July 10/14

Bible Quotation for today/But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven."

Luke 12,6-10/Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight. But even the hairs of your head are all counted. Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows. ‘And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God; but whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven."


Latest analysis, editorials, studies, reports, letters & Releases from miscellaneous sources For July 10/14

A new phase in the war on terror /By: Tariq Alhomayed/Asharq Alawsat/July 10/14

What did we do wrong? Looking inwards to explain ISIS’ rise/By: Jamal Khashoggi/Al Arabiya/July 10/14

It’s time to remember Syria’s kidnapped activists/By: Diana Moukalled/Al Arabiya/July 10/14

A new Osama Bin Laden/By: Abdulrahman Al-Rashed/Asharq Alawsat/July 10/14


Reports From Miscellaneous Sources For July 10/14
Lebanese Related News

Vatican to Resort to U.N. Security Council to End Presidential Impasse
Report: STL Threatens to Issue an Arrest Warrant against al-Amin
Amal-Mustaqbal Hold Dialogue under Jumblat-led Initiative

Lebanese Political Crisis Expected to Worsen over Parliament's Term
Sami Gemayel World Cup joke falls flat on Twitter

Berri Contacts Jumblat, Kanaan on Holding Legislative Session on Payment of Civil Servant Salaries

Berri meets families of kidnapped Iranian diplomats
SCC Holds Sit-in, Says No 2014-15 Academic Year without Wage Scale

Report: Lebanese, Syrians in Al-Nusra Front Defect, Join Islamic State Ranks
Syrian Refugee Women Face Harassment, Poverty in Lebanon
Allouki Back in Prison after Medical Tests amid Tripoli Protests

Derbas Denies Obtaining Report on Naturalization of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

Miscellaneous Reports And News For July 10/14

Iraq's Christian Leaders Plead for Help from Europe

Netanyahu: Israel to expand Operation Protective Edge
Israel and Hamas Caught in a Deadly Embrace
Canada Condemns Hamas Rocket Attacks on Israel
Netanyahu: Hamas will pay a heavy price
Hamas has several hundred Syrian-made M-302 rockets of type that reached Hadera
Israel hits 160 Gaza Strip targets overnight

Iraq's Maliki accuses Kurds of hosting ISIS

Iraq: ISIS seizes ex-chemical weapons facility

Saudi refutes UK media claims of ‘ISIS support’

Iran, Jordan demand halt of Israel’s Gaza assault

Sami Gemayel World Cup joke falls flat on Twitter
The Daily Star/BEIRUT: Kataeb MP Sami Gemayel may have overreacted to Brazil’s humiliating World Cup defeat in the semifinals, saying Germany had committed yet another genocide, this time in football. But the young lawmaker quickly attempted to save face and adopted the old-age diplomatic way of recovery by deleting the comment from his Twitter feed.
Unfortunately, a number of people had already retweeted and responded to what they felt was an offensive comment from the 33-year-old Kataeb official, who spearheaded many student protests against what he believed was Syria’s oppressive tutelage over Lebanon. “Germans just committed a new genocide, thank God its just Football! Congrats to the German fans...,” Gemayel tweeted, creating a buzz on social media that might have united his supporters and opponents for once, this time against him. Some Twitter users voiced disappointment while others ridiculed the lawmaker whose comment failed to reveal which team he was rooting for. “Pierre Gemayel had the idea of Kataeb from the Nazi youth in the 1936 Olympics. @samygemayel is perpetuating the myth,” @beirutntsc tweeted.
“@samygemayel when politicians use the term ‘genocide’ to describe a football game you know the Lebanese moral compass is utterly lost #SMH,” Carole ‏@CaroleHK said.
‏@Sarah_Zhr: “The emotional detachment of people when a event doesn't directly concern them baffles me. @samygemayel”
‏@S_Dockery: "um. no? MT @samygemayel Germans just committed a new genocide, thank god its just Football! Congrats to the German fans..."
But Gemayel was not the only Lebanese who made jokes and ridiculed Brazil after Germany demolished the host team 7-1 in the semifinal game late Tuesday.
Comedian Naim Halawi wrote on his Facebook page that the "Free Brigades of Berlin claimed responsibility for the first goal in Brazil's net," drawing on Lebanon's own issues with the shadowy group the Free Sunni Brigades of Baalbek. "Lebanon's Ansar football club announced it would take each Brazilian player for $600/annually," a message circulating on social media said.
"The Lebanese football team says it is ready to face Brazil anywhere and at any time!” another Facebook meme read.

Iraq's Christian Leaders Plead for Help from Europe
Naharnet /Iraq's Christian leaders called on the European Union on Wednesday to help the country avoid a civil war threatening the future of their "very fragile" minority. "Europeans have a moral duty vis-a-vis Iraq," said the country's most senior Christian leader, Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako, who flew into Brussels to meet EU officials, including the bloc's Council president Herman Van Rompuy. Sako told a news conference he was "extremely anxious" about the fate of Christians, who are continuing to flee areas held by jihadist militants in the north, though they "so far have not been targeted as a group." Archbishop Yohanna Petros Mouche of Mosul said the city had been all but emptied of Christians and both Chaldean and Syrian Orthodox churches occupied by insurgents. Some 35,000 Christians lived in Mosul in 2003 before the U.S. intervention but the numbers have been on the decline ever since. Iraq's Christian community is a shadow of what it used to be -- once more than a million nationwide -- with upwards of 600,000 in Baghdad alone, there are now fewer than 400,000 across the country. Many of those left still lived in Nineveh province, of which Mosul is the capital. "We are a very fragile minority as we have no army, no militia," Sako said. He appealed last weekend in Kirkuk for the release of two nuns and three orphans who have been missing for several days in militant-held areas of northern Nineveh province. Agence France Presse

Berri meets families of kidnapped Iranian diplomats

The Daily Star/BEIRUT: Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Mohammad Fathali visited Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri Wednesday with a delegation of the kidnapped Iranian diplomats’ families, asking for further effort in resolving their case. “Commemorating the kidnapping incident of the four Iranian diplomats in Lebanon in 1982, we are conducting formal visits, with the diplomats' families, to the Lebanese political officials,” Fathali said after the meeting. Four Iranian diplomats were allegedly stopped by the Lebanese Forces at a checkpoint in 1982, as the Israeli invasion of Lebanon was underway. None of the four have been seen since, and it has been rumored that they were turned over to Israel. “His excellency promised to put in his best efforts following the matter,” Fathali said, referring to Berri, “and that he will work on the case with utmost seriousness.”According to the Fathali, the diplomats’ families explained to Berri the legal framework in which the case has been followed, calling on the Lebanese government to “dedicate more efforts.”

