May 03/14


Bible Quotation for today/‘Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet

Matthew 22,41-46/While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: ‘What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?’ They said to him, ‘The son of David.’
He said to them, ‘How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying, "The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet’ "? If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?’ No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

Pope Francis's Tweet For Today

No one is more patient than God the Father; no one understands and knows how to wait as much as he does.
Pape François
Personne n’est plus patient que Dieu le Père ; personne ne comprend et ne sait attendre comme Lui.

Latest analysis, editorials, studies, reports, letters & Releases from miscellaneous sources For May 03/14

Three decades of ‘strategic resistance’ between Iran and Syria/By: Dr. Majid Rafizadeh/Al Arabiya/May 03/14
Bloodshed and despair as the world strives for Western-style democracy/By: Raed Omari/Al Arabiya/
May 03/14


Latest News Reports From Miscellaneous Sources For May 03/14

Lebanese Related News

President Suleiman Calls Lack of Quorum 'Undemocratic,' Says Syria Should Reject Meddling by Lebanese Parties

MP Suleiman Franjieh to Patriarch Rahi: I Told You I Will Not Provide Quorum and You Accepted My Stance

Lebanon’s Rai to visit Jerusalem on historic trip
Lebanon Maronite patriarch to join pope on first Jerusalem visit

Prime Minister Tammam Salam: No Indicators that Presidential Elections Will Take Place on Time

Jumblatt: legalize cannabis in Lebanon

Saudi envoy returns, says no travel ban on Lebanon

Sunni militant group claims 'capture' of 3 Hezbollah members

Cabinet accepts acting Beirut governor's resignation

Army arrests Syrians for illegally entering country

Residents demand funding for Jal al-Dib tunnel

Army raids Baalbek areas in search of suspects
More charged over clashes in north Lebanon

Jumblatt 'not against' Geagea, Aoun nominations

Minister: Tinted windows license only for security

Miscellaneous Reports And News

U.N. chief has no direct contact with Assad

Bashar’s candidacy is bad for everyone, including himself
Two killed after Cairo, Sinai blasts
NGO: deal for Syria rebels to withdraw from Homs bastion

Deal for Syria rebels to withdraw from Homs bastion

Shelly Dadon was murdered by the veteran Israeli-Arab terrorist group “Galilee Liberators”

PA becomes signatory in UN 5 human rights conventions

Paul: AIPAC torpedoed bill that required Palestinians to recognize Israel as Jewish state

Palestinians, Do Not Despair

In Iraq and Syria, a resurgence of foreign suicide bombers

Russia demands Security Council meeting on Ukraine
350 dead, thousands missing in Afghan landslides

Lebanon Cabinet makes key public appointments
May 02, 2014/By Hasan Lakkis /The Daily Star
BEIRUT: The Cabinet filled vacant posts Friday by appointing new governors for Beirut and other newly established governorates including Hermel and Akkar.  During a Cabinet session at Baabda Palace, ministers agreed to appoint Ziyad Shbib as Beirut governor, Bashir Khodr for Baalbek/Hermel, Fouad Fleifel for Mount Lebanon, Ramzi Nahra for north Lebanon, and Imad Labaki for Akkar.
The government also accepted the resignation of acting Beirut Governor Nassif Qaloush, weeks after a former employee accused him of sexual harassment. The key appointments came after a dispute between President Michel Sleiman and the Hezbollah-led March 8 coalition was apparently resolved, political sources said. The sources told The Daily Star the original venue for the meeting was Baabda Palace, but had been changed to the Grand Serail following the row over appointments imposed by Sleiman. It was changed back to Baabda after the row was resolved. March 8 officials argue that Sleiman cannot appoint his brother as Customs Director General or Fadi Martinios as Casino du Liban Director, posts reserved for the Hezbollah-led alliance.
Sleiman, according to the sources, also demanded the appointment of at least 20 other employees. However, ministers scrapped the Grand Serail venue and decided to hold the session at Baabda Palace at 4 p.m. after Prime Minister Tammam Salam mediated the dispute, the sources added

President Suleiman Calls Lack of Quorum 'Undemocratic,' Says Syria Should Reject Meddling by Lebanese Parties

