage of organs available for transplantation, yet commercial trade in human organs is illegal in all countries except Iran. Contacted by CNN Arabic, Hizbullah public relations officer Ibrahim al-Moussawi declined to comment on the SNC's allegations, saying the party “has no interest in giving comments to foreign media outlets that would eventually write whatever they see appropriate.”“Should there be anything official, the party will issue a statement,” Moussawi pointed out.
Hizbullah's fighters openly entered the fight in Syria in May 2013 and were instrumental in helping President Bashar Assad's troops push back rebels and re-capture strategic towns and rebel strongholds along the border with Lebanon and near Syria's capital. The party argues that its intervention in the neighboring country was necessary to fend off the threat of extremist groups and prevent the fall of Syria into the hands of Israel and the West.
Notorious Kidnap Gang Chief Arrested
Naharnet/Security forces arrested Sunday the chief of a kidnap gang in the Bekaa town of Brital, as part of its still ongoing security plan in the region. A statement issued by the Internal Security Forces' public relations department said the ISF Intelligence Bureau apprehended “the head of a kidnap-for-ransom gang, who is one of the most dangerous fugitives in this field.”It identified him as 28-year-old Lebanese national Q. H. He was arrested “during a raid on his house in the town of Brital,” where a Kalashnikov assault rifle and its ammunition were seized. The man was “wanted by the judiciary on 16 arrest warrants over charges of forming an armed gang, abduction, theft, attempted murder, impersonation, drugs, shooting and bounced checks,” the ISF said in its statement. “During interrogation, he confessed to carrying out several kidnap-for-ransom operations in the provinces of Beirut, Bekaa and South in collaboration with other culprits, who are being currently pursued,” it added. The army and security forces have been implementing an unprecedented security plan since two months in the Bekaa and Tripoli, under which several top fugitives have been captured, especially in Douris, Arsal, Hawrtaala and Brital.
Israeli Troops Open Fire at Shepherd,
Fail to Abduct him
Naharnet/Israeli troops opened fire on Sunday at a shepherd as he was herding his cattle in the South, reported the National News Agency.
It said that the soldiers fired five shots at Hussam Akasha in the Jabal Sadana heights, but they missed him. They also attempted to abduct him, but he fled towards a nearby position of the Indian contingent in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. On April 7, an Israeli patrol abducted two shepherds and three women near the Blue Line at the Bastra Farm near Shebaa. They were soon released however. Israeli troops frequently kidnap shepherds near border areas. They are usually interrogated before their eventual release.
Al-Rahi Urges Berri to Hold Daily
Parliamentary Sessions to Elect President
Naharnet/Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi condemned on Sunday the ongoing vacuum in the presidency, describing it as a “great shame”. He urged during his Sunday sermon Speaker Nabih Berri to “hold daily parliamentary sessions to stage the presidential elections in order to end the vacuum in the presidency.”“The daily presidential elections sessions have become obligatory according to the constitution,” he stated.“We say to those obstructing the elections, whether directly or indirectly, and those backing them on the internal and external scenes, that they are incurring major damage on Lebanon,” he added. “Lebanon does not belong to anyone, but it belongs to all the people,” he stressed. “We call on friendly nations to urge the Lebanese parliament to elect a new head of state in order to preserve the country's role on the Arab and international scenes,” said the patriarch.Lebanon has been plunged in vacuum in the presidency since the term of President Michel Suleiman ended in May.
Eight elections sessions have been held, seven of which were boycotted by the March 8 lawmakers, mainly those of Hizbullah and the Change and Reform bloc, due to the ongoing dispute with the March 14 alliance over a candidate. Head of the Change and Reform bloc MP Michel Aoun had repeatedly stated that he is willing to run in the elections if there is consensus over his nomination. Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea is running on behalf of the March 14 camp and has repeatedly accused Aoun of obstructing the elections, demanding that he announce his candidacy.
The next elections session is scheduled for July 23.
Politicians sending wrong message to
The Daily Star/BEIRUT: A Hezbollah official Sunday said that the presidential void and Lebanon’s political troubles were seen by terrorist groups as a sign of Lebanon’s weakness. “It’s unfortunate that the strategy of the March 14 alliance is to extend the presidential void and delay the election of a new president, the ratification of the salary scale and the reactivation of the work the Parliament because they benefit from all this and the interests of the country and the people are the least of their concerns,” the head of Hezbollah’s Executive Council, Sheikh Nabil Qaouk, said at a memorial service in the village of Deir Qanoun al-Nahr. “Adopting the strategy of obstruction and void sends a message of weakness to terrorist cells,” Qaouk added. The Hezbollah official said that the so-called takfiri ideology would not have expanded and thrived in the Middle East had it not been for regional and international “support, funding and weapon supplies” to such extremist groups. “This no secret anymore,” he added. “The Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria would not have survived without Arab and international support.” Qaouk said Hezbollah would protect Lebanon against “Israeli and takfiri offensives,” adding that party’s “achievements outside Lebanon’s borders and the achievements of the Lebanese security forces have thwarted the takfiri project in Lebanon.” “Let’s devise a national strategy to counter terrorism because terrorism targets everyone and does not differentiate between regions or religions or sects,” he said. “Let’s also fortify our domestic front so as not to encouragement signals to terrorists.”
'Free Sunnis Brigade' to Mashnouq: You
Won't be Able to Stop Us from Staging Our Operations
Naharnet/Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq revealed that tweets by the so-called “Free Sunnis Brigade” were in fact made by a foreign intelligence agency, reported the daily An Nahar on Sunday.
