LCCC ENGLISH DAILY NEWS BULLETIN
Bible Quotation For Today/James 04/From 01-12/ God opposes the
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us. But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud. but shows favor to the humble.” Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 2 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?
editorials from miscellaneous sources published on October 08, 09/14|
US prods Turkey over inaction against ISIS/FoxNews.com/October 09/14
Because of Hezbollah, ISIS will reach Jounieh/By: Abdulrahman al-Rashed /Al Arabiya/October 09/14
Hezbollah's restrained revenge for Lebanon border skirmish/Ron Ben-Yishai/Ynetnews/October 09/14
New details about Canadian jihadist Farah Shirdon reveal militant ideology behind ISIS/Stewart Bell/October 09/14
With brazen attack inside Israel, Hezbollah lays down new ground rules/BY AVI ISSACHAROFF/ October 09/14
Pointless Blame Games/By: Ali Ibrahim/Asharq Al Awsat/October 09/14
Lebanese Related News
published on October 08, 09/14
Ban: Shebaaa Blast Goes against Efforts to Create Stability in South
Lebanon's Arabic press digest – Oct. 8, 2014
March 14 Hits Back at FPM, Accuses It of 'Supporting Militias'
Hezbollah claims southern border bombing
Former Lebanese PM Hariri slams Hezbollah for Israel border attack
In message to Israel after border attack Hezbollah says: We are ready to confront you
Lebanon to get Saudi-financed arms soon
US Embassy in Lebanon denounces Hezbollah border attack
Salam Describes Situation as 'Complicated', Criticizes Political Exploitation of Troops Abduction
Court reschedules Jazeera journalist hearing Abu Faour criticizes media over vaccine death Lebanon's Arabic press digest – Oct. 8, 2014
Tripoli’s poorest must be helped: Fadel
Berri stands with Hariri over election delay
Berri: Electing President, Approving Electoral Law Will Stabilize Political Life in Lebanon
Captives' relatives reopen Dahr al-Baidar highway
Relatives of Lebanese soldiers and security personnel being held by Islamist extremist groups/Worsening the crisis
Faisal Qassem, the Al-Jazeera journalist who mocked Lebanese Army misses court hearing
Fletcher Says Britain Determined to Aid Lebanon, Extends Further Support to Army
Lebanese Kidnapped in Mozambique Released after One-Day Kidnap Ordeal
11 Syrians Arrested in Army Raids in Zgharta
Army Ready to Eliminate Mawlawi, Mansour Group as Fears Mount in Tripoli
Hariri to Meet with al-Rahi Monday in Rome
Miscellaneous Reports And News published on
October 08, 09/14
Canada votes to join anti-ISIS air strikes in Iraq
Kurds say airstrikes push ISIS back from Kobani
Kurds clash with Salafists in Hamburg, 23 injured
Ankara: NATO has contingency plan for Turkey
Turkey Detains Kurds at Border on Suspicion of Links to PKK
Diaspora Kurds Return to Homeland to Battle Jihadists
US, UAE conduct 9 airstrikes in Syria near Kobani: US central command
Hollande backs creation of Syria-Turkey safe zone Rioters on Jerusalem's Temple Mount lightly injure three police officers
UN: Syria declares another 4 chemical facilities
Biden Calls Saudi Arabia after Diplomatic Gaffe
Parish priest, 20 Christians kidnapped in Syria
Iranian president: Differences remain on nuclear deal
Serbia charges five over jihadist recruitment EU chastises Turkey over freedom of speech Super-microscope earns trio Nobel Prize for Chemistry
Ban: Shebaaa Blast Goes against Efforts to Create Stability
Naharnet/United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned the explosion that took place on the Lebanese-Israeli border on Tuesday, deeming it a violation of U.N. Security Council resolution 1701, reported the daily An Nahar on Wednesday. He said that the blast goes against efforts to create a stable and secure environment in southern Lebanon. Hizbullah claimed responsibility for the bombing that targeted an Israeli activity on the Israeli side of the border near the Shebaa Farms. Two Israeli soldiers were wounded in the attack, which prompted the troops to fire artillery shells against the Shebaa Farms and nearby areas. The blast was a response by Hizbullah to Israel's assassination of one of its military experts, Ali Hassan Haidar, as he was dismantling an Israeli spy device in the South on September 5. The U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon urged on wake of the blast all sides to exercise restraint and cooperate with it to ea
US Embassy ‘strongly’ condemns Hezbollah border bombing
The Daily Star/BEIRUT: The U.S. Embassy Wednesday called on Hezbollah and the Lebanese Army to support U.N. peacekeepers’ efforts to restore calm in the border area, a day after a bomb blast wounded two Israeli soldiers. “We strongly condemn Hezbollah’s attack along the Blue Line on the border between Israel and Lebanon,” the embassy said in a tweet. “We urge all parties to support UNIFIL’s efforts to restore calm immediately,” another tweet read. Hezbollah claimed responsibility for planting a bomb that wounded two Israeli soldiers in the south Lebanon border region of Shebaa Tuesday, two days after a Lebanese soldier was wounded by Israeli fire in the area.
