LCCC ENGLISH DAILY
Bible Quotation For Today/Praise for Spiritual Blessings in Christ
Ephesians01/01-15: "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
editorials from miscellaneous sources published on November 28-29/14
The Myth of 'Deradicalizing' Islamic Radicals/Tarek Fatah/November 28/14
Iran is a nation with two governments/Amir Taheri /Asharq Al Awsat/November 28/14
Lieberman's 'peace plan': Pay Israeli Arabs to move to Palestinian state/Barak Ravid/Haaretz/November 28/14
Lebanese Related News
published on November 28-29/14
Centenarian Lebanese poet, writer Said Akl dies
Lebanese Constitutional Council rejects Parliament extension challenge
Nusra reissues threat to kill captive tonight unless prisoner freed
Town mourns woman murdered by estranged husband
Nostalgic Salam opens first page of Lebanon book fair
Ski slopes still shut, but probably not for long
Former terror suspect recalls Roumieh hell
Lebanon's security requires both arms and dialogue: defense minister
Khalil determined to pass draft budget
Nusra to kill captive unless Lebanon frees female
Hezbollah advised government on hostage tactics
Hariri: Consensus president sole solution
Le Telegraphe, Bhamdoun’s best kept secret Salam’s Brussels visit gains gravity
Armenian peacekeepers arrive in Lebanon Police remove south Lebanon highway food stands
Disgraced Jumblatt aide jailed 2 years, fined $3.45M in corruption case
Aoun vows to stand his ground in presidency bid
Presidential elections needed now more than ever
Lebanese downbeat about country: poll
Intervention averts execution o Lebanese Captive soldier
March 8 praises Hariri’s support of dialogue
Will food scandal lead to animal welfare law?
Miscellaneous Reports And News published on
Pope urges more Muslim opposition to ISIS in Turkey
Pope: I fear an escalation in the Holy Land
Officers killed, over 100 arrested in Egypt
France to recognize Palestine if talks fail
UNRWA declares state of emergency in Gaza
Thanksgiving feast for North American Olim
Turkey denies harboring Hamas terror command
Presidential elections needed now more than ever
GCC approves launch of “Gulf Interpol”
Nigeria mosque blasts: 92 dead at one hospital morgue: AFP reporter
Gulf between blocs delays electoral law
Destitute forced to collect wood for heating
Saudis block OPEC cuts, oil price falling
March into middle ages
Below Jihad Watch Posts For Thursday
Ireland: Muslim told Jihad Jane he was a “devoted jihadist”
UK jihadists funded by welfare benefits
UK Muslims arrested on suspicion of Syria-related jihad terror offenses
Egypt: Friday protest for “Islamic identity and Sharia”
UK: Muslima charged with encouraging terrorism on Twitter
Is Allah the same as the God of the Bible? — on The Glazov Gang
Pakistan: Muslims expel all Christians from village
Real Madrid drops cross from club crest to appease Abu Dhabi bank
Islamic State to Ferguson protesters: “We love you, and we will help you”
Syria: Jihadists murder man accused of insulting Muhammad
UK: Peer reported to Lords Speaker for noting Rigby killer was Qur’an-inspired
The Myth of 'Deradicalizing' Islamic
by Tarek Fatah
The Toronto Sun
November 25, 2014
Originally published under the title "The Myth of 'De-radicalization' of Islamic Radicals."
On Monday, I appeared before the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence. The committee is studying the question of security threats to Canada as well as 'deradicalization' efforts being promoted by the RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police].
I suggested to the senators that 'deradicalization' initiatives by Canada's security agencies were doomed to failure because the very men and women partnering with the RCMP in this exercise were not just part of the problem, but in many ways the cause of radicalization.
For example, in mosques across Canada, our Friday congregation begins with a prayer to Allah for a victory of Muslims over the kufaar (Christians, Jews and Hindus). In such a climate, relying on Islamic religious clerics and Islamists to fight radicalization is like employing the fox to guard the chicken coop.
Some senators looked at me with incredulity, taken aback by what I had said.
I suggested to the senators that some Islamic clerics are taking us for a ride. For example, a Canadian cleric, a white convert to Islam who is touted as a 'deradicalization counsellor' by the RCMP, was last week in the Gulf Emirate of Qatar, holding meetings with the leadership of the Taliban.
On his Facebook page, this RCMP deradicalization counsellor wrote: "I am meeting with the head of the Taliban Embassy in Doha, Qatar and we are working on a treaty that would state clearly that the Taliban (mujahideen) don't condone vigilante violence, criminal acts or terrorism in non-Muslim countries."
Deradicalization, I told the senators, was just an empty meaningless word. The real challenge was to prevent radicalization and this required confronting the rhetoric of political Islam rather than appeasing those who fanned religiosity and made Muslims believe their first loyalty was to Islam, not their community of fellow Canadians and Canada.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, most Muslim Canadians do not consider their mosque imams to be their community leaders.
"To ask 'former radicals' to deradicalize radical Islamists is like asking Marxists to convert Communists into liberal democrats," I told the committee.
It also seemed the senators were surprised to hear that, contrary to conventional wisdom, most Muslim Canadians do not consider their mosque imams to be their community leaders. In fact, most Muslims are not linked to any mosque whatsoever.
One senator asked, if not the clerics, who were the real leaders of the community?
She seemed surprised when I said "members of parliament" and those elected to lead us.
The challenge, I said, is to prevent radicalization and the way to do so was to:
1. Lay hate speech charges against any Muslim cleric who hides behind religious rights as he attacks and demonizes other religious faiths or people of no faith at all.
2. Every mosque must be monitored for such hate speech where the word 'kuffar' is invoked to hide the real target — Hindus, Christians and Jews.
3. Any mosque indulging in active politics must have its charitable status revoked.
4. Donations of more than $20 at all religious institutions must be made by cheque or credit card to cut off the possibility of money laundering.
5. Ally with anti-Islamist Muslims from among the victims of Islamist oppression — the Kurds, Baloch, Darfuris and Iranian exiles.
6. Treat the PKK (Kurdish Workers Party) and the MeK (Iranian Resistance) as allies, not adversaries.
And finally I recommended that immigration from Pakistan, Somalia, Iran, Iraq and Syria must be suspended until Canada can be assured that security documents, identity papers and university degrees cannot be bought on the black market or from state agencies.