Derbas Denies Obtaining Report on Naturalization of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon
Naharnet/Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas denied on Wednesday reports saying that he obtained a report stating that the U.N.'s refugee agency is planning to naturalize 100,000 Syrian refugee in Lebanon. Derbas, however, said that Thursday's cabinet session will tackle the "sudden" situation imposed by the refugees crisis. The minister expressed fear over the “dangerous situation that needs a serious solution.”“The international community isn't mulling the possibility of the naturalization of the Syrians,” he stressed. Al-Liwaa quoted the minister on Wednesday saying that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is seeking to naturalize Syrians in Lebanon and to issue passports for those refugees. “I will discuss the matter during Thursday's cabinet session,” the minister reportedly told the newspaper. He expressed belief that the government will reject such a plan, hoping that more attention would be given to the matter by the Arab and international communities.
Last week, Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil warned of a “veiled attempt to naturalize the refugees" through creating camps inside Lebanese territory. Hosting more than 1.1 million Syrians fleeing their country's three-year war, Lebanon is home to the highest number of Syrian refugees in the region, and also to the highest refugee population per capita in the world. U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres warned last week that the spiraling crisis from Syria's civil war could pose a serious threat to Lebanon's security. Reports said that the cabinet is mulling the establishment of camps in buffer zones between the Lebanese border crossing al-Masnaa and Jdeidet Yabous crossing on the Syrian side.

Vatican to Resort to U.N. Security Council to End Presidential Impasse
Naharnet/The Vatican is seeking to resort to the United Nations Security Council to press Lebanese parties to carry out the presidential elections as soon as possible and end the deadlock. The Vatican reportedly contacted the French Foreign Ministry urging it to pressure the Security Council to take action regarding the stalemate, An Nahar newspaper reported on Wednesday. The daily said that the timing of such an endeavor remains undecided. Information obtained by the newspaper said that major powers are holding away from spotlight contacts with Lebanese arch-foes to discuss the possibility of an international initiative before the end of August. Lawmakers from the Change and Reform bloc and most of the March 8 alliance's MPs have boycotted several parliamentary sessions aimed at electing a president under the excuse of lack of consensus on a candidate. The lack of quorum caused by the boycott left the country's top Christian post vacant after President Michel Suleiman's six-year term ended on May 25. Under the National Pact of 1943, the president should be a Maronite. Romain Nadal, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development's spokesman, expressed regret over the presidential deadlock, urging the rival parties to reach consensus over the matter. “It is essential that the Lebanese politicians guarantee the work of state institutions and to exert all the necessary efforts to swiftly elect a new president,” Nadal said. He pointed out that the new president should be up to all the challenges confronting the county. The diplomat condemned all “attempt to destabilize Lebanon,” reiterating his country's support to the state.

Report: STL Threatens to Issue an Arrest Warrant against al-Amin
Naharnet /The Special Tribunal for Lebanon amicus curiae, Kenneth Scott, filed a veiled request to Contempt Judge Nicola Lettieri to issue an arrest warrant against al-Akhbar editor-in-chief Ibrahim al-Amin. According to al-Akhbar newspaper published on Wednesday, Scott said in his request that al-Amin doesn't acknowledge the STL nor its rights to charge him. Scott added that al-Amin had already published classified material and will not stop, noting that the editor-in-chief rejects to comply with the tribunal's decisions. The newspaper reported that Scott called on Lettieri to demand al-Amin, who is also Akhbar Beirut S.A.L. representative, and their appointed lawyer Antonios F. Abou Kasm to attend the trial in person at the STL headquarters in The Hague. “An arrest warrant should be issued against the accused if there was any necessity to bring him to testify before the tribunal,” al-Akhbar report said. Earlier this month, head of the international tribunal's defense office Francois Roux assigned a Lebanese lawyer Abou Kasm to defend the accused in the case against Akhbar Beirut S.A.L. and its al-Amin. Al-Amin withdrew on May 29 from the initial appearance in the contempt case filed against him by the STL. Akhbar Beirut S.A.L. and al-Amin are charged with “knowingly and willfully interfering with the administration of justice by publishing information on purported confidential witnesses in the Ayyash et al. Case.” New TV S.A.L. and deputy head of news at al-Jadeed television Karma Tahsin al-Khayat have been also accused of the same charges. An initial hearing for the two journalists and their media organizations was held on May 13 at The Hague. Al-Jadeed Director General Dmitry Khodr and Khayat entered pleas of not guilty. Amin did not attend the session. In April last year, a list of 167 names of so-called witnesses for the former Premier Rafik Hariri trial was published by a previously unknown group identified as "Journalists for the Truth."The group said it wanted to "unveil the corruption" of the STL. Both al-Akhbar and al-Jadeed published the list.

Amal-Mustaqbal Hold Dialogue under Jumblat-led Initiative
Naharnet/Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat has said that he mediated to bring AMAL movement, which is led by Speaker Nabih Berri, and al-Mustaqbal movement closer.
A meeting was lately held between Speaker Nabih Berri's adviser Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil and the director of the head of Mustaqbal movement's bureau Nader Hariri, Jumblat told As Safir.
The meeting was attended by Health Minister Wael Abou Faour, who is Jumblat's aide. The PSP chief said in his remarks published on Wednesday that he made his initiative out of his conviction that “we can't resolve our problems and hold the presidential elections without dialogue.”“Dialogue is necessary more than before … particularly after the attack of the Islamic state and the regional developments,” he told As Safir. Berri confirmed the “political dialogue” between Amal and ex-PM Saad Hariri al-Mustaqbal. The rapprochement is necessary to resolve the political deadlock, he said. Lebanon has been without a president since May, when Michel Suleiman's six-year term ended with MPs unable to find a successor over differences between the March 8 and 14 alliances on a compromise candidate.

Report: Lebanese, Syrians in Al-Nusra Front Defect, Join Islamic State Ranks
Naharnet/A group loyal to al-Qaida's official Syrian arm the Al-Nusra Front will head soon to the governorate of al-Raqqa in northern Syria to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State, al-Akhbar newspaper reported. The daily said in a report published on Wednesday that Al-Nusra Front fighters are angered by the “achievements accomplished by the Islamic State,” which prompted Abou Malek al-Shami, the emir of the al-Qaida-linked group in al-Qalamoun, to issue an audio tape in order to convince the group’s members not to defect. The group is allegedly comprised of Lebanese and Syrian nationals. Last week, al-Shami promised in an audio message to free Islamist prisoners in Roumieh “within days,” describing the inmates as “Muslim captives and jihadist brethren.” The newspaper said that a large number of Lebanese fighters in the Bekaa Valley and northern Lebanon named al-Shami as their Emir after the Nusra Front failed to appoint one. Around 50 people from an estimated 600 fighters in areas near the Syrian-Lebanese border have so far defected from the Nusra Front. Meanwhile, security sources told al-Akhbar that around 20 people in the southern Ain el-Hilweh refugee camp also pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the enigmatic self-proclaimed "caliph" of a state straddling Iraq and Syria. Sources said that Mohammed A., also identified as Abou Aisha, is leading the group. Although both IS and the Al-Nusra Front are rooted in al-Qaida, the two have been rivals for much of the time that IS has been involved in Syria's civil war since spring last year. The newspaper said that the rise of the Islamic State inflicted damage on the reputation of Al-Nusra Front that hasn't been able to achieve much recently. Last week, the shadowy Free Sunnis of Baalbek Brigade pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The ruthless jihadists of the ISIL, who are spearheading a Sunni militant offensive in Iraq, on Sunday declared an "Islamic caliphate" and ordered Muslims worldwide to pledge allegiance to their chief, in a spectacular bid to extend their authority. The group renamed itself simply the Islamic State (IS) and declared its elusive frontman the leader of the world's Muslims, in a clear challenge to al-Qaida for control of the global jihadist movement. A "caliphate" is an Islamic form of government last seen under the Ottoman Empire. The mysterious Free Sunnis of Baalbek Brigade had in the past claimed that it is an affiliate of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, but the ISIL later denied that.

