LCCC ENGLISH DAILY
Bible Quotation For Today/Who lives In the Spirit Ought To Restore Who is Caught in Sin
Galatians 06/01-18/Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor. Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Not Circumcision but the New Creation See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand! Those who want to impress people by means of the flesh are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. Not even those who are circumcised keep the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your circumcision in the flesh. May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to the Israel of God. From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.
Latest analysis, editorials
from miscellaneous sources published on November 27-28/14
The U.S. is crippled in the Middle East/Michael Young/The Daily Star/November 27/14
Nuclear negotiations with Iran defy easy comparison/David Ignatius/November 27/14
Thoughts on the P5+1 Negotiations with Tehran/By: Daniel Pipes/November 27/14
Lebanese Related News
published on November 27-28/14
Hariri: I Want Serious Dialogue with Hizbullah and a Consensual President is the Solution for Lebanon
Nusra Threatens New Execution as Govt. Says Ayyad Release Can't be Compared to Arsal Captives Case
Families of Captive Servicemen Say State Only Authorized to Negotiate Jihadists
Cars Stolen in France Seized at Beirut Port
Strict Security Measures at Ain el-Hilweh in Search for Mawlawi, Fugitives
Three Syrians Arrested in Akkar for Supporting ISIL
Suspect Accused of Firing at Army Turns Himself in
Coordination Committee to Follow up Food Safety Techniques
Officials Advise Authorities to Follow in Hizbullah Footsteps over Captives
Joumaa Demands to Stand Trial, Says Negotiations with Nusra 'Waste of Time'
Maliki in Lebanon to Meet Senior Officials
Report: French, Lebanese Officials Finalize Deal on Army's Needs
Miscellaneous Reports And News published on
Is the price of watermelons relevant to Iran’s nuclear crisis?
Putin lends unwavering support for Assad’s war
ISIS says its flag will wave over Jerusalem, even if the Jews don't like it
Pope Francis: Don't close door on dialogue with Islamic State
Netanyahu: There is an effort to undermine the Jews' right to their own state
GCC approves launch of “Gulf Interpol”
Moscow proposes Geneva III talks during Syrian FM visit: Russian sources
Iraqi forces, tribal fighters advance against ISIS in Anbar
New bill in Israel: MKs to swear loyalty to 'Jewish state'
Shin Bet: Hamas attack in Jerusalem thwarted
Israel will still have a friend in the Pentagon
Syria Army Kills Dozens in Ambush East of Damascus
Canada's CBC Websites Hacked by Pro-Syrian Group
Below Jihad Watch Posts For Wednesday
UK convert to Islam: “I can’t love my mum because she’s not Muslim”
Russia considering UN action on protecting Middle East Christians
Catholic Diocese of Sacramento: CAIR claims on Robert Spencer cancellation are false
Muslim Brotherhood reportedly fabricating sex tapes to stir trouble in Egypt
Raymond Ibrahim: Is Russia Banning Islam?
Democracy’s slow extinction
Two Americans charged with supporting the Islamic State
Victory: Federal judge in AFDI ad case says “expert” can’t testify that “Islamic Jew-hatred” is false
Iran: Death sentence upheld for man who insulted Muhammad on Facebook
Spain: Ex-Muslim to be deported to Muslim country for criticizing Islam
Muslims scream “Allahu akbar” from mosques as Islamic State blows up church
Bangladesh pol arrested for offending Muslims, Muslim group demands his death
UK jihadi: “What a shoddy security system Britain must have to allow me to breeze through Europe to the Islamic State”
Islamic State developing “colonies,” gaining credibility among jihadists
Pakistan: Bollywood actress Veena Malik gets 26 years for blasphemy
Obama’s fantasies about un-Islamic jihad — on The Glazov Gang
Hariri: I Want Serious Dialogue with
Hizbullah and a Consensual President is the Solution for Lebanon
Naharnet/Al-Mustaqbal movement leader MP Saad Hariri on Thursday announced that he is seeking a “serious dialogue” with Hizbullah “for the sake of the country,” as he stressed the need to elect a “consensual president.” “Dialogue is important and my dispute with Hizbullah is over its intervention in Syria, in addition to the (Special) Tribunal (for Lebanon), weapons and the (Hizbullah-affiliated) Resistance Brigades,” Hariri said in an interview in Paris with LBCI television. “I will not change my stance over these issues, but some things are important for the country and for protecting the country. Protecting the country is more important than Saad Hariri,” the former premier added. Speaker Nabih Berri and Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat have been exerting efforts to gather the two rival parties. Hariri confirmed during the interview that Mustaqbal is cooperating with Berri and Jumblat to prepare an agenda for the proposed dialogue. “I don't like populist stances but rather stances that serve the national interest. I take my decisions according to the country's interests,” Hariri said in defense of his intention to engage in dialogue with Hizbullah. He noted that there are things that must be discussed “for the sake of the country and its citizens.”“I'm not with dialogue with Hizbullah for the sake of dialogue. I'm rather with serious dialogue for the sake of the country's interest and I'm serious in what I'm saying. I want a president and parliamentary elections and I want us to exit the dilemma that the country is going through,” said Hariri. “I want dialogue with results,” he stressed.