**Tarek Fatah is a founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, a columnist at the Toronto Sun, host of a Sunday afternoon talk show on Toronto's NewsTalk1010 AM Radio, and a Robert J. and Abby B. Levine Fellow at the Middle East Forum. He is the author of two award-winning books: Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State and The Jew is Not My Enemy: Unveiling the Myths that Fuel Muslim Anti-Semitism.
Centenarian Lebanese poet, writer Said Akl dies
The Daily Star/Nov. 28, 2014 /BEIRUT: Centenarian Lebanese poet, playwright and language reformer Said Akl died Friday. “Lebanon and the Arabs lost today a giant of poetry... May God’s mercy be on Said Akel,” tweeted former Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Marada party leader and MP Sleiman Frangieh reacted to Akl’s passing by tweeting “Lebanon’s Akl (Arabic for intellect) in God’s hands.” Akl, considered one of the most important modern Lebanese poets, was born in 1911 to a Maronite Catholic family in the city of Zahle, Lebanon. A staunch advocate of Lebanese identity and nationalism, Akl is famous for his design of a Latin-based “Lebanese alphabet” made up of 37 letters. His writings include poetry and prose both in Lebanese dialect and in classical Arabic language. He also wrote theater pieces and authored many popular songs and pan-Arab anthems.
downbeat about country: poll
Ghinwa Obeid| The Daily Star/Nov. 29, 2014
BEIRUT, Lebanon: More than three-quarters of Lebanese think the economic situation in Lebanon is extremely poor, according to a recent poll, and perceptions were even worse when it came to the political situation. Some 77 percent of Lebanese believe the Lebanon’s economy is very bad, 22 said that it was bad, while just 1 percent see the situation as good. Worryingly, 30 percent of those surveyed said their family income was not covering their needs and that they were having financial trouble. The results of the Arab Index study, which was conducted from January to July of 2014 and included 26,618 respondents from 14 different Arab countries, were announced Friday in a news conference held by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies. The Arab Index is a poll that documents and analyzes Arab public opinion on various issues including the economy, politics and democracy. The 2014 poll was preceded by two similar surveys in 2011 and 2012/13. Believed to be one of the biggest survey projects in the Arab world, the poll interviewed 1,492 people in Lebanon alone. According to the report, 60 percent of all those surveyed evaluated their countries’ economic situation as negative, compared to 38 percent who had a positive outlook, such as residents of Algeria, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. That figure is up compared to the 2012/2013 poll. “As much as there are things in common in the Arab public opinion, the results have shown for the third time that there are things particular to every country,” said Mohammad Masri, the coordinator of the public opinion unit at the center.
“The Arab public opinion reflects similarities but at the same time, there are distinctions in some major issues,” Masri added. This is evidenced by the fact that Lebanon differs greatly from other countries on a number of issues.
Some 99 percent of respondents in Lebanon evaluated the political situation as either bad or very bad. “The variance [between Lebanon and other countries] isn’t in all questions; there are similar things,” Masri said. “Of course there’s a special formation in Lebanon and there are different conditions.”“There’s no doubt that the sectarian political form that’s present in Lebanon prompts the Lebanese to have a different orientation,” Masri said. One of the commonalities between Lebanon and many countries in the region, however, was that the majority of participants in Iraq, Yemen, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Palestine and Sudan all deemed the political situation negative as well. Still, despite the regional turmoil that has arisen as a result of a series of national protests, civil wars, coups and changes in leadership known as the “Arab Spring,” there was only a small overall decrease in those who thought the political situation was positive. “The percentage of those saying that the political situation is either good or very good has dropped from 39 percent in last year’s index survey to 36 percent for 2014,” read the report. Those who saw the current status as either very bad or bad rose from 53 percent last year to 59 percent this year.
Intervention averts execution o Lebanese Captive soldier
Hashem Osseiran| The Daily Star/Nov. 29, 2014
BEIRUT: The execution of a captive soldier being held on the Syrian border was averted Friday after General Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim negotiated through mediators with Nusra Front jihadis to compel them to call off the killing, a source at General Security told The Daily Star. And early Saturday, the Lebanese government issues a statement saying authorities were doing everything in their power to preserve the safety and the lives of the kidnapped soldiers and policemen.
The source said that after Ibrahim intervened, the Nusra Front went back on its threat issued Thursday to execute soldier Ali Bazzal within 24 hours if the government failed to release a female terror suspect.
Ibrahim contacted mediators who attempted to persuade the captors to keep Bazzal alive, the source said.
Bazzal’s wife, Rana Fliti, told The Daily Star in a phone interview that an Arsal Sheikh Mustafa Hujeiri had traveled to the outskirts of the town around 6:15 p.m. to meet with the captors in an attempt to save his life. Fliti slammed the government for not being responsive, saying that not a single member of the crisis cell tasked with overseeing the hostage case was responding to her calls, or updating her on the situation. She expressed hope that her husband would return safely and said she had full confidence in Hujeiri. The Nusra Front Friday reissued its threat to execute Bazzal. “Eight hours are left for the release of Joumana Hmeid before carrying out the death [sentence] against the captive Ali Bazzal,” a statement on a Nusra Twitter page read. The threat was posted around 3:30 p.m., meaning the deadline was around 11:30 p.m. The statement came after Nusra threatened Thursday to execute one of the 26 Lebanese captives being held by jihadis on the northeast border unless Lebanon release Hmeid within 24 hours.
The statement said that if the government wanted to prove that it was willing to carry out serious negotiations then it should release Hmeid as a “goodwill gesture.”Hmeid was formally charged by Military Prosecutor Saqr Saqr over involvement with Al-Qaeda-linked groups, after she was caught driving a car rigged with 50 kilograms of explosives on the Arsal-Labweh road last February. Hmeid is the first woman to be accused of complicity with a terrorist organization since the spate of car bombs and suicide attacks targeted areas seen as sympathetic to Hezbollah over the past year and a half. Earlier Friday, police used water canon to disperse families of hostages who had blocked a vital Beirut highway. The protest came a day after the Nusra Front gave the government 24 hours to release Hmeid.