He did not disclose to the daily further details on the matter. But the shadowy brigade was quick to hit back on Sunday afternoon, telling Mashnouq that he will not be able to prevent the group's "jihadist operations." "You and your Crusader security agencies won't be able to prevent us from staging our blessed jihadist operations, wherever we want and whenever we want," the Brigade said in a tweet.
“You and your Crusader security agencies that you are bragging about enjoy 'a high level of naivety and silliness',” the Brigade added. remarks to An Nahar, Mashnouq had hailed the efforts of the security forces for their “preemptive” measures in thwarting “criminal bombings at Dahr al-Baydar, al-Tayyouneh, and Raouche.” “The security measures enjoy the complete support of the powers represented at cabinet and those outside of it,” stressed the minister. Commenting on the parliamentary elections, Mashnouq revealed that preparations are being made on the basis of the adoption of the 1960 electoral law.
“Weekly meetings to this end are being held away from any political decision on the matter, which is in the hands of parliament,” he explained. In May 2013, the parliament voted to extend its own mandate for 17 months after the rival political parties failed to reach an agreement over a new electoral law. Around 100 MPs from all blocs, except the Change and Reform bloc, voted to extend parliament's term until November 20, 2014. “Consultations between me and Speaker Nabih Berri are ongoing and he will carry out further discussions in the upcoming days regarding the polls,” Mashnouq stated.
Sheikh Sirajeddine Zouraykat of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades deemed on Friday the “Free Sunnis Brigade” Twitter account as “fake”, saying it was run by sides affiliated with Hizbullah.
The “Free Sunnis Brigade” had vowed earlier this week to task gunmen to attack churches in Lebanon and in the eastern Bekaa valley in particular. Following these alarming tweets, Lebanese authorities contacted Twitter's administrators to communicate these threats with them and try to identify who is behind the account. In the same context, the Internal Security Forces' cyber crimes bureau announced on Friday that the Twitter account of the vague Brigade is under prosecution. According to the bureau, two fake names have operated the account and they are Omar al-Shami, a former Syrian inmate who died in the Adra prison in the neighboring country, and Saifullah al-Shayyah, who does no exist.
SCC Announces Wednesday General
Strike, to Continue Boycotting Exam Correction
Naharnet/The Syndicate Coordination Committee vowed on Saturday to continue boycotting the correction of the official exams until the adoption of the contentious new wage scale. "We will continue boycotting the correction of exams until the new wage scale gets adopted and all sectors secure their employment rights without any exception,” the SCC said after a meeting. It also announced a general strike on Wednesday in all ministries, public administrations and institutions, municipalities and at the Grand Serail in all the nation's governorates and districts. And a 24-hour sit-in will also take place on Wednesday near the Ministry of Education and Higher Education in Beirut, with the participation of representatives of parents and students' councils, the SCC added. "This sit-in will be the first of similar protests to be held at all other ministries,” it noted. The SCC, a coalition of private and public school teachers and public sector employees, explained that not adopting the new wage scale or other pending drafts with a social character “serve the policy of causing tension in the country and of supporting extremism and sectarian divisions... and aim at harming the Committee and its struggle for Lebanese people's” rights. It continued: “Officials' neglect of thousands of Lebanese people's rights point out their decision to eliminate what is left of the welfare state...and of eliminating public employment.” The SCC assured that it is holding talks with parents and students' councils and stressed its rejection of putting them in confrontation with teachers. More than a dozen of public sectors employees held a sit-in near the Value Added Tax building in Beirut on Tuesday, reiterating their demand for the approval of the controversial wage hike. Several SCC activists spoke at the protest, urging the parliament to agree on the salary raise. Speaker Nabih Berri has decided to keep legislative sessions on the wage scale open-ended after lawmakers failed to approve the raise. Parliamentary blocs have expressed their support for the employees' rights but have warned that Lebanon's ailing economy would suffer if the total funding was not reduced from LL2.8 trillion ($1.9 billion) to LL1.8 trillion ($1.2 billion). They have also disagreed on how to raise taxes to fund the scale over fears of inflation and its affect on the poor. Their differences have been exacerbated by the boycott of the March 14 alliance's MPs of the sessions aimed at discussing the draft-law under the excuse that parliament should not legislate in the absence of a president.
Saudi Jails Rights Activist for 15
Naharnet/A Saudi court on Sunday sentenced to 15 years in jail a prominent rights lawyer described by Amnesty as a prisoner of conscience, relatives said in a statement posted on Twitter.
The tweet said that Waleed Abulkhair, who has had many run-ins with the authorities over his activism and for allegedly insulting authorities, was also banned from traveling abroad for 15 years and fined 200,000 riyals (around $54,000). Abulkhair, who has been under arrest since April 16, contested the verdict in court, according to the tweet. On bail for having held unauthorized meetings of reformists, Abulkhair was ordered to be put under arrest as he attended a fifth hearing, accused of insulting authorities in the ultra-conservative kingdom. His wife Samar Badawi announced his arrest the next day and said the court did not give her a reason for detaining him. Rights group Amnesty International at the time called for his immediate release, saying he was being clearly punished "for his work protecting and defending human rights." "He is a prisoner of conscience and must be released immediately and unconditionally," said Amnesty's Said Boumedouha. He called the lawyer's detention "a worrying example of how Saudi Arabian authorities are abusing the justice system to silence peaceful dissent."He is already facing other trials in cases linked to his activism. In October, he was sentenced to three months in prison for "insulting the judiciary" and a petition he signed two years ago criticizing the authorities. That same month he was briefly held for setting up an "unauthorized" meeting place where pro-reform activists gathered, but was later freed on bail. In June 2012, he was accused of "disrespecting the judiciary... contacting foreign organizations and signing a petition demanding the release of detainees," some of whom were being held for suspected terror links, his wife said at the time. Three months earlier, authorities banned him from traveling to the United States where he was due to attend a forum organized by the State Department. And in February 2011, he signed two other petitions demanding political reform in the kingdom, where political parties are banned. Abulkhair set up a group on Facebook -- Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi -- which has thousands of members. Agence France Presse
Syria planes strike inside Lebanon
near border town
AFP /Sunday, 6 July 2014/Syrian warplanes bombed gunmen inside Lebanese territory on Sunday on the border between the two countries, Lebanon’s official National News Agency reported. There were no immediate reports of casualties. “Syrian warplanes targeted groups of gunmen in the Wadi al-Khayl area in Arsal firing four rockets,” the news agency said. Shortly afterwards, Syrian aircraft carried out two further raids in the same area, it added. The Lebanese army confirmed air strikes in “border areas” but made no mention of their target. The town of Arsal and the area around it are largely Sunni Muslim, and residents sympathize with the Sunni-led uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The border is long and porous, and has proved an easy crossing point for smugglers, refugees and fighters.