SCC Holds Sit-in, Says No 2014-15 Academic Year without Wage Scale
Naharnet/The Syndicate Coordination Committee held on Wednesday a general strike in all public institutions and warned during a 24-hour sit-in at the Education Ministry that there would be no academic year at schools across Lebanon if a controversial pay hike was not approved. Head of the private schools teachers association Nehme Mahfoud said during the sit-in at the Education Ministry in Beirut's UNESCO area that teachers and public sector employees “are not wealthy.” He accused the authorities of taking the country to the abyss. “Students want their diplomas … What is your responsibility in this country?” he asked officials. “Speaker Nabih Berri should call for an urgent parliamentary session to address the wage scale, which is the only solution to the correction of exams,” Mahfoud said.
“There will be no academic year in September if the scale is not approved,” he said. Education Minister Bou Saab struck a last minute deal with the SCC last month so that it does not boycott the exams. The teachers abided by the decision, but later announced that they would not grade the exams unless their demands are met. Bou Saab said following talks with an SCC delegation on Wednesday that the country's “political crisis is affecting the education sector.”He urged politicians to “put their disputes aside and look at the wage scale as a humanitarian issue.” He also urged Berri to call on MPs to legislate to adopt a “fair” wage hike and “give the teachers their rights.”“The officials are responsible for this crisis, which is affecting teachers, students and the entire society,” said the minister. The SCC, a coalition of private and public school teachers and public sector employees, has repeatedly held strikes and demonstrations to ask for a 121 percent pay raise. Parliamentary blocs have backed the public sector's rights but 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). he wage raise draft-law was not approved over their differences on the method to finance the scale without hurting the economy.

Lebanese Political Crisis Expected to Worsen over Parliament's Term
Naharnet/Lebanon's presidential crisis has already spilled over into parliament, which has failed to hold legislative sessions, but is now threatening to extend its term for a second time despite Speaker Nabih Berri's rejection. Berri said in remarks published in several newspapers on Wednesday that the parliamentary polls should be held based on the current law if lawmakers failed to agree on a new draft-law.
Last year, the parliament extended its term to November 2014 after the rival MPs were unable to reach an agreement on a new law to govern the elections. Berri said that some parties were taking the deteriorating security situation as an excuse to extend the legislature's four-year tenure for a second time. “When the first extension was made, I backed the move because there was a war in (the northern city of) Tripoli and (Salafist cleric Sheikh) Ahmed al-Asir was in (the southern city of) Sidon,” he told his visitors. But the speaker stressed that the situation is much better. He admitted there are fears of terrorist attacks but the current conditions allow to organize the elections. Asked by his visitors how the polls could be held in the absence of a president, Berri said: “The last Sunday before November 20 is the final date to hold the elections.” “But we should elect a president before that,” he said. Lebanon has been without a president since May 25. The March 8 and 14 alliances were unable to choose a successor to Michel Suleiman over their differences on a compromise candidate. Their rivalry spilled over into parliament which has failed to hold sessions over the boycott of several blocs that claimed MPs cannot legislate amid a vacuum at Baabda Palace. Al-Mustaqbal MP Atef Majdalani, whose bloc voted for the 17-month extension last year, told As Safir newspaper that al-Mustaqbal calls for holding the presidential polls first and then preparing for the general elections. “But we will study the matter if the situation changes this stance,” he said in a vague hint that al-Mustaqbal would back another extension.
As Safir also quoted high-ranking Progressive Socialist Party officials as saying that the general elections cannot be held amid difficult security conditions, caused by terrorist attacks. The officials from MP Walid Jumblat's party warned that the failure to extend parliament's term amid differences between March 8 and 14 on a presidential candidate would lead to a total vacuum in all institutions. Meanwhile, parliament's failure to legislate is threatening the payment of salaries of civil servants. Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil has said that the cabinet should take a decision to make the payments because Lebanon has been without an official budget since 2005. Berri told his visitors that the parliament should then meet to approve the decree on the salaries. “But some parties are insisting on paralyzing it,” he said.

Allouki Back in Prison after Medical Tests amid Tripoli Protests

Naharnet/The commander of an armed group in the northern city of Tripoli was taken back to Roumieh prison after he underwent medical tests, drawing the ire of his relatives, the state-run National News Agency reported on Wednesday. NNA denied that Ziad Allouki had a heart attack. It said his health deteriorated because he had gone on hunger strike in Roumieh, the country's largest prison.
Allouki has been charged with belonging to an armed group aimed at carrying out terrorist acts as well as killing and attempting to murder Lebanese soldiers. He was the so-called leader of the Souq al-Qameh fighting frontier in Bab al-Tabbaneh neighborhood of the northern city of Tripoli. But as an unprecedented security plan got underway in the city in April, he went into hiding, joining many top fugitives who disappeared with the beginning of the crackdown. He surrendered to the army intelligence along with other suspects in May. Ahmed al-Abboud, who was among those who surrendered to the army in Tripoli, was hospitalized on Wednesday because his health deteriorated over his hunger strike, NNA said. The city has witnessed dozens of rounds of fighting between Bab al-Tabbaneh, whose residents are Sunni, and mainly Alawite Jabal Mohsen. The clashes, which have left scores of people, including soldiers, dead, were the result of the spillover of the Syrian war, which is pitting troops loyal to Alawite President Bahsar Assad against Sunni rebels trying to oust him. When news about his health deterioration broke out, many protesters blocked roads in Tripoli with burning tires on Wednesday demanding Allouki's release. The relatives of Allouki and the rest of the Tripoli fighting detainees erected tents at Abou Ali roundabout and blocked the road with stones, garbage bins and some trucks.
NNA said that a fifth grenade was also tossed near al-Nasseri mosque. The army deployed heavily in the area near Abou Ali roundabout after the attack.

Berri Contacts Jumblat, Kanaan on Holding Legislative Session on Payment of Civil Servant Salaries
Naharnet /Political powers are leaning towards holding a legislative session to tackle the payment of salaries of civil servants, reported LBCI television on Wednesday. Speaker Nabih Berri contacted to that end head of the Progressive Socialist Party MP Walid Jumblat and Change and Reform bloc MP Ibrahim Kanaan, it added. Lebanese Forces MP Antoine Zahra had stated that he will take part in such a legislative session, but he will not attend one that will tackle additional spending. On Monday, Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil appeased fears that civil servants would not be paid their salaries at the end of the month because of the paralysis of parliament. Parliament should pass draft-laws allowing the government to approve treasury loans, but lawmakers have been boycotting legislative sessions over the vacuum at the presidency. Khalil vowed to exert all efforts to pay civil servants their salaries but stressed that lines of credit can't be opened unless they are legal. Al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc announced Tuesday that it is willing to take part in a parliamentary session aimed at issuing treasury bonds, noting that the payment of salaries to public employees and opening lines of credit are legal things that can be approved by the cabinet.