Families have been blocking roads across the country since the servicemen were abducted in August during a battle with jihadis in the northeast border town of Arsal, but the protest Friday morning was the first time police used force to break one up.
Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk appeared to support the police move, vowing not to let relatives of the 26 Lebanese hostages block any more roads. “We will not be the hostages of the captives’ whims,” Machnouk told a news conference.
“Roads will not be blocked after today because this is not the solution for the return of the servicemen,” he added. The families of the servicemen called for Machnouk’s resignation. “If my resignation would free the hostages, I’m ready,” the interior minister said, while stressing that Prime Minister Tammam Salam and the government has spared no effort to resolve the hostage crisis. Referring to the Islamist militants holding the hostages, Machnouk said that “these are criminal groups that want to intimidate the families by sending them instructions.”Health Minister Wael Abu Faour, however, urged security forces not to use violence. Abu Faour, who has maintained cordial relations with the families, acting as a liaison between them and a crisis cell tasked with following up on the hostage crisis, slammed what he called an excessive use of force. Around 8 a.m., the protesters faced off against dozens of policemen before they were able to form a human chain to block Charles Helou Highway, which leads from Karantina into Downtown Beirut, in both directions.
“The assault that the families of captives were subject to today is shameful to the state,” Abu Faour said, insisting that the protesters were set to reopen roads on their own before the scuffle. “It’s a demonstration of brute and failed force [used] in the wrong place,” he added.
Abu Faour also said that he hoped such a force was used to liberate the captives rather than in a “pseudo heroic [action] against the families.”But later in the day, the families returned to the highway and blocked it again after the Nusra Front reissued the threat to execute Bazzal in a tweet. The captors routinely call the families and order them to block certain roads and hold demonstrations, often threatening to kill the hostages if they fail to comply. Machnouk urged the hostage families to ignore the kidnappers “who intend to destroy the country, block roads and disrupt peoples’ businesses.”MP Walid Jumblatt criticized the attack, saying in a tweet: “Those people [protesters] have nothing but the shirts on their backs, while others block roads with real and fake motorcades,” in reference to politicians who have barricades set up around their homes and official buildings for security, causing traffic nightmares for many
Aoun vows to stand his ground in presidency bid
Hasan Lakkis/The Daily Star/Nov. 29, 2014
BEIRUT: MP Michel Aoun vowed Friday to keep pushing for the presidential seat, defying former Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s call for the election of a consensus candidate as the only solution to break the six-month-old presidential impasse.
The leader of the Free Patriotic Movement, who also heads the largest Christian bloc in Parliament, insisted that he was the most popular Christian candidate, and the only one who could win over March 14 votes.
He scoffed at local and foreign calls for rival Maronite leaders to agree on a consensus candidate for the country’s top Christian post.
“Let them stop talking about an agreement among the Christians. There is one faction that could secure a two-thirds majority with March 14 and that is the Change and Reform bloc,” Aoun told The Daily Star in a sit-down interview at his residence in Rabieh, north of Beirut.
The FPM enjoys the widest Christian following and Change and Reform is the largest Christian bloc in Parliament, he added, hinting that he was the only viable candidate for the presidency, which has been vacant for over six months.
“It is not easy to tell a person I want to negotiate with you in order to oust you. This is disrespect and insolence,” Aoun said in a reference to March 14 calls for talks with the FPM leader over the presidency. “You cannot tell me I want to talk with you about the manner to oust you in order to search for another person in your place.”
Aoun’s comments came one day after Hariri said a consensus candidate was the only solution to end the presidential deadlock in the country. In an interview with LBCI TV at his Paris residence Thursday night, Hariri said Aoun could not be elected president because he was opposed by the March 14 coalition, which has nominated his Christian rival, Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea, for the presidency.
Officials from the FPM and Hariri’s Future Movement have held several rounds of talks earlier this year to discuss the presidency.
Aoun, who had met Hariri in Paris, was seeking the Future Movement’s support for his presidential bid.
During the talks with Hariri, Aoun said, “we did not sign any contract or agreement that promised me that I would become the president.’
Aoun, whose bloc along with that of Hezbollah and March 8 allies have thwarted a quorum in Parliament since April to choose a president, vowed not to facilitate the election of a successor to former President Michel Sleiman, whose six-year term ended on May 25.
“I am not stopping anyone to go to elect a president. But I will not join them. They have betrayed me five times in a row,” he said.
Nonetheless, Aoun believed the Future-led March 14 could work with Aoun better than any other Christian leader.
He said that he would not let down the wide Christian backing he enjoys, lamenting that the presidency was taken from him in 2008 when the foreign ministers of Western countries allegedly told him he was their preferred candidate.
Aoun claimed that foreign ministers from the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Italy, as well as then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy, had all told him that they wanted to see him as president.
However, Sleiman was chosen as president instead, he said, because the decision was made that “Christian and Sunni representation needed to be harmonized.”
Aoun, who claimed that Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal had vetoed his candidacy for the presidency, blamed “people trusted by the kingdom” for the minister’s stance.
He refused to disclose the sources for the alleged Saudi veto. However, the FPM leader said he did not rule out a change in the Saudi stance on his candidacy. “I did not harm anyone and I want the Saudis’ friendship wherever I am. I am not in discord with anyone in Saudi Arabia,” he added.
Aoun, whose bloc has filed a challenge with the Constitutional Council against the extension of Parliament’s mandate for two years and seven months, described the council’s rejection of the appeal as “a catastrophe.”
“This council will face a historic verdict and a national verdict [because it did not annul the extension],” he said.
The 10-member Constitutional Council Friday unanimously rejected the challenge against the extension of Parliament’s mandate, saying its decision was designed to prevent further vacuums in state institutions.
Aoun called for respecting the Constitution, saying this did not exist as constitutional amendments had been made in the past for presidential election purposes.
“Violating and amending the Constitution have taken place in several stages. With the election of Michel Sleiman, they violated the entire Constitution,” he said. He added that he only demanded a constitutional amendment that allowed the election of the president directly by the people.
Aoun rejected calls by his political opponents to become a key voter in the presidential election and withdraw from the race as part of Plan B.
“If they wanted this, I am not Hariri. The same criteria should be applied to the president of the republic, the Parliament speaker and the prime minister,” he said.