Hezbollah claims southern border bombing
Oct. 08, 2014
Mohammed Zaatari/Hashem Osseiran| The Daily Star
SIDON/BEIRUT: Despite its preoccupation with the Syria crisis Hezbollah claimed responsibility for planting a bomb that wounded two Israeli soldiers on the south Lebanon border Tuesday, two days after a Lebanese soldier was wounded by Israeli fire in the area.
“We wanted to tell Israelis that we are ready and that there is no way they can assault us while we stand by and watch,” Hezbollah’s No. 2 Sheikh Naim Qassem told OTV. “The Shebaa Farms are occupied and it is the right of the resistance to conduct operations to liberate the land.”“At 2:22 p.m. Tuesday, the brigade of the martyred Ali Hasan Haidar of the Islamic Resistance set off an explosive device under an Israeli patrol in the Shebaa heights, which led to several casualties among the ranks of the occupying soldiers,” read a Hezbollah statement. The brigade responsible for setting off the explosive device was named after 25-year-old Ali Hasan Haidar, a Hezbollah explosives expert, who was killed last monthwhile trying to dismantle four Israeli devices planted on Hezbollah’s telecommunications network in Adloun, south Lebanon. One motive behind the attack Tuesday was linked to the name of the brigade that carried it out, said Qassem, hinting that the incident was retaliation over Haidar’s death.
Nevertheless, Qassem added the resistance was not limiting itself to tit-for-tat attacks, “It is our right to carry out operations against Israel when and where we see fit,” he said. When asked why Hezbollah swiftly claimed responsibility for the operation, Qassem said the move was meant to express Hezbollah’s readiness to counter any breach carried out by the Israeli army. In an implicit warning to the Israeli forces, the Hezbollah official said that the resistance was capable of planting explosives in areas monitored by Israeli forces.
“This means that the resistance went from Lebanese territories to occupied territories,” despite heavy Israeli surveillance, Qassem said.
The Israeli army confirmed the incident, saying that two soldiers had been wounded in the blast. “Initial reports indicate that the explosion was caused by an explosive device that was planted” to attack Israeli soldiers, Israel’s army tweeted.Within minutes of Hezbollah claiming responsibility for the blast, the Israeli army tweeted that it had fired artillery at two Hezbollah posts along the border. However, an Al-Manar reporter said that no Hezbollah posts were situated in the area.Security sources told The Daily Star that Israel had launched at least 15 artillery rounds in retaliation near the Shebaa hills, at a rate of two per minute. The site of the attack lies 200 meters from Lebanese residential areas along the border.
The Lebanese Army issued a statement saying the Israeli army targeted the Shebaa Farms and Kfar Shuba hills with 23 15-millimeter artillery shells. The Army said no casualties were reported, adding that it undertook necessary “defense measures” and was coordinating with UNIFIL.A senior Israeli army source told The Jerusalem Post that “the incident hasn’t ended yet from our standpoint.” “We have proved that we responded forcefully to every attempt to harm us, be it in the north, south or any other sector,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a Cabinet meeting Tuesday, quoted by his office. “The Lebanese government and Hezbollah are directly responsible for this blatant breach of Israel’s sovereignty” tweeted Israeli army spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner.