Naharnet /President Michel Suleiman on Friday appealed for the election of a “made in Lebanon” head of state, rejected foreign interference in the presidential elections and called the boycott of the polls “undemocratic.”“The presidential and parliamentary elections should be held on time and vacuum avoided,” Suleiman told Lebanese diplomats at Baabda Palace. “The election of a president should be made in Lebanon although … some countries encourage the Lebanese to practice their democratic rights,” he said. “Their role should be limited to holding the elections on time,” he added. “Lack of quorum is undemocratic,” Suleiman stressed in reference to the March 8 alliance's boycott of the presidential elections. In the first round, March 8 lawmakers cast blank ballots and then pulled out from the legislative session, resulting in a lack in the needed two-thirds quorum. During the second round of the polls, the same MPs, except for the members of Speaker Nabih Berri's bloc, boycotted the session, creating fears of vacuum in the country's top Christian post. Suleiman leaves Baabda Palace on May 25. The president said in his speech that the national dialogue should continue to be held. “Its decisions should also be implemented,” he said, citing the disarmament of Palestinian camps, the implementation of the Baabda Declaration and the agreement on a defense strategy. In a clear reference to Hizbullah's involvement in Syria's war, Suleiman told the diplomats that “Syria should not accept for any side from Lebanon to interfere in its affairs.” Iran, Gulf countries and Europe should do the same, he said. “No one should encourage making Lebanon a passage for interference in Syria,” he said. Hizbullah has been instrumental in helping the regime of President Bashar Assad in making gains in the war with the rebels seeking to topple him. Suleiman called for a review of agreements signed between Lebanon and Syria. “We hold onto special ties with Syria and with all the Syrians,” he said.

Prime Minister Tammam Salam: No Indicators that Presidential Elections Will Take Place on Time

Naharnet /Prime Minister Tammam Salam stated on Friday that in light of the current indicators it seems that a new president will not be elected on time, voicing also calls to hold the elections away from “external interferences.”"We are facing a difficult stage and a challenge in electing a new head of state," he said in a meeting with Lebanese diplomats. "Until this moment, there are no indicators that a new president will be elected on time.”Nevertheless, Salam voiced hopes that political parties would agree to convene and fulfill this duty, "just like they agreed before and formed a new cabinet successfully." The Premier stressed that “if a new president was elected, Lebanon will witness progress." "But if this was not the case, there will be new suffering that no one wishes for," he remarked. Salam warned of the consequences of vacuum, he said: “Lebanon witnessed constitutional vacuum before and we paid dearly for that. We hope this experience would not be repeated.”Lawmakers once again failed on Wednesday to elect a new president as differences between the March 8 and 14 alliances led to a lack of quorum in the second parliamentary session aimed at choosing a new head of state. Suleiman’s tenure ends in May 2014.

MP Suleiman Franjieh to Patriarch Rahi: I Told You I Will Not Provide Quorum and You Accepted My Stance

Naharnet /Marada Movement leader MP Suleiman Franjieh stated on Friday that he had promised Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi that he will not provide the necessary quorum at the parliament to prevent his political foe's election, adding also that he disagrees with the head of the Maronite Church over the fear of vacuum in the presidency. "The constitution discussed the needed quorum in parliamentary sessions (dedicated to elect a new president) but it did not say anything about requiring MPs to be present,” Franjieh said in an interview on al-Manar television. "Lawmakers have the right to miss the sessions,” he remarked. Al-Rahi told LBCI television on Thursday that being present at parliamentary sessions to elect a new head of state is a “national duty because the MPs were elected by the people and their presence is a constitutional duty.”But Franjieh insisted that no agreement was reached during the Maronite leaders' meeting in Bkirki over being present at parliament and providing the necessary quorum for electing a president. He elaborated: “I have told the patriarch that if my political foe received 85 votes and needed one more to win the presidential race, I will not vote in his favor. But if he took office, I will respect him and cooperate with him. (Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel) Aoun told al-Rahi he supported my decision and (Kataeb Party leader) Amin Gemayel agreed with me also.”
Franjieh was referring to Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, a presidential candidate who was able to gather 48 votes in his favor in the first round of votes at the parliament. Meanwhile, 52 MPs cast a blank vote, centrist nominee Henri Helou won the support of 16 lawmakers and Gemayel got one vote in his favor. Franjieh stated: “I will be Geagea's biggest opponents if he takes office, but this does not mean that he is not a strong candidate.” The Marada Movement head remarked that Aoun “will always be in harmony with Hizbullah” and that if he became president, he will not demand the party to withdraw from Syria. The northern leader also voiced support for electing a president by the people. Franjieh also noted that he doesn't agree with the patriarch on his “fear of vacuum” in the presidency.
"I am not worried about vacuum. I have told you I will not be present to provide quorum and you accepted my statement," he said addressing al-Rahi. Meanwhile, he considered that former Prime Minister Saad Hariri does not support neither Aoun nor Geagea for office. "He wants a weak president. He is wasting time to assure al-Rahi, but he wants to reach a settlement later.”In the second round of votes on Wednesday, lawmakers once again failed to elect a new president as differences between the March 8 and 14 alliances led to a lack of quorum. While the March 14 camp held onto its candidate Geagea, the Hizbullah-led March 8 alliance, except for Speaker Nabih Berri's Development and Liberation bloc, boycotted the second round of the elections over lack of consensus on one candidate.
Berri set Wednesday, May 7 for a third round of voting.