The ex-PM called for overcoming complications and putting them aside “for the sake of reaching an agreement that can serve the country's interest.”Asked about the possibility of dialogue's failure, Hariri said: “Let the other party bear the responsibility should dialogue turn out to be non-serious. I'm serious about dialogue and if I reject it the tensions will grow among citizens.” Al-Mustaqbal's leader pointed out that talks with Hizbullah would “alleviate the Sunni-Shiite tensions,” warning that a Sunni-Shiite “explosion” would not “leave us any presidency or country to talk about.”On the possibility that dialogue could lead to a new political system, Hariri reiterated support for the Taef Accord, emphasizing that his movement will not change its stance. “We have fought battles to preserve it,” he noted. “Hizbullah proposed a constituent assembly and we rejected it because we're with bilateral not trilateral power-sharing,” Hariri pointed out. He stressed that “a consensual president is the solution for Lebanon.”He said a consensual candidate is one “who can talk to everyone and who can put Lebanon's future before anything else.”Asked about Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun's candidacy, Hariri described Aoun as “an essential political component of the country,” noting that “no one can eliminate anyone in this country.” “We cooperated with Aoun and we formed a government, but has anyone from March 8 tried to talk to (Lebanese Forces leader) Samir Geagea?” Hariri added, referring to the LF chief's nomination. He noted that the March 14 forces have a problem with Aoun's nomination although al-Mustaqbal has engaged in dialogue with him. “The March 8 camp does not approve of Samir Geagea's candidacy but they have not talked to him, that's why the solution is electing a consensual president,” said Hariri. He underlined that Saudi Arabia “does not have a veto on anyone,” adding that all countries “want Christians to agree on a presidential candidate.”Lebanon has been without a president since May 25 amid a boycott of electoral sessions by the MPs of Hizbullah and Aoun's Change and Reform bloc.
Last week, Aoun launched at initiative aimed at limiting the presidential battle to him and his main rival Geagea.
Nusra Threatens New Execution as Govt.
Says Ayyad Release Can't be Compared to Arsal Captives Case
Naharnet/The Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front threatened Thursday to execute one of the captive servicemen if the Lebanese government does not start what it called “serious negotiations.”“We warn the Lebanese government, which is subordinate to the party of Iran (Hizbullah), that we will kill one of the 'prisoners of war' who are in our custody within 24 hours, if it does not start negotiations in a serious manner,” al-Nusra said in a statement published on the twitter account of its Qalamun branch. “If the government wants to prove its seriousness in regards to continuing the negotiations, it must release Muslim sister Jumana Hmayyed as a goodwill gesture and must then start implementing the proposal it had chose for the swap process,” the group added. Hmayyed was arrested near Arsal in February while driving a booby-trapped car that entered Lebanon from Syria's Yabrud region. “If the government does not comply, we will carry out our threat and will change the proposals we had suggested in our previous statement,” al-Nusra said. The group has recently said that the 3-month hostage crisis would end if 10 inmates held at Lebanese prisons would be freed for each hostage or seven Lebanese inmates and 30 female prisoners held in Syria would be released for each abducted soldier and policeman or if five Lebanese and 50 women inmates would be freed.
The Lebanese government had previously rejected any swap deal with the jihadists but it has recently accepted one of al-Nusra's options according to media reports. In its Thursday statement, al-Nusra claimed that “everyone has realized that (Hizbullah) is the only party obstructing the negotiations over the (captive) servicemen, while claiming to be keen on the release of its own captives, the last of whom was Imad Ayyad.”Al-Nusra was referring to a Hizbullah captive freed on Tuesday in a swap deal with the rebel Free Syrian Army which involved the release of two FSA members. The Qaida-linked group noted that Ayyad was not released through “honorable negotiations or a heroic operation,” pointing out that Hizbullah “exploited the presence of Muslim sisters in regions it is occupying in Syria in order to arrest them and threaten their families with rape, torture and murder.” “Their families were the ones holding … Imad (Ayyad) and they are loyal to a FSA group,” Nusra said. Shortly after Nusra released its statement, the relatives of the Lebanese troops and policemen warned that they will block all of Beirut's entrances at 8:00 am Friday. Earlier on Thursday, the government refused to compare the release of Hizbullah's detainee Ayyad to the case of the servicemen kidnapped by Nusra and the Islamic State in early August.
The policemen and soldiers were abducted during deadly clashes with the Lebanese army in and around the Bekaa border town of Arsal. A few of them have since been released, three were executed, while the rest are still kidnapped.
“The release of the Hizbullah member cannot be compared to that of the Arsal captives,” Information Minister Ramzi Jreij said after a cabinet session. The families of the captives have repeatedly accused the government of failing to exert enough efforts to release them. They voiced their frustration earlier this week when Hizbullah succeeded through negotiations to secure the release of its captive Ayyad. The cabinet session also tasked a ministerial committee to follow up on food safety in Lebanon, added Jreij after the meeting at the Grand Serail. The committee will coordinate its efforts with the government, municipalities, and other agencies in order to address the food safety issue and offer its recommendations in the case, he explained.
Cars Stolen in France Seized at Beirut
Naharnet /Eight cars stolen in France and shipped to Lebanon have been seized at Beirut's port, the Internal Security Forces announced on Thursday. “The bureau for combating international theft crimes managed on November 21 to seize at Beirut's port two containers carrying eight recent model Range Rovers and BMWs,” the ISF said in a statement. The vehicles had been “cut in half after being stolen in France with the aim of sending them to Lebanon,” the ISF added. It noted that the attempt was thwarted as a result of “follow-up and cooperation between the ISF and French police through the command of the (Lebanese) Judicial Police and the liaison officer at the French embassy in Lebanon.”“48-year-old Lebanese national A. B. and 40-year-old Lebanese national G. K. were arrested” over their involvement in the case, the ISF added. “During interrogation, they confessed that they had ties to a French car theft gang that stole more than 40 recent model cars over the past seven months before sending them to Lebanon,” the statement said. It pointed out that the seven members of the gang were arrested by French police. “Investigations are still ongoing under the supervision of the relevant judicial authorities,” the ISF added
Suspect Accused of Firing at Army Turns Himself in
Naharnet /A suspect accused of opening fire at the army during raids in the northern Akkar town of Bhannine turned himself in on Thursday, reported the National News Agency. It said that Ahmed H.S., from the Akkar town of al-Mhammara, turned himself in to the army intelligence in Akkar. The army had carried out raids in Bhannine in search of suspects who had engaged it in clashes last month, arresting one suspect over the weekend. It had detained several others over the past few weeks. In October, the military was involved in fighting with supporters of Sheikh Khaled Hoblos in Bhannine.