Several reports cited a second blast that came within minutes of the first explosion. Security sources denied such reports, however. In response to a question concerning possible Israeli retaliation, the Hezbollah official said that it was not feasible for Israel to wage a military operation against Lebanon. “The resistance’s readiness and capabilities makes Israeli forces wary of the consequences,” Qassem said. Following the assault, UNIFIL forces contacted both parties “urging maximum restraint and asking them to cooperate with UNIFIL in order to reduce tension and prevent escalation,” read a statement published by the group Tuesday. UNIFIL is also launching an investigation to determine the facts and circumstances of the incident. UNIFIL deemed the incident a violation of U.N. Resolution 1701. “Such actions are in contravention of our objectives and efforts to reduce tensions and establish a stable and secure environment in southern Lebanon,” the statement said. Israeli troops routinely violate the internationally recognized Blue Line around the Al-Sendaneh area to kidnap shepherds and conduct other operations.
Qassem Says Shebaa Blast 'Message to Israel', Brital
Attack 'Total Failure' for Militants
Naharnet /08.10.14/Hizbullah deputy chief Sheikh Naim Qassem on Tuesday described the bomb attack that targeted an Israeli patrol in the occupied Shebaa Farms as a message that is “addressed exclusively to Israel,” although it came two days after fierce battles with jihadist militants in Brital's outskirts. “The bombs were detonated based on the movements of the enemy's troops and this means that the resistance is ready and its eyes are open,” Qassem said in an interview on OTV.
“Israel knows that the resistance is vigilant and would respond to any retaliatory act,” added Qassem. Asked about the timing of the operation, the Hizbullah leader said the attack “was associated with the name of the martyr (Hizbullah member Hassan Ali) Haidar as one of the connotations, but the other connotation is that resistance is a right that we use at the appropriate timing.”He was referring to a Hizbullah bomb technician who was killed when Israel detonated a spy device in the southern town of Adloun in September.
In response to another question, Qassem described the operation as “a message that is addressed exclusively to Israel even if other parties might understand another connotation.”Earlier on Tuesday, Hizbullah claimed responsibility for a bomb attack in the Shebaa Farms that wounded two Israeli soldiers.“The group of the martyr Hassan Ali Haidar carried out the operation today, Tuesday at 2:22 p.m.,” it said. Separately, Qassem commented on Sunday's deadly clashes with the Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front in the outskirts of the Bekaa border town of Brital, which were sparked by the group's attack on several Hizbullah posts along the Eastern Mountain Range. Eight Hizbullah fighters and dozens of militants were killed in the battle, according to the Lebanese party.
“The militants' presence in Qalamun's mountains (in Syria) is a complicated thing and they are suffering a shortage in supplies. Their problem is that they are totally outside the villages, that's why they are seeking to spread to (Syria's) al-Zabadani, al-Jibbeh and Assal al-Ward, knowing that the battles in the entire Qalamun mountains area have not stopped,” said Qassem. “At times we took the initiative and at other times they tried to infiltrate,” Qassem noted. “We inflicted very heavy losses on the gunmen and dozens of them were killed. We regained the post that was briefly seized and we took 3 new posts,” he revealed. Hizbullah number two noted that a new battle might erupt in “all the posts linked to Qalamun's mountains, which means al-Jibbeh, Assal al-Ward, Younine's outskirts, Brital and Arsal's outskirts.” “They are trying to advance through all these axes and meanwhile we're trying to repel them with the least possible losses,” said Qassem. “Their operation was a total failure and it did not achieve its goals and yes, we lost some martyrs," he added.
Hezbollah's restrained revenge for Lebanon border
Published: 10.08.14/Israel Opinion
Analysis: After Lebanese people blamed the militant group for jihadists attacks on its territory, and Israel said it poses little threat, Nasrallah chose Mount Dov as the playground for its offensive operations.
There is no doubt Hezbollah was behind the attack in Mount Dov, near the Shebaa Farms, on Tuesday. The location is important, as we will later see. The choice of a series of explosives detonated from afar has the organization's fingerprints all over it.
