LCCC ENGLISH DAILY NEWS BULLETIN
Bible Quotation for today/Feed my sheep, Tend my sheep.
John 21,15-19/: "When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep. Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.’ (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, ‘Follow me.’"
Pope Francis's Tweet For Today
The month of May, dedicated to Mary, is a fitting time to begin to recite the rosary daily.
Le mois de Mai, dédié à Marie, est un temps opportun pour commencer à réciter le Rosaire chaque jour.
Latest analysis, editorials, studies, reports, letters & Releases from miscellaneous sources For May 18/14
What’s behind Egypt’s stance on the Syrian war/By: Eyad Abu Shakra/Asharq Alawsat/May 18/14
Egypt’s Presidential Hotseat/By: Mshari Al-Zaydi/Asharq Alawsat/May 18/14
Latest News Reports From Miscellaneous Sources For May 18/14
Lebanese Related News
Hundreds in Brih to solidify
May 17, 2014 /By Justin Salhani /The Daily Star
BRIH, Lebanon: Hundreds gathered in the Chouf village of Brih Saturday to solidify the reconciliation between Christians and Druze under the patronage of President Michel Sleiman, in a celebration that also acted as a farewell gathering to the head of state, whose terms expires May 25. As soon as Sleiman arrived at the village celebrations erupted, with women throwing rice at the convoy and entertainers playing traditional music to welcome the president. Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai also attended the event among a Christian delegation of bishops and priests, who joined other officials, Druze sheikhs and residents under a large tent in the village. Head of the Progressive Socialist Party MP Walid Jumblatt received officials and was seated next to Sleiman and Rai. The reconciliation plan seeks to bring back the Christians of Brih, who were displaced during the Civil War years when militias of the predominantly Druze Progressive Socialist Party and the Lebanese Forces in Chouf engaged in fierce clashes in 1983. Brih was originally inhabited by both Christians and Druze. The reconciliation efforts were given momentum following an historic 2001 visit by former Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Butros Sfeir to the mountainous region. Sleiman has been adamant to finalize the work of the understanding during his term, with the help of Rai, who has also played a pivotal role in eliminating obstacles that could have hindered efforts. Rai, Sleiman and Jumblatt also laid the foundation of two churches, to further encourage Christians to return to their original homes.
Druze residents told The Daily Star that Brih welcomed the return of the Christians to their homes and the start of a new phase of ties between residents. “We open our hearts to all Christians returning to the village,” 36-year-old Maher Ali said. A member of the organizing committee of the event, Ghassan Demashky, said Brih residents recognized very well what had happened in the past and have learned their lesson from it. “People are coming back to live in their homes and work on their lands,” he said. He also added that the committee was also preparing development projects in the village and that none of the residents enjoy "political cover." "Any violators will be punished under the law," Demashky said. The event was held in a location where a contested municipal center was dismantled last year, marking a significant step in the reconciliation efforts. The property belonged to Christians. A man in his late 20s, who preferred to remain anonymous, said his family was forced out of Brih. "I was born in Beirut ... but I came here today with my father to check on our property; my family has a big house in Brih," the man said, adding that some people who seek to return to the village might be afraid to do so.
Minister for the Displaced Alice Shabtini last week issued a decision for Druze residents to evacuate homes belonging to the Christians who were forced to leave Brih.
In her decision, Shabtini also tasked the “Central Fund for the Displaced to pay compensation owed to the occupants, and tasked the Office of Operations for the Displaced in Mount Lebanon to execute the decision in coordination with the ministry in order to hand over the houses to their rightful owners.”
“Today, we open a new page of coexistence ... and turn over yesterday's page, which represents pain and tragedy,” Jumblatt said in his opening speech.
“We begin a new path of working together, communicating, love and commitment to land," he added. Jumblatt, who thanked Sleiman for his continued efforts in reconciliation, also said that his centrist position has proven valid amid "sharp division in the country." Rai addressed Christians in Brih, reminding them of the need to forgive and reconcile. “I want to remind Christians that reconciliation is their fundamental message ... we are the ambassadors of Christ and we should also focus on a spiritual, social, national and political reconciliation, so that Lebanon remains a country of partnership and love,” the prelate said. Sleiman also delivered a speech for the occasion, urging the Lebanese to distance Lebanon from regional turmoil and commit to the Baabda Declaration, an agreement signed by rival groups to disassociate Lebanon from international and regional conflicts. "Past experiences teach us to remain far away from foreign conflicts," he said. "We stress the importance of returning to Lebanon and withdrawing from neighboring arenas," Sleiman added, referring to Hezbollah's presence in Syria.
Suleiman, Al-Rahi, Jumblat Celebrate
Christian-Druze Reconciliation in Brih
Naharnet/A celebration was held on Saturday in the Shouf region to mark Christian-Druze reconciliation in the village of Brih following a break in ties between the two sides following the 1975-90 Civil War.
President Michel Suleiman, Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi, and Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat attended the celebration along with a number of lawmakers from various parliamentary blocs. Suleiman said during his speech: “Brih was the scene of wars that were greater than them.”Today's celebration demonstrates the importance of the unified state and army, he added. “A state, whose army alone controls arms in Lebanon, is capable of defending the nation,” stressed Suleiman. This state alone will be able to lure back the displaced to their homeland, said the president.
“I renew my commitment to the Baabda Declaration that will steer Lebanon clear of regional disputes and help alleviate its tragedies,” he noted.
“I call on all involved to withdraw from regional battlefields and adopt the agreements of the national dialogue,” he demanded, while stressing the need to place Lebanese interests above others.
He also highlighted the importance of Christians in the region, congratulating Brih on achieving reconciliation.For his part, Jumblat said: “Today's celebration will put an end to the divisions of the past and restore ties between the two sides.”Addressing Suleiman, he remarked: “You have boldly guided Lebanon through various challenges in order to prevent the country from falling into chaos and vacuum.”
He hailed the president for the adoption of the Baabda Declaration, lamenting however the failure in its complete implementation given regional crises.
Commenting on his centrist role in Lebanese politics, Jumblat said: “This position helped assert the authority of the state.”
