July 23/14


Bible Quotation for today/False Teachers
Jude 01/01-16: "My dear friends, I was doing my best to write to you about the salvation we share in common, when I felt the need of writing at once to encourage you to fight on for the faith which once and for all God has given to his people.  For some godless people have slipped in unnoticed among us, persons who distort the message about the grace of our God in order to excuse their immoral ways, and who reject Jesus Christ, our only Master and Lord. Long ago the Scriptures predicted the condemnation they have received.  For even though you know all this, I want to remind you of how the Lord once rescued the people of Israel from Egypt, but afterward destroyed those who did not believe.  Remember the angels who did not stay within the limits of their proper authority, but abandoned their own dwelling place: they are bound with eternal chains in the darkness below, where God is keeping them for that great Day on which they will be condemned.  Remember Sodom and Gomorrah, and the nearby towns, whose people acted as those angels did and indulged in sexual immorality and perversion: they suffer the punishment of eternal fire as a plain warning to all. In the same way also, these people have visions which make them sin against their own bodies; they despise God's authority and insult the glorious beings above.  Not even the chief angel Michael did this. In his quarrel with the Devil, when they argued about who would have the body of Moses, Michael did not dare condemn the Devil with insulting words, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”  But these people attack with insults anything they do not understand; and those things that they know by instinct, like wild animals, are the very things that destroy them. How terrible for them! They have followed the way that Cain took. For the sake of money they have given themselves over to the error that Balaam committed. They have rebelled as Korah rebelled, and like him they are destroyed.  With their shameless carousing they are like dirty spots in your fellowship meals. They take care only of themselves. They are like clouds carried along by the wind, but bringing no rain. They are like trees that bear no fruit, even in autumn, trees that have been pulled up by the roots and are completely dead. They are like wild waves of the sea, with their shameful deeds showing up like foam. They are like wandering stars, for whom God has reserved a place forever in the deepest darkness.  It was Enoch, the seventh direct descendant from Adam, who long ago prophesied this about them: “The Lord will come with many thousands of his holy angels to bring judgment on all, to condemn them all for the godless deeds they have performed and for all the terrible words that godless sinners have spoken against him!” These people are always grumbling and blaming others; they follow their own evil desires; they brag about themselves and flatter others in order to get their own way.


Pope Francis's Tweet For Today
The great threat in today’s world is the loneliness of hearts oppressed by greed.
Pape François
Le grand risque du monde actuel est la tristesse individualiste qui naît du cœur avare.

Latest analysis, editorials, studies, reports, letters & Releases from miscellaneous sources For July 23/14

Muslim double standards abound/By Tarek Fatah,Toronto Sun/July 23/14

Who is Hamas fighting for/Khairallah Khairallah/Al Arabiya/July 23/14
Lebanon struggles with Syrian refugees/By: Alex Rowell| The Daily Star/ July 23/14

Did FBI push Muslims to plot terror attacks/By Eman El-Shenawi | Al Arabiya News/July 23/14
All talk, no action: A message to those who ‘support’ Palestine/
Octavia Nasr /Al Arabiya/23/14

A Crisis Made in Washington/By: Tariq Alhomayed/Al Arabiya/July 23/14


Lebanese Related News For July 23/14

Iraqi Christian Exodus/Eradicating a civilization

Lebanese Accused of Killing Irish U.N. Troops in 1980 Held in U.S.

Khalil after Berri-Salam meeting: No wages

Aoun: Hariri's initiative does not clash with mine
Army arrests wounded Nusra commander: report
Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil Says 'No Law, No Salaries' as Salam Visits Berri
Lebanese soldier joins rank of Syria rebels

Nasrallah: Hezbollah will stand by Gaza
Two Syrians Freed for Ransom, Kidnappers Still Hold a Third

Several Members of HIC Led by Qabbani Resign Ending Crisis

Outgoing UNIFIL Commander Pays Farewell Visits to Lebanese Officials
Mustaqbal Voices Support for Gaza, Iraq Christians, Warns of Bid to 'Blow Up Tripoli'

Miscellaneous Reports And News For July 23/14

UN releases ceasefire resolution draft

Israel's Operation Protective Edge in Gaza

Gaza death toll tops 620, truce efforts underway
Israeli forces are fighting hard to win their first battle against Hamas, a savage and tenacious enemy

Palestinians propose Gaza truce followed by 5-day talks: Fatah official
'No safe place for civilians' in Gaza: UN

Israel soldier 'kidnapped' by Hamas is dead: army

Kerry, aides checked by security at Egyptian presidential palace 

Muslims show solidarity with Iraqi Christians in Baghdad rally 

European Union expands sanctions on Syria

Libyan rebels behead Filipino ‘for being non-Muslim’

Interpol team begins identifying victims of flight MH17 crash



Iraqi Christian Exodus/Eradicating a civilization

The Daily Star/The Iraqi city of Mosul has been emptied of its Christian community in only a matter of days, in one of the most alarming developments in recent memory in this region. Some observers have already noted that when ISIS fanatics issued an ultimatum to Mosul Christians to convert to Islam, pay a special tax or flee the city, almost all of them chose the final option. That ISIS gave them the choice to leave, some say, shows that it employed a less violent policy than in its dealings with other groups. But you can also kill a country without necessarily killing people. While Iraq, or Islam itself, might be synonymous with violence in the minds of some, the simple fact is that Iraq’s Christians have enjoyed a vital and distinguished presence on their land for nearly 2,000 years – most of that time living in peace with Muslims of various sects. Over the centuries, they have withstood foreign invasions and bouts of persecution – and one of the biggest jolts to the Christian presence in Iraq resulted from a military invasion by “fellow Christians” from the U.S. in 2003. The events of Mosul in recent days should spark outrage – both at ISIS and at those issuing verbal condemnations around the world.
A systematic policy of ending the Christian presence in a diverse Iraq, or in other Arab countries, deserves much more than stringing several sentences together containing the words “concerned” and “appalled.” If fanatics are allowed to continue their targeting of the Arab world’s diversity – which is bound up with culture, heritage and personal identity – then they will be getting away with something that is worse than murdering people. They will be annihilating centuries of civilization


"Islamic State" attack on Christian town of Tel Kef at the edge of Nineveh Plains, Kurdish forces fight back

Walid Phares DC
According to the latest reports from the ground, "Islamic State" forces attacked the Christian small town of Tel Kef at the edges of the Nineveh Plains, the last Christian enclave of Iraq. Kurdish Peshmergha units fought back to slow down the attack. But other reports have revealed that Christian families have started to leave Tel Kef. Kurdish military sources informed us that the Northern Kurdistan Command is now deploying artillery within Nineveh Plains to fire back at a possible advance of the Jihadist forces. If indeed these clashes are a prelude to a massive "Islamic State" invasion, the United States should use airpower to conduct strikes on the advancing Jihadi forces, otherwise ethnic cleansing will resume. In the present political circumstances it would be difficult to predict if Washington will actually wage such airstrike. Had there been a Romney Administration, US assets would have engaged the Jihadists before Mosul fell.