The objectives behind the attack are also crystal clear: A combination between "exacting revenge," an effort to show the Lebanese citizens that Hezbollah is indeed still the "defender of Lebanon," and a statement made to solidify Hezbollah and the Lebanese government's claims that the Shebaa Farms are sovereign Lebanese territory, even though it wasn't recognized as such by the UN, which is why Israel did not withdraw from the area in May 2000 when it pulled out of southern Lebanon. Even before it claimed responsibility, it was obvious Hezbollah carried out the attack. This area, that Hezbollah constantly charged is Lebanese territory occupied by Israel, is where, two days ago, an IDF force exchanged fire with armed Lebanese men, probably Lebanese Army soldiers who penetrated Israeli territory. This is also where Hezbollah kidnapped Israeli soldiers in 2000.
The tools chosen for the attack - scattered explosives that are remote-controlled by well-hidden Hezbollah men who overlook the scene of the attack - is also typical of the organization, which gained extensive experience fighting in the Syria civil war.
Still, it is important to note the remote-controlled explosive device did not inflict any losses on the IDF and even the injuries caused - shrapnel to the hand of one soldier and to the leg of another - were very mild. This was probably intentional, as Hezbollah has no interest in escalating the situation on the frontier.
The IDF probably figured out Hezbollah would try to commit such an attack as revenge for the Sunday clash between Israeli and Lebanese soldiers. That is why the IDF force was careful not to fall into the trap posed by the scattered explosives. But as far as Hezbollah is concerned, it has achieved its objectives completely.
The organization declares itself the defender of Lebanon, but in recent days that reputation was tarnished by criticism against Nasrallah and Hezbollah, as a result of the group's involvement in battles against rebels in Syria and the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq.
It's not just the Sunni citizens of Lebanon who are accusing Hezbollah, working in Assad's service, of "motivating" the Islamic State and the Nusra Front to attack Lebanese cities. The Shiites in the Beqaa Valley, north of the Hezbollah capital in Baalbek, have condemned Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, which led the Sunni Jihadists to fire rockets at them and launch attacks against them from their stronghold in the Qalamoun Mountains.
Hezbollah must now show it is protecting Lebanon, and the clash with the IDF earlier this week gave it an excuse and an opportunity to launch a retaliatory attack which also awarded the organization prestige in the Lebanese public opinion.
But Tuesday's attack at Mount Dov likely serves another purpose for Hezbollah: The organization keeps hearing comments coming from Israel on how Hezbollah is "too busy" and therefore doesn't pose as a threat. The Hezbollah leadership knows these assessments are basically correct, but it is interested in showing Israel, as well as the Lebanese people and the organization's fighters, that the Israeli front is not dormant and remains relevant to Hezbollah still. This is why it chose Mount Dov for an attack that would show it does not forgive nor does it forget its fight against Israel, and that it has not forgotten it has yet to avenge senior Hezbollah operative Imad Mughniyah's assassination.
Mount Dov has always been Hezbollah's playground, where it displays its power and gathers intelligence. It is clear the organization's recent actions do not threaten Israeli civilians at the moment, only IDF soldiers, so Israel will respond accordingly. And indeed, the IDF responded with artillery fire, destroying two Hezbollah lookout posts in the area.
In the coming days we will probably see Hezbollah leaving evidence of their presence in the form of fighters posing as shepherds who will come near the border fence and possibly try to challenge the IDF.
In conclusion, we could say Hezbollah is probably interested in tensions on the northern front, but is not in all-out escalation. That is why it chose the Mount Dov playground. It is possible that the Lebanese army soldiers who exchanged fire with the IDF earlier this week were there because Hezbollah sent them to the area in order to cause provocation and test the IDF's alertness without causing an overall escalation.