Turning to al-Rahi, the MP said that his presence in Brih complements the reconciliation sponsored in the Mountains by then Patriarch Nasrallah Butros Sfeir in 2001. “Your presence asserts the role of Christians in the region given the challenges it is passing through,” he added. To the residents of Brih, Jumblat stated: “Today marks the beginning of the march towards reconciliation, coexistence, and harmony and the commitment towards the country.”For his part, al-Rahi praised Suleiman for sponsoring the reconciliation seven days before the end of his term in office, as well as the efforts exerted by Jumblat and Minister of Displaced Alice Chabtini in achieving it. “We hope that today will mark a new page in the history of Brih,” al-Rahi added, while stressing the need to create job opportunities in the village. “We call on all Lebanese to overcome their divisions,” he demanded, while urging parliament to elect a president before Suleiman's term ends on May 25. “We are in need of a president who would be capable of achieving reconciliation throughout Lebanon by defeating the war of petty interests, which is more dangerous than armed war,” he noted. “We need a president who can continue along the path of reconciliation and dialogue,” al-Rahi declared.
“The basis of any reconciliation lies in being at peace with oneself and God,” he concluded. The ceremony also witnessed the placing of foundation stones for two churches in the village.
PSP media officer Rami Rayyes told An Nahar daily Saturday that the celebration is continuation of the “historic reconciliation that took place in al-Mokhtara under Sfeir in 2001.”
The celebration is part of efforts to eliminate the scars of the 1975-90 Civil War, he added. Later on Saturday, Jumblat threw a luncheon banquet in Suleiman's honor, ahead of which the president lauded the PSP chief for his support throughout his six years in the presidency and during his years as commander of the army. “Cooperation with Jumblat will continue because he will not allow the violation of national principles,” said Suleiman. He also stressed the importance of cooperation “with Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah in order to reach a national defense strategy for Lebanon as stipulated in the Baabda Declaration.” Meanwhile in the Shouf town of Deir al-Qamar, Suleiman took part in a celebration during which the foundation stone of the village's public hospital was laid.
Suleiman revealed during the afternoon event that Army chief General Jean Qahwaji will sign later in the day an accord in Saudi Arabia to arm the military institution with an amount of USD 3 billion.
Tackling the presidential vote, he considered in a speech he gave in Deir al-Qamar that past experiences should be taken as lesson by MPs in the last days before the deadline for electing a new president ends. “It is a lesson in order to draw an end to the parliament's extended mandate, and to hold the elections on time according to a modern law that assures representation based on what was agreed on during the May 5 dialogue session,” he explained. “We need to strengthen stability to help the new president and the successive governments to implement the Baabda Declaration, and arm the military institution to be capable of defending the country alone,” he added. “I call on you to preserve the head of the state to safeguard Lebanon. I urge you to elect a new president.' At the end of his speech, President Suleiman granted former minister Naji al-Boustani a National Order Of The Cedar medal with the Grade of Grand Officer.
Geagea Says Running against Vacuum, Ready to Open All War Files
Naharnet/Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea stated on Saturday that his presidential program was based on the party's values without changing it to please anyone, announcing also that he is ready to “open all war files.”"My nomination comes against the option of (presidential) vacuum which adopted by some factions,” Geagea said as he met with party officials in the French capital Paris.
"They are dragging Christians and the Lebanese into the unknown,” he stated. Geagea continued: "We are not like other traditional parties, the LF is a life path. Even in the presidential elections, we proposed a political program to break the tradition and to push the vote forward.” “This program is clear and did not try to please anyone, but was based on our beliefs,” he added.
"We believe in the democratic practice. The LF took the initiative to correct paths and put things in the right direction.”The presidential candidate lamented “abusing the constitution in undemocratic and unethical ways through obstructing the elections and casting blank or 'black' votes.”Geagea succeeded in the first round of votes at the parliament in gathering the support of 48 MPs, while 52 cast blank votes, 16 backed centrist MP Henri Helou, and one voted for Kataeb Party leader Amin Gemayel. Meanwhile, several lawmakers wrote the names of people killed during the Lebanese Civil War between 1975 and 1990. But quorum was not secured in the second, third and fourth rounds of votes, which prevented the election of a new head of state.In a related matter, Geagea considered that “there is a machine working relentlessly to tarnish the image of the LF.”"They keep referring to the days of the war, during which they were not innocents,” he noted.He added: “A lot of what has been said are lies and defamation. We don't deny what happened in the war, and we dare to talk about that era and what happened then.”"But they don't,” the Christian leader pointed out.
"We did not fight alone in the war, and if they wanted to open all files, let's open them all.”Geagea embarked on an Arab and European tour on Friday that will reportedly include Saudi Arabia.
MTV reported he has so far met with al-Mustaqbal bloc head MP Fouad Siniora in the French capital. "He also held talks with Arab and international officials, during which he discussed the situation in Lebanon and the regional crises' influence on it," it said. The same source noted that MP Boutros Harb has also left Lebanon for Paris.
Bassil Files Complaint to U.N. Security Council against 'Blatant' Israeli Breaches
Naharnet/Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil instructed the permanent Mission of Lebanon to the United Nations in New York to file an urgent complaint to the U.N. Security Council on Israel's “blatant” security breaches against Lebanon's sovereignty and the U.N. Security Council resolution 1701, the state-run National News Agency reported on Saturday. Israeli forces crossed on May 11 the Blue Line in the al-Labbouneh border area, uprooted trees and lifted cement blocks that belong to the Lebanese army. Bassil had also instructed the Permanent Representative in New York, Ambassador Nawaf Salam, to file two other complaints on Israeli breaches. The first took place on May 1 near the southern town of Hula where Israeli forces violated the Blue Line, and the second on May 9 when Israeli forces tried to kidnap three Lebanese citizens in an outlying area of Shebaa. An Israeli army infantry force crossed last Sunday the Blue Line in the al-Labbouneh border area and uprooted trees thus exposing a Lebanese army checkpoint. The NNA later said that the Israeli navy violated Lebanese territorial waters off Ras al-Naqoura. It said that the gunboats pushed a line of buoys 20 meters into Lebanese territorial waters.
Lebanon's southern border has continuously witnessed violations carried out by Israel. Israel routinely sends F-16 fighter planes over Lebanon, in violation of a resolution 1701 that ended the 2006 war.
Report: Aoun Vetoes Appointment of
Three Members of Military Council
Naharnet/Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun has reportedly rejected the appointment of three members of the Military Council, an article that was set to be discussed during a cabinet session on Friday, reported As Safir newspaper on Saturday. It said that his veto of the appointment of the members is part if his opposition to the extension of Army Commander General Jean Qahwaji's term.