Families of Captive Servicemen Say State Only Authorized to Negotiate Jihadists
Naharnet /The families of the kidnapped soldiers and policemen stressed on Thursday that the Lebanese state is the only side authorized to negotiate with jihadists the release of their loved ones. “The state is our only representative and voice as we are all under its authority,” the relatives of the hostages said in a statement. The statement warned the state and the cabinet's crisis cell from stalling negotiations, reiterating calls for a swift and bold decision that would ensure the safe release of their sons. “We will escalate our endeavors,” the relatives vowed a day after they warned the authorities from escalatory measures starting Friday morning. “We apologize from the citizens that our endeavors might harm and call on them to support our case as the abductees are the sons of all the Lebanese people,” the statement added. On Wednesday, the relatives warned they will block all of Beirut's entrances starting Friday as a female protester appealed for Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah to bring home the captives the same way he did with the Hizbullah hostage.
The families were angered by Hizbullah's success in releasing one of its fighters who had been in the custody of Syrian groups in the mountains of the Qalamun region near Lebanon's border. Imad Ayyad was released in exchange for two gunmen who were in Hizbullah custody, the party announced on Tuesday. The soldiers and policemen were abducted by Islamic State group and al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front that briefly overran the northeastern border town of Arsal in August. Three of the hostages have already been executed.
The relatives of the captured men have erected a protest camp near the Grand Serail to press the release of the captives.
Strict Security Measures at Ain el-Hilweh
in Search for Mawlawi, Fugitives
Naharnet /The Palestinian Liaison Committee implemented strict security measures on Thursday at the southern Ain el-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in search for Islamist fugitive Shadi al-Mawlawi. The endeavors come a day after the Lebanese Army Intelligence in south Lebanon, Brig. Gen. Ali Shahrour, urged Palestinian leaders at the camp to hand over fugitives, including Mawlawi, and assume their responsibilities in this regard. An Nahar newspaper reported earlier on Thursday that Shahrour informed a delegation from the Palestinian Liaison Committee that several wanted suspects linked to terrorist cases are taking the camp as a refuge, demanding Palestinians to hand them over to the army. Media reports recently said that Mawlawi has entered Ain el-Hilweh, days after singer turned fugitive Islamist Fadel Shaker said he is residing at the camp. Shaker had fled justice more than a year ago following bloody incidents that erupted in June 2013 in Abra, between the army and supporters of Salafist cleric Sheikh Ahmed al-Asir. Sidon’s clashes were the most intense bouts of violence in Lebanon linked to the conflict in Syria, and have resulted in the death of at least 16 troops. Shahrour warned Palestinians' that Mawlawi could carry out endeavors to shake up the security situation at the camp. “State security agencies will not accept more than the Palestinians full cooperation,” Shahrour said. The delegation reportedly stressed to the high-ranking military official that the fugitives will be handed over if they was evidence they are residing at the camp. Media reports said that Mawlawi fled Bab al-Tabbaneh neighborhood in the northern city of Tripoli earlier this month after clashes with the army and took the southern camp as a refuge to prepare for a security operation in cooperation with wanted Sheikh al-Asir, who is also hiding there. Al-Asir had gone into hiding following deadly clashes between his supporters and the army near Sidon in June last year. Mawlawi has been charged with belonging to an armed terrorist group in order to stage terrorist acts, and holing up at a Tripoli mosque with the aim of preparing bombs and explosive devices to target Lebanese troops in the area.
Three Syrians Arrested in Akkar for
Naharnet/Three Syrians were arrested in the northern region of Akkar on Thursday for supporting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, reported the National News Agency. It said that security forces arrested the suspects at the Shadra checkpoint for having photographs of ISIL on their mobile phones. They were identified as Mohammed Khaled Khodr al-Rikab, Berri Ahmed Ezzo, and Khaled Mohammed Mareid. Maps of undisclosed locations were also found on their phones. Various buildings, including churches, had in recent months been vandalized by Islamic State slogans in Akkar. Security forces have lately upped their measures against suspected members of terrorist groups, carrying out raids throughout Lebanon, especially against Syrian refugee encampments.
They have intensified their efforts in light of clashes in August between the army and Islamists from Syria who overran the northeastern border town of Arsal. Several suspects have been arrested. Last month, clashes erupted between the army and Islamist gunmen in the Akkar town of Bhannine and the northern city of Tripoli
Pope Francis: Don't close door on dialogue with Islamic
J.Post/By REUTERS \ 11/25/2014 /ABOARD PAPAL PLANE - Pope Francis said on Tuesday that while it was "almost impossible" to have a dialogue with Islamic State insurgents, the door should not be shut. "I never say 'all is lost', never. Maybe there can't be a dialogue but you can never shut a door," he told reporters on his plane returning from Strasbourg, France, where he addressed the European Parliament and the Council of Europe. "It is difficult, one could say almost impossible, but the door is always open," he said in response to a question about whether it would be possible to communicate with the militants. Ultra-radical Islamic State has captured thousands of square miles (km) of territory in Iraq and Syria, beheaded or crucified prisoners, massacred non-Sunni Muslim civilians in its path and displaced tens of thousands of people. The Iraqi government, backed by US-led air strikes, has been trying to push back Islamic State, although Shi'ite Muslim militias and Kurdish peshmerga have helped contain the Sunni insurgents and repelled them in some provinces. . Pope Francis repeated comments made earlier this year that while it was legitimate to fight an "unjust aggressor", this had to be supported by an international consensus.