In April, Syrian forces backed by allied fighters from the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah retook control of most of the Qalamun region, just across the border from Arsal. But Syrian activists say hundreds of opposition fighters have taken refuge in the caves and hills in the border area, using it as a rear base from which to launch attacks inside Syria. Wounded fighters are also brought to the area, and food, medicines and weapons are smuggled through it, activists say. Two weeks ago, Lebanese army forces carried out raids in the area targeting militants with ties to “terrorist groups,” an army statement said.
Report: Ibrahim Convinced Lebanon Will
'Inevitably' Be Forced to Set up Syrian Refugee Camps
Naharnet/General Security chief Abbas Ibrahim believes that Lebanon will be eventually be forced to establish camps for the Syrian refugees in the country, reported An Nahar daily. Political sources revealed that the Lebanon will “inevitably” be made to take such a decision, despite the opposition of Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil and other political powers. The minister had warned on Friday that the camps may become entities independent of the state, similar to Palestinian refugee camps. He had also cautioned that establishing camps may pave the way to the naturalization of the refugees, which violates the constitution. Ibrahim stressed however that the camps, should they be set up, will fall under the security forces' “strict and complete” control. The political sources told the daily that international law stipulates that refugee camps should be set up 30 kilometers inside the territories of the host country in order to ensure that the displaced are completely protected. They added however that the concerned international powers and agencies are leaning towards decreasing the aid dedicated to Lebanon aimed at helping the refugees and directing it to Iraqi refugees fleeing a militant insurgency in their country. Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas stated that the Syrian refugee file will be discussed at a cabinet session scheduled for next week. He predicted that further measures will be taken in this issue, such as facilitating the return of refugees to their country should they choose to. Lebanon currently hosts 1.1 million refugees, the highest number at 38 percent of Syrian refugees fleeing the war-torn country for other countries in the region. The United Nations says the country needs $1.6 billion (1.2 billion euros) for 2014 to be able to cope with the refugee crisis, but that only 23 percent of this has been gathered. According to Central Bank of Lebanon statistics, the country faces a financial burden of $4.5 billion because of the refugee crisis. In May, the Lebanese authorities took a decision to ban Syrian refugees from heading to their country or lose their status.
Was it a Rolex? Caliph’s watch sparks guesses
By Staff writer | Al Arabiya News /Sunday, 6 July 2014/Following the rare appearance on Saturday of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a self-proclaimed 'caliph' - social media users took to Twitter and Facebook to speculate over the brand of watch. From Tag Heuer to Rolex and Hublot, all types of guesses were made by the users taking part in the debate started by popular Arab affairs commentator Sultan Sooud al-Qassemi. “It is a Rolex Milgaus (good if subjected to radiation), Ghanem Nuseibeh wrote on Facebook, while Hafsa Halawa said: “Looks like a Tag Heuer to my amateur eye.”
Iraq Analyzing Jihadist Sermon Video
Naharnet/Iraqi forces are analyzing an online video that purports to show a brutal jihadist group's leader delivering a sermon in the militant-held city of Mosul, a spokesman said on Sunday.