Lebanon Maronite patriarch to join pope on first Jerusalem visit
AFP, Beirut /Friday, 2 May 2014/Lebanon's Maronite patriarch is to become the first head of his church to visit Jerusalem when he joins Pope Francis in May on a Holy Land tour, he told AFP on Friday. “The pope is going to the Holy Land and Jerusalem. He is going to the diocese of the patriarch, so it's normal that the patriarch should welcome him,” Beshara Rai said by telephone from France, dismissing any political significance. Rai's visit is diplomatically noteworthy because Lebanon remains technically at war with Israel and bans its citizens from entering the Jewish state. Maronite clergy are able to travel to the Holy Land to minister to the faithful there, but all other Lebanese are banned. Rai insisted that the trip will be strictly religious and has no political significance. "It is a religious visit and in no way a political one."Rai's deputy Boulos Sayyah, who will accompany him, said the patriarch would not participate in any political meetings in Israel but will meet with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

Jumblatt: legalize cannabis in Lebanon
Staff writer, Al Arabiya News/Thursday, 1 May 2014/Lebanon should legalize cannabis for medical purposes and through the plant’s cultivation develop the eastern Bekaa Valley, said MP Walid Jumblatt, the country’s leading Druze politician. “I support growing cannabis for medical use and I am with legalizing it in order to develop the Western Bekaa, the traditional place where cannabis was grown,” Jumblatt told al-Jadeed TV on Thursday. He said the government under the late Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri had tried a crop substitution program in the Bekaa Valley but that the plan had failed.
Failed growth Alternative crops the state tried to introduce included the growth of saffron, he said, but “we failed at growing these alternatives.”“This [failure] led to a great number of people form the Bekaa [Valley] moving to the southern suburbs of Beirut for work because they had lost a means of sustaining themselves,” he said. “It could have been regulated and legalized for medical purposes instead just like in Turkey opium is taken advantage of for morphine,” he said. “I am with legalizing it for medical purposes or personal use if it does not lead to addiction and for economic reasons,” Jumblatt said.
Under international pressure, the Lebanese state has since the 1990’s tried to eradicate the cultivation of cannabis, once a thriving multi-billion dollar business.
Farmers of the illegal crop have actively defended against substitution programs and eradication drives.

Saudi envoy returns, says no travel ban on Lebanon
May 02, 2014/The Daily Star /BEIRUT: Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awad Assiri said Friday he returned to the country after Lebanese officials reassured him that the security situation was improving, adding that there was no travel ban for Lebanon. “I have received affirmation from top officials in the Lebanese government that the security plan was being executed to impose security and stability in Lebanon,” Assiri told the National News Agency. “They told me that the security situation in Lebanon was reassuring,” he added. Assiri returned to Lebanon and resumed his diplomatic duties after a months-long absence for security reasons. Riyadh renewed its travel advisory for Lebanon earlier this year in light of the spate of suicide bombings in the country, urging citizens to refrain from traveling to Lebanon. Lebanon has repeatedly urged Gulf countries including Riyadh to lift the ban, particularly after the government commissioned a Lebanese Army-led security plan to restore law and order in the country. The plan went into effect on April 1 in order to curb the phenomenon of suicide attacks, stop the infiltration of gunmen into Lebanon and end intermittent clashes in the northern city of Tripoli.
Assiri expressed hope that security in Lebanon would improve, saying there was no travel ban on Lebanon. “We have hope and confidence that the security situation in Lebanon will become better with each day and certainly the security plan will demonstrate the government’s ability to strengthen security and stability,” he said. “There is no ban on Saudis traveling to Lebanon but the custodian of the two mosques is keen to keep the citizens of his country safe so we issued the warning after the circumstances Lebanon [appeared to worsen] and we hope it doesn't happen again,” the envoy who left the country in mid-2013 said. Asked whether Gulf citizens would visit Lebanon this summer, Assiri said: “I assure you that such a return depends on the success of the security plan and its efficiency.” Upon his arrival, Assiri contacted President Michel Sleiman, Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Tammam Salam and Foreign Affairs Minister Gebran Bassil. He also phoned a number of political figures, the NNA said. Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea contacted Assiri and welcomed the envoy's return to the country.