Syrian Refugee Women Face Harassment, Poverty in Lebanon

Naharnet/Before she began working as a hairdresser, poverty forced Syrian Umm Mahmoud to seek donations for food and rent money to survive as a refugee in Lebanon. Often men suggested she have sex with them to show her gratitude, the 32-year-old said. Her experiences echo among Syrian refugee women. Across the region, they lead about a quarter of all Syrian refugee families, which number some 145,000, the United Nations estimated in a report issued Tuesday. "If you want to eat in Lebanon, you must eat your dignity," said Umm Mahmoud. Her husband was disabled in fighting in Syria, leaving her to care for their five children alone. "To stay honorable, it means to go hungry sometimes. She who doesn't have a husband or protector — they are always the most vulnerable," she said.
Syrians made refugees by the war in their country, now in its fourth year, number nearly three million across Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan. Most live in poverty as they hustle for food, jobs, accommodation and health care. Women-headed households face additional burdens: they are often poorer, and many must push their children to work instead of attending school. Their husbands were either killed, captured, badly wounded or divorced. The U.N. says they struggle particularly to pay rent and keep food on the table. Women also say they are sexually harassed by landlords, employers and local charity workers. In the region's conservative societies, they say, women who don't have a male protector are viewed as easy prey and sexually promiscuous. "The women who are widowed, or whose husbands are missing, or disabled, they face (sexual) extortion and pressure," said Saadia Ghneim, the head of a community center in the northern Lebanese town of Halba. The center offers courses like hairdressing, sewing, computer and language training, helping Syrian and Lebanese women in an impoverished district find jobs. Umm Mahmoud's life turned around after a hairdressing course that allowed her work in a salon. She stopped asking local charities and Muslim sheiks for help, and only receives food aid from the U.N. Umm Mahmoud, from the Syrian city of Homs, said that before she found work, she survived by pretending not to hear the offers of sex suggested to her as she knocked at the doors of charities. "They would ask, why are you coming in the day? Why not come at night?"
For women who lived in poverty in Syria, becoming refugees has worsened their situation. Such is the lot of Yasmine Shreiteh, 27, who shelters with her father and four sisters in a garage they rent for $100 a month. Her father fell from a balcony in Syria, breaking his back. One of her sisters was born disabled, and their mother abandoned them, she said. "I am learning how to sew so I can support my family," said Shreiteh, as she stitched a pair of trousers in the sewing course at the community center in Halba. "And also to support myself for the future and to have a profession, so I won't need to rely on anybody later," she said. In other women-led households, children are pushed into work. Zeinab Abu Salah, 16, came from an education-focused family. But her father was wounded in the war, and the family fled to Lebanon. The teenager said she watched her mother struggle as a hairdresser, trying to feed and educate her and her four brothers. "One person can't take care of everything," said Abu Salah. "When I saw she needed help, I had to help." The teen said she was in eighth grade, having lost years of school to war. She was also taking a hairdressing course and working alongside her mother, helping pay for her siblings' educations. The U.N. has repeatedly pleaded for more money to help Syrian refugees, having only funded one-third of their budget for the task. They also ask governments to help protect Syrian women, and call on wealthier countries to resettle women-led households as a priority. "Syrian refugee women are the glue holding together a broken society. Their strength is extraordinary, but they are struggling alone," said Angelina Jolie, the U.N's refugee agency special envoy, in a statement following the report. For Umm Mahmoud, a conservative Muslim, she said her experiences of being vulnerable made her realize how far Syria's communal fabric had unraveled. One experience, meeting a Syrian widow with children who worked as a prostitute in northern Lebanon, changed her. "I used to see these women and fault them. Now I think of (the widow's) children and the situation in Syria, and how nobody cares about her, and I can't blame her anymore. I see now that God's forgiveness is mighty."
Associated Press

Israel and Hamas Caught in a Deadly Embrace

Naharnet/Hamas rocket and mortar attacks on Israel may force the Jewish state, unable to quell the relentless fire with retaliatory air strikes, to invade the Gaza Strip and open up a long and deadly conflict.
- What are Hamas's objectives? "To survive," says Israeli security analyst and commentator Daniel Nisman, who says the Islamist group is up against the wall in Gaza, short on funds and isolated after the new regime in neighboring Egypt crushed Hamas's patron, the Muslim Brotherhood. Hence its need to deliver "victories" to impress Palestinian public opinion, he adds. This could involve a softening of the Israeli and Egyptian blockades on the enclave, or a spectacular military coup, such as shooting down an Israeli warplane, infiltrating a commando into Israel or hitting downtown Tel Aviv with rockets.
In the end, "Hamas has nothing to lose," says Mukhaimer Abu Saada, a political scientist at Gaza's Al-Asa University. - What are Israel's objectives? At the end of the day, "Hamas should no longer have the means to produce rockets," says Gilad Erdan, home front defense minister and a member of the security cabinet. Israel is preparing for a lengthy campaign, unlike Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012, which lasted less than two weeks, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called on his fellow citizens to be patient.
- Prospects of Israeli ground assault? Two types of invasion are possible:
The first would be a long-term campaign that aims to completely eradicate from Gaza Hamas's infrastructure. The other, more acceptable to Israeli public opinion, would be shorter and aimed at only weakening the military capacity of militant groups in Gaza. Abu Sada says Hamas "figures that Israel will not launch a ground campaign to reoccupy the Gaza Strip, which would be practically impossible to achieve and carry an exorbitant cost."Nisman adds that the initiation of any such action could be accelerated if "a rocket hits central Tel Aviv or with the first Israeli being killed."Hamas, thought to have an arsenal of around 10,000 missiles, has the capacity to hold out for around six weeks, according to Israel defense experts. The group surprised Israel with the launching of rockets on the north of Israel, more than 160 kilometers (100 miles) from Gaza. But Nisman says those longer-range, more precise missiles will be used sparingly, while Hamas will not hesitate to "fire the rest of its arsenal without counting."
Meanwhile, Amos Gilad, strategic affairs director at the Israeli defense ministry, considers it unlikely that Hamas will get any support from Lebanon's Hizbullah in the form of missile strikes on the north of Israel.
- Is there any mediation?
All eyes have been turned on Egypt, but it has downplayed any hopes of a Cairo-mediated end to this dispute despite having played a role in bringing about ceasefires in the past.
"There is no mediation, in the common sense of the word," said foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty. "Egyptian diplomatic efforts are aimed at immediately stopping Israeli aggression and ending all mutual violence. (Egyptian) contacts have not yet achieved a result," he added. And Nisman said any such mediation would be fruitless because Egypt under former army chief and newly elected president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi made clear to Hamas last week that it would not put excessive pressure on Israel. In that case, Abu Sada said, Hamas could turn to Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas and his Fatah movement, or even to Turkey. Agence France Presse

Canada Condemns Hamas Rocket Attacks on Israel
July 8, 2014 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today released the following statement:
“Canada condemns the brazen and indiscriminate attacks that Hamas continues to wage on Israel. Rocket attacks today aimed at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem prove that Hamas continues to target innocent civilians.
“Canada believes that Israel has every right to defend itself, by itself, from such belligerent acts of terrorism.
“The new Palestinian government must exercise its authority in Gaza and bring an immediate end to Hamas’s rocket attacks on Israel, and Hamas must respect the ceasefire agreed upon in 2012.
ldquo;The escalation of violence we have seen over the last several days will do nothing to advance the interests of peace.”