The video, which if authenticated would be the first time the leader of the Islamic State (IS) has appeared on camera since proclaiming himself the leader of the world's Muslims, was apparently taken during Friday prayers at al-Nour mosque in the northern Iraqi city. "The video is being investigated and analyzed and verified by security forces and intelligence officers," said Lieutenant General Qassem Atta, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's security spokesman. "We have specialized analysts investigating all of this."The video posted on Saturday showed a portly man clad in a long black robe and turban with a thick graying beard -- purportedly IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi -- addressing worshipers at weekly prayers in central Mosul. Superimposed text identified the man as "Caliph Ibrahim", the name Baghdadi took when the group on June 29 declared a "caliphate", a pan-Islamic state last seen in Ottoman times, in which the leader is both political and religious. Militants led by IS overran Mosul on June 10 and subsequently seized a swathe of territory across five provinces north and west of Baghdad in an offensive that has displaced hundreds of thousands, alarmed the international community and piled pressure on Maliki as he bids for a third term in office. Agence France Presse
Bin Laden is dead, Long Live
Sunday, 6 July 2014
By: Abdulrahman al-Rashed/Al Arabiya
The emergence of an ISIS leader has rekindled fears as it
appears that one man has finally come to save the group from diverging into
different directions, especially with it being a group based on symbolism,
history and religion. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi emerged, ending al-Qaeda’s
infertility that lasted for three years after failing to find a successor to its
slain leader, Osama bin Laden. The time and place of this emergence raises
questions about what this group is, who controls it, and who was able to break
into it. ISIS suddenly emerged in Syria, at a time when the collapse of Assad’s
regime seemed definite. The emergence of ISIS saved the Syrian regime by
threatening the world with an alternative terrorist regime that would replace
Assad’s and by fighting against the armed opposition. The same scenario happened
in Iraq. Nouri al-Maliki, who is the closest to Iran, was on the verge of ending
his term as prime minister, especially that Sunni, Shiite and Kurds leaders
unanimously refused to renew his term. Suddenly again, ISIS emerged. It seized
Mosul, the second largest and most heavily guarded city. And so, Maliki was
brought back to the forefront, imposing himself as the needed leader to face the
Sunni terrorists. Instead of ISIS fighting its obvious opponents, Assad and al-Maliki,
the group mobilized its men towards the northern borders of Saudi Arabia with
Iraq. It has also waged a battle on the southern borders between Saudi Arabia
and Yemen. Baghdadi is the new version of Bin Laden: a model for the religious
failure in the Sunni community, which was unable to stop extremism and find a
cultural alternative. Bin Laden is dead, Baghdadi lives on! He acts as his
predecessor acted, and avoids what his predecessor avoided. Iran was the enemy
in their religious propaganda, and was secretly their ally. It was home for some
al-Qaeda cells since the nineties, led by Egyptian fundamentalist Saif al-Adel.
After al-Qaeda’s escape from Afghanistan, Iran has become a refuge for many more
cells. Bin Laden sent half of his children and one of his wives to Iran, and
after his death, they were handed over to Syria and then to Saudi Arabia. There
are still a huge number of al-Qaeda’s Saudi and Arab leaders and soldiers in
Iran. Al-Qaeda has never targeted Iran, despite its ideology and incitement
A model of religious failure Baghdadi is the new version of Bin Laden: a model for the religious failure in the Sunni community, which was unable to stop extremism and find a cultural alternative. ISIS emerges from dark cellars. Intelligence agencies in the region broke into ISIS and directed it in line with their political projects that are unrelated to the organization’s mission. Almost all of al-Qaeda’s fighters who entered Iraq after the occupation of U.S. troops, sneaked across the Syrian border. A new war is looming on the horizon, and it may last for a decade or even two, who knows?
Did U.S. policies lead to Baghdadi’s Caliphate?
Sunday, 6 July 2014/Bakir Oweida/Al Arabiya
The U.S. has put a $10 million bounty on the head of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. It would make no sense for me to invite President Barack Obama to pledge allegiance to Baghdadi, who has now ludicrously proclaimed himself a “Caliph.” But the truth is that the policies of the current U.S. administration—among other factors—have helped the legions of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to establish their foothold in several locations on Syrian territory. A blind eye was turned even when the organization declared the Syrian city of al-Raqqa an interim capital and moved to exercise the oppression of swords and killing of people on its streets and alleys of the city. The U.S.’s ongoing mistake of being lenient in dealing with Bashar al-Assad’s regime has made it easier for ISIS to advance toward neighboring Iraq. With the arrival of ISIS in Mosul, then being a stone’s throw from Tikrit and closing in on Baghdad, it seemed to Baghdadi that the “caliphate” had come under his beck and call. He has gained power and influence, and it has therefore become necessary that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria named itself the “Islamic State.” ISIS consequently demanded that each group that does not pledge support to it and to its leader, the man the U.S. has declared as the most dangerous terrorist in the world, should disband.
The U.S.’s ongoing mistake of being lenient in dealing with Bashar al-Assad’s regime has made it easier for ISIS to advance toward neighboring Iraq
The situation in the Arab world is no longer merely on the brink of fragmentation. There are actually now only two choices: either to make a move or collapse.
There is an old Sudanese adage that goes: “Whoever gets wet with water should swim.” I remembered this adage, as I—like many others—see how dangerous the situation in the Arab world is.
Anyone, wherever they are in the world and whatever views they hold, is free to act on proverbs they hear and say aloud what they believe is right as dictated by their interests.
Now, the most important question is whether the Arabs can continue down the path the Arab Spring created. Or is the situation too grave to be rectified? Have these events already impacted all those who felt able to remedy this situation?
Gaging our own actions
I do not have an answer, but still, it is not right to surrender to despair. The objective logic requires conceding that it is not only the U.S. that miscalculated on Syria, Iraq, Libya and other communities. Before blaming major countries, the people of these communities ought to look deeply into the actions of their own key forces or players.
The dream of change has retreated, followed by the collapse of the hope for the peaceful transition of power. This failure has shuffled the order of priorities, thus disrupting the order of society.
Everything has become a issue of contention, and so it is no wonder if things lose their meaning.
Throughout history, civilizations rose and then perished. Some were declared but did not live long, such as the unification of Libya and Tunisia under the name of the “Islamic Arab Republic” declared by Muammar Qaddafi after a sudden summit with Habib Bourguiba on Jan. 12, 1974. Other countries rose up from the rubble of destruction and strongly weathered the wind of unrest around them.
In this context, it can be said that this new state declared by ISIS may live on for some days, weeks, months, or even years - who knows? But it remains that a small faction that broke away from al-Qaeda managed in four years to organize thousands of fighters under banners that could occupy vast areas in Iraq and Syria. It is also important to remember that if this development in itself was not taken as seriously as it should have been, given the size of future dangers it posed. Is it still possible to neutralize the impact of ISIS, that outcome of miscalculations? The answer should be an absolute yes, backed up by lessons from what happened and knowledgeable and objective plans. Let’s hope that this is what’s coming next.