Lebanese Accused of Killing Irish U.N. Troops in 1980 Held in U.S.
Naharnet/U.S. federal agents have arrested a Lebanese man who the Irish government says is a suspect in the abduction, torture and killing of two Irish soldiers serving as United Nations peacekeepers in Lebanon 34 years ago. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested Mahmoud Bazzi on Tuesday at his home in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn. The agency arrested Bazzi for "administrative immigration violations" not directly in connection with the killings in Lebanon, spokeswoman Gillian Christensen told The Associated Press last week. She said he would be held "pending removal proceedings." Bazzi's next court date is July 31. Irish Defense Minister Simon Coveney welcomed Bazzi's arrest and said Ireland has continually pursued the case with Lebanese and U.S. authorities over the years. "I hope this is the start of a process to bring to justice the alleged perpetrator of what was a heinous crime, the torture and murder of two innocent Irish peacekeepers," Coveney said in a statement. Bazzi has denied killing Derek Smallhorne and Thomas Barrett in 1980, telling the Detroit Free Press he once falsely confessed to the slayings because he feared a Lebanese militia would kill him unless he lied."I am innocent," he said. "I had nothing to do with that."While not specifically citing the accusations against Bazzi in his native Lebanon, Christensen said the Department of Homeland Security "is committed to rooting out alleged human rights violators who seek a safe haven in the United States.""ICE's Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center investigates human rights violators who try to evade justice by seeking shelter in the United States, including those who have participated in war crimes and acts of genocide, torture, the use of child soldiers and extrajudicial killings," she said in an email to the AP. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was set up in 1978 to monitor the border between Israel and southern Lebanon. It was beefed up and given a wider role after the devastating 2006 war between Israel and Hizbullah. Associated Press

Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil Says 'No Law, No Salaries' as Salam Visits Berri
Naharnet/Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil on Tuesday reiterated his call for issuing legislation aimed at paying the salaries of public employees, warning that civil servants will be deprived of their wages if no such law is passed. “Any increase in expenditure requires legislation and the issue will be raised in cabinet,” Khalil said after meeting Speaker Nabih Berri in Ain al-Tineh. “Should there be no law, there won't be any salaries,” the minister cautioned. His meeting with Berri was held after talks between the speaker and Prime Minister Tammam Salam. “Berri is keen on legalizing the payment of public employees' salaries during a session in parliament,” LBCI television reported. Khalil has refused to budge regarding the financial crisis and the payment of civil servants' salaries at the end of the month if the cabinet and parliament failed to approve extra-budgetary spending. “I will not violate the law to pay the salaries of employees,” Khalil said in comments published in As Safir newspaper on Tuesday. He pointed out that “salaries will only reach employees through the (Parliament at) Nejmeh Square.” The daily said that Khalil will hold a press conference in the upcoming two days to reiterate his stance regarding the dispute. Khalil, who is Berri's adviser, rejects to violate the law on spending like previous cabinets did. However, al-Mustaqbal movement, which is affiliated with the March 14 alliance, is insisting that the only solution to the spending row is the government authorization according to the General Accounting Law, urging also the adoption of the Eurobonds law. 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. Mustaqbal considers Khalil's move an attempt to press MPs to attend a parliamentary session and legislate despite a presidential vacuum as the March 14 alliance rejects to attend sessions unless to elect a new head of state.
However, al-Liwaa newspaper reported that public employees will be paid their salaries in the month of August, pointing out that the crisis begins in September. The newspaper reported that minister Khalil met on Monday twice with al-Mustaqbal lawmakers Ghazi Youssef and Jamal al-Jarrah in an attempt to bridge the gap. “The crisis remains,” Mustaqbal MP Ahmed Fatfat told al-Joumhouria newspaper. He noted that al-Mustaqbal movement presented several solutions to resolve the dispute but “the finance minister is holding onto his stance.”

Aoun Hits Back at Hariri, Says Parliamentary Vote Must Precede Presidential
Naharnet /Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun stressed Tuesday that parliamentary polls must precede the stalled presidential vote, noting that “scaring” people of the electoral law proposed by the Orthodox Gathering reflects “unjustified concerns.” “Some parties are trying to disregard national pacts in the presidential elections. Some parties are bargaining over the presidential seat but we don't care who gets elected, as our battle is aimed at reforming the laws of presidential and parliamentary elections, which would prevent any president from being subordinate to foreign powers,” Aoun told reporters after the weekly meeting of the Change and Reform bloc in Rabieh. “Foreign powers usurp the president's foreign policy and put him on tracks from which he cannot break free. Thus, electing him by the people would guarantee the interests of people,” Aoun pointed out. He said “scaring” people of the electoral law “that guarantees their rights reflects unjustified concerns.”
Under the controversial Orthodox electoral law, each sect would elect its own representatives in parliament. Its advocates argue that it would put an end to perceived hegemony by the major sects over smaller ones, while its opponents have warned that it is a recipe for undermining national unity and religious coexistence. “The mechanism of the proposed law would secure the representation of all minorities of all sects, as there are Christian as well as Muslim minorities that are being deprived of representation under the current laws,” Aoun explained. “The Orthodox Gathering law does not encroach on the rights of any other sect, and through this justice, national unity and coexistence would be preserved. At that point, no one would feel that someone else is trying to dominate them through stripping them of their (political) representation,” he went on to say. “How would the popular election of a president breach the Taef Accord? How would the Orthodox Gathering electoral law violate Taef, knowing that it respects the stipulations of the National Pact?”Asked about al-Mustaqbal movement chief MP Saad Hariri's recent remarks that the presidential vote must be held before the parliamentary polls, Aoun said “Hariri did not propose anything against us, that's why we don't believe that our proposal is targeted against anyone.”
“If he is saying that the president must be elected first, I'm saying the parliamentary polls must come first and the legislature would then elect the president,” Aoun added. On Friday, Hariri had called for electing a new president "immediately" and holding parliamentary polls afterwards, as part of a roadmap that aims at “protecting Lebanon.” “The entryway to parliamentary elections is electing a president today before tomorrow because polls without a president mean having a resigned cabinet and preventing the formation of a new council of ministers,” Hariri warned. “To get accustomed to the absence of a president is a danger that threatens the presidency. The (Lebanese) president is the only Christian leader in the Islamic world and vacuum is against the formula that the Lebanese have agreed on,” he explained. Turning to regional developments, Aoun saluted "the steadfastness of Gaza's people in the face of the Israeli massacres, which are taking the form of ethnic cleansing aimed at eliminating the Palestinian identity." "Israel does not want a solution and it seems to be awaiting the disintegration of Arab states so that it can later have a partnership with (the extremist group) the Islamic State (IS) in restructuring it," he added. "The takfiris in Syria and (Iraq's) Mosul are a crime against humanity that is taking place amid Arab silence and international action that resembles 'offering condolences after death'," Aoun lamented. He warned that all the choices Christians are being offered by extremist jihadist groups "will eventually lead to their elimination.""The events in Gaza are aimed at displacing the people who remain in the occupied territories. After eliminating the Palestinian identity, efforts got underway to exterminate the Christian component, and this will end Arab nationalism and replace it with sectarian conflicts," the FPM leader cautioned. "This way, Israel will manage to win acknowledgement that it is a Jewish state and will get rid of any possible threat against its entity," he explained. Hundreds of Christians have fled Mosul following an ultimatum from the IS, which is spearheading a militant offensive in vast areas of northern and western Iraq. Chaldean patriarch Louis Sako said there were still around 35,000 Christians in the city before the IS launched its sweeping offensive on June 9, proclaimed an Islamic “caliphate” straddling Iraqi and Syrian regions, and made Mosul their main Iraqi hub. He said all had left the city by the time the noon ultimatum expired on Saturday. In Gaza, at least 593 Palestinians have been killed and 3,640 wounded since Israel launched a fierce assault on Gaza 15 days ago.