As Safir said that Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil had informed President Michel Suleiman of the lawmaker's position during Friday's session, prompting the article to be withdrawn from discussion. He told the president that priority should be placed to appointing a replacement to Qahwaji, “whose term was initially illegally extended.”Aoun had relayed this stance to Suleiman in the past, reportedly suggesting that Qahwaji's replacement be appointed before the president's term ends on May 25, said As Safir.He had also proposed the appointment of General Shamel Roukoz, the head of the Army Commando Unit and his son-in-law, to the position, added the daily. Cabinet was expected to appoint Brigadier Generals Abdul Karim Younes, Ghassan Salem, and Salim al-Haddad to the Military Council.The current council is comprised of Qahwaji, Chief of Staff Walid Salman, and General Secretary of the Higher Defense Council Major General Mohammed Kheir. The vacancies in the Military Council have existed for over a year following the retirement of Michel Mnayyar, Nicolas Mezher, and Abdul Rahman al-Shehaitli.
Lebanese president urges Hezbollah to leave Syria
The Associated Press, Beirut/Saturday, 17 May 2014
Lebanon's President Michel Suleiman on Saturday urged Hezbollah to withdraw its forces from Syria to avoid future repercussions on the tiny Arab state that suffered through 15 years of its own civil war.
Suleiman made his comments in the mountain village of Brih during a ceremony on reconciliation between the Druze and Christian community in the area that witnessed deadly sectarian violence during Lebanon's 1975-90 civil war. "I appeal for the return to Lebanon and to withdraw from neighboring arenas to avoid future repercussions on Lebanon," said Suleiman, a critic of Hezbollah backing Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces. Hezbollah, which openly joined the battles in Syria last year, is not likely to abide by Suleiman's call. Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah has vowed to keep his fighters in Syria as long as needed to shore up Assad's struggle against Syria's rebels. The Hezbollah fighters have been instrumental to Assad's success on the battlefield, and support from the Iranian-backed group appears to have tipped the balance into the government's favor - especially in areas on the border with Lebanon and near the Syrian capital of Damascus.
Suleiman's comments came a week before his six-year term ends. Meanwhile in Syria, members of al-Qaida breakaway group called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant beheaded a local rebel commander of a rival group, activists said. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the Ahrar al-Sham commander known as Abu al-Miqdam went missing four days ago. It said the man was found beheaded Friday in the central province of Hama. Many rebels referred to Abu al-Miqdam as the "tank sniper" for his role in firing rockets at Syrian army tanks, according to opposition websites. The Islamic State and rival Islamic groups including Ahrar al-Sham have been fighting each other in northern and eastern Syria since January. Activists say the internal fighting killed more than 6,000 people. Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned a cut in water supplies in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo that he said has deprived at least 2.5 million people of access to potable water. In a statement released by his office late Friday, Ban noted that denying civilians essential supplies is a breach of international and humanitarian law.
Rebels from the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front shut down the main water pumping station in Aleppo, Syria's largest city, nearly two weeks ago to punish civilians living on the government-controlled side of the divided metropolis, the Observatory's Rami Abdurrahman said. Abdurrahman, whose group collects information from activists inside Syria, said that the Nusra Front has tried to restart the water station, but that supplies are erratic and remain largely cut. "They don't have specialists to deal with the pumps, and they've damaged the station," Abdurrahman said. "They've tried to resume pumping. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. The water comes and goes, but until now it's not flowing as usual."Some residents have resorted to drinking polluted well water distributed in buckets and plastic jerry cans.
Lebanese Army receives 1,000 U.S.
May 17, 2014/The Daily Star /BEIRUT: The Lebanese Army received 1,000 rifles from the U.S. as part of Washington’s aid for the military, the Defense Ministry announced Saturday. Attended by a delegation of Lebanese officers and a delegation from the U.S. aid office in Lebanon, the Logistics Brigades in the Lebanese Army received the rifles at the Rafik Hariri International Airport. The ministry said the shipment was part of U.S. military aid to Lebanon and in accordance with bilateral agreements signed between the two countries.
Kahwagi heads to Saudi Arabia to
finalize Army grant
May 17, 2014/The Daily Star /BEIRUT: Lebanese Army General Jean Kahwagi headed to Riyadh Saturday to finalize the Saudi grant of $3 billion in military equipment, President Michel Sleiman said.
“Kahwagi headed today to Saudi Arabia to sign the deal between the Lebanese Army, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the French Army, so that the grant can be put into effect,” Sleiman said, during a ceremony that laid the foundation of a public hospital in Deir al-Ahmar. Sleiman, whose term expires on May 25, said he would help his successor to implement the Baabda Declaration, draft the national defense strategy and arm the military. This is Kahwagi's second visit to Saudi Arabia this year following up on the grant, which will help the Army buy needed weapons, though on the condition that they are purchased exclusively from France. Sleiman has said that "political cover," provided by the International Support Group for Lebanon (ISGL), would allow the Army to benefit from the grant by acquiring heavy arms. The ISGL was created in New York last year as a side group of the United Nations General Assembly, whose goal is to support the country’s national institutions and Army, and to help Lebanon deal with the influx of Syrian refugees to the country.
Aging Lebanese politicians eye
Lebanon’s enemies by proxy have become partners by proxy. (Al Arabiya)
Mohanad Hage Ali, special to Al Arabiya News
Thursday, 15 May 2014
Lebanon has embarked on a magical phase of stability. Not long ago, the country was on the verge of a Civil War, with Sunni suicide bombers blowing themselves up in Shiite neighborhoods and a rabid political and media discourse, to say the least. There was no government in sight after former Prime Minister Najib Mikati resigned on March 22, 2013, while Syrian refugees crossed the million bar, a mere one fourth of the local population.
These problems seemed unsolvable, until the regional powers waved their Lebanese wands. Following news of an Iranian/American/Saudi deal, a coalition government between sworn enemies was declared, the bombings ceased, and stability became the word of the day. Enemies by proxy became partners by proxy.
Stability, though by a regional decree, is also timely for a rather biological reason. After a tiring conflict, a disappointing Arab Spring, and the fear of the civil war in Syria spilling over, now is the time for the aging Lebanese politicians and former warlords to “hatch.” Most of them, from various age groups, are simultaneously preparing their genetic heirs for power.
Since the end of the Lebanese Civil War in 1990, warlords under the auspices of the Syrian regime took over government institutions and split power among them and the Saudi-backed billionaire Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri. After Hariri’s assassination in 2005, and the subsequent Syrian withdrawal, the two Christian warlords, Samir Geagea and Michel Aoun, returned to politics. One became a Hezbollah ally and the other aligned himself with Hariri’s son, Saad.
Twenty five years since the Lebanese Civil War ended, the warlords are aging. Walid Jumblatt, the Druze leader and former warlord, is now 65 and has been preparing his son Taymur to gradually take over, according to a report by the Beirut Observer.