He added that the country could not move forward when Najib Mikati was named prime minister in 2012, replacing Hariri, “because he was besieged internally and externally.”
“Representation should be given to all sects. ... We are aware of the situation. But this is the second time in which they try to strike me as I was deprived during the mandate of a president to whom I granted a Christian cover,” Aoun said. “Their previous promises were a conspiracy against me. Based on this, once bitten, twice shy.”
On the planned dialogue between Hezbollah and the Future Movement, Aoun said: “I believe in the freedom of meetings. Everyone works for his interests. If there was an agreement between us and Hezbollah, it is because we consider that the country needs security. The security we achieved in the country was more consensual than official security. There was a different balance of power. There was a security consensus and we blended the will with force.”
Asked to comment on his call for “existential integration” with Hezbollah, Aoun said: “I have explained this word and it was shameful to interpret it differently. They want me to stay away from Hezbollah so that I can be accepted. Those have forgotten what happened to the Kataeb in 1975. Besieging any party that has power might [cause an explosion].”
Aoun rejected charges that he was against the Sunni community in Lebanon, saying he spoke only about two Sunni employees whom he accused of violating the law.
Lebanese Constitutional Council rejects Parliament
Nov. 28, 2014/The Daily Star
BEIRUT: The Constitutional Council Friday rejected a challenge filed by MP Michel Aoun’s Change and Reform bloc contesting Parliament’s vote to extend its mandate by more than two and a half years. “The decision was made to prevent further power vacuums in state institutions,” a statement at the end of the meeting said. Lawmakers from the rival political coalitions – March 8 and March 14 – as well as independent MPs voted earlier this month to extend Parliament’s mandate for two years and seven months by a 95-2 margin.
The move prompted Aoun’s bloc, whose MPs boycotted the vote, to file a challenge against the extension with the Constitutional Council. The council statement said that despite rejecting the appeal, it believes that the principle of holding periodic elections “should not be breached,” and said tying elections to a new electoral law violates the Constitution. It called for “immediate” parliamentary elections once the extraordinary circumstances that prevented the elections from taking place cease to exist. “Elections should be held immediately ... without having to wait until the extension has expired," the statement said. It said crippling state institutions, especially the presidency, “is a flagrant violation of the Constitution.” The bloc filed a similar challenge last year after Parliament voted to extend its term by 17 months, but the council failed to meet at that time over a lack of quorum. A minimum of eight members is needed to issue any valid decision by the 10-member council, which is evenly split between Muslims and Christians. The Civil Movement for Accountability, which opposed the extension, conceded defeat after the council decision, a bitter loss for the group after relentless lobbying. “We have lost again the second battle against extension because we are facing a political class that has violated its authority,” read a statement released by the NGO after the council’s rejection of the appeal. Fear of an institutional void does not serve as a legitimate reason to reject the appeal, the CMA said, arguing that “what we are living today is a void itself.”The council started looking into the challenge last week amid protests by civil society activists who called on the judges to annul Parliament’s decision.
Nusra reissues threat to kill captive
tonight unless prisoner freed
Nov. 28, 2014/Hashem Osseiran| The Daily Star
BEIRUT: The Nusra Front Friday reissued its threat to execute a Lebanese captive in the evening unless the government frees a female terror suspect. “Eight hours are left for the release of Joumana Hmeid before carrying out the death [sentence] against the captive Ali Bazzal,” read a statement on a Nusra Twitter page. The threat was posted around 3:30 p.m., meaning the deadline was around 11:30 p.m. Rana Fliti, wife of Bazzal, told The Daily Star in a phone interview that an Arsal sheikh had traveled to the outskirts of the town around 6:15 p.m. to meet with the captors in an attempt to save his life. Fliti slammed the government for not being responsive, saying that not a single member of the crisis cell tasked with overseeing the hostage case was responding to her calls, or updating her on the situation.
She expressed hope that her husband would return safely and said she had full confidence in Sheikh Mustafa Hujeiri, a former mediator who has helped families of the hostages visit them. He was also credited, along with Health Minister Wael Abu Faour, of saving other captives that the jihadis had threatened to execute. The statement came after Nusra threatened Thursday to execute one of the 26 Lebanese captives being held by jihadis on the northeast border unless Lebanon release Hmeid within 24 hours. The statement said that if the government wanted to prove that it was willing to carry out serious negotiations then it should release Hmeid as a “good will gesture.”Hmeid was formally charged by Military Prosecutor Saqr Saqr over involvement with Al-Qaeda-linked groups, after she was caught driving a car rigged with 50 kilograms of explosives on the Arsal-Labweh road last February. Hmeid is the first woman to be accused of complicity with a terrorist organization since the spate of car bombs and suicide attacks targeted areas seen as sympathetic to Hezbollah over the past year and a half.
Nostalgic Salam opens first page of
Lebanon book fair
The Daily Star/Nov. 28, 2014 /BEIRUT: Prime Minister Tammam Salam Friday opened the 58th annual Arabic Book Fair with an air of nostalgia as he recalled a younger version of himself hunched over books his father had given him. “When I was young, my late father Saeb Salam put me in a room after handing me three books, and would prevent me from leaving before I read and summarized them,” Salam said in the opening ceremony which took place in Biel, Beirut. Salam alluded to the fact that his father was a fan of the late French novelist Victor Hugo, given that two of the three novels he was handed were the Romantic-Gothic novel the The Hunchback of Notre-Dame and the historical novel Les Miserables, both of which were written by the renowned French author.
The third book, also a celebrated classic, was Ernest Hemingway’s novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls. “This was my first lesson in the school of Saeb Salam and the beginning of my relationship with the book,” Salam said. Even with the overwhelming workload of a Prime Minister, Salam still “steals time away from work” in order to bask in a book, he added. In further reminiscence, the premier recalled a quote he had heard from his father, in which he says “politics is the source of ignorance.”
According to Salam, the meaning behind the quote involves the fact that politics consumes so much of an individual’s time that it prevents them from enjoying a book and its benefits. “In days like these, ignorance has become abundant,” he said in reference to the quote, while stressing that the noble meaning behind politics had been lost to narrow personal interest of politicians that overlook the needs of the state. Writers and intellectuals, however, will preserve Lebanon’s “exceptional” role in innovative liberal thinking, he concluded.