Jumblatt 'not against' Geagea, Aoun nominations
May 02, 2014/The Daily Star /BEIRUT: Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt said that he does not oppose the nomination of Samir Geagea or Michel Aoun for the presidency, but stressed that consensus is the only solution to Lebanon’s electoral stalemate. “I did not object to the nomination of [Lebanese Forces leader] Samir Geagea or [Free Patriotic Movement head] Michel Aoun for the presidency, but it’s better that parties don’t challenge each other,” Jumblatt told Al-Jadeed television channel in a late Thursday interview. He said he also did not reject a proposal to nominate Lebanese Army commander Gen. Jean Kahwagi. But the PSP chose MP Henry Helou as a consensus candidate, Jumblatt said, because Kahwagi’s nomination requires a constitutional amendment. “Lebanon can only live on consensus and agreement,” Jumblatt stressed. Lebanon has failed to elect a new president in two rounds of voting. Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri set May 7 as the third round of polls. OOn a separate issue, Jumblatt said he supported the cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes. Never in my life have I smoked marijuana, but I support growing cannabis for medical use and to improve the living conditions of farmers in north Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley,” he said. Jumblatt argued that crop substitution programs have all failed and forced farmers in north Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley to leave their lands and head to Beirut to make a better living.“Let’s legalize cannabis and regulate its cultivation.”

Sunni militant group claims 'capture' of 3 Hezbollah members
May 02, 2014/The Daily Star /BEIRUT: The shadowy Sunni group Liwaa Ahrar al-Sunna said Friday it had "captured" three Hezbollah members near Baalbek.“We managed tocapture three Hezbollah members on the outskirts of Baalbek overnight,” the Sunni militant group said on its Twitter feed. Liwaa Ahrar al-Sunna has claimed responsibility for several previous attacks targeting Shiite areas where Hezbollah enjoys wide support.

U.N. chief has no direct contact with Assad

By Staff writer | Al Arabiya News/Friday, 2 May 2014/The U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says he has given up on a direct communication with Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad because the latter “was not keeping his promises.”In an interview with Talal al-Haj, Al Arabiya News Channel’s New York/ U.N. bureau chief, Ban explained that he started using his special representative to communicate with the Syrian government. “I had been speaking with him many times at the beginning of this crisis… when he was not keeping his promises, and I had been thinking that it would not be useful for me, and there was no such need, I’ve been basically using my joint special representative,” he said on Al Arabiya News Channel’s program Diplomatic Avenue. Discussing the future of Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations’ envoy for Syria, Ban confirmed that Brahimi, despite expressing concerns about the Syrian situation, will continue to perform his duties. “I have a full confidence and trust in Lakhdar Brahimi, he has much experienced and he is respected by the actors in the region, therefore he has been working very hard. So, it is not proper to discuss about his future, he will continue to work as a special joint representative,” Ban said. Syria is now well into the third year of a violent and bloody civil war which has killed hundreds of thousands, and forced millions to flee their homes. Meanwhile, Assad announced last Monday that he will seek re-election for another term as president, amid the violence and as the war goes on. The announcement provoked angry responses and condemnation from his foes and members of the international community including Ban and Brahimi. Ban recited the pair’s concerns about elections set to take place on June 3, saying “as I said and as he [Brahimi] said, this election is not compatible with the letters and spirit of the Geneva Communique,” he said, repeating that it “will be a serious setback” to the Syria peace talks. The Geneva Communique contains steps and measures aimed at seeking peace in Syria. Finally, the chief spoke about the program to demolish Syria’s chemical weapons. The country has already missed an April 27 deadline to completely rid itself of the weapons, and a new deadline was set for June 30. Statements released earlier this week conclude that Syria has gotten rid of 88 percent of its chemical armaments. “The operation of a joint mission will continue to do all what they can to meet the target by the date of June 30,” Ban said.

Two killed after Cairo, Sinai blasts

By Staff writer | Al Arabiya News/Friday, 2 May 2014/An Egyptian policeman and soldier were killed on Friday in two separate incidents that took place in Cairo and in the country’s restive Sinai Peninsula. The policeman was killed, and at least one other was injured, in a bomb attack in Cairo’s Heliopolis district, Reuters reported security sources as saying on Friday. The attack came hours after a suicide bomber killed himself and a soldier at a security checkpoint in south Sinai, and a second bomb attack in the same area wounded at least three. Officials say the attacks happened early on Friday in the region of el-Tor, the Associated Press reported. In the Sinai attack, the bomber targeted an army checkpoint. One soldier died and five were wounded in the explosion. The second bomber in Sinai stepped out on a road and blew himself up in front of a bus. Four passengers were wounded in that explosion. The officials say body parts of the bombers littered the sites of the attacks. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media. After the toppling of Islamist President Mohammad Mursi in July last year, Egypt has witnessed social unrest and risks to its security, including blasts in the heart of its capital, Cairo. Also, since the 2011 ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, militants have regularly targeted pipelines in the peninsula, repeatedly forcing a halt in gas supplies to Israel and Jordan. [With Reuters and Associated Press]