Mustaqbal Voices Support for Gaza, Iraq Christians, Warns of Bid to 'Blow Up Tripoli'
Naharnet /Al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc on Tuesday announced that it will organize a sit-in Wednesday to denounce the Israeli assault on Gaza which has killed more than 600 people until the moment, as it warned of “an attempt to blow up the situations in Tripoli.” Condemning the Israeli “enemy's hostility, barbarism and brutal attacks, which were also committed in the past against Gaza, Lebanon and unarmed innocents in several Palestinian regions,” the bloc hailed “the endurance of the Palestinian people and the valor of the Palestinian resistance's heroic fighters.”In a statement issued after its weekly meeting, the bloc also deplored “the world's silence and the aggravating Arab confusion towards this savage aggression,” describing them as “unacceptable and unjustified” and noting that they have allowed Israel to “press on with its hostility and brutality.” Accordingly, al-Mustaqbal called for “a solidarity sit-in tomorrow (Wednesday) 11:00 am at the garden of (U.N.) ESCWA's building in downtown Beirut to express our rejection and condemnation of this brute aggression.” More than 600 Palestinians have been killed and 3,640 wounded since Israel launched a fierce assault on Gaza 15 days ago.Turning to the developments in Iraq, the bloc strongly condemned “the sectarian practices, especially the attacks against Christians families and places of worship in the city of Mosul.”It called for a “social awakening in the face of all (Islamic State-like groups), wherever they may come from,” accusing extremists of “threatening coexistence, fragmenting societies and insulting people's creeds and dignity.”
Hundreds of Christians have fled Mosul following an ultimatum from the IS, which is spearheading a militant offensive in vast areas of northern and western Iraq.
Chaldean patriarch Louis Sako said there were still around 35,000 Christians in the city before the IS launched its sweeping offensive on June 9, proclaimed an Islamic “caliphate” straddling Iraqi and Syrian regions, and made Mosul their main Iraqi hub. On al-Mustaqbal movement leader MP Saad Hariri's recent "initiative," the bloc said its chairman MP Fouad Saniora briefed the members in his talks with Kataeb Party leader Amin Gemayel and the scheduled consultations with the leaders of the March 14 forces, which are aimed at seeking possible solutions to end the ongoing presidential vacuum.
As for the financial and legislative crisis, the bloc underlined the "importance of approving the new wage scale to fulfill the demands of teachers and public employees in a fair manner," as it expressed keenness on "the reformative stipulations, which must accompany the approval of the wage scale.”
Al-Mustaqbal lauded “the stance voiced by the finance minister, in which he expressed his intent to pay the salaries of public employees on July 25, before Eid al-Fitr,” noting that “it indicates seriousness and realism in dealing with the issues in question.” Earlier on Tuesday, Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil reiterated his call for issuing legislation aimed at paying the salaries of public employees, warning that civil servants will be deprived of their wages if no such law is passed. “Should there be no law, there won't be any salaries,” the minister cautioned. Commenting on the developments in the restive northern city of Tripoli, the bloc stressed the need to continue the implementation of the government-devised security plan in all Lebanese regions, warning that “some parties are still seeking to incite some residents of Tripoli and the North in a bid to blow up the situations in Tripoli.”Al-Mustaqbal cautioned against “any tampering with Tripoli's security.”It noted, however, that the city's residents “are aware of the extent of malicious plots and intentions by some parties to undermine stability in the city.”The bloc, which comprises four MPs representing Tripoli, called on residents not to heed “incitement, blackmail or overbidding.”

Outgoing UNIFIL Commander Pays Farewell Visits to Lebanese Officials

Naharnet/Outgoing United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon Commander Major General Paolo Serra met with several Lebanese officials on Tuesday on a farewell visit, accompanied by his successor Major-General Luciano Portolano. Serra said at the end of his tour on senior officials that he wanted to “thank them for their unflinching support.”He pointed out that he discussed the latest developments in UNIFIL's area of operations and “efforts exerted in cooperation with the Lebanese Armed Forces to maintain calm along the Blue Line,” a statement issued by the UNIFIL said. Serra considered that the LAF “have remained steadfast on the course charted by U.N. Security Council resolution 1701, backed up by the political leadership, shoulder to shoulder with UNIFIL peacekeepers.”“We have come a long way since 2006,” he noted. Serra was handed over the UNIFIL command in January 2012. The official expressed gratitude to the “communities that are hosting us, their understanding and acceptance of UNIFIL’s role amidst them,” describing their support as “valuable.” He held separate talks with Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Tammam Salam, Army Commander General Jean Qahwaji and General Security Chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim. Serra introduced his successor, Maj.-Gen. Portolano, who is also from Italy. “UNIFIL will continue to build on the strong foundations for peace in the South under my successor Major-General Portolano,” the official stressed. Maj.-Gen. Portolano will be handed over the position of UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander on July 24.