Coordination Committee to Follow up
Food Safety Techniques
Naharnet/A technical coordination committee was formed on Thursday to follow up the recent food scandal, which saw the closure of restaurants, slaughterhouses and other institutions since Health Minister Wael Abou Faour launched his campaign against violators earlier this month. The ministerial committee on food safety met under Prime Minister Tammam Salam at the Grand Serail. Economy Minister Alain Hakim said following the meeting that the concerned ministers formed a technical committee to coordinate with the involved ministers the needed measures to preserve food safety and to protect consumers. Hakim added that the labneh factories, which were closed earlier this week for violating standards, were referred to the judiciary for prosecution. On Wednesday, Abou Faour named a new list of restaurants, slaughterhouses, supermarkets and butchers, but said some establishments that had committed violations have since exerted efforts to meet health standards. Abou Faour has ordered many restaurants, slaughterhouses and companies that sell food either permanently or temporarily closed for violating food and water safety standards. The prosecutor's office has already launched court proceedings against dozens of violators. Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi said following the meeting at the Grand Serail on Thursday that the consumer protection law allows rulings to be published. “I will urge judges to publish them so the other violators learn a lesson,” he told reporters.
Officials Advise Authorities to Follow
in Hizbullah Footsteps over Captives
Naharnet/The indirect negotiations between Hizbullah and Syrian fighters that led to the release of a party member should be a motive for the Lebanese state to arrest jihadists and use them in a prisoners swap, officials said Thursday. The pro-Hizbullah officials told As Safir newspaper that militants from the Islamic State group, al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front and the Free Syrian Army should not be referred to trial. Such rebels and jihadists should be used as a bargaining chip to release Lebanese captives, the sources said.
The remarks came after the March 14 alliance's General Secretariat and several officials from the camp condemned Hizbullah's negotiations that ensured the release of Imad Ayyad on Tuesday. Ayyad had been taken captive by Syrian rebels in the mountains of the Qalamun region near Lebanon's border.He was released in exchange for two gunmen who were in Hizbullah custody. The March 14 coalition slammed Hizbullah on Wednesday, saying its “deal is another sign that it undermines the role of the state.”
“The party resorts to the state when it cannot achieve a goal and chooses to disregard it when it believes it can obtain its aims on its own,” it added. But As Safir's sources defended Hizbullah's move, saying the swap happened inside Syrian territories.
They also called on the Lebanese authorities to negotiate with the jihadists, who kidnapped Lebanese soldiers and policemen in August, similar to what the party did. State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Mohammed Fneish expressed similar views on Thursday, saying the Hizbullah fighter was taken captive outside Lebanese territories. The servicemen were taken captive by the IS and al-Nusra Front, when the militants overran the northeastern border town of Arsal and engaged in deadly gunbattles with Lebanese troops. Their kidnapping and the captivity of Ayyad took place in different circumstances, said Fneish.
Putin lends unwavering support for
Agencies/Daily Star/Nov. 27, 2014
MOSCOW/SOCHI: Russia said Wednesday it would support President Bashar Assad to combat “terrorism” in the Middle East, indicating there was no new room for compromise on one of the key contentious issues in the Syrian conflict. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held talks with Assad’s foreign minister, Walid al-Moallem, on the Black Sea as part of Moscow’s renewed diplomatic push to restart peace talks on Syria. “We share the view that the main factor driving the situation in the Middle East is the terrorist threat,” Lavrov told a joint news conference with Moallem. “Russia will continue supporting Syria ... in countering this threat.” Russia has been the key ally of Assad in the conflict, which is in its fourth year and where the situation on the ground has deteriorated as ISIS, an Al-Qaeda offshoot, has grabbed large swaths of land. The last round of talks between Damascus and the opposition collapsed in February over rifts over Assad’s role in any transition out of the conflict. The main Syrian opposition in exile and its Western and Arab backers want him to go.But Moscow says advances made by Islamic hard-liners mean fighting “terrorism” should be the top priority for all “healthy” forces now, and that that is not possible without cooperating with Assad.
Lavrov criticized the United States for refusing to do that.
Moallem told the news conference his meeting with Putin was “very productive” and that the Russian president confirmed his resolve to develop ties with Damascus and Assad. “The meeting was devoted to Russian-Syrian relations,” the Kremlin said in a two-sentence statement issued after Moallem’s visit to Putin’s Black Sea retreat in Sochi. Russian news agencies quoted Moallem as saying only that the meeting was “very productive.”Moallem also said he and Lavrov had discussed Moscow’s proposal to host peace talks on Syria and that they agreed to continue discussing this. Lavrov said bringing together Damascus and the opposition was difficult and required more time.It is not clear who would represent the opposition if any such talks are held. While the West and Arab countries seeking Assad’s exit support the Turkey-based National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, Russia says the exiled organization is just one opposition group and has no real influence on what is happening on the ground. Lavrov said any talks should include “a wide range of social and political forces.” Two previous rounds of Syria peace negotiations in Geneva in June 2012 and last January ended in failure and no new meetings in Switzerland are currently being planned. Russian news reports quoted Lavrov as saying after the meeting that no new Geneva talks were possible at this time. But he fell short of formally offering Moscow as the venue for future contacts. “If you think that a conference will be announced similar to the one that was held in ... January this year with the participation of 50-odd states, thousands of journalists, bright lights, there won’t be such a conference,” Interfax quoted Lavrov as saying. “Considering the conflicts that have built up over recent years, considering the persistent attempts at external interference in the Syrian conflict, it is clear that [preparations for direct negotiations] are far from simple and will need time.”The Syrian foreign minister was quoted earlier this month in Lebanon’s Al-Akhbar newspaper as saying that he would raise the issue of Russia’s stalled shipment of sophisticated S-300 missiles to protect Syrian forces from possible U.S. airstrikes. Russia – now embroiled in a major diplomatic row with the West over Ukraine – suspended their delivery in 2013 under pressure from Israel and the United States.