ISIS has reshuffled the regional cards
By: Huda Al Husseini/Asharq Alawsat
Sunday, 6 Jul, 2014
For the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Muslim holy month of Ramadan is a month of jihad and crucial decisions. ISIS kicked off the month of Ramadan with the declaration of its Islamic State and it is, no doubt, planning large-scale military operations throughout the month. ISIS’s advance in Syria and Iraq amply demonstrates that the group has a clear military strategy in mind.
ISIS’s confirmation that the holy month would be a month of jihad and martyrdom came as a surprise. ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi must be taken seriously, and his declaration of an Islamic State must also be dealt with in a serious manner. If there is no decisive reaction to this, this putative Islamic State will represent a threat to the entire Middle East.
The militant group’s capture of Mosul two weeks ago proves that Abu-Bakr Al-Baghdadi and his lieutenants can think strategically. ISIS could achieve a new military breakthrough anywhere over the coming months and so concerned regional states must remain vigilant to the ISIS threat.
ISIS can undermine the stability of Baghdad through the suicide attacks that are being perpetrated by its robot-like followers. Everyone remembers the era of Al-Qaeda in Iraq before the terrorist group was driven out by the Awakening Councils when booby-trapped cars were exploding on a daily basis killing dozens. While ISIS could be seeking to extend its grip beyond Syria and Iraq and into Jordan, so the group must not be taken lightly.
The declaration of an Islamic State may be the boldest step taken by ISIS, but it could also be the turning point where the militant group has stretched too far too fast and has thrown away all its previous gains and victories. In its declaration of this Islamic State, ISIS said it had all the legal requirements to establish a caliphate, calling on all jihadist groups, as well as all Muslims across the world, to swear allegiance to Caliph Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.
This call has had two opposing consequences. First, it has led to a surge of hostility from other jihadist groups towards ISIS. At the same time, it may also serve to attract new followers to ISIS among young Islamists who want to attach themselves to the group’s rising star.
ISIS has achieved victories in Iraq as part of a broad alliance with the country’s oppressed Sunnis against the government of Nuri Al-Maliki. However the declaration of an Islamic State sends a clear signal to Iraqi and Syrian Sunnis—they will be subjects to ISIS and Caliph Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. Ultimately, this may disrupt the alliance between ISIS and the Sunnis which allowed ISIS to take and hold this territory in the first place. If a new coalition government in Iraq can be formed, and is able to confront and defeat ISIS, everyone will realize that Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was blinded by his lust for power.
However ISIS’s advance has resulted in another important consequence: a Turkish-Kurdish alliance. This new state of relations between Ankara and Erbil could change the face of Iraq more than anything else. The 2003 US invasion of Iraq changed the Arab face of Iraq. Now, the impossible alliance between Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani could change Iraq again.
Iraq’s Kurds are now moving towards establishing a state of their own, with tacit support from Ankara. This is something that previously would have been unimaginable. The Kurds prevented oil-rich Kirkuk from falling into the clutches of ISIS, but now Barzani is saying that the Kurds will not give up Kirkuk.
For 10 years, the Kurds tried to keep Iraq united. However, after Mosul and Kirkuk, they are now convinced that Iraq needs a new political scene following the failure of Maliki’s policies over the past eight years. A few days before ISIS’s capture of Mosul, the Kurds warned the Baghdad government of the Islamist advance. Baghdad’s response was that everything is under control. After Mosul, the Kurds will focus on protecting their own territory and avoid getting embroiled in the sectarian conflict that is emerging in Iraq. The priority for the KRG and its Peshmerga fighters will be to protect Kurdistan and everybody who has sought refuge there regardless of sect or ethnicity.
As for Ankara, it wants a Kurdish state as a buffer between Turkey and the emerging chaos. In return, this new state of Kurdistan will receive oil and gas contracts. The modern state of Turkey has long given up hopes of the return of disputed territory, including Kirkuk and Mosul, while Barzani has assured Ankara that he views the Kurds in Turkey as Turkish citizens first and foremost. This is the reverse of his stance on the Kurds in Syria and Iran. The KRG president is seeking to take advantage of Erdoğan’s need for oil and a buffer state.
Barzani will deliver on his promises because Turkey represents the lifeblood for this new Kurdistan, not to mention the natural resources that the Kurdish state already enjoys. Kurdish control of Kirkuk will not be reversed. Even if a coalition government is formed, Baghdad will be unable to rewind the clock in Kirkuk. In fact, Iraq and Turkey need the Kurds and their Peshmerga forces to repel ISIS more than the Kurds need Baghdad and Ankara. This puts the Iraqi Kurds in a strong negotiating position.
Regardless of what final form this Kurdish state takes, the outcome of the current unrest will result in a stronger and more influential Kurdish entity. Whether Baghdad likes it or not, this entity will also have a part to play in the ongoing dialogue about the future of Syria and the situation of the Kurds there. In addition to this, a confident Erbil government—backed by Ankara—could also strengthen the resolve of the Kurds in south-eastern Turkey to demand autonomy.
Let us be clear, Baghdadi’s declaration of an Islamic State must be taken seriously; he declared the annulment of the Sykes-Picot agreement which drew up the borders of the region, not just the borders of Iraq and Syria, but also Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. While ISIS is now focusing on Iraq, their objectives surely go far beyond this.