Netanyahu: Hamas will pay a heavy price
'IDF to continue with strikes that will exact a very heavy price from Hamas,' defense minister says as IDF spokesperson claims operation to be long. Ynetnews/7.09.14/ "The army is ready for all possibilities," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday after holding a meeting of his Security Cabinet as rockets continued to rain on Israel. "Hamas will pay a heavy price for firing toward Israeli citizens. The security of Israel's citizens comes first. The operation will expand and continue until the fire toward our towns stops and quiet returns." Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said that Operation Protective Edge is set to expand, and similar comments were made by the IDF spokesperson, indicating the IDF was still mulling a ground operation in Gaza. "We'll continue with strikes that will exact a very heavy price from Hamas. We are destroying arms, terror infrastructures, command systems, Hamas institutions, regime buildings, terrorists' houses, and killing terrorists of various ranks of command," the defense minister told Army Radio. "We will continue to hit Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza Strip from the air, sea and ground to ensure the safety of Israel's citizens," he added.
The fighting stepped up as Egypt, which often serves as a mediator between Israel and the Palestinians, said it was in contact with both sides to end the violence. It was the first indication since the offensive was launched on Tuesday that cease-fire efforts might be under way. In a statement, the Egyptian president's office said President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi received a call from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday evening to review the latest developments. Abbas, who has minimal influence in Gaza, has appealed to Israel to halt its offensive. "Egypt has made extensive contacts with all active and concerned parties to spare the Palestinian people the scourge of Israeli military operations," el-Sissi's office said. It did not elaborate.
It was not clear whether the contacts included formal efforts to reach a cease-fire, or whether Egypt was speaking to Hamas. The new Egyptian government has poor relations with Hamas.
However, leaders warned a ground invasion could be imminent. "Despite the fact it will be hard, complicated and costly, we will have to take over Gaza temporarily, for a few weeks, to cut off the strengthening of this terror army," Yuval Steinitz, Israel's intelligence minister, told Israel Radio. "If you ask my humble opinion, a significant operation like this is approaching."
IDF Spokesperson Moti Almoz said the military "was preparing the next stage. This offensive will be a long one. Reservists are being called in to replace conscripted soldiers (holding the line). The moment they will be ready, the soldiers will go south to prepare." Yaalon praised forces on the ground, saying thanks to "the commanders, the fighters and the support fighters in the air, sea and ground, who continue to act firmly and professionally to defend Israel's citizens." "Even in these hours, the rocket attacks continue on Israel. Sirens were heard this morning in Gush Dan (in the coastal area), Rishon Letzion, Beit Dagan, Ashdod, Ashkelon and other cities around the country. The Iron Dome (missile defense system) intercepted at least six rockets," he added. Deputy Defense Minister Danny Dannon (Likud) demanded the Security Cabinet decide to cut Gaza from gas and electricity. “Supplying electricity and fuel to Gaza Strip must be halted”, Dannon, “It’s inconceivable that while we are fight Hamas we'll supply them electricity and fuel used for firing rockets at us.” Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai urged the city's residents remain calm, saying the city will continue "business as usual." He further said that there was no need for panic, and that he trusted Tel Avivans to act responsibly. Associated Press contributed to this report

Hamas has several hundred Syrian-made M-302 rockets of type that reached Hadera
DEBKAfile Special Report July 9, 2014/The long-range Hamas rockets that reached Hadera 110km north of Gaza Tuesday, July 8, have been identified as the Syrian-made M-302 Khaibar missile, that was used by Hizballah against Israel in the 2006 Lebanon war to pound Haifa. This weapon uses Iranian technology deriving from the Chinese WS-1 which has a 175 kilo warhead. Hizballah engineers posted in the Gaza Strip have since helped Hamas improve the M-302 and extend its range and accuracy. But still, even after improvements, the M-302’s main shortcoming is its lack of precision.
This was demonstrated Tuesday night when it missed substantial targets in Hadera and also, it now appears, Jerusalem, which took three rockets. Last March, Iran tried to smuggle into the Gaza Strip an arms shipment including M-302 rockets under a cargo of cement aboard the Klos C. The ship was intercepted by Israel and the weapons seized. But other shipments must have made it through to Gaza and evidently topped up the missile arsenals of Hamas and Jihad Islami. The Israeli government and army chiefs failed to heed this strategic increment to the Islamists’ tools of war – until Tuesday, when it emerged as a key weapon of Palestinian aggression. Hamas may be expected to continue to use the M-302 to hit Israeli targets. DEBKAfile’s military sources note the striking differences in the war tactics pursued by Israel and Hamas. The IDF has at this stage based its military operation in Gaza on air strikes for knocking out as much as possible of the Hamas military and logistical infrastructure as well as targeting its commanders. Hamas, lacking an air force, has launched a well-planned campaign based on heavy, escalating rocket fire which indiscriminately targets the Israeli population and was meant to be supported by limited commando raids. But the Islamists have failed to cause damage and casualties – not just because the Israelis are well prepared with shelters - because of the imprecision of their rockets, and their inability to mount more than isolated, small-scale raids, which are nowhere near the scale for tipping the balance in the contest.

Israel hits 160 Gaza Strip targets overnight
By Staff writer | Al Arabiya News/Wednesday, 9 July 2014
At least five rockets fired from Gaza were shot down over Tel Aviv and the surrounding area on Wednesday, army radio said, following the Israeli air force bombing of 160 targets in the Gaza Strip overnight. "Overnight, the IDF (army) hit about 160 targets in the Gaza Strip. Over the last two days we attacked a total of about 430 targets," General Moti Almoz told military radio as Operation Protective Edge entered its second day. Targets included about 120 concealed rocket launchers, 10 Hamas command and control centers, among them two homes, and many tunnels, he said. Rocket fire from Gaza set sirens wailing but all five were intercepted in mid-flight by a battery of Israel's vaunted Iron Dome anti-missile system, the radio said. Hamas's armed wing the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades claimed the rocket fire, saying it had launched four M75 rockets at Israel's commercial capital. Hamas's weapons stockpile has suffered significant damage over the past two days," Almoz told the radio.  He said the Islamist movement has been "forced into a corner" and was trying to launch attacks on multiple fronts. "Last night, Hamas started to unveil its surprises," he said referring to an attempted attack by sea and the barrage of long-range rockets fired at cities as far away as Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the northern coastal city of Hadera, which is more than 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Gaza.  "Hamas was trying to surprise and find the weak points and penetrate Israel by sea or through tunnels; these incidents were thwarted very successfully by the IDF," he said. Bitter enemies Israel and Hamas are bitter enemies that have engaged in numerous rounds of fighting over the years. But until recently, they had been observing a truce that ended the previous hostilities in 2012. Palestinian Minister of Public Works and Housing Mufeel al-Hasayneh said 50 houses were destroyed on Tuesday and 1,700 were partially damaged. Palestinian medics reported at least 28 dead, including six killed in an airstrike that flattened an apartment building in southern Gaza and set off widespread panic. They added that more than 150 were wounded in the deadliest day of violence in the coastal strip since 2012. Another airstrike flattened the home of one of Hamas’s leaders in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis, reducing the concrete structure into a smoldering pile of rubble. Emergency services earlier said that a man named Ashraf Yassin was also killed when Israeli fighter planes targeted an area west of Nusseirat refugee camp in central Gaza. The man is reportedly a member of Hamas’s armed wing, Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades.