Lavrov was quoted only as saying that “Russia will continue helping Syria protect itself against terrorism.” Syrian rebel leaders have paid a series of brief visits to Moscow that only highlighted stark differences between the two sides.
ISIS says its flag will wave over Jerusalem, even if the Jews don't like it
By YASSER OKBI/ MAARIV HASHAVUA/ 11/26/2014/J.Post
Terror group says it will expand its rule over Islam's holy places in Saudi Arabia, as well as Jerusalem and Rome. The Islamic State has threatened to make it all the way to Jerusalem "even if the Jews and Crusaders despise it."
The threat appears in the foreword of the fifth edition of the organization's official magazine, Dabiq - named for a town in the suburbs of Syria's Aleppo, in which the group's members believe their will be a great war between Muslims and the West after its armies conquer Syria. In the foreword, Islamic State announces that it plans to widen its rule into the Arabian Peninsula, the Sinai Peninsula, Yemen, Libya and Algeria. The organization vows that its flag will fly over Jerusalem, as well as over Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.
"While the eyes of the world were all blinded and spellbound by the sorcerous media 'covering' the battle for ‘Ayn al-Islām (Kobani), the eyes of the Islamic State were scanning East and West, preparing for the expansion that – by Allah’s permission – would put an end to the Jewish State, Āl Salūl, and the rest of the apostate tawāghīt, the allies of the cross," the article says. The group further vows that "the flag of the Caliphate will rise over Mecca and Medina, even if the apostates and hypocrites despise such. The flag of the Caliphate will rise over Baytul-Maqdis (Jerusalem) and Rome, even if the Jews and Crusaders despise such." It adds: "The shade of this blessed flag will expand until it covers all eastern and western extents of the Earth, filling the world with the truth and justice of Islam and putting an end to the falsehood and tyranny of jāhiliyyah (the state prior to Islam), even if America and its coalition despise such." In the previous edition of Dabiq, Islamic State admitted to kidnapping Yazidi women and children to make them slaves, because religious sages had determined that they were "infidels."
Netanyahu: There is an effort to
undermine the Jews' right to their own state
By JPOST.COM STAFF \ 11/26/2014/J.Post
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the "Jewish state bill," which seeks to cement the Jewish nature of Israel in law on Wednesday.
Speaking during a Knesset plenum discussion in which he was forced to yell to be heard above the shouts of MKs who oppose the bill, Netanyahu said that there were those "challenging and seeking to undermine the rights of the Jewish people in Israel from abroad and from within."Netanyahu said that the bill was needed in order to fix a historical imbalance by which civil rights had gained supremacy over the rights of Jews to their own nation-state in Israel.
"The state of Israel is a Jewish and a democratic state. These two values are intertwined, and one does not outweigh the other. We promise equal rights for everyone, regardless of religion, race or sex. At the same time, Israel is the nation-state of the Jews only. This combination between the the rights of the nation and the rights of the individual, serves as the central thread in all of Israel's founding documents. The Balfour Declaration spoke of the founding of a Jewish national home for the Jewish people while preserving the civil and religious rights of all the country's citizens," Netanyahu said.
He said that he could understand how Hamas would oppose the bill, because they don't recognize the right of the Jews to their own state. He, said, however, that he was baffled as to why "his friends" within Israel were against the bill. Netanyahu said that he was "against a bi-national state." He prefers a two-state solution, with one of the states being a Jewish state, he explained. "He who talks about two states for two people but is against defining Israel as a Jewish state is contradicting himself," Netanyahu said. He slammed the opposition for being obsessed with giving up territory to the Palestinians. Netanyahu touted the economic and defense achievements of his government, but said that the opposition attacked him constantly, believing in the slogan, "If you didn't evacuate territory - you didn't do anything."
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Labor) spoke after Netanyahu, calling on him to resign. "Only a prime minister lacking self-confidence needs a Jewish state bill. You talk more and more and more about nationality in order to avoid addressing the inability of the public to afford buying a house." Herzog said that Netanyahu had failed in his efforts to prevent Iran's nuclear progress and had proven wanting in his promises to weaken Hamas.
Report: French, Lebanese Officials
Finalize Deal on Army's Needs
Naharnet /A French military delegation and officials at the Lebanese defense ministry reached a final agreement on the arms and ammunition that the army needs under the $3 billion Saudi grant announced last year, An Nahar daily reported on Thursday.
The newspaper said that the discussions between the Lebanese officials and the delegation, which includes military experts and representatives from French companies, settled the Lebanese army's request for aid to its ground, navy and air brigades. The arms and ammunition will be delivered in three stages, the first of which will be immediate, said the report. The second stage will involve the delivery of new weapons stored in French warehouses while the third will take a little time to be implemented because it includes arms and ammunition that are still under production, it added. France and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement at the start of November for Paris to provide the Lebanese military with the $3 billion worth of weapons paid for by Riyadh. The deal, which was first announced last December, aims to boost the army as it struggles to contain a rising tide of violence linked to the civil war in Syria.
Is the price of watermelons relevant to Iran’s nuclear crisis?
By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL/11/27/2014
Experts weigh in on interplay between Iran’s wobbly economy and the possibility of settling the nuclear weapons crisis with the mullah regime.
The founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, famously said the 1979 Islamic Revolution was “not about the price of watermelons.”