Shifting the balance of power in Syria
Sunday, 6 July 2014
By: Raghida Dergham/Al Arabiya
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and senior advisers are discussing strategies to address the conflicts and challenges of the Middle East so that the Secretariat does not appear unable to shoulder its responsibilities in light of the failure of the Security Council and its divisions -- both real and those that are convenient for both Russia and the United States. Today, while the Middle East region undergoes one of the most important stages of the difficult and complicated process of change, the U.N. seems to have no clear policy or a road map for a distinguished role by the U.N. at the regional and international levels.
The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany are negotiating with the Islamic Republic of Iran over its nuclear program in Vienna, and are determined to make a breakthrough culminating with the gradual lifting of sanctions on Tehran. But these countries are deliberately turning a blind eye to Iranian violations of Resolution 1747, which, under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, imposes a comprehensive ban on the Iranian sale or transfer of weapons or military experts from its territory to any other nation. In other words, the United States, Britain, and France agree with Russia and China on exempting Iran from accountability for violations of a Security Council resolution adopted under Chapter VII, which compels all states to enforce it. This means that the five nations are violating a U.N. Security Council resolution and are deliberately ignoring Iranian violations to protect the nuclear talks. This is a dangerous precedent
This dangerous precedent has produced the worst performance for the five countries in the past few decades, if not in the entire history of the United Nations. This is happening while the five permanent countries are engaged in the farce of slow negotiations and absurd worthless statements, while the number of casualties in Syria has surpassed 150,000, and while the humanitarian catastrophe there is growing worse by the day.
What Ban Can Do
Ban Ki-moon is not in a position to intervene in the affairs of the Security Council and cannot dictate terms to it. But the Secretary-General of the United Nations is not the servant of the Security Council under the Charter of the United Nations. He is independent from the Security Council and has powers that are not prejudiced by the Security Council. He has the right to moral and political leadership by resorting to Article 99, which grants him the right to raise issues that the Security Council rejects to put forward. It is therefore worthwhile for the nations opposed to the major Security Council members kowtowing to Iranian violations in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, to be aware of the need for a new approach with the Secretariat of the United Nations.
Developments in Iraq have forced all actors to rethink their positions. They are opening a new window for a different kind of thinking regarding the Syrian issue and the Iranian role in both Syria and Iraq. This is an opportunity for the Secretariat of the United Nations and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to listen to each other attentively, and repair their relationship that has strained over the recent period due to disagreement over Syria.
The main difference between Saudi Arabia and the Secretariat of the United Nations regards the legitimization of the Iranian role in Syria and Iraq. The United Nations believes that reaching a solution in Syria and Iraq requires, logically speaking, acknowledging the role of Iran and Iranian influence in these two countries. The United Nations believes that Iran must inevitably be engaged over the fate of Syria and Iraq.
The Saudi position is completely at odds with this argument, on the grounds that U.N. engagement of Iran in Syria or Iraq would legitimize Iran's regional ambitions that go beyond the borders of Iran and legitimizes the role and influence of Iran in these two Arab countries. Riyadh is opposed to the U.N. giving legitimacy to Iranian intervention in Iraq -- politically -- and in Syria militarily through Hezbollah, which has been fighting there overtly based on Iran's request, and through the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) in Syria and Iraq, in clear violation of the binding U.N. Security Council resolution.
The duty of the United Nations
Riyadh's opinion is that it is the duty of the U.N. -- both at the level of the Secretariat and the Security Council -- to hold Iran accountable for its violations rather than treat it with impunity. Riyadh believes that asking it to legitimize the Iranian role in Syria and Iraq is a grave mistake committed by the Secretariat of the United Nations. Riyadh will never give in on this no matter what happens.
This is an opportunity for the Secretariat of the United Nations and the Gulf Cooperation Council to listen to each other attentively
What Riyadh is willing to offer is a necessary partnership with the Secretariat and the international community in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), similarly to what happened during the experience of Sahawat (Awakening) in Iraq, which fought and routed al-Qaeda there. Riyadh believes that its role and influence over Sunnis in Iraq and Syria is powerful ammunition in the hands of the Secretariat and the international community, if the United Nations truly wants a new approach in these two countries -- an approach that does not rely on Iran as the cornerstone of the two countries' fate as is the case now.
It has now become popular to talk about the "regional approach" to resolving the crisis in Syria and Iraq. Western think-tanks are talking about "Iran first" as part of that approach, and focusing on so-called track-two diplomacy, which in turn legitimizes the Iranian role in Syria and Iraq in the name of "pragmatism." These think tanks -- including some funded by Gulf nations enchanted with such Western institutions -- are going too far in ignoring Iranian violations of international resolutions, and the role Hezbollah and the IRGC led by Qassem Soleimani are playing in Syria and Iraq. And while they deliberately exonerate the Iranian side, these think tanks blame Saudi Arabia for fomenting Sunni extremism, and ignore the fact that Iran equally fostered Shiite extremism of all forms, and the fact that Iran and its allies have used if not created Sunni extremism in many instances.
The Saudi government has not done enough in the beginning to curb its citizens from contributing to the growth of Sunni extremism and terrorism. Recently, Riyadh realized the need to take measures against its citizens involved in terrorism, and is required to do more still. But for U.N. officials to speak about Saudi's responsibility for the events in Syria and Iraq while fully exonerating Iran there is either extremely stupid or plainly sinister.
If the Secretariat wants to engage Saudi Arabia as an influential country in the Arab region, it must first stop making a distinction between the Saudi and Iranian roles in the Arab nations of Iraq and Syria. It must listen carefully to the Saudi arguments and help its efforts for a comprehensive national dialogue in the two countries. It must not continue to be drawn into legitimizing Iran's role as the key to the solution in the two countries. Finally, the Secretariat must quit its naïve assumption that temporary victories are permanent ones. This means that senior U.N. officials must stop thinking of Syria's future from the standpoint of Bashar al-Assad's victory and survival in power.