Lebanon's security requires both arms
and dialogue: defense minister
The Daily Star/Nov. 28, 2014/BEIRUT: Lebanon requires both weapons and political dialogue to protect the country, Defense Minister Samir Moqbel said Friday. Equipping Lebanon with arms is necessary but there is an “equal need” for all “rivals to meet over dialogue in order to agree over commonalities and central national issues,” Moqbel said during a ceremony held in honor of the Lebanese-Emirate day. The provisions of civil peace should serve as the Lebanese’s top concern. Two other issues that follow in importance are counterterrorism and the need to resolve the Syrian refugee crisis. Hezbollah and the Future Movement are expected to launch dialogue after Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Hezbollah Chief Hasan Nasrallah expressed their willingness to talk. Hariri Thursday said that he strongly supported a long-awaited dialogue between his Future Movement and Hezbollah.
Police remove south Lebanon highway
Mohammed Zaatari| The Daily Star/Nov. 28, 2014/SIDON, Lebanon: Police Friday dismantled dozens of tents and kiosks that used to sell goods to motorists along the south Lebanon highway between Zahrani and Abu al-Aswad near Sidon, drawing angry reactions from the poor vendors. A security source told The Daily Star that the move was taken as a security precaution since the road is used by the Lebanese Army and UN peacekeeping force, UNIFIL. Police used force against vendors who resisted they the destruction of their tents and wooden kiosks that sold snacks, beverages, fruits and vegetables. Some vendors set fire to their own structures to prevent the security forces from destroying them, while others submitted to the police, and dismantled their tents.
Others burned tires on the highway to protest the closure. The source said the new measure was implemented in agreement with Hezbollah and the Amal Movement, which are the dominant powers in the south. The parties agreed that the kiosks could be used to stage attacks, according to the source. Similar measures were implemented along Sidon’s coastal road a year ago to facilitate UNIFIL’s movement. U.N. peacekeepers have been targeted on more than one occasion by roadside bombs planted on the highway since 2006.
Disgraced Jumblatt aide jailed 2
years, fined $3.45M in corruption case
The Daily Star/Nov. 28, 2014/BEIRUT: Disgraced businessman Bahij Abu Hamzeh was sentenced Friday to two years in jail and ordered to pay $3.45 million over charges of breach of trust and embezzling funds from the Safa football team, which is sponsored by MP Walid Jumblatt, judicial sources told The Daily Star. Friday’s decision marks the first sentence issued against Abu Hamzeh, the former head of the board of trustees of Safa, who is facing several lawsuits by Safa and Jumblatt. Abu Hamzeh’s lawyers have been petitioning for charges against the defendant to be dropped. The case was filed by the chairman of the Safa football team Issam Sayegh representing his team. Abu Hamzeh was earlier charged with impersonating Sayegh by forging documents and using the counterfeit papers, but that case was dismissed, a judicial source told The Daily Star. Abu Hamzeh still faces several other charges filed by Jumblatt. The lawsuits are the culmination of a dramatic deterioration of relations between Jumblatt and Abu Hamzeh, who used to run Jumlatt's real estate endeavors and managed his private properties for more than two decades. Abu Hamzeh’s family has consistently worked for the Jumblatt family over the past century. In one of the lawsuits filed by Jumblatt, he accused Abu Hamzeh and business partner Hussein Bdeir of selling him a piece of land that did not actually exist. Abu Hamzeh is a chemical engineer and a Middle East agent for the U.S. pharmaceutical company Upjohn, Abu Hamzeh lived in Paris before moving to Lebanon in 1987 at the request of Jumblatt in order to manage the PSP chief’s companies. he former head of the Association of Oil Importing Companies and served as the head of Safa’s board of trustees.
Pope urges more Muslim opposition to
ISIS in Turkey
Nicole WinfieldSuzan Fraser| Associated Press
Nov. 28, 2014
ANKARA: Pope Francis condemned ISIS' assault on Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq and Syria, as he arrived Friday in Turkey to encourage Muslim leaders to take a stronger stand against extremists who twist religion to justify terrorism.
Francis sought to offer a balanced message as he met with Turkish officials upon his arrival in Ankara, his second trip to the Middle East this year. He reaffirmed that military force was justified to halt the extremists' advance, but called for greater dialogue between Christians, Muslims and people of all faiths to end fundamentalism.
"Fanaticism and fundamentalism, as well as irrational fears which foster misunderstanding and discrimination, need to be countered by the solidarity of all believers," Francis told Turkish officials at President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's massive new presidential palace.
Francis praised Turkey's welcome of some 1.6 million refugees and said the international community had the "moral obligation" to help Ankara provide for them.
The three-day visit comes at a sensitive moment for the Muslim nation, as it weighs how to respond to the ISIS advance amid U.S. calls to get more engaged with the international coalition fighting the extremists.
Turkey has accused the Islamic militant group of casting a shadow over Islam and has said Muslim countries have a duty to stand up against the group's radical views. Turkey is still negotiating with the United States over helping the coalition: Turkey has been pressing for a safe haven and a no-fly zone along the Syrian border with Turkey and also wants the coalition to go after Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.
In his remarks to Francis, Erdogan complained about rising Islamophobia in the West and said prejudices against Muslims were helping fuel radical Islamic groups in the Middle East and Africa.
"Those who feel defeated, wronged, oppressed and abandoned ... can become open to being exploited by terror organizations," Erdogan said.
He said he hoped Francis' visit would strengthen ties between Christians and Muslims, but the pope's visit was met largely with indifference in the Muslim nation.
"I don't know what a Catholic leader is doing in a Muslim country," said Akay Incebacak, an Istanbul resident ahead of Friday prayers at the Sisli Mosque. "We need to discuss whether our religious leaders are welcome or met with that much respect abroad."
The pope was greeted at Ankara's Esenboga Airport by a line of Turkish dignitaries, headed by Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, as he descended the steps of his plane. He inspected and greeted Turkish honor guards before heading to the mausoleum of the Turkish republic's founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, where he laid a wreath.