To parse the contemporary relevance of Khomeini’s self-described noneconomic revolution, The Jerusalem Post asked leading Iran experts in Israel how they view the interplay between Iran’s wobbly economy and the possibility of settling the nuclear weapons crisis with the mullah regime. A powerful EU-US sanctions architecture has influenced a change in Iran’s notorious recalcitrant behavior. Put simply, economic sanctions forced Iran’s fiery revolutionary Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to negotiate with the world powers (France, UK, US, Russia, China and Germany) over his illicit nuclear program. Prof. David Menashri, a prominent scholar who directed Tel Aviv University’s Iranian studies program, said the “main problem is not [Tehran’s] negotiations with the West. It is the disenchantment of young people and in addressing their main concerns – economics, freedom, food.” Menashri sees growing discontent among young Iranians, particularly women who make up 60 percent of university students, in contrast to 70 years ago when women were nonexistent in the academy. Employment opportunities for educated young Iranians are scarce, he added.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, said Menashri, “sold slogans” based on hope to Iran’s university-age students. Now, they are asking, “Where is the beef?” He continued that “a generation open to the world” is asking itself why, with historical achievements and an oil-rich economy, its place in the world is stunted. He further pointed to Green Movement protesters in 2009 who expressed deep disappointment with Iran’s expenditure of public money to aid Hezbollah and Hamas.
“Neither Hamas nor Hezbollah! I give my life for Iran!” and “Forget about Palestine! Think about our Iran!” were some of the slogans voiced as part of the Green Movement, which contested the fraudulent reelection of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
In contrast to the position of the Netanyahu administration, Menashri said, “I am not happy that there is no agreement.
Iran will continue with their nuclear program. The West has to be careful with easing sanctions, because it is very difficult to reimpose. If I were an Iranian leader, I would be concerned.”
The EU-US sanctions – mainly in the financial and energy sectors – delivered a series of body blows to Iran’s economy.
The US-based Cato institute said in a recent report that “Iran’s real gross domestic product has contracted by a cumulative 8.6% during the past two fiscal years.”
It reported “forgone annual economic output to be a whopping $79 billion.”
All of this helps to explain why Iran earned the No. 4 spot on the institute’s World Misery Index Scores. In a series of business articles in late October, reports about labor unrest surfaced, including work stoppages affecting the coal industry in central Iran and the Assaluyeh natural gas enterprise. Medical personnel protested in front of Iran’s parliament demanding that Iran’s regime remedy the low-wage crisis.
Meir Javedanfar, who teaches contemporary Iranian politics at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, said that “Iran’s economy is weak,” but there “is a lot of information about Iran’s economy that we do not know.”
Since the third extension of the Iran nuclear talks on November 24, Tehran’s stock exchange dropped, said Javedanfar, adding that Iran badly needs investments in its oil sector.
The lack of transparency – and accurate economic data – makes it difficult to gauge the vulnerability of Iran’s economy.
“Nobody knows what the point of collapse is,” he said.
He said it would be a “catastrophic decision for Iran to miss the opportunity for a peaceful resolution,” because it is facing a severe drought that hammers away at its economic health.
He favors a continued diplomatic track without a new round of sanctions.
Javedanfar said the Russians and Iran’s security establishment could be the nuclear deal breakers. There is a “shared interest scenario,” where Russia seeks to punish the Americans because of the Ukraine crisis and help Tehran blunt sanctions pressure.
Russia would serve Iran’s security apparatus, following Javedanfar’s logic, “as a firewall to keep America away.”
Europe, particularly Germany, continues to make overtures to generate business for Iran. The pro-business group Berlin Business Talks plans on Thursday to host Iran’s new ambassador to Germany, Ali Majedi, to discuss “the political and economic development of Iran.”
The effects of such pro-business meetings with EU groups has created what, Mark Dubowitz, the executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, calls a “changing market psychology” that benefits Iran.
A new joint report by FDD and the Roubini Global Economics firm estimates a windfall for Iran’s economy due to sanctions relief in the amount of $11b.
Dubowitz, a leading expert on Iran sanctions, told Bloomberg News, “An economy that used to be on its back is now an economy on its knees and getting back up to its feet.”
There is compelling evidence that Rouhani’s regime – at least in the short term – is worried about the price of watermelons.
Supreme Leader Khamenei, however, whose decisions overrule Rouhani’s feeble presidency, remains wedded to nuclear weapons. Iran’s revolutionary ideology will likely trump sustainable, economic recovery.
Benjamin Weinthal reports on European affairs for The Jerusalem Post, and is a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
The U.S. is crippled in the Middle
Michael Young| The Daily Star
Nov. 27, 2014
The next time a presidential campaign tries to convince you that its candidate has foreign policy experience by virtue of having spent a few years overseas as a child, remember Barack Obama. Among post-World War II administrations, his is one of the worst on foreign affairs, in a frequently abysmal field.
During his six years in office, Obama has often appeared to regard foreign policy as an imposition. His approach has generally been to avoid knotty crises, or to accept short-term solutions that leave problems unresolved, so as to better focus on domestic priorities. That is how ostriches behave, and Obama’s head-in-the-sand strategy is showing its failings.
The departure of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel this week made that perfectly clear. There was much commentary on how Hagel had failed to crack the inner core of presidential advisers at the White House; of how he had failed to define a clear military policy toward ISIS; of how he had stood back and allowed the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, to take the lead on military matters. Given that the military has been leaking heavily lately in ways designed to embarrass the White House over its anti-ISIS strategy, it was not surprising that Hagel was forced from office.
But it is the accusation that the defense secretary failed to formulate an effective policy that was most bizarre. Obama has set down foreign policy conditions, or red lines, that make a coherent policy next to impossible. And the president refuses to separate himself from the one person whose job it is to coordinate and impose a direction when it comes to American foreign affairs: the national security adviser, Susan Rice.