Suleiman Frangieh, 49, a northern Christian leader and an ally of Hezbollah, has already announced that his son Tony will run for his father’s parliament seat.
Michel Aoun, 81, has been prepping his son-in-law, Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil to lead his Christian Party.
Geagea, 61, has no children and assumes his role as the eternal leader of his party, the former Lebanese Forces Militia.
On the Lebanese Shiite side, Hezbollah’s shareholders in Iran prefer that their investment remains institutional, with another non-hereditary secretary-general to follow Hassan Nasrallah when the time comes. Nabih Berri, the speaker of parliament for a record-breaking 23 years and the eternal leader of the AMAL movement which is also a former militia, is 76 years old and the most secretive and cunning among his peers. Little has been said about Berri’s succession until a leaked U.S. embassy cable dismissed Abdallah, his son from a prior marriage, as a successor and hinted that his powerful wife, Randa, prefers her youngest son Bassel, now in his 20s. Years after the 2005 cable, when the suggested heir was a teenager, Bassel’s name appeared a few times in the Lebanese press, either attending meetings with his father, or leading the party’s student wing, or to deny a report claiming he had offered to buy a bank. He has enrolled in Stanford University’s $99,000-a-year MBA program.
He is expected to complete his degree later this year. The heir apparent has slipped from the news since his departure to the United States; running for the next parliamentary elections, expected to be postponed till 2015, is vital for any political role he might play.
How comfortable are these leaders, in the time of regional revolution, to pitch their heirs in one-go? Together, through corruption, sectarian fears, and their former militia networks, they dominate every aspect of Lebanese public life, from the government and religious institutions, the media, unions, to civil society.
Under the constant threat of conflict, the security dilemma of Lebanese sects in a multi-sectarian country further consolidated their positions. It is easier to operate these mini dictatorships behind this facade of conflict. Institutions, unions, and political parties are all under militia control.
The fear remains over whether these old guards will give their heirs a baptism by conflict to continue the tradition of their fathers.
Walid Jumblatt told a joint student delegation of his party and AMAL’s, led by Berri’s son Bassel, in a 2010 meeting: “I trust that as we won in the 6th of February, to Bhamdoun, Sidon and the South, we will be victorious once again.” He reminisced on a number of battles his party fought alongside AMAL in the 1980s, when his young audience was not even born. There is little doubt that the new heirs will draw on the civil war’s atrocities to garner legitimacy.
Jumblatt himself, in a frank interview in the1980s, acknowledged that he and all the other Warlords “are criminals who targeted innocents,” insisting that “to reach a just political solution in Lebanon, it is imperative to prosecute and punish everyone, otherwise, we will stay in the never-ending cycle of civil wars.”
In this phase, however, Lebanon is gearing towards more stability and peace, thanks to the regional consensus and the upcoming hatching season.
Millions deprived of water in Syria’s
Ban said 'that preventing people's access to safe water is a denial of a fundamental human right.' (Reuters)
By Staff writer | Al Arabiya News/Saturday, 17 May 2014
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Friday warned of water shortages to at least 2.5 million people in the besieged northern Syrian city of Aleppo, blaming rebels for the disruption of the service.
Ban's office said the water supplies had been cut for eight days and called for the services to be restored immediately. Al-Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda's Syrian branch, was among the rebel groups that cut the water supplies, though the Red Crescent said that some services had been restored. According to the U.N. chief’s office, Ban said “that preventing people's access to safe water is a denial of a fundamental human right.” "Deliberate targeting of civilians and depriving them of essential supplies is a clear breach of international humanitarian and human rights law," he said. The U.N. chief called on all parties to "ensure that the water supply in Aleppo -- and everywhere in Syria – is permanently restored and to refrain from targeting civilian facilities and infrastructure.”Rebel rocket fire killed 13 people in Aleppo earlier, while troops launched an offensive on rebels in Daraa province of southern Syria, state media said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported the bloodshed in Aleppo and said a large-scale army operation was under way in Daraa for control of hills held by rebels.[With AFP]
Egypt’s Presidential Hotseat
Mshari Al-Zaydi/Asharq Alawsat
Saturday, 17 May, 2014
According to a recent feature published by Egypt’s independent Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper, the president’s seat may not be as comfortable as some may think. Perhaps what Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said about the position being “hellish” is a true expression of the risks facing the forthcoming president.
According to the newspaper, ruling Egypt has its ups and downs. The report starts with Muhammad Ali Pasha, the founder of the modern state of Egypt, who was said to have gone mad at the end of his life, experiencing visions and hallucinations. He was succeeded by his son, Ibrahim Pasha, who, in turn, was succeeded by his son, Abbas I, who was assassinated by two of his slaves.
Other rulers from the Muhammad Ali dynasty include Ismai’l Pasha, known as The Magnificent, who was exiled, and King Farouk, who renounced power in July 1952, when the Free Officers Movement abolished the monarchy. Gamal Abdel Nasser perished after a short illness amid unsubstantiated claims that he was poisoned. His successor, Anwar Sadat, was assassinated during a military parade on October 6, 1981. On February 11, 2011, Hosni Mubarak resigned following a popular uprising only to be succeeded by Mohamed Mursi who, in turn, was ousted from power in July 2013.
Ruling Egypt is a risky task, particularly during this mad period of regional civil wars and security tensions. On top of that, there are millions of unemployed Egyptians living below the poverty line.—not to mention the water crisis, the porous borders with Libya and the Gaza Strip, and territorial disputes with Sudan.
The Egyptian government has estimated that, as of the first quarter of 2014, 13.4 percent of Egyptians were unemployed; 70 percent of those were between 15 and 29 years old. According to the Central Bank of Egypt, the country’s foreign debt has risen by 25.7 per cent, reaching 43.2 billion US dollars.
Egypt also faces security challenges, whether from the Muslim Brotherhood “gangs” who claim the right to hold power or the terrorist groups in the Sinai Peninsula—not to mention the Left-wing youth groups some say are seeking to disrupt attempts to build a legitimate state.
Egypt has paid a high price politically, economically and in terms of security. This is because Egypt is an important Arab state with a unique role in the region. If Egypt does not recover, it is unlikely that the Arab world will ever recover.
The forthcoming presidential elections in Egypt will mark a significant moment in history. If the next president—who will surely be Sisi, unless his rival, Hamdeen Sabahy, pulls off a miracle—manages to get Egypt out of the dark tunnel, he will win the hearts of all Egyptians and Arabs.