"My wish is that Turkey, which is a natural bridge between the two continents, is not just a point of intersection, but at the same time a point where men and women belonging to all cultures, ethnicity and religion live together in dialogue," Francis wrote in a guest book at the mausoleum. Beyond the geopolitical issues, the three-day visit will give Francis a chance to reach out to Turkey's tiny Christian community - less than 1 percent of Turks are Catholic - and visit with the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I. Francis will tour two of Istanbul's most impressive sites, the Hagia Sophia - the Byzantine church-turned-mosque that is now a museum - and the nearby Sultan Ahmet mosque, Turkey's most important place of Muslim worship. The Vatican's plans call for him to pause in the mosque for a moment of "reflection."
The Vatican added a speech to Francis' itinerary Sunday at an event in which some Syrian refugees are expected to attend. The absence of any meeting with a group of refugees had raised eyebrows given that Francis had met with refugees in Jordan and in the Palestinian territories and has made welcoming refugees a major thrust of his papacy.
Security was tight: Turkish media reports said some 2,700 police officers would be on duty during the Ankara leg of the trip alone, and that a court had issued an order allowing police to stop and search cars and carry out random identity checks on people along routes used by the pope. Francis waded into some local controversy when he became the first head of state to be received by Erdogan at his huge new palace in Ankara, a 1,000-room complex on once-protected farmland and forest that dwarfs the White House and other European government palaces. Francis, whose Spartan living conditions are well-known, met with the president and prime minister and delivered a speech to Turkish dignitaries and diplomats at the $620 million White Palace.
The Vatican dismissed a request by the Ankara branch of the Turkish Chamber of Architects to boycott the meeting, saying Francis would be received wherever the government chose to receive him.
March into middle ages
Nov. 28, 2014/The Daily Star
The unfolding situation in Yemen looks set to secure the country among the world’s failed states, but in such a way that it will make Somalia appear like Sweden.
Even before the Houthi rebels took over the capital Sanaa in September, the country was on shaky ground. With one of the most militarized civilian populations in the world, where the vast majority of individuals own a gun, Al-Qaeda is making gains across the country, mainly in the south, where the U.S. is involved in drone operations and more. There is no rule of law and dozens of deaths go unreported, with tribal tensions leading to even more violence across the country.
The former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, is still hanging around – the only dethroned Arab Spring leader not to have been killed, sent into exile or jailed – and many believe he has a hand in the current Houthi advances, and seeks to capitalize on the disorder and perhaps make a comeback. Recently added to a U.S. sanctions list, he clearly hasn’t exactly retired from politics, and it appears he still commands an armed force. And everywhere, we see foreign interference, with external players seeking to manipulate affairs in Yemen for their own advantage, and strengthen their position in the region. Nothing is being done with the priorities of Yemenis in mind, in a replica of a scenario we have seen elsewhere the Middle East.
It appears that the only hope now is for an internal reconciliation to be found, as unlikely as that seems right now. But at the same time, the international community must stop ignoring the growing crisis in Yemen as if it might simply disappear, and act with decisiveness and swiftness if and when intervention on the ground is needed.
Hariri: Consensus president sole solution
Hashem Osseiran/Hussein Dakroub/The Daily Star
Nov. 28, 2014
BEIRUT: The election of a consensus candidate is the only solution to end the political deadlock that has left Lebanon without a president for more than six months, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri said Thursday.
Hariri also strongly supported a long-awaited dialogue between his Future Movement and Hezbollah, saying the talks with the influential Shiite party were designed to defuse Sunni-Shiite tensions and shield the country against security threats linked to the war in Syria.
He said Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun could not be elected president because he was opposed by the March 14 coalition, which has nominated Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea for the country’s top Christian post.
“Gen. Michel Aoun has a problem with the March 14 coalition. Since there is no consensus over Michel Aoun, and no consensus over Samir Geagea, then let’s go for a consensus president,” Hariri said during a sit-down interview at his Paris residence with LBCI TV Thursday night. “A consensus president is the solution in Lebanon.”
“The consensus candidate is one that everyone agrees upon, a candidate that everyone supports to revive the country, a candidate that could address the country’s problems and could hold talks with everyone,” Hariri said, adding that the main function of dialogue would be to express the need for a consensus candidate.
The head of the Future Movement said he was serious about holding dialogue with Hezbollah to serve Lebanon’s interest.
“Dialogue [with Hezbollah] is important and it should take place. I am serious about dialogue. I am for a serious dialogue in the national interest. I want the election of a president in order for the economy to recover,” Hariri said, adding: “One of the most important reasons for going to dialogue is to contain Sunni-Shiite tensions.”
Hariri cited Hezbollah’s military intervention in Syria, its arsenal, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon which is investigating former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri’s 2005 assassination, and Hezbollah’s arming of the “Resistance Brigades” as key contentious issues with the party.
He said the planned dialogue was not designed to offer a political cover for Hezbollah’s intervention in Syria, adding that the Future Movement’s stance on the conflict in Syria was to support the Syrian people and the opposition.
“We support the Syrians’ struggle for freedom. We are against the regime,” Hariri said. He predicted the eventual downfall of President Bashar Assad’s regime.
Hariri warned that his party could not tolerate a candidate who would maintain relations with Assad, saying that he had lost legitimacy and only remained standing because of support from Iran.
Commenting on an Iranian military gift to the Lebanese Army, which the government has not yet accepted, Hariri said the best gift Iran can give to Lebanon is to tell Hezbollah to withdraw from Syria.
Hariri said Speaker Nabih Berri and MP Walid Jumblatt were working to get the Future-Hezbollah dialogue started. He said efforts were underway to prepare the dialogue agenda. He ruled out a meeting for now between him and Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah, saying that dialogue would be attended first by officials from both parties.
“The dialogue [with Hezbollah] would not go into names of possible candidates. It would just stress the need for a consensus candidate,” he added.
The presidency has been stalled due to a boycott of the presidential vote by Aoun’s bloc and the Hezbollah-led March 8 alliance over the lack of a consensus candidate.
Hariri has been living in self-imposed exile between France and Saudi Arabia for more than three years over security concerns. He returned to Lebanon for a brief visit in August after the clashes in the northeast border town of Arsal between the Army and militants, announcing a $1 billion military grant from Saudi Arabia.
It was the second major Saudi grant to Lebanese security forces announced within a few months of each other. In December, then-President Michel Sleiman announced a $3 billion Saudi aid package to the Lebanese Army.