NGO: deal for Syria rebels to withdraw from Homs bastion

AFP, Beirut /Friday, 2 May 2014/Syria’s government and rebels have reached a deal under which opposition fighters holed up in besieged parts of Homs city will withdraw during a ceasefire, an NGO said on Friday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a truce was already in place in the Old City and other rebel-held areas under government siege, and that around 1,000 fighters were expected to withdraw. “A truce began on Friday in the Old City of Homs and surrounding areas, where there has been fierce fighting between the regime and rebels, with the goal of applying a deal reached between the sides,” the Britain-based monitor said. “The deal stipulates a ceasefire and the withdrawal of the rebels in the Old City, which has been under siege for two years, to the north of Homs province,” the group added. “As a result of the deal, the army will retake control of these areas,” it said. The deal was confirmed by an activist on the ground in Homs, which was once known as the “capital of the revolution” because of the strength of anti-government protests there. “There is a truce agreement with safe exit for the rebels,” Thaer al-Khalidiyeh told AFP over the Internet. “The withdrawal has not begun yet and under the agreement those leaving will be able to keep their weapons,” he said. The agreement comes after government forces began an assault against the few remaining rebel-held areas in the city last month. Regime troops have laid siege to the Old City and a few surrounding areas for nearly two years, with nearly 3,000 people trapped under the blockade as food and medical supplies dwindled.
In February, a U.N.-Red Crescent operation evacuated around half of those trapped by the siege, and several hundred more have left since then, with around 1,000 fighters still in the rebel-held areas.
If the accord holds and the fighters withdraw, only the neighborhood of Al-Waer, where many of those fleeing besieged areas of Homs took refuge, will remain under rebel control.

In Iraq and Syria, a resurgence of foreign suicide bombers

Reuters, Washington/Friday, 2 May 2014
Shortly before Abdul Waheed Majeed, a 41-year-old British truck driver, blew himself up in an attack on a Syrian prison, he brushed aside a question in Arabic. "I'm sorry, I can't speak it," he said in a video. "My tongue bro'... it's got like a knot in it." That suicide-bomb attack on Feb. 6 by the Pakistani-born Majeed, appeared to be part of a resurgence of such attacks that represented a disturbing shift in tactics among radical jihadists in the sectarian killing grounds of Syria and Iraq. Many of them have been carried out by foreigners drawn to the conflicts from across the region and from Europe, U.S. and European security and intelligence officials say. Will McCants, an expert at the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington, said given the rapid increase of foreign fighters in Syria "if the war drags on, the number of fighters will far eclipse those we saw in Afghanistan." The security officials estimated that several thousand foreign nationals are active in the two countries.
Most are with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), an ultra-conservative militant group reconstituted from an earlier incarnation of al-Qaeda and is active in Syria and Iraq and with Jabhat al Nusrah, an al-Qaeda affiliate which is one of the most powerful rebel forces in Syria. In the last year the rate of suicide bomb attacks in Iraq has risen sharply, back to levels not seen since 2007, U.S. officials said. The officials said they did not have precise data on the number of foreign fighters involved in the violence. But in March and April alone, at least 14 Tunisians fighting with ISIL blew themselves up at various locations in Iraq, according to postings on social media sites affiliated with ISIL, which U.S. and European authorities monitor. That is about half of the total number of foreign suicide bombers identified with ISIL on social media who blew themselves up during the two-month period, said Laith Alkhouri, a senior analyst with Flashpoint Partners, a group which monitors militant social media postings.
Other suicide bombers in Iraq in March and April included fighters from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, one of the group's most lethal wings based mostly in Yemen.
Alkhouri said many of them appeared to be Saudis, Libyans, Egyptians, Moroccans and Jordanians. A Danish citizen and a Tadjik were also reported by the group to have blown themselves up.
Resurgence of suicide bombs
During the 2006-2007 civil war in Iraq, when the use of suicide bombings were rampant, foreigners made up the largest proportion of the militants carrying them out. After the U.S. "surge" in 2007, when it rapidly built up its forces, the number of attacks dropped as sectarian violence as a whole waned. Militant attacks are now increasing sharply again in Iraq as the powerful ISIL seeks to impose strict sharia law in the Sunni majority populated regions of the country. In Syria, the conflict took on a regional dimension and attracted foreign fighters soon after it began with an outbreak of a mostly Sunni popular uprising in 2011 against President Bashar al-Assad. Iran, the main Shi'ite power, and Saudi Arabia, its Sunni rival wedded to the Wahhabi puritanism that inspires jihadists, used Syria as the front line in their Shi'ite-Sunni war for supremacy in the Arab world. Foreign Sunni fighters have converged on Syria to fight alongside Sunni rebel forces, while Sh'ites from Iraq and Lebanon have joined Assad's forces. Foreign fighters are coming from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, Kuwait, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Bosnia, other Arab states, Chechnya, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Western countries, according to several U.S. and European security officials. With Assad using his full firepower against rebels who lack sophisticated arms, the military balance tipped against the rebels last year, driving foreign fighters to carry out suicide attacks to make up for losses on the battleground.
English-speaking jihadists
English-speakers play a prominent role among foreign fighters. British security sources estimate that at least 400 British nationals have moved in and out of the Syrian conflict, with as many as 250 Britons on the battlefield at any one time. The video of the British suicide bomber shows what appears to be a truck elaborately rigged as a suicide bomb. Standing nearby is a person who investigators identified as Majeed posing and talking with what appear to be fellow militant fighters. While the video does not show him driving the truck into the prison, investigators say they believe he was the driver and that the video is authentic.Perhaps fewer than a hundred Canadians and Americans have also joined Syria-based militant groups, say U.S. intelligence officials. They estimate the number of Americans who have joined the conflict in the "dozens". In an April 23 report, the Dutch AIVD intelligence service said it was aware of two Dutch nationals who became suicide bombers in the last year while fighting with militants. One blew himself up in Syria and the other in Iraq, said a European security official briefed on the matter. Another European official said that at least one or two German nationals were believed to have been involved in recent suicide attacks.