Two Syrians Freed for Ransom, Kidnappers Still Hold a Third
Naharnet /Two Syrian nationals who were kidnapped in Baalbek Monday were freed on Tuesday for a $20,000 ransom, the state-run National News Agency stated. Khalil Ibrahim al-Ali and his brother Abdel Karim and Zaydan Salman al-Hamad, all Syrians, were kidnapped Monday night in al-Hillanyieh on the Baalbek road in the Bekaa region. Al-Ali brothers were freed for a $20,000 ransom, but the kidnappers still hold al-Hamad and demand a $500,000 ransom to free him.

Several Members of HIC Led by Qabbani Resign Ending Crisis
Naharnet/Several members of the Higher Islamic Council led by Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani resigned on Tuesday thus ending a three-year war that sought the division of the highest Sunni authority in Lebanon. Fifteen members had so far submitted their resignations thus suspending the works of the HIC headed by Qabbani. Six members of the resigned body said on Tuesday in a statement: “Nine members had already resigned from the newly formed 32-member formed council by Qabbani... And our resignation prompts the council to dissolve.” “We were never chasing after personal interests or seeking rift between the two councils... We were seeking to bridge the gap between the two foes,” the statement pointed out. It added that the members are “keen to preserve the Sunni sect's highest interest.”“Our decision came in light of our attempt to avert the possible election of two Muftis due to the ongoing rift.” “Our collective resignation dissolves this council.”The members were identified as: Mwafaq al-Rouwas, Talal Majzoub, Saleh al-Dsouqi, Fouad Matraji, Rabih Qaterji, Mohammed Sinno, Bassem Assaf, Moustapha Qorra, Hammam Ziyadeh, Moustapha Banouk, Hani Qabbani, Omar Tarabah, Amir Raad, Haitham Fawwal and Saad Eddine Anouti.Recently the battle between the HIC led by Qabbani and another headed by his deputy Sheikh Omar Misqawi intensified after the two bodies filed lawsuits against each other. Both lawsuits include charges of impersonation. The Grand Mufti had also challenged the legality of the council led by Misqawi in April.
Earlier in July, the body led by Misqawi charged the members of the council headed by Qabbani with having an “illegal status.”Article 370 of the law states that the charges against the HIC led by Qabbani could lead to a year in prison if the member was employed and to three years in jail if the member was unemployed. Misqawi's council also accused head of Dar al-Fatwa's Islamic Endowments, Sheikh Hisham Khalifeh, who is loyal to Qabbani, of sectarian incitement, the endorsement of stances that violate the Shura Council decisions deeming them as “unbinding” and of making a void call for the election of a new Grand Mufti in August. In June, Sheikh Khalifeh called for electing a new Grand Mufti in August, but this announcement was met with the opposition of the council led by Misqawi, who demanded the elections to be held as soon as possible. Qabbani's term ends on September 15. The dispute between the council led by Qabbani and that of his deputy Misqawi is the result of political interference. The Higher Islamic Council -- which elects the Mufti and organizes Dar al-Fatwa's affairs – became the center of controversy in 2012 after 21 of its members, who are close to al-Mustaqbal movement, extended its term until 2015 despite Qabbani's objection. The Mufti later held elections for the Council, which were deemed illegal by ex-PMs Saniora and Najib Miqati, and the group led by Misqawi, who argued that the polls violated Shura Council decisions and did not enjoy a legal quorum.

Lebanese soldier joins rank of Syria rebels

The Daily Star/BEIRUT: A Lebanese soldier has joined the ranks of rebel groups fighting in Syria, a security source told The Daily Star Tuesday, the first case since the war in the neighboring country began in 2011. The solider initially went missing in the Bekaa Valley Monday evening, with some media outlets reporting his abduction by the Nusra Front. Authorities later discovered that the soldier left with militants on his own will. The Army reportedly lost trace of the soldier, who was identified by his initials A.S.D., on the outskirts of the northeastern town of Arsal, a predominantly Sunni town that supports the uprising against President Bashar Assad. Over the weekend, the Lebanese Army heavily deployed along the porous border with Syria and set up new posts in a number of Baalbek villages including Arsal to curb infiltration by militants. The move comes as Hezbollah-backed Syrian Army tightened the noose on armed rebels in the Qalamoun, a mountainous region bordering Lebanon.
Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syrian war has been a highly contentious issue in the country particularly among the party’s opponents who accuse security agencies of turning a blind eye to the group’s military role in Syria and targeting supporters of the uprising