Hariri praised King Abdullah bin Abdel-Aziz, saying the Saudi grants would benefit all the Lebanese.
He said the Army and other security institutions would receive 30 military aircraft and acquire the military equipment that was requested.
Hariri added that he returned to Lebanon for a brief stay in August because he was concerned about the security situation, and for reasons related to the Saudi grant, promising to return to Lebanon “very soon.”
Hariri flatly rejected any proposal to coordinate between the Lebanese and Syrian armies amid the rise of jihadi groups like ISIS and the Nusra Front.
“Any coordination should take place with the [Syrian] opposition that rejects ISIS and that also rejects Bashar Assad.”
Asked about October’s north Lebanon clashes between the Army and Islamist militants that killed at least 43 people, including eight civilians and 11 soldiers, Hariri said that the military did well, but could have done better.
He said that he was against any March 14 figure who spoke against the Army. That includes controversial north Lebanon lawmaker Khaled Daher, who has repeatedly denounced Army actions, accusing it of targeting Sunnis.
“Sunni moderation is a part of Lebanese moderation,” Hariri said, arguing that after his father’s assassination, the Sunni community did not resort to terrorism or extremism. “Historically the Sunnis in Lebanon have been the moderates,” the former premier said.
First Armenian peacekeeping mission
arrives in Lebanon
The Daily Star/Nov. 27, 2014/BEIRUT: The first Armenian peacekeeping contingent has arrived in Lebanon as part of the UNIFIL mission along the southern region bordering Israel. The Armenian Embassy in Lebanon told The Daily Star that the 32-strong contingent departed Wednesday night from Armenia and that the unit was the first to serve in Lebanon. While Armenia has been part of several U.N. peacekeeping forces since 2004, the country has long opposed sending troops to Lebanon, over concerns for the large Armenian community in Lebanon. The issue was broached during Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan's visit to Lebanon in 2012, and Armenia has had an observer in UNIFIL in preparation for the contingent's arrival. According to Arka News Agency, the Armenian Parliament ratified a technical agreement of cooperation signed by the Italian and Armenian Defense ministries that would allow Armenia to contribute troops to the peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, deployed as per U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701. The agency said the Armenian peacekeepers would be deployed in three southern villages, rotated every six months. The contingent would be "ensuring respect for the safety of the U.N. staff," Arka reported. There are approximately 100,000 Armenians in Lebanon, concentrated mainly in the capital’s suburbs.
Iran is a nation with two governments
Amir Taheri /Asharq Al Awsat
Friday, 28 Nov, 2014
There has been no official announcement, but the negotiations that started in Geneva last year may have landed Iran with two governments.
The de jure government is headed by “Supreme Guide” Ali Khamenei and his entourage acting behind a façade that includes the presidency and the Islamic Majlis (parliament). Its authority and responsibility are defined in the Constitution which, though often violated, remains a point of reference. A de facto government has emerged alongside that de jure government in the shape of a bizarre animal named the P5+1 group. By buying into the so-called Geneva agreement, or “Joint Plan of Action,” the de jure government implicitly recognized the authority of the de facto government on a range of issues. The seven month extension of the joint action plan in Vienna last week reaffirmed that. The P5+1 have been granted the right of oversight on a range of issues. In diplomatic jargon, this is called “droit de regard,” a French term applied when a nation grants outside powers a say in its affairs. Though it does not amount to a veto, droit de regard allows outsiders scope for shaping a nation’s policies.
What are the rights that Tehran has implicitly granted to this parallel, or de facto, outside authority? The first is the right to impose sanctions.
Under Presidents Khatami and Ahmadinejad, Iran’s position was that the six layers of sanctions imposed most notably by the United States and the European Union were both illegal and unjust. Iran demanded their lifting outright as a precondition for negotiating on other subjects, notably the nuclear issue. Under President Rouhani, those sanctions are still regarded as unjust, but no longer as illegal.
Rouhani’s implicit acceptance of the legality of the sanctions is demonstrated by his readiness to link their abrogation to concessions by Iran. Under the Joint Plan of Action, Iran granted 23 concessions in exchange for 11 promises from the P5+1, legalizing the sanctions.
The P5+1 speaks of keeping the sanctions in place for anything up to 25 years, to test Iran’s goodwill. Rouhani wants to shorten that to five years. But if something is illegal for 25 years it must also be illegal for five years, or five minutes for that matter.
Something else has also happened. Under Khatami and Ahmadinejad, Iran regarded the encounter with the P5+1 as an exchange of views, not formal negotiations. The Iranian side was never led by a Cabinet minister who represented national sovereignty but by an appointed official whose task was to listen to the views of the P5+1 and inform them of Iran’s views but not to conduct negotiations affecting national sovereignty.
That method was not chosen because Khatami and Ahmadinejad wanted to be awkward. They acted in accordance with diplomatic practice established since the Treaties of Westphalia in the 17th century. As a sovereign nation, Iran cannot negotiate with an informal body that lacks any legal status.The P5+1 is an ad hoc group that succeeded the so-called EU+3 consisting of the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany. The P5+1 was born in the residence of then-British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw in London in 2006. Neither version of this ad hoc group secured any legal status. It has no mandate from the United Nations, the European Union or even individual member states.
Khatami and Ahmadinejad knew that international treaties are negotiated and, if possible, concluded on the basis of strict legal equality between the parties concerned, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
If nothing was signed in Geneva last year or in Vienna last week it is because the P5+1 have no authority to sign anything on behalf of anybody. All that the P5+1 can do is to recommend steps to their respective governments. We shall face the same situation in seven months’ time.
Having ceded part of its sovereignty, Iran has found itself on a slippery slope to further losses in that respect.
Here are just a few instances:
• The P5+1 have a say in how much oil Iran is allowed to export.
• They have a say in how much of its oil income Iran can access at any given time.
• They decide what Iran should spend its own money on.
• With talk of “dual use,” they influence Iranian industrial policy across the board by controlling imports of technology, machinery and spare-parts even for civilian purposes.
• Through inspection of ships and airliners, they exercise “oversight” on Iranian exports and imports.(Last year the German Customs office seized dozens of cargoes destined for Iran.)
• The group restricts and modulates Iran’s access to capital markets while supervising Iranian foreign payments through measures against the Central Bank of Iran.