Three decades of ‘strategic resistance’ between Iran and Syria

Friday, 2 May 2014/Dr. Majid Rafizadeh/Al Arabiya
The Syrian government has announced that it will hold a presidential election on June 3, and as President Bashar al-Assad declared this week, he has registered to run in the election. Iran has made public its full support for Syria’s June presidential election. According to Press TV, Iranian state-owned media, Ali Akbar Velayati stated during his meeting with the Syrian Ambassador in Iran Adnan Mahmoud, “those who oppose holding the presidential election in Syria are the parties that support terrorism in the country.” In addition, from the perspective of Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Assad does not face a serious threat of being overthrown. Nasrallah called for the reelection of Assad. For the head of Assad’s main Lebanese Shiite ally, this presidential election is primarily aimed at enhancing the outward and perceived legitimacy of the Syrian government. As the conflict in Syria continues, Hezbollah’s military, economic, and geopolitical relationship with Iran’s Quds forces is tightening
The Syrian presidential election will be held in the midst of a raging civil war. For first time since 2000, when Bashar al-Assad took power from his father Hafez al-Assad, an opponent will run against him. It is a forgone conclusion that Assad will score a victory in this election.
Hezbollah’s escalating dependence on Iran supreme leader’s interests: ideological or strategic partnership?
An intriguing shift in Hezbollah’s policies comes from its allegiance to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
As the conflict in Syria continues, Hezbollah’s military, economic, and geopolitical relationship with Iran’s Quds forces (a special forces of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards that deals with extraterritorial affairs) and Iran’s supreme leader is tightening. Consequently, Hezbollah’s dependence on these Iranian establishments is heightening. It is crucial to note that while Hezbollah enjoyed some amount of political independence, and carried out some policies in Lebanon or in the region in its own interests without the need for Ayatollah Khamenei’s blessings, it’s military and political policies have become to a great extent subject to Iran’s interest. For Iranian leaders, the Syrian war is a threat to Tehran’s national security. Hezbollah’s plan and some of the most significant strategies used, work against the interests of Lebanon and Hezbollah’s popularity among the Lebanese. These policies and Hezbollah’s assistance to Assad— such as military training, providing fighters on the ground, and professional snipers— primarily serve the interests of the Islamic Republic and its regional hegemonic ambitions rather than the interests of Lebanon. There are several fundamental factors behind this devotion to serve Iran’s interest. One of the misconceptions among scholars, politicians, and policy analysts, is that the alliance between Hezbollah and Iran is a solely strategic partnership. Even the United States and its intelligence apparatuses have frequently characterized the relationship between Iran and Hezbollah as strategic. This view fails to take into account the nexus and other crucial facets specifically between Hezbollah and Khamenei. Equally important to strategic partnership is Hezbollah’s view of Iran’s supreme leader and its common ideological underpinnings with the Islamic Republic.
Hezbollah’s ideological commitment to Iran’s Supreme Leader is also significantly due to its Shiite belief in Vilayat-e-faqih, guardianship or providence of the Islamic Jurist. As a result, not only does Iran’s Supreme Leader bear a divine power over its own people, but he is also ideologically viewed by Hezbollah as their sole leader.
Therefore, Lebanon’s and Hezbollah’s interests, and the identity of Hezbollah as a powerful Lebanese social and political grassroots movement, becomes secondary to Iran’s interests when Iran’s supreme leader realizes that his political, economic, and strategic interests are under threat.
The increasing involvement of Hezbollah in the Syrian conflict, and its role in escalating the sectarian language of the war, cannot be interpreted in any sense as beneficial to the interest of Lebanon.
Involvement in the Syrian war ought to not only be analyzed as a strategic partnership between Iran and Hezbollah, but also as an ideological, sacred and divine one.
The resistance and resilience bloc: Hezbollah, Iran and Syria
From the view of Iranian and Hezbollah authorities, the underlying issue is not solely restricted to keeping a specific individual in power. Although they have been the staunchest allies of Assad considering military, political, advisory, intelligence and economic landscapes (and despite the fact that they have robustly defended his run for the Syrian presidential election), the fundamental reasons are not so evident.
One of the most powerful and extensive alliances in the Middle East, which is also known as the resistance and resilience bloc between Hezbollah, Iran, and Syria is a result of almost three decades of strategic, geopolitical, and economic investment orchestrated and guided primarily by the Islamic Republic (and to be more specific by Iran’s supreme leader, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Quds forces, and its intelligence ministry, Etela’at).
Any kind of military, political, advisory, and economic involvement in Syria, as well as any Hezbollah or Iranian backing of Assad is aimed at retaining this extensive and lengthy strategic investment. Maintaining this robust resistance and resilience bloc exceeds the interests of a single player.
This illustrates the notion as to why Iranian leaders have declared that the war and conflict in Syria is a threat to their own national security. A significant amount of political debate in the Islamic Republic and its media coverage is also centered on the Syrian conflict.
When Iran views a regional phenomenon as a threat to its national security, Hezbollah will be obliged to take any possible action in order to serve Iran’s, its supreme leader’s and its Revolutionary Guard’s interests, though this might run against Lebanon’s interests. Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards, which operate directly under his command and perceive themselves as the leading Shiite and revolutionary power, currently posses the paramount and leading word when it comes to retaining this resistance and resilience bloc.