What’s behind Egypt’s stance on the
Saturday, 17 May 2014
By: Eyad Abu Shakra/Asharq Alawsat
The recent negative attitude of some Egyptian media outlets, as well as Egyptian Arabists and Leftists, towards the Syrian opposition is truly surprising and has verged on blatant animosity.
The absurdity of this is obvious with some analysis, despite the fact that slogans calling for change in Egypt and Tunisia were the spark that triggered the Syrian revolution. The events in Egypt in January 2011 directly inspired the uprising in Deraa in mid-March 2011.
As we all know, internal Egyptian discontent prompted the transformation that took place in Egypt on Jan. 25, 2011. It was an expression of domestic opposition to a regime unconcerned with the needs of the people and neglectful of their individual and social freedoms. In other words, those who sparked the change in Egypt were not seeking the liberation of Palestine or the unification of the Arab or Muslim worlds. Today, a large proportion of Egyptians believe that Islamist groups—which benefitted most from the change—have taken advantage of the popular uprising. Islamists rode the wave of change, adopting populist slogans while hiding their real motives, which the majority of the Egyptian public did not and still do not share.
Egypt’s armed forces took the wise decision to refuse to confront its own people. By avoiding a bloody confrontation, the military establishment spared Egypt a civil war, and their clear position convinced then-president Hosni Mubarak that he had to resign. Later on, when the newly elected Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohammad Mursi, seemed to be trying to consolidate his own power, he lost so much popular support the people sought an end to his rule as well. Trusted by many as “protector of the nation,” the military establishment stepped in and ousted Mursi in the summer of 2013.
Syria had a similar story
In Syria, the initial popular aspirations were quite similar to those in Egypt. They were first and foremost “Syrian” in character. The Syrian uprising was and remained for at least 10 months entirely peaceful. It was the Syrian regime that chose to confront its own people with a violent crackdown, exploiting the guaranteed allegiances it had cultivated in the ranks of the army. As the regime intensified its crackdown and began waging a full-scale war on its people, it showed it had no qualms about killing civilians and destroying their cities and villages.
“Egyptian animosity towards the Syrian uprising is largely based on the false conviction that there were common interests between post-Brotherhood Egypt and anti-Islamist Syria under Bashar al-Assad”
The parochial, sectarian allegiances within the military–security establishment exposed the real role the regime had long assigned to it. The Syrian Army was never meant to defend the nation or liberate the occupied Golan Heights, and the main function of the security services was to protect an oppressive, sectarian police state and cater to its greedy ambitions.
Another marked difference between the ruling regimes and their military and security establishments in Syria and Egypt lies in their respective political discourses. The ruling elites in Egypt adopted “Egyptian” slogans, rather than socialist pan-Arabist ones.
In Syria, the opposite happened, because since its inception the state has embraced a pan-Arabist, anti-Israel discourse with socialist overtones. Recent events, however, have brazenly exposed the falsehood of this discourse. They have revealed the true nature of the Damascus regime, a sectarian junta subservient to Iran, and whose very formation and practices are dedicated to the service of the interests of a parasitic family that has monopolized power in Syria for decades.
Where are we heading now? And why is the Egyptian attitude towards the Syrian uprising so negative?
To begin with, we must acknowledge that, unfortunately, this negative attitude is not limited to irresponsible media outlets. It is also evidently held by some senior political figures, who are supposed to be sympathetic to oppressed Syrians and keen on Arab brotherhood.
More significantly, the Egyptian animosity towards the Syrian uprising is largely based on the false conviction that there were common interests between post-Brotherhood Egypt and anti-Islamist Syria under Bashar al-Assad. Some have even taken their enmity so far as to gloat over the plight of Homs and praise Assad’s gains in his war against the opposition.
There are some who justify their support of Assad and Iran on the pretext that the two regimes are fighting against the Brotherhood, and they tend to think of the Syrian uprising as an Islamist fundamentalist one. But they seem to forget the following facts:
First, during his short time in power President Mursi strongly supported Iran’s active participation in the resolution of the Syrian crisis. He was the one who suggested that Iran should join Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia to form a four-way commission to handle the Syrian crisis—without first seeking the opinion of either Turkey or the Kingdom.
Second, Mursi, who was keen to overturn Mubarak’s anti-Iran policies, continued to be enthusiastic about rapprochement with Iran even after its direct strategic support for Damascus was exposed.
Third, Iran has been a direct sponsor of extremist Islamist organizations, such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Islamic Jihad and some factions within Hamas—not to mention certain other Islamist groups currently fighting the Egyptian government.
Fourth, the suspicious relationship between Iran and the Syrian regime on the one hand and ultra-fundamentalist groups such as ISIS on the other is no secret. The Syrian government warplanes busy shelling Syrian cities with barrel bombs have never targeted these groups’ strongholds, particularly in Raqqa, Hassakah and Deir Ezzor.
Fifth, before the Syrian uprising started, the Iraqi government accused the Syrian regime of facilitating the access of Al-Qaeda fighters into its territories.
Sixth, Iraqi Minister of Justice Hassan al-Shammari said in a recent interview that the security forces overseeing Abu Ghraib prison facilitated the escape of Islamist inmates in a bid to beef up Al-Qaeda’s presence in Syria, in an attempt to intimidate the United States and convince Washington that any other future rulers of Syria could even worse than the Assad regime.
These are simple facts known among Egyptians, who now judge the situation in Syria from a vengeful and parochial perspective.
The disastrous consequences of the current conspiracy, if it were successful, would not be limited to Syria alone.
***This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on May 15, 2014.
*Eyad Abu Shakra (also written as Ayad Abou-Chakra) began his media career in 1973 with Annahar newspaper in Lebanon. He joined Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper in the UK in 1979, occupying several positions including: Senior Editor, Managing Editor, and Head of Research Unit, as well as being a regular columnist. He has several published works, including books, chapters in edited books, and specialized articles, in addition to frequent regular TV and radio appearances.
With Peres on his tail, Netanyahu
seeks a solid ally to back for the presidency
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis May 17, 2014/Israel’s presidency is designed as a respected, mostly ceremonial, position transcending the nitty-gritty of politicking, with policy-making the sole province of the executive branch, the government and its head. And that is how it was conducted until Shimon Peres entered the Presidential Residence in Jerusalem.
As his seven-year term draws to a close, the 91-year old former veteran of Israeli politics is discovered to have been running an indepenent policy in the frequent meetings he initiated with foreign leaders at home and on his travels. That policy conflicted in critical aspects with the course set by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Friday, May 16, Peres played host to visiting US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. He informed his visitor, the embodiment of US military strength, that America was not cut out to be the world’s policeman but rather the instigator of world peace.