Iraq: ISIS seizes ex-chemical weapons facility
By Staff Writer, Al Arabiya News /Wednesday, 9 July 2014
The jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has taken control of a former Iraqi chemical weapons facility, the Iraqi government has told the United Nations, confirming an earlier claim by the United States. Washington had played down the threat from ISIS’ takeover of the site, saying no intact chemical weapons were there and it is impossible to use the material left there for military purposes. Iraq’s U.N. Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim sent a letter to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon dated July 1 and made public Tuesday, claiming that “armed terrorist groups” entered the Muthanna project site on the night of June 11 after disarming the soldiers guarding it. The letter said the Iraqi government was thus unable to “fulfill its obligations to destroy chemical weapons,” adding that “remnants of the (country's) former chemical weapons program” are kept at the site.“The government will resume its efforts with regards to its obligations as soon as the security situation has improved and control of the facility has been regained,” the letter said. At dawn on June 12, the site's surveillance system, disabled by “the terrorists,” showed there was “looting of some equipment and appliances,” he wrote. The letter confirms a June 19 claim by Washington that Sunni radicals had taken control of the facility. The militants have led a month-old crisis that has seen a jihadist-led alliance overrun large swaths of northern and north-central Iraq, displacing hundreds of thousands. The complex, located just 45 miles (72 kilometers) northwest of the Iraqi capital, began producing mustard gas and other nerve agents, including sarin, in the early 1980s soon after Saddam took power, according to a CIA factsheet, according to AFP. The program expanded to its height during the Iran-Iraq war later that decade, and produced 209 and 394 tons of sarin in 1987 and 1988 respectively. But the CIA writes that the facility shut down after the first Gulf war, when U.N. resolutions “proscribed Iraq's ability to produce chemical weapons.”
In the early 1990s, the site was used to oversee efforts to destroy Iraq's chemical weapons stockpile. (With AFP)

Iraq's Maliki accuses Kurds of hosting ISIS
Staff Writer, Al Arabiya News/Wednesday, 9 July 2014
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Wednesday accused the northern autonomous Kurdish region of hosting jihadists spearheading an offensive that has overrun swathes of territory and sparked Iraq's worst crisis in years. "Honestly, we cannot be silent over this and we cannot be silent over Arbil being a headquarters for ISIS, and Baath, and al-Qaeda and terrorist operations," Maliki said in his weekly televised address. Maliki's relationship with Kurdish President Massoud Barzani has deteriorated amid the sectarian insurgency that has threatened to split the country. Many Sunni Muslims who fled the northern city of Mosul during the militants' offensive have ended up in Arbil.

Saudi refutes UK media claims of ‘ISIS support’
By Staff writer | Al Arabiy News/Wednesday, 9 July 2014
Saudi Arabia has denied financing or supporting militant group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), after some UK media outlets accused the country of supporting the group which is currently taking over swathes of Iraq. “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia wishes to emphasize, once again, that it does not and has not supported, financially, morally or through any other means, the terrorist organization known as… (ISIS),” the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in London said in a statement issued Tuesday. “Despite having clarified this issue on numerous occasions, several inaccurate, misleading and distorted allegations, made by certain media outlets in the UK, requires us to do so,” the statement added. “We urge the British and international media to take an in-depth look into the financial backing and organizational structure of this terrorist organization, as well as to report the situation in the region objectively and fairly and to verify allegations before reporting them as fact,” the statement said.
The statement also added that the kingdom believed “the lack of international involvement that has paved the way for terrorist affiliated networks to breed within Syria,” where the kingdom has been providing – through the Friends of Syria – support to the Syrian opposition. The Friends of Syria group is an international diplomatic collective of countries and international bodies, organized by the United States, aimed at providing aid for the crisis in Syria. “Through the Friends of Syria, Saudi Arabia has provided support only to the moderate Syrian opposition. All these groups share a common goal in supporting a political transition in Syria that will see the removal of the Assad regime. We believe it is the lack of international involvement that has paved the way for terrorist affiliated networks to breed within Syria,” the statement added. Last March, Saudi Arabia blacklisted ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Saudi branch of Shiite movement Hezbollah and the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, labeling them terrorist organizations. In June, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz ordered “all” necessary measures be taken to protect the kingdom, as ISIS extremist fighters began nearing the border shared between Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Iran, Jordan demand halt of Israel’s Gaza assault
AFP, Amman/ Tehran/Wednesday, 9 July 2014
Jordan, one of just two Arab countries to have signed a peace treaty with Israel, demanded Wednesday an immediate halt to deadly Israeli air raids against the Gaza Strip. Government spokesman Mohammad Momani said that the raids that killed more than 20 Palestinians in purported response to rocket fire that has killed no one in Israel were "barbaric". Jordan "condemns the military aggression that Israel has launched in the Gaza Strip" and calls for "its immediate halt", said Momani. He said the "barbaric aggression" had "negative repercussions on the Gaza Strip and the whole region".
"Jordan demands Israel stop all forms of escalation. The international community should actively intervene to stop the Israeli aggression," Momani said. "The Israeli actions violate international laws and obstruct peace efforts in the region," added the minister, whose country has a 1994 peace treaty with the Jewish state. Meanwhile, Iran's foreign ministry on Wednesday condemned Israeli air raids in the Gaza Strip, calling on the West to urge the Jewish state to prevent a "human catastrophe". The remarks by Iran, traditional ally of Palestinian militant group Hamas, came after Israeli warplanes pounded targets in Gaza as part of a major campaign to halt rocket fire from the enclave. "We are, unfortunately, witnessing the escalation of savage aggression by the Zionists in recent days against the innocent and defenceless people of Palestine," ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said in her weekly briefing with reporters. Iran calls on "Western countries and supporters of the Zionist regime (to) take firm a stance and prevent a human catastrophe and stop the attacks," she added, while questioning an "unrealistic excuse of the kidnapping of three Zionist settlers". The Israeli air force bombed 160 targets in the Gaza Strip overnight as it pressed a wide-scale campaign to stop Palestinian rocket fire, according to an army official. The fire escalated early Wednesday, with army radio reporting that at least five rockets or mortar rounds from Gaza were intercepted over the Tel Aviv region by Israel's Iron Dome air defense system. Hamas's armed wing, the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, said it was responsible.