Bloodshed and despair as the world strives for Western-style democracy

Friday, 2 May 2014/By: Raed Omari/Al Arabiya
With this article intended to be on the present distressing condition of the world, I was entirely preoccupied with Francis Fukuyama’s notion on “The End of History.” It might be due to my belief that the conclusion would be someway different if the renowned political economist was to write his well-received book now. Perhaps.  In his 1989 widely-read essay “The End of History,” which was expanded into a book titled “The End of History and the Last Man” in 1992 and then to an established theory in political and socioeconomic science, Fukuyama assumes that the initiation of Western liberal democracy may signal the endpoint of humanity's sociocultural evolution and the final form of human government. Of course terms such as capitalism, U.S.-led West and also globalism incorporate into Fukuyama’s account on history although not that explicitly put. In ‘The End of History,” Fukuyama writes: “What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.”
Fukuyama’s rationale
The idea of the book is not so simple that it can be discussed in an article mainly due to space limitations and editors’ tough stance on brevity. However, the gist of the book lies primarily in the assumption that the makings of nations’ distinctive histories are no longer in place with the massive prevalence of the Western liberal doctrines over the world’s cultures. For Fukuyama, the human history might no longer be a combination of varied cultures, ideas and thoughts as all is shaped in borrowed and imposed Western liberal terms. In other words, a nation’s distinctiveness is no way to preserve with the immense influence of the Western liberalism on the entire world. Much of the world’s human history nowadays is to be depicted with words such as war, instability, insecurity, dictatorship, poverty and even famine
Fukuyama’s rationale is so correct and in fact indisputable, taking into consideration the fact that international politics has been long theorized, dogmatized and utilized according to the Western style. As just an example, any democratic election has to be through the Western-invented ballot box in order to be accredited, hailed and well-received. Though Fukuyama’s theory has to do much with the notions of the alluring vs. repellent and the oppressed vs. oppressor, much of the world’s woes now are caused by the absence of a leading international power and unifying political system.
Western liberal democracy
Inasmuch as the prevalence of the U.S.-led West style has led to the alluring Western liberal democracy being the final form of human government, as put by Fukuyama, much of the world’s woes nowadays have to do with America’s decaying prominence and influence and its withdrawal from the international arena. This rationale assumes that the U.S.-led international community is a synonym for America-led West. The Russians and the Chinese have embraced and incorporated much of the Western liberal democracy into their government systems. Much of the world’s human history nowadays is to be depicted with words such as war, instability, insecurity, dictatorship, poverty and even famine. The U.S.-led West is unable to solve crises of many countries that have embraced or are trying to embrace Western-style democracy, with America deliberately abandoning many peoples around the globe who are so much attached to its soft power and its alluring style. Whether by force or due to its alluring soft power, the U.S. has been internationally accredited as the leader of the world. However, the world’s unrivaled power has been unable to resolve crises in Syria, Palestine, Ukraine, Libya, Iraq, Iran, North Korea and elsewhere. Can it be real that the U.S. is unable to end the ongoing war in Syria although it has claimed the lives of more than 150,000 people so far? America is not doing what it should do to help the Westernized-Syrian opposition in their war against the Syrian regime who rules and acts in total opposite of the Western style of democracy.
Unable to find a solution
The U.S. has been unable to find a solution to the decades-long Palestinian-Israeli conflict despite the fact that the Palestinians’ envisioned goal is an independent state ruled on the basis of the Western liberal democracy. The U.S. is watching the almost daily public hanging of Iranians, not criminals, but mostly politicians, activists and liberal opponents without doing anything except for the same rhetoric condemnation. The U.S.-led West is not helping the North Koreans get rid of the totalitarian dictators although they have been boldly defying America in total disregard of Washington’s international status and image as the world’s unchallenged power. In countries like Libya and Iraq, where the Western liberal democracy is imposed to prevail even through military intervention, the U.S. has abandoned these countries to live again in instability as it is the case in Libya or resurrect dictatorship as it is in Iraq. One would argue against such a rationale, saying that interests are America’s first and foremost concern but leading the world has a moral responsibility anyway. Not only that, the U.S. has allowed the introduction of other rivaling powers, thus leaving the international arena and history subject to fierce competition in which no human responsibility is bore. To sum it up echoing Fukuyama’s theory, the U.S.-led West and its accompanying liberal democracy is no longer an international unifying element with its weakness being the direct cause of the world’s nowadays woes, manifested in wars, instability and insecurity. In many parts of the world, peoples’ aspiration and fight for the Western style of democracy, as opposed to the totalitarian rules they suffer from, has brought them chaos and insecurity as they are abandoned by the U.S.-led West. Their histories are thus to be depicted with bloodshed, hostility and despair all due to their longing for the alluring Western democracy.