• More than 4,000 projects are frozen in Iran because foreign companies are not prepared to invest or provide the technology needed until sanctions are lifted. (On Monday Rouhani told a TV station in Tehran that foreign companies told him that nothing can be done until sanctions are lifted).
• Even foreign nations not involved in the sanctions system observe them in practice. India withdrew from a project for a gas pipeline from Iran. China dropped out of a scheme to develop a major Iranian port on the Gulf of Oman. Japan withdrew from a giant petrochemical project.
• The Iranian foreign minister is obliged to report to the P5+1 periodically. Remarkably, he does not report to the Iranian parliament.
• Using the nuclear issue, the group seeks a say in Iran’s armament industries, ostensibly to prevent development of missile warheads capable of carrying nuclear payloads.
• They decide which Iranian students abroad can receive stipends.
• They decide how much uranium Iran can enrich and to what degree.
• They decide which Iranian officials and businessmen are allowed to travel abroad.
• They decide what international conferences Iranian scientists can attend.
• They have a say in who Iran appoints as ambassadors. Four nominations were vetoed last year, including that of the Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations.
What is remarkable is that while Iran has frozen its nuclear industry since last year, the P5+1 has allowed the sanctions’ machine to continue operating as before. Since November 2013, the US and the EU have decreed 108 new sanctions against Iranian companies, businessmen, scientists and even universities while imposing fines on 13 international banks and companies for dealing with Iran.
True, the P5+1 agreed to release some 7 billion US dollars in frozen Iranian assets. At the time of writing this article, 4.8 billion US dollars have actually been released. However, in the same period, a further 12 billion US dollars of Iranian income has been frozen. From now until July, the P5+1 will release 700 million US dollars a month while, at the same time, freezing 1 billion US dollars each month. This means a net total of 300 million US dollars of Iranian assets being frozen each and every month.
Is it not time for Iranians to ponder the consequences of a policy that could put their nation under foreign tutelage for years, if not decades?
Lieberman's 'peace plan': Pay Israeli Arabs to move to Palestinian state
By Barak Ravid/Haaretz
Nov. 28, 2014
Foreign minister publishes new party platform, says Israel should offer Arabs 'economic incentives' to leave in order to help resolve the 'duality and divided loyalties from which they are suffering.'
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Friday published an updated platform for his party, Yisrael Beiteinu, which includes a "peace plan" that calls on the government to encourage the transfer of Israeli Arabs to a Palestinian state by offering them "economic incentives."
The platform, which may be another sign that Knesset elections are forthcoming, was published on the Yisrael Beiteinu website and reiterates declarations the foreign minister has made over the past year. The diplomatic portion of the platform, or its "peace plan," does not include clear positions on issues such as Israel's borders, the status of Jerusalem or settlement construction and the future of existing Israeli settlements.
The only subject that the plan addresses in detail is that of Israel's Arab citizens. Lieberman repeated his proposal for land and population swaps between Israel and a future Palestinian state, but took it a step further by encouraging Israel to pay Arabs from Jaffa or Acre to move.
"As for Israeli Arabs, any agreement must include a plan for territorial and population exchange," Lieberman writes in the platform. "An arrangement of this kind with the Palestinian state will allow Israeli Arabs who do not identify with the State of Israel to become part of the Palestinian state. This will, first of all, resolve the problem of Arabs in the Wadi Ara triangle, adjacent to the Palestinian territories, who will be able to become citizens of the Palestinian state without leaving their homes."
Lieberman emphasized that his plan would allow Arabs from other parts of Israel, such as Jaffa and Acre, "who feel that they are part of the Palestinian people, to resolve this issue of duality and divided loyalties from which they are suffering. Israel should even encourage them with economic incentives."
He said that while he is not giving up on the dream or the principle of Greater Israel, he realizes Israel will have no choice but to reach a territorial compromise. "In the argument over the unity of the land versus the unity of the people – the latter takes precedence," Lieberman writes. "There can be no compromise over the unity of the people and we will never be able to recover from the loss of this unity."
At the same time, Lieberman claimed that peace with the Palestinians and the establishment of a Palestinian state can only be achieved as part of a comprehensive peace agreement with Arab states. The foreign minister presented this view in a speech he gave several months ago; however he has yet to outline how to attain such a deal.
Lieberman claims that left-wing politicians believe Israel should achieve peace with the Palestinians first and then reach an agreement with other Arab states. However, he writes, this formula has failed to yield results for more than 20 years, and also leads the Palestinians to believe they don’t have to compromise on any of their demands.
In addition, Lieberman claims, achieving peace with the Palestinians won’t solve the "problem" of Israeli Arabs' loyalty to Israel, nor will it end the conflict between Israel and Arab nations or bring Israel the political and economic gains that a comprehensive peace agreement would.
"Unlike the obsessive position of other parties, Yisrael Beiteinu understands that the State of Israel's conflict is not just a territorial one with our Palestinian neighbors, but a three-dimensional conflict: the Arab states, the Palestinians and Israeli Arabs," Lieberman writes. "That is why any agreement with the Palestinians must be part of a comprehensive agreement, including peace agreements with Arab countries and territorial and population exchanges with Israeli Arabs."
Lieberman did not elaborate on how to reach a comprehensive agreement, but said it is possible because, "Many people now understand that the Palestinian problem is not the main problem facing the Middle East, nor is it the main cause of violence."
"The events of the Arab Spring in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere prove this," he writes. "Moderate Arab countries also understand that the main threat to them today is not from Israel or from Zionism, but from radical Islamic organizations like Isis, Jabhat al-Nusra, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah. For the first time, therefore, we can now reach a comprehensive agreement, the terms of which are reasonable and acceptable to Israel."
Nigeria mosque blasts: 92 dead at one hospital morgue: AFP reporter
Agence France Presse/Nov. 28, 2014 /KANO, Nigeria: At least 92 bodies were counted in a Nigerian hospital morgue after a suicide bomb and gun attack at the main mosque in Kano city, an AFP reporter said. The correspondent counted the bodies at the Murtala Mohammed Specialist Hospital, where hundreds of people used torchlights on their mobile phones in a desperate attempt to identify loved ones. A resue official told AFP earlier that victims had been brought to at least three other hospitals and emergency staff were working on updated casualty figure.