Lebanon struggles with Syrian refugees
Alex Rowell| The Daily Star
A combination of security, economic and above all political considerations has the Lebanese government seeking for the first time to limit, and ultimately reduce, its Syrian and Syrian-Palestinian refugee population. Human rights groups have criticized these new restrictions on refugees, saying the denial of refuge to those in need violates fundamental principles of international law. But Lebanon’s power brokers are fearful of more than just the burdens of Syrian refugees.
The exact details of the new stipulations, passed by the Cabinet in June, vary for Syrians and Syrian-Palestinians (that is, Palestinian refugees previously residing in Syria). Refuge will, from now on, only be granted to those “coming from regions where battles are raging near the Lebanese border,” in the words of Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas, with “humanitarian and necessary” exceptions.
Additionally, all refugees traveling to Syria, for any reason or duration of stay, are stripped of refugee status upon their return. On top of these restrictions, Syrian-Palestinians also face further monetary charges and onerous administrative requirements that amount in practice to a near-total ban on coming to Lebanon.
Syrian and Syrian-Palestinian refugees number well over a million and are expected to comprise a third of Lebanon’s population by the end of the year.
At present, refugees are scattered across the country, living wherever they can afford to, including in over 1,200 ad hoc, self-built camps. A proposal that has been contemplated since the start of the crisis would set up formal camps to house existing refugees along the Lebanese-Syrian border. While this is unlikely to move forward at present for a number of reasons, it could potentially be adopted in a partial or revised form in the future. A recent revival of the proposal divided Lebanese officials, with the health minister calling it the only solution, while the foreign minister vowed to “oppose [it] no matter the pressure.” The U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) came out against it, arguing the state would be able to provide neither the infrastructure nor the security necessary for it to succeed.
Either way, there is clearly a new mood shared among Lebanon’s power brokers with regard to the refugees. Although the underlying factors fueling it have been accumulating since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, the translation of this mood into executive action was largely triggered by a single event. Last May 28, tens of thousands of Syrians waving Hezbollah flags and posters of Syrian President Bashar Assad descended on the Syrian Embassy to vote in their country’s presidential elections, which were widely regarded as illegitimate. The unexpectedly vast turnout halted traffic across the capital for hours, and led to minor clashes with overwhelmed Lebanese soldiers guarding the embassy.
Within hours, Lebanon’s anti-Assad March 14 coalition, which holds over a third of Cabinet seats, issued furious condemnations of the spectacle, calling it a “provocation” orchestrated by Syrian intelligence and Hezbollah, and demanding the deportation of all Syrian supporters of Assad. Less than a week later, on June 2, the Cabinet decided on the new entry restrictions, and while the official explanation was “security concerns,” a Western diplomatic source cited the embassy controversy as a likely stimulus.
Similarly, UNHCR said the government had acted in the hope of “ensuring that actions by refugees [including exercising their right to vote inside Syria] do not provoke adverse reactions inside Lebanon or stoke hostility between refugees and the communities in which they reside.”
To be clear, it was not the relatively benign happenings at the embassy itself that mattered so much as what they represented. Until then, the refugee presence had arguably been politically useful for March 14. More than a million destitute men, women, and children were daily reminders of the tragedy of a brutal war they could blame on Assad and their key domestic rival, Hezbollah. However, seeing that the same refugees could also be mobilized – whether on their own or coerced by political groups – in their tens of thousands against them was an unwelcome surprise for March 14’s public and politicians.
This shifted the March 14 outlook to something closer to that of its pro-Assad rivals, the March 8 coalition, who have never been comfortable with the Syrian refugee presence.
Christian members of March 8 in particular, such as the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), have long been accused of stirring xenophobia and paranoia with their public allegations of “conspiracies” to settle the refugees permanently and thereby change Lebanon’s sectarian demography.
In 2013, one FPM member, who has since become foreign minister, went as far as calling for deporting all refugees. While the large Sunni constituency of March 14 has no such anxieties about the predominantly Sunni refugees, the embassy episode nevertheless resulted in a degree of convergence of political opinions and interests between the two blocs.
That convergence against the presence of Syrian refugees was also made possible by the shared burden of an economic collapse brought on by a more than 25 percent population increase in three years. Derbas recently put the direct cost to Lebanon of the refugee crisis at $7.5 billion, or 17 percent of GDP. Unemployment in some regions has doubled as Lebanese manual labor is undercut by Syrian competition. Electricity and water resources, already insufficient to meet Lebanese demand alone, have had to be spread that much thinner.
The overall impact of the Syrian war and its “spillover” into Lebanon has been a decline in GDP growth from 7 percent in 2010 to 1 percent in 2014, according to latest International Monetary Fund estimates. Tourism, which in better years would make up a quarter of national income, has particularly suffered. While none of this, of course, is the refugees’ fault, it has predictably bred resentment and revived xenophobic sentiments picked up during 29 years of Syrian occupation. In short, Lebanese of all political persuasions have become fed up.
For the refugees themselves, the government’s new policy adds yet another source of hardship to an already grueling existence. It is unclear how many Syrians have been turned away since the June 2 decision, but a new Amnesty International report documents a number of what it calls “shocking” cases among Syrian-Palestinians, including pregnant women fleeing the besieged Yarmouk camp in Damascus being denied refuge at the border, and children in Lebanon being separated from parents who entered Syria briefly to renew identity documents.
Syrian-Palestinians make up less than 5 percent of all refugees from Syria. As the restrictions spread to the broader Syrian refugee population, the new policy will likely have widespread humanitarian repercussions. All of this underscores the need for a far more determined global response to the Syrian refugee crisis.
**Alex Rowell is a Beirut-based journalist reporting for NOW Lebanon, among other outlets. This commentary first appeared at Sada, an online journal published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (

Aoun: Hariri's initiative does not clash with mine
The Daily Star/BEIRUT: Free Patriotic Movement Leader Michel Aoun said Tuesday that there was no contradiction between his initiative to change the electoral process and former Prime Minister Saad Hariri's road map to save the country from crisis, stressing the need to hold parliamentary polls before a presidential vote. “We don’t care who is elected as president, what we care about is our struggle to reform the electoral laws for the presidential and the parliamentary elections,” Aoun said after his the Reform and Change bloc meeting in Rabieh. “This means that what Former Prime Minister Hariri suggested does not clash with our standpoint, rather it stands on our side."Asked about the contradiction between Hariri’s opinion that a president should be elected first and Aoun’s call for the amendment of the constitution, the Maronite leader said his priority was to change the laws and elect a parliament. “He called for presidential elections first? We call for parliamentary elections first, and then the parliament can elect a President,” Aoun said. The FPM leader also renewed his party’s commitment to the Orthodox Gathering law for parliamentary elections - which is based on sects - and to the idea of opening up the presidential election to the public, with a voting advantage given to Christians in a first round. “Allowing the people to directly elect the president ensures their rights,” he said. “It also allows the president to adopt policies that safeguard the national interest, as opposed to policies that are subject to foreign [manipulation].” Stressing that it “protects the rights of all religious groups and of minorities inside sects,” Aoun expressed confidence that his initiative would establish “justice and enhance national unity and coexistence.”
The change would require the Constitution to be amended to allow Lebanese people to vote for their head of state. Aoun has suggested that Christians vote in a first round, with the top two candidates then facing a public poll open to voters of all sects. An opponent of the Taif Agreement ever since it was signed in 1989, Aoun rejected his political rivals' accusations that his two suggestions violate the peace accord that ended Lebanon's 15-year civil war and addressed an imbalance in rights afforded to Muslims and Christians. “The Orthodox Gathering law is the only one that ensures the rights of Christians without harming the rights of anyone else,” he said, referring to an election law proposed last year in which every sect elects representatives in Parliament from within its own community.
Aoun's comments come days after Hariri outlined Friday a road map to safeguard Lebanon’s stability and protect it from the reverberations of the turmoil in Syria and Iraq that involved the election of a new president and the withdrawal of Hezbollah from the war in Syria. After the Christian Gathering - an umbrella group of which the Orthodox Gathering is part of - issued a statement calling Hariri’s plan an attack on the national pact, the former premier's office said the group had “deliberately distorted” his words. Aoun’s comments also touched on the Iraq and Gaza crises.
“What is offered to Christians by giving them the choice of either masking their beliefs and embracing Islam or being exiled and beheaded is an attempt to eliminate their existence,” he said, referring to the options laid out for Mosul’s Christian communities by the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS). He compared the offensive by the Israeli state against Gaza's Palestinians to that of ISIS against Iraq's Christians, saying they both aimed at “eliminating the identities of the people." “The aim of [the Israeli offensive on] Gaza is the elimination of the Palestinian identity and the displacement of whoever remains of that people in the occupied territories.”Aoun said that with the project aiming to eliminate the two central features of the East - the presence of Christians and the Palestinian identity - “Arab nationalism collapses and gets replaced by sectarian wars,” allowing “Israel to fix its identity as a Jewish state and eliminate all threats to its survival.”