Hezbollah sends message to Israel: No more carte blanche
for the IDF in Lebanon
By YOSSI MELMAN/J.Post/10/08/2014
Hezbollah is not interested in war with Israel, but is striving to achieve a balance of deterrence against it. This is the conclusion from the blast of the two explosive devices on Mount Dov (Shaba Farms) on Tuesday. The devices were laid a while ago, and on Tuesday Hezbollah commanders decided to activate them. Fortunately, only two soldiers were lightly injured, and therefore the IDF’s response was moderate – it fired some 40 shells at two posts belonging to the Lebanese Shi’ite organization. The response was meant to contain the incident and not deteriorate relations with Hezbollah. Israel is also not interested in an escalation. But as we’ve seen this summer against Hamas, and in 2006 against Hezbollah, a single incident or a series of violent events that grow out of hand can develop into war.
Hezbollah has unresolved issues with Israel. The organization believes that Israel is responsible for the death of Hassan al-Laqis, one of its senior members who was in charge of developing “special devices,” in December 2013 near his home in Beirut.
It also blames Israel for attacking a warehouse and an arms convoy on Lebanese soil in February 2014. A month ago, a Hezbollah fighter who was trying to dismantle an Israeli listening device was killed. In its statement on Tuesday, Hezbollah said that the band that undertook the explosives ambush was named after him. Hezbollah’s new approach can be defined as “breaking the silence.” The Lebanese organization understands that Israel is taking advantage of the so-called “Arab Spring” to act like the neighborhood bully. In Israel, this activity is called “the war between wars.” Two days ago, the IDF chief of staff awarded the Shayetet 13 elite naval commando unit a medal for its secretive operations: 43 operations in the last two years, of which we know about only one. We can assume they were in part intelligence operations. Israel is especially attributed with taking advantage of the weakness of the Syrian regime, which Iran and Hezbollah have been aiding in the civil war. The air force has attacked advanced weapons convoys on Syrian soil in the past year-and-a-half, especially advanced missiles that were on their way from warehouses in Syria to Hezbollah. And it outdid itself when it reportedly attacked a warehouse and a weapons convoy on Lebanese soil. Hezbollah, which sees itself as the defender of the Lebanese nation, has decided to change its approach. It responds to any incident that it views as an Israeli attack on Lebanese sovereignty or as a breach of the rules of the game. And not only does it respond, it usually also takes responsibility. Hezbollah’s responses were also noted on the Golan Heights, where it has operated “envoys,” Syrian mercenaries, this year. Hezbollah is up to its neck in the civil war in Syria, where it sent about 5,000 of its 30,000 fighters. The battle is spilling over from Syria to Lebanon.
Hezbollah has suffered, and is suffering, difficult losses in these two fronts. But it hasn’t lost its confidence or its military capabilities. With the help of its up-to-date weapons, and especially its massive stockpile of up to 100,000 missiles, Hezbollah believes in its ability to challenge Israel, and, if need be, even stand up to it for a long period of time and to wear it out if the situation deteriorates to a war that none of the players in the equation – Israel, Hezbollah, and its patron Iran – wishes for.
Former Lebanese PM Hariri slams Hezbollah for Israel
J.Post 08.10.14/Former Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri on Wednesday condemned as "unacceptable" Hezbollah's border attack on Israel the day before. The Shi'ite Lebanese terror group claimed responsibility for two bombs that detonated in the Har Dov region along the border with Lebanon, with one device injuring two IDF soldiers. Lebanese media cited Hariri, an ardent rival of Hezbollah, as slamming the organization for its attack on Israeli targets, saying it contributes to "disrupting national efforts in the fight against terrorism and extremism." He also criticized what he said was the tendency by many in Lebanon to overlook the actions of Hezbollah. “These sides are acknowledging that the party has the exclusive right to set up camps in Lebanon and wage wars without the consent of the state, government, and army,” the Lebanese newspaper Al-Nahar's website quoted Hariri as saying. The IDF responded to the bombs planted by Hezbollah by shelling two of the group's targets in southern Lebanon. The army suspects that the incident is directly related to Sunday’s attempted infiltration from Lebanon, which occurred in the same region. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opened up the cabinet meeting Tuesday on the budget by addressing the incident along the northern border, and thanking the soldiers there for foiling an attack. Hours after the incident, Hezbollah took the unusual step of officially claiming responsibility for the border bombings. In a statement read out on Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV station and released on the Internet, the organization said the Hassan Haider Brigade had planted the bombs – apparently a reference to the name of a Hezbollah member who was reportedly killed in September while seeking to dismantle an Israeli listening device in southern Lebanon’s Sidon region. Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.