For its part, Saudi diplomacy has to free itself from its tendency for boycotting and disengagement, because this is neither in Saudi's interests nor in those of Iraq and Syria. Riyadh refused to receive special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to protest his proposals, and also rejected a seat at the Security Council to protest the latter's failures. Some see these measures as an important message and an unprecedented position that alerted the United Nations to the huge gaps in its attitudes. Others think they are precarious tactical steps and not strategic ones.
Time for a new chapter
What matters is that it is now time for a new chapter with the United Nations, because refraining from engagement is the wrong policy, especially since Iran is eager to engage and promote the Iranian narrative. It is necessary for Riyadh to open permanent channels with the Secretariat at the highest levels. It is important for Riyadh to receive Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the earliest opportunity to talk openly about what is happening in the region. Saudi did well to channel its $500 million aid package to Iraq though the United Nations. This is a constructive step, which must now be supplemented with further steps that should be up to the level of the challenges brought by developments in the region.
There is a need now for a national political process in Syria (like the one that will take place in Iraq soon)
This week, Ban Ki-moon may declare the name and mission of the new envoy to Syria replacing Lakhdar Brahimi. Damascus and Moscow are working to remove the Arab part of the mission of the joint U.N.-Arab League envoy. Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin says that this was the advice of Lakhdar Brahimi. Some senior aides to the Secretary-General believe that removing the Arab part from the representative's assignment would create a opportunity for a new approach requiring cooperation from Damascus and Moscow.
If Ban Ki-moon agrees to this advice and removes the Arab part of the assignment, he would be making a grave mistake, not just against Syria, but also against the relationship between the United Nations and the Arab countries. Most likely, he will not pursue this course of action, because he is fully aware that this would serve the regime in Damascus and its allies in Moscow.
Washington, for its part, does not want a strong representative with the will and resolve to expose its reluctant approach. In this sense, Washington agrees with Moscow in preferring an appeasing representative rather than a confrontational figure. For this reason perhaps, both sides vetoed former socialist Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, fearing his determination to push the Security Council to assume its responsibilities.
The names that have made their way to the list are numerous. Some are favored by Damascus such as Brazilian Minister Celsio Amorim, and influential former ministers Miguel Ángel Moratinos and Javier Solana. Some names include former prime ministers such as Italy's Mario Monti, and Norway's Gro Harlem Brundtland. Other former senior U.N. officials were also proposed, including Italian Staffan de Mistura, who served in Iraq, Lebanon, and Afghanistan; Dutchwoman Sigrid Kaag, who now heads the mission to dismantle Syria's chemical weapons; and Briton Michael Williams, who served in Lebanon and at the Secretariat. There are other names, but they are best not mentioned now because the Secretariat is keen to protect them from the media.
Geneva process is over
More importantly is the mandate of the new envoy. Clearly, the Geneva process is over, especially since Lakhdar Brahimi himself had described it as "superficial." Geneva was based on the assumption that Russia consented to a transitional authority to replace Bashar al-Assad's regime -- and this was indeed what Russia falsely suggested. But it turned out later that Moscow was being deceptive, while Tehran was honest from the outset when it rejected the Geneva process, as its policy was based on holding on to Assad under any circumstance and not compromise on this position by accepting a transitional authority with full powers.
The new approach should not be based on "superficial" or naïve understandings that assume Assad would agree to relinquish power or share it with the opposition. The new approach must not assume that Assad is now a "fait accompli" and must be acknowledged permanently as such either. To be sure, Assad will not be able to unify the Syrian people. Assad will never again be able to guarantee stability in Syria. The United Nations must think about this carefully, before setting out the mandate of the new envoy.
The new approach must take into account the fact that the military balance of power is in the process of being altered, and that there is a need now for a national political process in Syria (like the one that will take place in Iraq soon). The Geneva process was a "Syrian dialogue" between the regime and the opposition. It failed because the regime was not willing to give up its privileges and power and share them with the opposition. The new approach must adopt the principle of national dialogue among various poles and segments in Syria -- both political and military -- to reach a qualitatively new political process.
Such an approach, if it is launched with international resolve, can begin a new regional dialogue that can force major actors to engage in the process. Iran will most definitely resist such an approach, and so will Russia. The axis that brings them together is the axis of Vladimir Putin and Qassem Soleimani, and both now see this axis as extending to Iraq to include Nouri al-Maliki, just as it had extended to Syria and Bashar al-Assad. This axis will resist any new approach. It will pay lip service to it, but its policies are clear in not compromising on Assad no matter what.
Therefore, practically and logically, the new political approach requires necessarily a change in the military balance of power on the field. This is what is happening now. The temporary victories are illusory. This is what the United Nations should realize as it formulates its strategic choices toward sponsoring a serious national dialogue that would include tribes, business leaders, and minorities, and a regional dialogue that would require Iran to place its current course of action in Syria and Iran on the table and not hide it under the table.
Jewish Extremists Held over
Palestinian Teen Murder
Naharnet /Israel on Sunday arrested a group of Jewish extremists in connection with the kidnap and murder of a Palestinian teenager who was burned to death in a suspected revenge killing.