Did FBI push Muslims to plot terror attacks?
By Eman El-Shenawi | Al Arabiya News
Tuesday, 22 July 2014
Since the 9/11 attacks, the FBI has supported and in some cases even paid American Muslims to carry out terrorist acts during ‘sting operations’, a human rights groups claimed in a report published Monday. "Far from protecting Americans, including American Muslims, from the threat of terrorism, the policies documented in this report have diverted law enforcement from pursuing real threats," said the report by Human Rights Watch. Helped by Columbia University Law School's Human Rights Institute, Human Rights Watch studied 27 cases from investigation through trial, interviewing 215 people, comprising those accused or sentenced in terrorism cases, their relatives, defense lawyers, prosecutors and judges.
"In some cases the FBI may have created terrorists out of law-abiding individuals by suggesting the idea of taking terrorist action or encouraging the target to act," the report said. “Although some of the methods may shock, they are, regrettably, standard operating procedures. [Regarding] Snooping ... when one is in that business, one avails himself, which should surprise no one,” Dr. Joseph A. Kéchichian, an American scholar, historian and political scientist, told Al Arabiya News on Tuesday.
“What was confusing was that these methods stood in direct contradiction with what senior government officials, including President Obama, proclaimed. Either the FBI chose to ignore the head-of-state or, more likely, opted to pursue a different course in the name of national security,” Kéchichian added. The FBI may have fabricated terrorists out of law-abiding citizens
In the study's cases, half the convictions stemmed from a sting operation, and in 30 percent of those cases the undercover agent played a direct part in the conspiracy.
"Americans have been told that their government is keeping them safe by preventing and prosecuting terrorism inside the U.S.," said Andrea Prasow, the group's deputy Washington director. "But take a closer look and you realize that many of these people would never have committed a crime if not for law enforcement encouraging, pressuring and sometimes paying them to commit terrorist acts."
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has vehemently advocated the FBI covert operations saying they are "essential in fighting terrorism."
"These operations are conducted with extraordinary care and precision, ensuring that law enforcement officials are accountable for the steps they take - and that suspects are neither entrapped nor denied legal protections," Holder said July 8 on a visit to Norway, according to Agence France-Presse. Yet the HRW report mentions the case of four Muslim converts from Newburgh, New York who were suspected of plotting to blow up synagogues and attack a U.S. military base. A judge in that case "said the government 'came up with the crime, provided the means, and removed all relevant obstacles,' and had, in the process, made a terrorist out of a man 'whose buffoonery is positively Shakespearean in scope,'" the report said.
The rights group indicted the FBI with targeting vulnerable people, with mental health issues or low intelligence.
It alluded to the case of Rezwan Ferdaus, who was convicted to 17 years in prison at age 27 for wishing to attack the Pentagon and Congress with micro-drones laden with explosives.
An FBI agent told Ferdaus' father that his son "obviously" had mental health issues, the report said. But that didn't end an undercover agent from nurturing the plot in totality, it said. "The U.S. government should stop treating American Muslims as terrorists-in-waiting," the report finished.
"The FBI is a vast organization and it may be difficult to get a grip on all that goes on within it," said Kéchichian. "Some of its best work was done against organized crime, but few of the premier agents that composed the force are around today, which may explain the shift that occurred after 9/11. Of course, counter-terrorism is a major goal that cannot be neglected, though what drives agents—or so it seems—is the criticism that the FBI failed to connect the dots last time around. "Hence, the near hysteria towards everyone, not just Muslims, [was] allegedly because being vigilant could prevent another attack. That was so broad a canvas that one wondered whether it was a valid point. There is a new culture at play, namely that the FBI can and ought to find the needle in the haystack, without consideration for the fate of the barn or its inhabitants," Kéchichian added. Mike German, a previous FBI agent now with the Brennan Center, told AFP that FBI counterterrorism methods were a cause for worry - "they both violate privacy and civil liberties, and aren't effective in addressing real threats."
But JM Berger, a security expert, told AFP policing agencies face a predicament: it can't just disregard tips or reports about people talking about desiring to commit a terrorist action or pursuing backing for one. "The question is how to sort out which cases merit investigation and which do not," he said.
**Thomas Wolstencroft contributed to this report11:54

Israeli forces are fighting hard to win their first battle against Hamas, a savage and tenacious enemy
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis July 22, 2014/The battle for Shejaiya, the Hamas stronghold on Gaza City’s outskirts, was still unresolved Tuesday, July 22, indicating that the Islamists were not giving up. Indeed, fresh Hamas reinforcements appeared to have taken up new positions in the battle zone during the night. They may have arrived through Hamas’ many-branched tunnel system.
Every few hours, the IDF spokesman releases two sets of figures: Israeli casualty statistics and the number of IDF strikes against Hamas. He has little to say about Israel’s military movements. Neither Israeli nor foreign correspondents have been permitted to accompany IDF troops fighting in the Gaza Strip – a policy the IDF has pursued since the second Lebanon war of 2006. Military leaders are therefore free to manage the data, human and electronic, coming out of the war, including images from the various fronts, without independent coverage. The public sees the same IDF surveillance footage day after day.
This policy reduces the hazards faced by Israeli forces and keeps their scale and identities secret from the enemy – and that is good for Israel’s war effort.
On the other hand, it creates a widening gap between the “official version” and the real state of affairs on the battlefield. Since most people have access to relatives on the front - not to mention prolific rumor mills powered by the social media - the credibility of national war leaders suffers.
Official communiqués are studded with impressive figures. Tuesday morning, the IDF was reported to have struck 3,200 Hamas targets since the start of the operation. In the last four days, the soldiers located 23 secret tunnels and 36 shafts leading into Hamas’ subterranean complex, and killed 186 Hamas operatives in combat. Israel lost 27 officers and men in the same period.
Those figures are telling in that they illustrate the hardships confronting the IDF from a ferocious enemy which refuses to crack under air or ground assault.
Because the Golani Brigades’ losses in Shejaiya were so heavy, IDF chiefs had no choice but to disclose information about the combatants on this front. But no one, aside from the combatants and their officers, knows what is going on in the other arenas to which the five special IDF task forces have been assigned. There is no news for instance from the southern sector of Rafah and Khan Younes. or the northern towns of Shati and Zeitun. No one knows how many Hamas tunnels are left to be destroyed - and where - before the IDF claims to have completed this critical part of its counter-terror mission
By any military standard, the IDF has the edge over Hamas. But the battle still needs to be won.
This situation has stiffened Hamas’ resistance to any of the ceasefire proposals taking shape in various parts of the region in the last couple of days. Its leaders feel strong enough to carry on fighting and holding out for better terms than those on offer at present. Hostilities are therefore likely to drag out for an indeterminate period.
For Israel, the diplomatic clock is ticking too fast. As the warfare stretches out without a decisive battle on at least one Gaza front, the rising casualty toll threatens to undermine Israel’s ability to stand up to the pressures of international truce diplomacy.