What did we do wrong? Looking inwards to explain ISIS’ rise
Wednesday, 9 July 2014/By: Jamal Khashoggi/Al Arabiya
It’s said that after Genghis Khan invaded Samarkand, he took to its great mosque’s podium and addressed Muslims saying: “I am the punishment of God. If you had not committed great sins, God would not have sent me as your punishment.” The same story is said about his grandson Hulagu except the latter made the statement in Baghdad after he invaded it. Whether the story is true or not, its popularity among Muslim narrators expresses the illogical situation and the shock they’ve been through as they are a people of religion and politics witnessing a barbaric invasion of people with no religion - of people shedding their blood, burning their cities and imposing a whole different set of rules. These narrators thus found no other reason for this except that it is “our sins we are being punished for.” It’s a comfortable analysis but I wish they would have added “our political mistakes.” It’s time to look inside us. Those looking for a foreign conspiracy are evading the truth and failing to see our own mistakes
Maybe it’s time to say this and correct the mistake of our predecessors. There are angry youths with a skewed mentality and understanding of life and sharia and they are cancelling a heritage of centuries and the supposed gains of a modernization that hasn’t been completed. They turned into rebels, emirs and a caliph invading a vast area of our land. They are also hijacking our children’s minds and cancelling borders. They reject all rules and legislations, throwing our way a two or three A4 pages on their vision of politics, governance, life, society and economy. As for you who happen to be among the citizens of the self-declared “commander of the faithful,” or Caliph, you have no other choice. You cannot discuss anything. They don’t care if you stand out among your people and if you are an educated man, or a lecturer, or a tribe leader, or a religious leader, or an active politician or even a judge. It won’t help you that you are leader of a fighting brigade that participated in the “conquering quest.” You must all listen and obey the commander of the faithful and pledge the oath of allegiance to him. He will not call for a constituent assembly to unite everyone and agree on the upcoming regime, the constitution, rights and duties, representation of the people and separation of power. There’s no need to go on. When their policies are questioned, Abu Obedia al-Jazrawi yells, saying: “Shut up. Our reference is the book and the Sunnah and that’s it” And he then throws a booklet of 40 pages and a script of the most recent speech of the commander of the faithful to us and yells saying: “All you want is here.”
A worrying reality
Genghis Khan’s speech on the podium and Jazrawi’s statements are worrying for a Saudi intellectual sipping coffee after iftar in Riyadh or for a Moroccan doctor in Rabat. However it’s the stark reality for my friend from Mosul whom I spoke with this week. He’s a governmental official in a department and does not want me to identify him further. He says their situation is secure and he summarized the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria saying: “They are good people as long you don’t disagree with them.” But he hasn’t yet comprehended the idea that he takes orders from a young man who hasn’t finished his education. After our brief conversation, his statement “How did this happen? What happened that made us relapse to this extent?” stuck in my mind.
After the September 11, 2001 twin attacks, famous orientalist Bernard Louis wrote his important book “What Went Wrong? The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East.” He tried to answer the question of what led Muslims to this state of backwardness after they were pioneers in civilization, science and achievements. He then looked into the reasons for the failure of the Ottoman state. He looked into its failure to finalize several modernity projects though it launched them - it recognized modernity but did not fully adhere to it. Perhaps the most important result of his research is his belief that Muslims became more occupied with playing the victim of outside interference rather than looking at how they had hurt themselves.
But since we don’t like Bernard Louis, we don’t read his books much. We don’t admit that there’s some sort of huge mistake inside us. We failed to notice that our Arab world has worn out from the inside. We only noticed it wore out after it collapsed. There were states and regimes that appeared strong and frightening. They had money, oil, arms, leaders, security, media, intellectuals and religious scholars and confirmed we are achieving one victory after another and one achievement after another. There was Iraq of Saddam Hussein, Syria’s Assads, Egypt’s Mubarak, Libya’s Qaddafi and Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh. All these countries lived long years, wearing themselves out from the inside. They lived under the intimidation of intelligence and security apparatuses and the media’s lies. They didn’t live under the rule of politicians. Economic experts were the last people leaders listened to. Development plans were devised but no one read them, let alone implement them. Education deteriorated and so did the society and its values. No one cared so collapse was inevitable. There’s no foreign conspiracy but mistakes of 60 years - mistakes that began when the first ignorant thoughtless military figure led the first coup. Or it’s perhaps the mistakes of 100 years ever since colonization established a distorted Arab world. What matters is that they are accumulated mistakes and collapse was inevitable.
What went wrong?
It’s time to ask “what went wrong?” It’s time to look inside us. Those looking for a foreign conspiracy are evading the truth and failing to see our own mistakes. Is it tyranny enveloped in the deceptive word “stability?” Or is it the theory of Bahraini intellectual Mohammad Jaber al-Ansari - the theory of “concern over loot” - as in the Arab leader and those around him view the country as a loot? It’s like he who slays his own goose (his country) to get all the gold. Or is it the social classification which we refuse to acknowledge but live every day in most of our Arab societies? We see it in the ruler’s view towards “the other people.” We see it in the view of those around the ruler, whether they are wealthy men, intellectuals or religious clerics. We even see it in the middle class which views those lower than it as a mere mob who don’t deserve democracy or the freedom of choice and opinion because it is not good at making choices and must be educated and have its awareness improved first? Is it the inactivity of religion and the imposition of a school of jurisprudence that the ruler favored because it helps him be heard and obeyed though it’s incapable of meeting modernity at a time when all forms of materialistic, and not intellectual, modernity are imposed upon us? This materialistic modernization has intersected with this inactivity and exploded as the al-Qaeda and ISIS phenomenon we see today. Look at Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki and other Iraqi politicians as a model of this. They failed to realize that their country is collapsing and they argued during the first parliamentarian session so they postponed it for a week. Maliki resumed fighting with the country’s Shiites. Maliki and Iraq’s politicians are a mere model for all of us. No one wants to admit that something went wrong. Meanwhile, the only thing dynamically moving forward is chaos and time.