The brutal murder of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khder on July 2 triggered four days of violent clashes which broke out in east Jerusalem and have spread to more than half a dozen Arab towns in Israel, with hordes of angry protesters hurling stones at riot police. "A number of Jewish suspects were arrested by the Shin Bet and Israeli police before dawn on July 6 on suspicion of involvement in the kidnapping and murder of Mohammed Abu Khder from Shuafat on July 2," Israel's Internal Security Agency said. Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch described them as "youths."Although further details on the suspects identities are subject to a gag order, Honenu, a legal organization which defends right-wing Jewish extremists, said it was representing six people who on Sunday appeared before Petah Tikva magistrates court for a remand hearing. The court extended the remand of five of them by eight days, and of the sixth -- by five days, a Honenu spokesman said, adding the suspects were being prevented from meeting with their lawyers. The arrests came as suspicion grew that Wednesday's murder was carried out by extremist Jews in revenge for last month's abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers in the occupied West Bank.
Tensions were also high in the south on Sunday with Gaza militants firing another 20 rockets and mortar shells over the border, after a night of 10 air strikes. Israeli warplanes struck again on Sunday afternoon, causing no casualties, Gazan officials said, and troops also fired mortars into the territory, a spokesman said. But Israel appeared determined to contain the situation, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urging his cabinet to keep a cool head over how to tackle Gaza. Initial findings from a post mortem showed the teenager had smoke in his lungs, indicating he was still alive when he was set on fire.
Speaking to reporters, the victim's father, Hussein Abu Khder, said it was clear from the CCTV footage that it was Israelis who had snatched his son. "I hope the court will put (the perpetrators) away for a long time," he said. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat spoke with the boy's father by phone, sending his condolences for the "severe and barbaric killing."
The grisly murder has sparked shock, disgust and an outpouring of condemnation from both Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday he has asked U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon to form "an international investigative committee" to probe Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people, including the teen's murder. Netanyahu, while visiting the family of one of the murdered Israeli teenagers, sent a message of condolences to Abu Khder's family and pledged to bring the perpetrators of "this shocking crime" to justice. Violent protests which swept through more than six Arab Israeli towns on Saturday, leading to 35 arrests, around half of them minors, continued on Sunday, police said.
During the evening, around 100 Arab Israelis were demonstrating in the northern city of Nazareth, Israel's most populous Arab town, police said. Two people were arrested.
Further north, police made 14 arrests in Tamra during stonethrowing clashes with police during which flares were fired, a spokeswoman said.
In a related development, a Jerusalem court freed an American boy but ordered him held for nine days under house arrest pending an investigation into stone-throwing allegations.
Tariq Abu Khder, a 15-year-old from Florida on holiday and a cousin of the murdered teen, was arrested on Thursday in east Jerusalem as protests raged, with reports saying he was badly beaten in police custody. Washington said it was "profoundly troubled" by the reports, prompting the Israeli justice ministry's police investigations department to begin an urgent probe into a video clip showing border police beating and kicking a handcuffed semi-conscious figure on the ground. Meanwhile, Netanyahu demanded his cabinet keep a cool head about growing tensions in and around the Gaza Strip where militants have stepped up rocket fire in the past three weeks, prompting demands for a new military operation in the coastal enclave. So far, Israel has responded with air strikes, killing three militants, but Netanyahu has resisted calls for tougher action. "Experience has proved that at moments like this, we have to act responsibly and with a cool head and not with harsh words and impetuousness," he told the weekly cabinet meeting.Agence France Presse
Six Jewish males under arrest in connection with murder of Palestinian youth. They deny the charge
DEBKAfile Special Report July 6, 2014/Israeli Police announced Sunday, July 6, the arrest of six Jewish men from Beit Shemesh and Adam near Jerusalem and the city itself in connection with the murder of the Palestinian 16-year old Muhammad Abu Khdeir, whose charred body was found in the Jerusalem Forest on July 2. The motive is believed to be “nationalistic revenge” for the three Israel teenage boys kidnapped and slain by Hamas activists who are still at large. Police have also identified the vehicle used by three of the suspects who are alleged to have kidnapped the Palestinian boy from Sheafat, northwest Jerusalem on July 1, the day before his body was found. Police suspect that they struck him on the head, drove off with him to the Jerusalem Forest and then burned his body to erase forensic evidence. The suspects admit they were in the vicinity of the crime but deny having committed the murder. A gag order has been issued on the publication of details of the inquiry except for police statements.
An autopsy was conducted on the boy’s body in the presence of a Palestinian forensic specialist. Palestinian sources said that soot found in the boy’s respiratory canal and lungs indicated that he was burned to death and suffered burns on “90 percent of his body.” This was not confirmed by Israeli investigators. The discovery of Abu Khdeir’s body sparked a three-day frenzy of Palestinian and Israeli Arab rioting in Jerusalem, where 10 Jews were injured by firebombs, and northern Israel, where Jewish drivers were beaten up by Israeli Arabs.
The top-notch Jerusalem Police Central Unit has been assigned to lead the investigation. Senior officers have promised that every possible effort will be made to solve this murder. President Shimon Peres stated that those responsible will be tried and punished. Israeli leaders have widely condemned the killing of the Palestinian youth, whoever was responsible, and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu vowed those responsible would be brought to justice. In a separate incident, Abu Khdeir’s 15-year-old cousin Tariq, a US citizen was beaten by police during clashes in Jerusalem on Thursday. Tariq’s parents, Suha and Salah, said he was detained but had been treated at an Israeli hospital. They released photos showing his face swollen and badly bruised. An Israeli police spokeswoman said Tariq Abu Khdeir had resisted arrest and attacked police officers. He was detained with a slingshot in his possession, along with six other protesters, including some armed with knives, she said, adding that several officers were hurt. Tariq’s father said he witnessed his son’s arrest and that the boy was not involved in the violence.
Sunday, after a court hearing, he was released to nine days house arrest and told reporters he had been treated well.