Muslim double standards abound
By Tarek Fatah,Toronto Sun
July 15, 2014
If there is a God, he has some explaining to do.
On the one hand he tells us Muslims in the Qur’an that we are “the best of peoples, evolved for mankind”, but then showers us with leaders who bring out the worst in the human soul.
If the murderous spree some of my fellow Muslims have embraced is not enough, their hypocrisy of playing the victim card makes the rest of the world cringe in anger, if not outrage.
As I write, Muslims around the world have taken to the streets and social media to protest Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, that has resulted in the deaths of nearly 200 Palestinians.
Undoubtedly the death of 200 Arabs, many of them civilian women and children, is tragic and worthy of condemnation.
However, just next door to Israel almost 200,000 Arabs have been killed by fellow Arabs in Syria, but that tragedy has triggered no public demonstrations of anger in Islamic capitals, let alone in Toronto.
Let us examine two military operations by two countries against what they describe as Islamic terrorists belonging to radical jihadi movements.
While Israel’s Operation Protective Edge is making the lead story around the world, few are aware of Pakistan’s Operation Zarb-e-Azb (Strike of Prophet Muhammad’s Sword) underway against the Taliban inside Pakistan. Israel’s military operations have killed about 200 and displaced about 17,000 Palestinians from their homes in Gaza.
Pakistan’s military operations, on the other hand, have killed over 400 and made over 900,000 Pashtun Pakistanis homeless and destitute in their own country.
While the 17,000 Palestinians are finding shelter in United Nations Relief and Works Agency structures, nearly one million Pakistanis are facing a catastrophe that has triggered neither media coverage, nor international aid or protest. On Monday, a day after an Israeli missile killed 18 family members of the Hamas police chief in Gaza, Iraqi men in Baghdad slaughtered 28 Iraqi women.
There was plenty of fury over the dead family, almost none for the women, for they were alleged to be residents of a brothel, as if that mattered.
Allah’s “best of peoples, evolved for mankind”, clearly live by a double standard, the one that triggers mammoth support for Palestinians but absolutely none for Pashtuns.
Here’s why. It is not the race or religion of the victim that counts, but the identity of their tormentor.
As long as it’s an Arab army annihilating fellow Arabs or a Muslim military murdering fellow Muslims, too many Muslims simply shrug away our responsibility and say, “leave it to Allah” as the Qur’an supposedly commands. However, if the Muslim falls victim to the “kuffar” — meaning the Jew, Christian or Hindu — then many of our clerics take to the pulpit and deliver fiery, end-of-times lectures, using the tragedy as a reason to ignite hatred against the other, in most cases “The Jew”.I wonder if God has heard this mosque sermon by a prominent Pakistani cleric.
“And a time is about to come when Allah would bestow such a success on Islam that there would not be a single Jew left on the face of the earth. … And when the last Jew will be killed from this world, then peace would be established in the world …”It would appear the depth of hatred many of God’s “best of people” disseminate, needs his attention.
That is, if he is listening at all.​


All talk, no action: A message to those who ‘support’ Palestine
Tuesday, 22 July 2014
Octavia Nasr /Al Arabiya
I’m sick and tired of the pretenders who say, “Palestine is the compass,” and ignore the actual abuses the Palestinians have been enduring at the hands of occupiers, jailers and hostile hosts.
I’m not talking only about what Israel is doing to the Palestinians; I’m also talking about the fact that Palestine – in all its millions of versions (because after decades of conflict, displacement and loss, each Palestinian has his or her own version) - and Palestine is searching for its own compass especially as no Arab nation has given it a viable example or support to exist as an independent nation.
“Palestinians are bleeding and want to finally rest in peace. Even Hamas wants peace”
Octavia Nasr
Palestinians are bleeding and want to finally rest in peace. Even Hamas wants peace. For the only time in my life I joined an online campaign called “We are all Palestinians” simply because I believed that peaceful people remain quiet for too long and allow the bullies to yack exclusively and nonstop. This gives the impression to the outside world that we are all in agreement and therefore we become labeled as “terrorists” and “violent” and we give others reason to attack us repeatedly and without mercy.
Palestine is not the compass
Palestine is not the compass. Palestine is the excuse for the failures of those who hide behind this slogan. What do you call these people calling for further escalation in Gaza? How about they fight for the right of a third generation Palestinian refugee to be treated decently instead? They can’t teach Palestinians anything about government, infrastructure, or budgets. They can’t give Palestinians hope, strength, moral support, vision or freedom, because they have none.
Think about that next time you flap your lips to say, “Palestine is my compass.” Compass for what? Where are you trying to go and need Palestine to guide you? Drop the farce already and help bleeding and broken Palestine and the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians imprisoned in refugee camps for seven decades - that’s almost a century! Better yet, light a candle for the souls of the innocent Palestinians who perished for no fault of their own.
The conflict will soon enter its centennial and Palestinians still live in camps lacking basic human rights while the pseudo-intellectuals and their blind followers applaud and shoot their celebratory guns at the capture or killing of an Israeli soldier.
Israel dehumanizes Palestinians no doubt, turning them into numbers and simple statistics. But what these hotheaded “thinkers” who incite violence do, leads to more pain for Palestinians; and with the lazy, violent “non-doers” who cheer them, they take the dehumanization of Palestinians one step lower, by turning their death and dignity into insignificant numbers!