Rice was a spirited ambassador to the United Nations. She took strong positions on the slaughter in Syria, leading many to remember her regret for having failed to urge action to stop the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 when she was in the National Security Council. Rice famously said, “I swore to myself that if I ever faced such a crisis again, I would come down on the side of dramatic action, going down in flames if that was required.”
But since she joined the White House two years ago, she has conveniently put that vow aside, much as did her successor at the U.N., Samantha Power, the author of a much-hailed book on American inaction toward genocide. Insincerity in the defense of a career is no vice. Instead, what has gone down in flames are America’s alliances in the Middle East, so that next to Obama, even George W. Bush comes across as a great conciliator.
Recall how the earnest Norwegians of the Nobel Peace Prize committee rewarded Obama back in 2009, imagining that he ticked all the boxes in their checklist of global responsibility. That was before his indifference to the carnage in Syria would destroy his integrity, and long before he sent a letter to Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reassuring him that American attacks against ISIS in Syria would not target the Assad regime’s forces, which have continued to murder Syrians with abandon.
The greater problem is that Obama’s policies in the Middle East have primarily been built not around principles or objectives, but around avoidance. After 2011 Obama felt that he could ignore what was taking place and blithely embark on a “pivot to Asia,” only to discover that the region does not obediently adapt itself to the attention spans of American presidents.
Today, that apathy has come back to bite Obama. He has deployed troops to Iraq once again; in Syria his campaign against ISIS has marginalized those rebels willing to work with the United States, undermining U.S. aims; American relations with Turkey and Saudi Arabia, both old allies, are in a shambles, while those with Egypt have not yet recovered from the tensions raised by the Egyptian army’s forced removal of President Mohammad Morsi; Obama’s promise to advance Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations was never seriously implemented; and Obama’s opening to Iran continues to flounder, despite the president’s best efforts to find common ground with Tehran.
Virtually all these issues either took a turn for the worse or failed because Obama never gave them much time or put his personal credibility on the line to push for desirable outcomes. The president thought he had the luxury of allowing things to fester, only to realize the ensuing situations were far more damaging than he had anticipated. This was the case with the emergence of ISIS, which Obama admits he underestimated.
Politics cannot be conducted by remote control, whether in the Middle East or the United States. Obama might look back at a Democratic predecessor for a lesson. Bill Clinton had flaws, but he was a quintessential politician. When he wanted something, he got on an airplane and relentlessly pursued it. He was willing to get involved, and though he was no great foreign policy wonk, he grasped that his political effectiveness was just as dependent on what he did abroad as on what he did at home.
That kind of thinking led to the Dayton Agreement for the former Yugoslavia, the Oslo I Accord between the Palestinians and Israelis, and the Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty. It is also what made Jimmy Carter successfully negotiate the Camp David accords in 1978. Both Clinton and Carter were Democrats who, like Obama, initially sought to concentrate on domestic affairs, but who then adapted when foreign priorities beckoned.
Obama has two more years to do better. However, with a Republican House and Senate the likelihood that much will improve, or be allowed to improve, is not high. Hagel was a convenient scapegoat, but it will take much more than his exit for America to regain its foreign policy standing.
Michael Young is opinion editor of THE DAILY STAR. He tweets @BeirutCalling.
Nuclear negotiations with Iran defy easy comparison
David Ignatius| The Daily Star
Nov. 27, 2014
The Iran nuclear talks defy easy comparison: But think of a labor negotiation where it’s too costly for workers to go on strike or for management to impose a lockout, so the two sides continue without a contract while negotiations proceed.
The situation appears stable, but that’s partly because it’s at an impasse.
This collective-bargaining analogy illustrates some dynamics of the nuclear talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany. Negotiators agreed Monday to extend for seven months their efforts to reach a comprehensive pact. They’re still far apart on some details, but neither side wants a breakup.
Behind the standoff in Vienna is a deeper confrontation in Tehran. Hard-liners in Iran argue that the compromises necessary for a deal would undermine the radical Islamic Republic that was born in 1979. An agreement would signal that, as a recent cover headline in The Economist enthused (a bit prematurely): “The revolution is over.”
For the West, the stakes are also huge: Agreeing to the concessions Iran wants on enrichment of uranium could open the way for proliferation of similar nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia and other regional powers, setting off a nuclear arms race that could be catastrophic.
So each side, for different reasons, seems to agree that for now, “no deal is better than a bad deal” – with the proviso that they will keep talking. This no-deal consensus includes Israel and the Arab Gulf states.
When I was in Tehran a year ago, it was obvious that the nuclear issue had become a fundamental political and economic crossroads for Iran. Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister and chief negotiator, told me that a final agreement “can change the course of our relations with the West.” But Hossein Shariatmadari, a hard-line ally of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said accepting the West’s terms would mean capitulation for the revolution: “The problem will be solved when one side gives up its identity, only then.”
A year later, despite progress on many of the technical details that would frame an agreement, this split in Tehran still exists – hampering Zarif’s ability to offer concessions the West wants in return for lifting sanctions.
A glimpse of this internal Iranian debate came in the statements following the announcement of the extension. President Hassan Rouhani gave a televised speech Monday night that seemed designed, at once, to reassure an Iranian public that wants a deal and to lobby the hard-line faction that doesn’t.
“I am certain that we will reach the final accord, if not today, then tomorrow,” said an optimistic-sounding Rouhani. He claimed that “Iran’s logic is one of negotiations and dialogue” and that negotiators “have had some agreements behind the scenes, but putting those on paper, we are still not there yet.”