He did not mention Iran, but his purpose was to deliberately contradict the spirit of the message Secretary Hagel had just heard from Netanyahu, which was that the US must act to stop the ayatollahs from prevailing in the nuclear controversy and continuing to cheat the world.
In this contest with Peres, Netanyahu was at a disadvantage, because his words fell on deaf ears. It is no secret that President Barack Obama will never attack Iran’s nuclear program, a position Peres backed to the hilt, leaving Netanyahu with empty words and low credibility, after years of holding back on Israel’s avowed military option for preempting a nuclear Iran.
Continuing the charade, Secretary Hagel offered this ringing pledge after talking to the Israeli president: “I want to assure you of the United States’ commitment to ensuring Iran does not get a nuclear weapon – and that America will do what we must to live up to that commitment.”
As he spoke, the latest round of nuclear talks between the Six Powers and Iran, touted optimistically as heralding the draft of a comprehensive accord, collapsed in Vienna after Iran rejected one point after another.
Tehran saw no need to yield on a single centrifuge or missile for the sake of an agreement, when it was obvious that neither the US nor Israel was about to launch a military offensive to interfere with its progress toward a nuclear bomb. The US and Israeli presidents were, moreover, in agreement that America’s mission was to bring peace not war.
On peacemaking with the Palestinians, President Peres was more direct, taking matters in his own hands. Without batting an eyelid, he revealed on Israel’s Independence Day, May 6, that in 2011, he was on his way to cross the border into Jordan and meet up with the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to sign a peace accord - when a phone call came from Netanyahu telling him not to proceed to Amman and return at once to Jerusalem.
“Netanyahu stopped me,” he said and claimed that the prime minister had endorsed his initiative before cutting it short.. “Maybe he thought that a better deal was attainable,” he said sarcastically, hinting broadly that if he were prime minister in charge of negotiations, instead of Netanyahu, peace with the Palestinians would have been in the bag three years ago.
Peres's message for Washington was that had the administration heeded his advice and backed him, it could have saved itself from the embarrassing dead end reached by Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace effort .
Peres, who hails from the dovish Labor party, has not just been working against Netanyahu’s policies, he has also for two years been conducting a quiet intrigue to remove him and his Likud party from power. He has been gaining some ground in view of Netanyahu’s predilection for sitting on the fence and letting vital issues take their course without stepping in. The prime minister stood by, for instance, as Shimon Peres broke the rules dictating the limits of presidential authority and privilege, without pulling him up short.
debkafile’s political sources report that Peres turned down offers to serve an extra six months, in consideration of the difficulty of finding a suitable candidate to succeed him, because he plans to return to political center-stage himself after assembling a lineup of Netanyahu’s enemies.
It has not been plain sailing.
One of those enemies, former prime minister Ehud Olmert, was knocked out of the running when the Tel Aviv district court convicted him of corruption and this week sentenced him to four years in jail.
Another foe, former IDF Chief of Staff Gaby Ashkenazi, is under investigation on suspicion of plotting against the defense minister while still in uniform.
But Peres is not giving up. He recently held several meetings with Ehud Barak, ex-prime minister, who last year retired as defense minister in Netanyahu’s cabinet and said he was done with politics.
When asked about this, Barak said: “I have no plans to return to politics.”
Although Barak appeared prominently at a number of public events in recent weeks, he is far from Peres’ ideal choice as a political ally. Barak would be too independent-minded to fit in with Peres’ plans and he had a record of shifting loyalties among various parties before joining Netanyahu’s cabinet.
So the president is still looking around for allies for his umpteenth comeback, hoping to beat Netanyahu’s hunt for the right candidate to succeed him in the presidential residence. The frontrunners are so far mostly unsuitable and the dark horse is still invisible.
The prime minister must be sure of getting the right person, because one of the president’s few prerogatives is the right to pick the most suitable candidate for heading a new government after a general election. With Peres on his tail, he needs a solid ally in the presidential residence in order to maitain his own foothold.
The May 17, 1983, agreement between Lebanon and Israel
Following Operation Peace for Galilee, Israeli and Lebanese negotiators met to discuss a treaty between the two countries. The delegations held over 35 sessions alternatively in Khalde, Kiryat Shemona, and Netanya starting on 28 December 1982. The agreement was finally signed on 17 May 1983 following high-level US involvement including ten days of shuttle diplomacy by Secretary of State Shultz. The main features of the agreement include putting an end to the state of war between Israel and Lebanon, a mechanism for cooperation and the establishment of an Israeli consulate in Beirut. Although the agreement was signed it was never ratified due to strong violent Syrian opposition to the treaty.
Text of the May 17, 1983, agreement between Lebanon and Israel
The Government of the State of Israel and the Government of the Republic of Lebanon:
Bearing in mind the importance of maintaining and strengthening international peace based on freedom, equality, justice and respect for fundamental human rights;
Reaffirming their faith in the aims and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and recognizing their right and obligation to live in peace with each other as well as with all states within secure and recognized boundaries;
Having agreed to declare the termination of the state of war between them;
Desiring to ensure lasting security for both their States and to avoid threats and the use of force between them;
Desiring to establish their mutual relations in the manner provided for in this Agreement;
Having delegated their undersigned representative plenipotentiaries provided with full powers in order to sign in the presence of the representative of the United States of America this Agreement;
Have agreed to the following provisions:
1. The Parties agree and undertake to respect the sovereignty political independence and territorial integrity of each other. They consider the existing international boundary between Israel and Lebanon inviolable.
2. The Parties confirm that the state of war between Israel and Lebanon has been terminated and no longer exists.
3. Taking into account the provisions of paragraphs 1 and 2 Israel undertakes to withdraw all its armed forces from Lebanon in accordance with the Annex of the present Agreement.
The Parties being guided by the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and of international law undertake to settle their disputes by peaceful means in such a manner as to promote international peace and security and justice.
In order to provide maximum security for Israel and Lebanon the Parties agree to establish and implement security arrangements including the creation of a Security Region as provided for in the Annex of the present Agreement.
1. The territory of each Party will not be used as a base for hostile or terrorist activity against the other Party its territory or its people.
2. Each Party will prevent the existence or organization of irregular forces armed bands organizations bases offices or infrastructure the aims and purposes of which include incursions or any act of terrorism into the territory of the other Party or any other activity aimed at threatening or endangering the security of the other Party and safety of its people. To this end all agreements and arrangements enabling the presence and functioning on the territory of either Party of elements hostile to the other Party are null and void.