Shelly Dadon was murdered by the veteran Israeli-Arab terrorist group “Galilee Liberators”

DEBKAfile Special Report May 2, 2014/Shelly Dadon, 20, from Afulah, was murdered Thursday, May 1, in a deserted wood near the Migdal Haemek industrial zone in northern Israel, by a gang of Israeli Arabs belonging to an terrorist organization called “The Galilee Liberators.” She died after multiple stab wounds were inflicted savagely on her upper torso. The killers planted clues at the scene that broadcasted their affiliation. However the local police spoke of “various lines of inquiry’ – a regular cliché they use to play down Palestinian terrorist action. At this time of year, the police prefer to avoid aggravating Arab-Jewish tensions before Israel’s national Day of Remembrance Day for the Fallen and 66th Day of Independence early next week
Shelly Dadon was on her way to a job interview in Migdal Ha’Emek. Her murderers may have shadowed her from her home in Afula to her destination, or possibly, grabbed her when she arrived. They would have been familiar with the location. In November 2009, a gang of three Israeli Arabs belonging to the same “Galilee Liberators” organization murdered Yofim Weinstein, a taxi driver from Nazareth Ilit, leaving behind similar leads to their group’s complicity.
Their organization was formed by Arabs living in northern Israel in 2002, when the Palestinian suicide bombings on Israeli towns of the Second Intifada were at their peak. In the subsequent 12 years, the Galilee Liberators developed ties with Palestinian terrorist organizations such as the extremist Popular Front, the PFLP-General Command, Hamas and Al Aqsa Brigades. Parts are allied with the Lebanese Hizballah and others with al Qaeda.
The organization has no known command hierarchy. It appears to operate through autonomous cells scattered among the northern Arab population from Acre to Safed and Nazareth. Their collaboration is limited to providing such services as hiding used weapons of assault or providing killers with hideouts.
Their preferred mode of operation is to waylay individual Israelis in quiet spots and kill them by brutal means. This is what happened to the IDF soldier Oleg Shaychat from Nazareth Ilit. Mohammed Anbatawi and Mohammed Hatib from Kafr Kana, members of the Galilee Liberators organization, kidnapped him from the Beit Rimon intersection on July 21, 2003, killed him and abandoned his body in a nearby olive orchard, after a last death blow.
Another girl, Dana Bennett, was his next victim. She like Shelly Dadon was apparently singled out and tailed to a lonely spot before she was murdered on Aug. 1, 2003.
Police spent years searching for her body. At length, in January 2005, the “Galilee Liberators” contacted the French News Agency AFP with an offer to reveal its whereabouts for the price of 1,000 Palestinian terrorists to be released from Israeli jails. Dana was finally found and laid to rest without this deal.
Then, five years ago, on Aug. 12, 2008, Ahmed Mahmoud Khatib from Kafr Manda, snatched the automatic sidearm of an Israeli security guard in the Old City of Jerusalem, opened fire and injured 10 passersby before he was caught.
debkafile’s counterterrorism sources report that this band of Galilee terrorists has over the years committed a number of attacks that were not brought to the notice of the public, such as ambushes of police vans, breaking into IDF bases to vandalize equipment and steal arms, tracking IDF movements in the North and passing information on to allied terrorist organizations on the West Bank and Lebanon.