Contrast Rouhani’s upbeat comments with the stern message Tuesday from Khamenei. “On the nuclear issue, the United States and European colonialist countries gathered and applied their entire efforts to bring the Islamic Republic to its knees, but they could not and they will not.”This internal Iranian debate may be as important as the nuclear talks themselves. For it marks an inflection point between Iran’s revolutionary past and its post-revolutionary future. In the often-quoted formulation of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Iran must decide whether it’s a nation or a cause. The “nation” represented by Rouhani wants a pragmatic deal, but Khamenei’s “cause” continues to resist.
What do labor negotiators do when they reach such an impasse? One classic technique is to stress the areas of agreement that have been reached.
That’s just what Secretary of State John Kerry did Monday. He said “new ideas surfaced” in the final days of negotiation that could resolve the hardest issues. U.S. negotiators are said to be working on the pieces of a deal – the number of Iranian centrifuges, the size of their stockpile, the agreement’s duration, the framework for future modernization, the verification procedures – to reduce Iranian concerns while ensuring that even if they decided to cheat on the agreement, it would take them a year to build a bomb.
In labor bargaining, it’s economic pressure that often compels agreement. This variable seems to be working in the West’s favor. Sanctions remain in place; oil prices are low; Iranian revenues are squeezed when it’s fighting proxy wars in Iraq and Syria. If economic pressure were all that mattered, Iran would make a deal.
But as Khamenei famously said: “I am not a diplomat. I am a revolutionary.” That logic can lead people to walk away from agreements, even ones in their rational interest.
David Ignatius is published twice weekly by THE DAILY STAR.
Stop coddling Assad
The Daily Star/Nov. 27, 2014
Foreign Minister Walid Moallem’s visit to Russia comes at a critical time in the war in Syria. Some of the public statements about Moallem’s visit – particularly those highlighted by the regime in Damascus – will inevitably focus on “efforts to fight terror.” But his trip also comes after Russian officials have been busy reaching out to Syrian political and military figures from the opposition. Russia should stop holding the hand of President Bashar Assad and his inner circle and speak frankly, instead of issuing platitudes about fighting terror and complimenting Damascus’ efforts in this regard. Syrian planes bombed Raqqa Tuesday, killing dozens of people – it’s likely that half or more of the victims were civilians. Millions of people have left Syria in fear for their lives, amid the heavy-handed military and other measures that make up the regime’s “security solution” to a popular uprising. Syria’s economy is in ruins, and the country is in danger of being partitioned into frightening, chaotic mini-states. If Russia wants to play a constructive role in this mess – which has been made possible by unlimited Russian and Iranian support for Assad – it should stop taking baby steps toward a negotiated solution, and act. The period leading up to Moallem’s visit hasn’t been encouraging, especially after the Syrian authorities arrested a leading figure from the tolerated “internal opposition,” just for speaking his mind about how dire things are. Russia wants the world to know that it enjoys significant clout in Syria, and it’s time for a show of this strength – in the direction of an end to the war, and not more coddling of its ally.
Thoughts on the P5+1 Negotiations with Tehran
By: Daniel Pipes
Nov 26, 2014
Cross-posted from National Review Online, The Corner
The Nov. 24 deadline came and went for an agreement between the powers and the Islamic Republic of Iran; on that date, they managed only to extend the existing interim deal for another seven months. The ayatollah crowed and U.S. senators stewed. Looking beyond these responses, the current situation spurs several thoughts:
•If one assumes, as I do, that the apocalyptically-minded Iranian leadership will do everything it can to acquire The Bomb, then economic sanctions only serve to slow its course, not to stop it. Put more forcefully, the debate over sanctions is peripheral and even diversionary. The arcane financial and scientific minutiae of the negotiations tend to bury the only discussion that really matters – whether or not some government will use force to reverse the nuclear program.
•That said, should the 114th Congress pass legislation with a veto-proof majority, this would be an unprecedented blow against Barack Obama and would presumably serve as a low-water mark of his presidency. But this signal event for American domestic politics is unlikely to affect the Iranian program.
•Some governments (Russian, American) have the means but not the intent to destroy the Iranian facilities. Others have the intent (Saudi, Canadian) but not the means. This leaves only one player, which sort-of has the means and sort-of the intent: Israel. Given its in-between status, whether it will act is the $64,000 question. This is what preoccupies me and, I suggest, what others too should focus on.
•Israel's conundrum appears genuine: On the one hand, this is only state to have knocked out nuclear programs (and it did so twice, in 1981 and 2007); on the other, the logistical challenge and supremely high stakes make this round far more daunting.
•Not for the first time, the 8 million people of Israel have an outsized international role. There's a reason it has the highest per-capita number of foreign correspondents: whether it's classical music virtuosity, religious passions, high-tech breakthroughs, UN Security Council resolutions, or warfare, the Jewish state globally punches far above its weight.
Syria Army Kills Dozens in Ambush East of Damascus
Naharnet /Syrian troops have killed 50 "terrorists" in an ambush in the largely rebel-controlled countryside east of Damascus, according to state media. "An army unit killed 50 terrorists in an ambush while they tried to flee Mediya village," SANA news agency reported late Wednesday, using the standard official term for the rebels. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 30 people, all of them men ,had been killed in the operation, backed by fighters of Lebanon's Hizbullah. But it said it could not confirm whether all of the dead were rebels. A Hizbullah source confirmed that the group's fighters had taken part in the operation and said 30 rebels had been killed. The Shiite group has deployed thousands of fighters to Syria to support President Bashar Assad's regime against the mainly Sunni rebels.
Countryside east of Damascus known as Eastern Ghouta has remained largely in rebel hands, despite repeated efforts by the army to oust them. In August 2013, the area was hit by a string of chemical weapons attacks that killed hundreds of people.
The attacks sparked U.S. threats of military action that were defused only by the government's agreement to dismantle its chemical arsenal. Associated Press