Who is Hamas fighting for
Khairallah Khairallah/Al Arabiya
Tuesday, 22 July 2014
In 2006, Israel launched a war on Lebanon. It was a war that aimed to weaken Hezbollah which had started to work towards tightening its grip on Lebanon to fill the vacuum resulting from the Syrian military’s withdrawal.
During the July 2006 War, Druze leader Walid Jumblatt used to continuously ask a very simple, yet complicated, question – to whom will Hezbollah present its “victory?”
After halting military operations and issuing U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, which among its many items stipulated the Lebanese army’s deployment throughout the South and the “Resistance’s” withdrawal towards inside Lebanon, it turned out that the victory which Hezbollah achieved was two-fold.
The first aspect is linked to Iran as it developed into a major player in the Lebanese “arena” after it was just a partner at managing it. I believe that Iran has for many years sought to transform Lebanon into one of its colonies and thus use the country as a bargaining chip when negotiating with the United States.
“What has been exposed is Hamas’ deep crisis and its lack of concern regarding what the Palestinian people are subjected to”
The second and last aspect is mainly linked to spreading misery in Lebanon, leading it backwards and isolating it from its Arab surrounding. In my view, Hezbollah’s formation of a cabinet headed by Sunni figure Najib Miqati was part of this.
This, I feel, synchronized with persistent attempts to reassign the Syrian regime some sort of role in Lebanon. Following the 2006 July war, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad exploited the so-called victory of the resistance and attacked Arab leaders in a way that I can only describe as obscene.
In my view, Hezbollah managed to exploit its supposed “victory” in the 2006 July War. It was primarily a victory over Lebanon and the Lebanese people. Hezbollah stood over a corpse called Lebanon and flashed the sign of victory. He who reads the content of the UNSCR 1701, which Hezbollah agreed to, will understand why Israel also considers the 2006 July War as a victory of its own as well.
Back to the present
Who will Hamas present its “victory” to in the war of summer 2014?
So far, the Hamas movement, which triggered the war Israel was expecting, has achieved a set of aims that I believe it is gearing towards. Firstly, it embarrassed Egypt. Egypt’s endeavor to halt the Israeli aggression makes Egypt look like it’s seeking to deter the “resistance” in Gaza.
This is how it looks, at least on the surface. And the question must be asked, does Hamas, and those who stand behind it, think that the continuation of the Gaza war will have repercussions inside Egypt and thus serve the Muslim Brotherhood? All the while, it seems that Hamas also seeks to embarrass the Palestinian Authority which no longer has anything to say, especially amidst this Israeli brutality. I believe that the authority thinks that Hamas aims to benefit as much as possible from a hostile Israeli policy that only believes in perpetuating occupation - a policy that obstructed negotiations and turned Palestinians into false witnesses to the fait accompli the PA is trying to establish on Palestinian territories.
The Palestinians are paying a high price for the terrorism Israel is practicing. However Palestinian bloodshed seems to be the least of Hamas’ worries. After the Gaza war, I believe that Hamas considers itself the major player in Palestine. But is this the case?
Hamas folded the page
Hamas folded the page of Palestinian reconciliation but all that happened is that Hamas escaped its internal crisis and turned it into a Palestinian crisis. It transferred this crisis to the West Bank - that is to the national authority and Fatah which appeared more exposed than ever as well as incapable of influencing events.
But again, to whom will Hamas present its “victory,” dripping of Palestinian blood, to? It’s clear that this war is a part and parcel of a bigger game that goes beyond Gaza. What signifies the size of this game is the amount of missiles which were delivered to Gaza. In addition to this, there’s the continuous focus on Egypt for the purpose of dispersing its powers. Is there another aim for the recent terrorist operation which was carried out by a gang at the borders with Libya and which killed 30 Egyptian military personnel? I believe that this gang is linked with Hamas.
In all cases, what has been exposed is not only Hamas’ deep crisis and its lack of concern regarding what the Palestinian people are subjected to, it is also clear, to me at least, that Israel is shortsighted and only aims to invest in occupation.
Such a policy only serves Hamas and others who, like Hamas, are willing to sacrifice the Palestinians. In my mind, those who exploit the Palestinians and their cause only care about embarrassing Arabs in general and the Palestinian Authority in particular.
Such a policy, it seems, only serves Hamas and others who, like Hamas, are willing to sacrifice the Palestinians to serve those who want to exploit the latter. Those who exploit the Palestinians and their cause only care about embarrassing Arabs in general, I feel, and the Palestinian Authority in particular.
Will Hamas present its victory to those people - i.e. those helping it dig tunnels and those who supply it with missiles and all sorts of support?
It will probably do so, especially considering Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Since when is working to perpetuate occupation a political policy? Since when is it viable to believe that cancelling out other people can be a basis of political policy? Does extremism lead to anything else but more extremism in a region on the brink of explosion?

A Crisis Made in Washington
Tariq Alhomayed/Al Arabiya
Tuesday, 22 Jul, 2014
Has the West become accustomed to crises taking place in the Middle East, no longer caring about them (with the Syrian conflict serving as a prime example here)?
The truth is that the real crisis which everyone has to learn to live with is that of President Obama himself, and not those of the region. Today everyone is convinced the Middle East can expect nothing from Obama’s dithering administration, which is incapable of making serious decisions about the events taking place around us.
To make the picture clearer, we are facing a bloody Syrian conflict, a crisis in Iraq, and the expansion of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) amid the intransigence of Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki. We also have the barbaric Israeli attack on Gaza, which started for trivial political reasons, and which has also given Hamas and its leaders the opportunity they were looking for.
Despite all that, the Obama administration is still dithering and occupied with the illusion of an agreement with Iran on its nuclear program.
Leaving the region’s problems aside, it is enough to look at the way the Obama administration deals with the crime that was the shooting down of a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine, which represents a flagrant challenge to international security. Obama’s administration found it sufficient only to make the same kind of statements we have become accustomed to since Obama took office.
At this stage, we should ask the following questions: What if Egypt was left to the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood, according to the wishes of the Obama administration (especially as we see today the daily terrorist threats facing the Egyptian army)? In what state would Egypt be had the army and the people not acted? What would the situation be had Saudi Arabia and the UAE abandoned Egypt?
Therefore, what is happening now is that everyone has decided to deal with Obama’s leadership crisis, and not the region’s crises. The Obama administration is unable to remove Maliki from his perch, in order to form an Iraqi national unity government capable of fighting ISIS—a fight requiring the help of not just the US, but all of the region’s states as well, especially the Sunnis, because it is our battle, as I have written before.
The Obama administration is also incapable of making a decisive move regarding Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, who previously said that the whole region would burn if his throne was threatened. Now the region is already aflame, and the answer lies in resolving the Syrian issue, especially as the fall of Assad would serve as a knockout blow to extremism and terrorism in the region.
The talk about Obama’s crisis is not only happening in the Arab world, it is also going on in the United States. Look at what columnist David Ignatius recently wrote in the Washington Post, and which was republished in this newspaper, when he blamed the Obama administration for its dithering in Iraq and Syria: “You can sympathize with the White House’s situation in a chaotic world that simultaneously craves and resents US leadership,” he said, adding that “when core US national security interests are involved—as in combating the Islamic State [of Iraq and Syria] or maintaining the strongest possible alliance with Germany—the White House must break through whatever resistance or inertia it encounters. The rest is excuses.”
Therefore, this is Obama’s crisis, and we have to learn to live with it for a while, unfortunately.