In message to Israel after border attack Hezbollah says:
We are ready to confront you
By REUTERS /10/08/2014 /BEIRUT - An attack by Hezbollah on Lebanon's border with Israel which wounded two Israeli soldiers was a message that the group remained ready to confront its old foe despite its engagement in Syria's civil war, the group's deputy leader said. The soldiers were wounded by a bomb planted by Lebanese Hezbollah fighters in the Shebaa hills, drawing Israeli artillery fire in response. It was the first time Hezbollah has claimed responsibility for an attack against the Israeli army since 2006, when the two sides fought a 33-day war. "This is a message.. Even though we are busy in Syria and on the eastern front in Lebanon our eyes remain open and our resistance is ready to confront the Israeli enemy," Sheik Naim Qassem told Lebanese OTV television late on Tuesday.
Israel and Lebanon are technically at war but their 80-km (50-mile) border has been largely quiet since the 2006 conflict. Hezbollah members have been fighting alongside forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in Syria's civil war. The move by Hezbollah, which is backed by Shi'ite Iran, has helped turn the tide of the war in Syria against insurgents seeking to oust Assad. The group said it took the decision to fight in Syria to prevent jihadi fighters, like those from Nusra Front and Islamic State which seized parts of Syria and Iraq, from advancing into Lebanon. On Sunday, 10 of the group's fighters were killed during a battle with hundreds of Nusra Front militants on the border in eastern Lebanon.
Because of Hezbollah, ISIS will reach Jounieh
Wednesday, 8 October 2014
Abdulrahman al-Rashed /Al Arabiya
The word “If” is Hezbollah's propaganda weapon to justify its involvement in Syria and its implication of Lebanon's Shiites and the entire of Lebanon in the Syrian war. It says: "If Hezbollah hadn't supported the Assad regime, Shiite religious shrines would've fallen," "If Hezbollah hadn't gone to Syria, takfiris would've made it to Dahiyeh" and "If Hezbollah hadn't protected Lebanon's borders, ISIS would've seized it from south to north."
And now another of these "if" statements is being attributed to Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai. According to media reports, a source close to Hezbollah claims that before heading to Rome, Rai said to an inner circle that "if Christians in Lebanon were asked their opinion on the ongoing developments, they would all give the same reply that if it weren't for Hezbollah, ISIS would have been in Jounieh.”
“Have the Shiites become safe after thousands of their sons were dragged to the Syrian civil war? Of course not. ”
If the patriarch truly said that, then it seems he hadn't yet heard of the ISIS and al-Nusra Front's advance in Damascus' Ghouta - where Hezbollah fighters had gone to protect Shiite shrines – and their advance on Lebanon's borders, particularly in Aarsal. Perhaps the patriarch does not feel threatened, but Jounieh is no more than 20 minutes away from ISIS areas; yet is he certain that Hezbollah will protect him from their evils.
We can only judge these "if" statements by observing their results on the ground. Hezbollah is no longer protecting any Shiite holy sites in Syria. Its fighters are currently dying in defense of Assad's regime in barren areas remote from anything sacred. They are forced to do so because Iran has always been the party deciding Hezbollah's wars.
Have the Shiites become safe after thousands of their sons were dragged to the Syrian civil war? Of course not. Shiites have in 30 years never felt worried of explosions, assassinations and security restrictions like they currently feel. It's all because of Hezbollah's involvement in the Syrian war.
It is worth asking whether Jounieh and the rest of Christian hills and plains are really safe thanks to Hezbollah's bravery in Syria. He who follows the news knows how the Lebanese army is being humiliated, how the innocent are being abducted and how fear is spreading. Jounieh which was one of the most secure areas have become a mere sign on the map of terrorism and violence thanks to this "if."