It’s time to remember Syria’s kidnapped activists
Wednesday, 9 July 2014/By: Diana Moukalled/Al Arabiya
Before she disappeared in December, Syrian human rights activist Razan Zaitouneh was being interviewed by an American TV journalist who asked her if she was worried about her safety, as the fighting entered the area where she was. She said: “Personally I’m not afraid about myself anymore. Death became a normal thing to us in Syria. Maybe to the extent that we deal with it until . . . ” and then the phone line was cut. We lost Razan Zaitouneh shortly after that telephone interview with the U.S. channel, which was broadcast again in a video biography recently, compiled and presented by the international organization Vital Voices, when it gave Zaitouneh an award. Months have passed since the disappearance of Zaitouneh, who was one of the most prominent Syrian rights activists, and who had gained the highest credibility and shown the most integrity in supporting freedom by recording violations in Syria, whether by the regime or by the opposition factions. It is no use denying that the kidnapping of Razan Zaitouneh and her friends has dealt a fatal blow to the Syrian revolution Razan lived with numerous serious risks until her kidnapping at the end of last year, together with fellow activists Samira al-Khalil, Wael Hamada and Nazim Hamadi. Since the disappearance Since the disappearance of Zaitouneh and her friends in the area of Douma, which is under the control of Jaysh al-Islam, led by Zahran Alloush, there have been persistent attempts to stop her being forgotten in the same way that dozens, even hundreds, of Syrians who have gone missing have been forgotten.
Forgetfulness, as much as it lessens the pain of our loss, as much as it gives us the feeling of guilt and shame for losing interest, and therefore succumbing to the wishes of those who made Razan and her friends disappear, to make us forget them and their plight, and accept the reality of the situation. Here we have to admit that keeping an issue such as the kidnapping of Razan and her friends alive is not an easy task amid all the atrocities and tragedies, and amid the success of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which is attracting more and more regional and international attention, and overshadowing the atrocities committed by the Syrian regime, which led to the creation of ISIS in the first place.
Not concerned
The Syrian regime will not be concerned by the disappearance of Razan and her friends. It even may have a hand in it, especially with the many question marks that surround Alloush and his responsibility for the disappearance of a personality seen as the conscience of the Syrian revolution. It is not absurd to link the disappearance of Razan to the weakening of the voice of Syrian civilians through the killing of activists and journalists, or kidnapping, incarcerating or forcing them to flee Syria, and to the substantial rise in violent extremist forces such as ISIS. While not to chronicle the division that took place between the extremists and the civilian activists of the Syrian revolution, the kidnap of Razan and her friends was a defining moment in that division between one side and another, with the extreme side taking the lead.
Casting a shadow
It is true that this division is a little simplistic and does not explain fully the differences between the civilian and the Islamist faces of the revolution in Syria. However, the conspicuous silence exercised by the Islamist forces on the kidnapping of one of the brightest faces of the Syrian revolution has cast a shadow over their role. Alloush presents himself as a leader of an opposition brigade, and so acquires arms and funding accordingly. Alloush, whose group previously threatened Razan, did not feel that what happened was cause for suspicion because silencing Razan was carried out by a party that was in collaboration with the regime, which is exactlywhat happened when Yabroud and Qalamoun were suspiciously handed over to the regime’s forces. It is no use denying that the kidnapping of Razan Zaitouneh and her friends has dealt a fatal blow to the Syrian revolution, but to succumb to this fact will only cause a stronger feeling of defeat. Freedom for Razan, Samira, Wael and Nazim, and for all detainees and the missing, is vital for the sake of our salvation as well as theirs.

A new phase in the war on terror
By: Tariq Alhomayed/Asharq Alawsat
Wednesday, 9 Jul, 2014
Many questions have been raised by the recent spate of Al-Qaeda attacks on Saudi Arabia, not least the attack on the Wadia Border Post with Yemen in the southern province of Sharura, and the subsequent attack on the provincial security headquarters. Why now? And furthermore, how is it that all of these attacks are taking place on Saudi Arabia’s southern border when everyone feared an attack from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) via the country’s northern borders with Iraq? Early information reveals a number of issues, most dangerously that the terrorists are now competing for publicity. We can see this in Twitter comments that preceded the attack and which sought to incite against the Sharura province security apparatus, claiming that they threatened women and wrongly accused certain parties of being jihadists. These accusations were patently false. This raises questions about Twitter’s toleration of such threats, as well as who it was that issued these threats in the first place.
As for the objective of the Al-Qaeda attack on Saudi Arabia’s southern border, the most likely reading of this is that the terrorist group is trying to compete with ISIS propaganda in Iraq. Al-Qaeda is trying to pre-empt ISIS claims that it is able to infiltrate Saudi territory, God forbid. This is an obvious propaganda ploy, particularly when taking into account the ongoing rivalry between Al-Qaeda and ISIS.
By targeting the Wadia border post, Al-Qaeda also sought to evoke what is happening in Iraq. It is noticeable, for instance, that the car bomb struck the Yemeni side of the border post. This was to eliminate the Yemeni security presence on the border with Saudi Arabia in a similar fashion to that whereby Iraqi forces have withdrawn from the Saudi-Iraqi border.
So, Al-Qaeda wants to intimidate Yemen’s Border Guards or even force them to flee in order to achieve its objective of keeping Saudi security occupied, creating opportunities for further attacks or infiltration of Saudi territory. As for the specific objective of the terrorist attack on the Sharura security headquarters, the real objective seems to have been an attempt to raise the black flag of Al-Qaeda over the government building, photographing the scene and posting it on the Internet as a publicity stunt. However, the Saudi security forces were able to stop this attempt before it even started. The threat was neutralized within minutes of the start of clashes between the Al-Qaeda terrorists and Saudi security men, and the Al-Qaeda flag was subsequently discovered in the glove compartment of one of the vehicles used by the terrorists. Four Saudi security officers were martyred in this attack. Therefore, it seems we are now witnessing a competition between terrorist organizations in the region—whether we are talking about Al-Qaeda or ISIS—over publicity. This is only matched by the escalation in Shi’ite terrorist activity in Iraq and Syria. So it is clear we are facing a new phase in the war on terror in the region.

A new Osama Bin Laden?
Abdulrahman Al-Rashed/Asharq Alawsat/Tuesday, 8 Jul, 2014
The emergence of the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has rekindled fears that a new figure has emerged capable of uniting Al-Qaeda’s different branches under a single commander. The emergence of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi has ended a dry spell for Al-Qaeda that has lasted for three years, following the death of Osama Bin Laden. The time and place of Baghdadi’s emergence raises questions about what this group is, who controls it and who was able to break into it. ISIS emerged suddenly in Syria, at a time when the collapse of President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime seemed inevitable. The emergence of ISIS saved the Syrian regime by frightening the rest of the world with the specter of a terrorist regime replacing Assad, and by fighting against his other opponents.
The same scenario happened in Iraq. Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki, a close ally of Iran, was on the verge of losing office because Sunni, Shi’a and Kurdish leaders were unanimously opposed to seeing him remain in office. Suddenly, ISIS emerged. It seized Mosul, the second largest and most heavily guarded city in the country. And so Maliki was brought back to the forefront, insisting that he was the leader Iraq needed to face the Sunni terrorists. Instead of ISIS fighting its obvious opponents Assad and Maliki, the group has mobilized its men against the Saudi–Iraqi border. It has also waged a battle on the borders between Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Bin Laden is dead, but Baghdadi lives on. He acts as his predecessor acted and avoids what his predecessor avoided. Iran was the enemy in their religious propaganda, yet was secretly their de facto ally. It has been home for some Al-Qaeda cells since the Nineties, led by Egyptian fundamentalist Saif Al-Adel. After Al-Qaeda’s escape from Afghanistan, Iran became a refuge for many more cells. Bin Laden sent half his children and one of his wives there, and after his death they were handed over to Syria and then to Saudi Arabia. Many of Al-Qaeda’s Saudi and Arab leaders and soldiers are allegedly still in Iran. I do not recall any reports saying Al-Qaeda has ever targeted the Islamic Republic, despite the organization’s ideological hostility to it and incitement against Shi’ites. 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. A new war is looming on the horizon. Who knows how long and destructive it could be?