3. Without prejudice to the inherent right of self-defense in accordance with international law each Party will refrain:
a. from organizing instigating assisting or participating in threats or acts of belligerency subversion or incitement or any aggression directed against the other Party its population or property both within its territory and originating therefrom or in the territory of the other Party.
b. from using the territory of the other Party for conducting a military attack against the territory of a third state.
c. from intervening in the internal or external affairs of the other Party.
4. Each Party undertakes to ensure that preventive action and due proceedings will be taken against persons or organizations perpetrating acts in violation of this Article.
Consistent with the termination of the state of war and within the framework of their constitutional provisions the Parties will abstain from any form of hostile propaganda against each other.
Each Party will prevent entry into deployment in or passage through its territory its air space and subject to the right of innocent passage in accordance with international law its territorial sea by military forces armament or military equipment of any state hostile to the other Party.
Except as provided in the present Agreement nothing will preclude the deployment on Lebanese territory of international forces requested and accepted by the Government of Lebanon to assist in maintaining its authority. New contributors to such forces shall be selected from among states having diplomatic relations with both Parties to the present Agreement.
1. a. Upon entry into force of the present Agreement a Joint Liaison Committee will be established by the Parties in which the United States of America will be a participant and will commence its functions. This Committee will be entrusted with the supervision of the implementation of all areas covered by the present Agreement. In matters involving security arrangements it will deal with unresolved problems referred to it by the Security Arrangements Committee established in subparagraph c. below. Decisions of this Committee will be taken unanimously.
b. The Joint Liaison Committee will address itself on a continuing basis to the development of mutual relations between Israel and Lebanon inter alia the regulation of the movement of goods products and persons communications etc.
c. Within the framework of the Joint Liaison Committee there will be a Security Arrangements Committee whose composition and functions are defined in the Annex of the present Agreement.
d. Subcommittees of the Joint Liaison Committee may be established as the need arises.
e. The Joint Liaison Committee will meet in Israel and Lebanon alternately.
f. Each Party if it so desires and unless there is an agreed change of status may maintain a liaison office on the territory of the other Party in order to carry out the above-mentioned functions within the framework of the Joint Liaison Committee and to assist in the implementation of the present Agreement.
g. The members of the Joint Liaison Committee from each of the Parties will be headed by a senior government official.
h. All other matters relating to these liaison offices their personnel and the personnel of each Party present in the territory of the other Party in connection with the implementation of the present Agreement will be the subject of a protocol to be concluded between the Parties in the Joint Liaison Committee. Pending the conclusion of this protocol the liaison offices and the above-mentioned personnel will be treated in accordance with the pertinent provisions of the Convention on Special Missions of December 8 1969 including those provisions concerning privileges and immunities. The foregoing is without prejudice to the positions of the Parties concerning that Convention.
2. During the six-month period after the withdrawal of all Israeli armed forces from Lebanon in accordance with Article 1 of the present Agreement and the simultaneous restoration of Lebanese governmental authority along the international boundary between Israel and Lebanon and in the light of the termination of the state of war the Parties shall initiate within the Joint Liaison Committee bona fide negotiations in order to conclude agreements on the movement of goods products and persons and their implementation on a non-discriminatory basis.
1. Each of the two Parties will take within a time limit of one year as of entry into force of the present Agreement all measures necessary for the abrogation of treaties laws and regulations deemed in conflict with the present Agreement subject to and in conformity with its constitutional procedures.
2. The Parties undertake not to apply existing obligations enter into any obligations or adopt laws or regulations in conflict with the present Agreement.
1. The present Agreement shall be ratified by both Parties in conformity with their respective constitutional procedures. It shall enter into force on the exchange of the instruments of ratification and shall supersede the previous agreements between Israel and Lebanon.
2. The Annex the Appendix and the Map attached thereto and the Agreed Minutes to the present Agreement shall be considered integral parts thereof.
3. The present Agreement may be modified amended or superseded by mutual agreement of the Parties.
1. Disputes between the Parties arising out of the interpretation or application of the present Agreement will be settled by negotiation in the Joint Liaison Committee. Any dispute of this character not so resolved shall be submitted to conciliation and if unresolved thereafter to an agreed procedure for a definitive resolution.
2. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph 1 disputes arising out of the interpretation or application of the Annex shall be resolved in the framework of the Security Arrangements Committee and if unresolved shall thereafter at the request of either Party be referred to the Joint Liaison Committee for resolution through negotiation.
The present Agreement shall be communicated to the Secretariat of the United Nations for registration in conformity with the provisions of Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations.
Done at Kiryat Shmona and Khaldeh this seventeenth day of May 1983 in triplicate in four authentic texts in the Hebrew Arabic English and French languages. In case of any divergence of interpretation the English and French texts will be equally authoritative.
For the Government of the State of Israel
For the Government of the Republic of Lebanon
For the Government of the United States of America
1. Security Region:
a. A Security Region in which the Government of Lebanon undertakes to implement the security arrangements agreed upon in this Annex is hereby established.
b. The Security Region is bounded as delineated on the Map attached to this Annex in the north by a line constituting "Line A" and in the south and east by the Lebanese international boundary.
2. Security Arrangements
The Lebanese authorities will enforce special security measures aimed at detecting and preventing hostile activities as well as the introduction into or movement through the Security Region of unauthorized armed men or military equipment. The following security arrangements will apply equally throughout the Security Region except as noted:
a. The Lebanese Army Lebanese Police Lebanese Internal Security Forces and the Lebanese auxiliary forces (ANSAR) organized under the full authority of the Government of Lebanon are the only organized armed forces and elements permitted in the Security Region except as designated elsewhere in this Annex. The Security Arrangements Committee may approve the stationing in the Security Region of other official Lebanese armed elements similar to ANSAR.
b. Lebanese Police Lebanese Internal Security Forces and ANSAR may be stationed in the Security Region without restrictions as to their numbers. These forces and elements will be equipped only with personal and light automatic weapons and for the Internal Security Forces armored scout or commando cars as listed in the Appendix.
c. Two Lebanese Army brigades may be stationed in the Security Region. One will be the Lebanese Army Territorial Brigade stationed in the area extending from the Israeli-Lebanese boundary to "Line B" delineated on the attached Map. The other will be a regular Lebanese Army brigade stationed in the area extending from "Line B" to "Line A". These brigades may carry their organic weapons and equipment listed in the Appendix. Additional units equipped in accordance with the Appendix may be deployed in the Security Region for training purposes including the training of conscripts or in the case of operational emergency situations following coordination in accordance with procedures to be established by the Security Arrangements Committee.
d. The existing local units will be integrated as such into the Lebanese Army in conformity with Lebanese Army regulations. The existing local civil guard shall be integrated into ANSAR and accorded a proper status under Lebanese law to enable it to continue guarding the villages in the Security Region. The process of extending Lebanese authority over these units and civil guard under the supervision of the Security Arrangements Committee shall start immediately after the entry into force of the present Agreement and shall terminate prior to the completion of the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon.
e. Within the Security Region Lebanese Army units may maintain their organic anti-aircraft weapons as specified in the Appendix. Outside the Security Region Lebanon may deploy personal low and medium altitude air defense missiles. After a period of three years from the date of entry into force of the present Agreement the provision concerning the area outside the Security Region may be reviewed by the Security Arrangements Committee at the request of either Party.
f. Military electronic equipment in the Security Region will be as specified in the Appendix. Deployment of ground radars within ten kilometers of the Israeli-Lebanese boundary should be approved by the Security Arrangements Committee. Ground radars throughout the Security Region will be deployed so that their sector of search does not cross the Israeli-Lebanese boundary. This provision does not apply to civil aviation or air traffic control radars.
g. The provision mentioned in paragraph e. applies also to anti-aircraft missiles on Lebanese Navy vessels. In the Security Region Lebanon may deploy naval elements and establish and maintain naval bases or other shore installations required to accomplish the naval mission. The coastal installations in the Security Region will be as specified in the Appendix.
h. In order to avoid accidents due to misidentification the Lebanese military authorities will give advance notice of all flights of any kind over the Security Region according to procedures to be determined by the Security Arrangements Committee. Approval of these flights is not required.
i. (l) The forces weapons and military equipment which may be stationed stocked introduced into or transported through the Security Region are only those mentioned in this Annex and its Appendix.
(2) No infrastructure auxiliary installations or equipment capable of assisting the activation of weapons that are not permitted by this Annex or its Appendix shall be maintained or established in the Security Region.
(3) These provisions also apply whenever a clause of this Annex relates to areas outside the Security Region.
3. Security Arrangements Committee
a. Within the framework of the Joint Liaison Committee a Security Arrangements Committee will be established.
b. The Security Arrangements Committee will be composed of an equal number of Israeli and Lebanese representatives headed by senior officers. A representative of the United States of America will participate in meetings of the Committee at the request of either Party. Decisions of the Security Arrangements Committee will be reached by agreement of the Parties.
c. The Security Arrangements Committee shall supervise the implementation of the security arrangements in the present Agreement and this Annex and the timetable and modalities as well as all other aspects relating to withdrawals described in the present Agreement and this Annex. To this end and by agreement of the Parties it will:
(l) Supervise the implementation of the undertakings of the Parties under the present Agreement and this Annex.
(2) Establish and operate Joint Supervisory Teams as detailed below.
(3) Address and seek to resolve any problems arising out of the implementation of the security arrangements in the present Agreement and this Annex and discuss any violation reported by the Joint Supervisory Teams or any complaint concerning a violation submitted by one of the Parties.
d. The Security Arrangements Committee shall deal with any complaint submitted to it not later than 24 hours after submission.
e. Meetings of the Security Arrangements Committee shall be held at least once every two weeks in Israel and in Lebanon alternately. In the event that either Party requests a special meeting it will be convened within 2 hours. The first meeting will be held within 48 hours after the date of entry into force of the present Agreement.
f. Joint Supervisory Teams
(l) The Security Arrangements Committee will establish Joint Supervisory Teams (Israel-Lebanon) subordinate to it and composed of an equal number of representatives from each Party.
(2) The teams will conduct regular verification of the implementation of the provisions of the security arrangement in the Agreement and this Annex. The teams shall report immediately any confirmed violations to the Security Arrangements Committee and ascertain that violations have been rectified.
(3) The Security Arrangements Committee shall assign a Joint Supervisory Team when requested to check border security arrangements on the Israeli side of the international boundary in accord with Article 4 of the present Agreement.
(4) The teams will enjoy freedom of movement in the air sea and land as necessary for the performance of their tasks within the Security Region.
(5) The Security Arrangements Committee will determine all administrative and technical arrangements concerning the functioning of the teams including their working procedures their number their manning their armament and their equipment.
(6) Upon submission of a report to the Security Arrangements Committee or upon confirmation of a complaint of either Party by the teams the respective Party shall immediately and in any case not later than 24 hours from the report or the confirmation rectify the violation. The Party shall immediately notify the Security Arrangements Committee of the rectification. Upon receiving the notification the teams will ascertain that the violation has been rectified.
(7) The Joint Supervisory Teams shall be subject to termination upon 90 days notice by either Party given at any time after two years from the date of entry into force of the present Agreement. Alternative verification arrangements shall be established in advance of such termination through the Joint Liaison Committee. Notwithstanding the foregoing the Joint Liaison Committee may determine at any time that there is no further need for such arrangements.
g. The Security Arrangements Committee will ensure that practical and rapid contacts between the two Parties are established along the boundary to prevent incidents and facilitate coordination between the forces on the terrain.
4. It is understood that the Government of Lebanon may request appropriate action in the United Nations Security Council for one unit of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to be stationed in the Sidon area. The presence of this unit will lend support to the Government of Lebanon and the Lebanese Armed Forces in asserting governmental authority and protection in the Palestinian refugee camp areas. For a period of 12 months the unit in the Sidon area may send teams to the Palestinian refugee camp areas in the vicinity of Sidon and Tyre to survey and observe if requested by the Government of Lebanon following notification to the Security Arrangements Committee. Police and security functions shall remain the sole responsibility of the Government of Lebanon which shall ensure that the provisions of the present Agreement shall be fully implemented in these areas.
5. Three months after completion of the withdrawal of all Israeli forces from Lebanon the Security Arrangements Committee will conduct a full-scale review of the adequacy of the security arrangements delineated in this Annex in order to improve them.
6. Withdrawal of Israeli Forces:
a. Within 8 to 12 weeks of the entry into force of the present Agreement all Israeli forces will have been withdrawn from Lebanon. This is consistent with the objective of Lebanon that all external forces withdraw from Lebanon.
b. The Israel Defense Forces and the Lebanese Armed Forces will maintain continuous liaison during the withdrawal and will exchange all necessary information through the Security Arrangements Committee. The Israel Defense Forces and the Lebanese Armed Forces will cooperate during the withdrawal in order to facilitate the reassertion of the authority of the Government of Lebanon as the Israeli armed forces withdraw