"If" is used here to sell a myth and has nothing to do with reality. Truth be told, if Hezbollah hadn't fought in Syria, Lebanon would've remained neutral but this is not the case. When speaking of nations' interests and people's safety, we must deal with facts and not with hypotheses and wishes. Hezbollah is drowned up to its ears in the swamp of the Syrian war because the Iranians sent it there two years ago thinking they are capable of saving their ally, the Assad regime. Now in Tehran, they've begun to realize what we've been saying for a long time now - that the Syrian regime died when Hafez al-Assad died and that the phase after him is a mere transitional one. Hafez al-Assad was a veteran and smart politician and a skillful player. His son, Bashar, inherited governance and not his father's wisdom and experience. He thus implicated himself and his allies and destroyed the country due to his crimes of assassinating Lebanese politicians and expelling figures affiliated with his father and his thoughtless behavior in regards to Daraa's children and the Syrian revolution.
Hezbollah as a resistance group also ended ever since the Israelis withdrew from Lebanon 14 years ago. After this, Hezbollah turned into a mere militia linked to Tehran and Assad.
Hezbollah has only temporarily served Assad in the war. It's done so by dragging terrorist organizations from Syria onto Lebanon. The Syrian president wants to export the war to his neighbors, Iraq, Turkey and Lebanon. But how can the small country of Lebanon fight the ISIS and al-Nusra alone when 50 countries from across the world joined together to fight these groups hoping to succeed within five years?
After all this, does it make sense for Patriarch Rai to believe that Hezbollah has made Jounieh safe after it actually awakened the viruses of a sectarian war and brought in the ISIS and al-Nusra Front into Lebanon?
Captives' relatives reopen Dahr al-Baidar highway
Oct. 08, 2014 /The Daily Star/BEIRUT: Relatives of captive security personnel held by jihadist militants reopened Wednesday the vital Dahr al-Baidar highway linking Beirut and Mount Lebanon with the Bekaa valley, after receiving assurances that the government was ready to discuss a swap deal to end their sons’ ordeal. “In view of the damage we caused to the farmers in Bekaa, we have decided to reopen the Dahr al-Baidar road in both directions and move our protest to Riad al-Solh square in Beirut,” a statement by the relatives said.
Shortly after the announcement, bulldozers started removing rubble and sand mounds from the highway, a lifeline for the agricultural Bekaa area, which has been blocked for almost two weeks. The move came after Health Minister Wael Abu Faour’s announced earlier Wednesday that the government was ready to discuss a straightforward swap deal to end the ordeal of the captives who have been held since early August. Speaking after a meeting with the families of the captives at their protest campsite in Dahr al-Baidar, Abu Faour assured that the government was eyeing productive talks to clarify terms of an ongoing deal to the release the hostages. “The Lebanese government asserts that it is serious to the utmost about the negotiations in order to bring back the soldiers. We call for a clear and frank swap (deal) immediately,” Abu Faour said, rejecting blame for the delay in reaching a deal. “The procrastination in negotiations which occurred in the past few days is not caused by the government and it does not mean in any way a change or relapse in the government’s position and determination to free the captives,” Abu Faour said. The minister pointed out that he had briefed the captives’ relatives about progress in the file, stressing that the Qatari mediation is still ongoing.
Separately, Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Samir Moqbel Wednesday issued a statement reiterating the government's commitment to freeing the hostages. "We are working towards results concerning the abducted military hostages. They are our children, and we sympathize with the families of the kidnapped,” he said. Moqbel insisted that Prime Minister Tammam Salam was pursuing the file in full detail, denying any claims that the government had been lax with regards to negotiation efforts.
“God willing, we will come to a positive result and we hope that there will be positive breakthroughs soon” he said. Meanwhile, the family of captive soldier Ibrahim Mogheit who hails from north Lebanon, declared that they will continue blocking the Qalamoun highway leading to the region’s main city of Tripoli, after receiving death threats from their son’s captors. The captive’s brother, Nizam Mogheit, told the Daily Star: “We are heading towards more escalation which might include cutting off roads in Beirut, because we received messages (from the militants) threatening to execute hostages if we relaxed pressure on the government.” Mogheit said the protesters will be blocking the Qalamoun road from noon until 18:00 Wednesday, prior to more escalatory moves.
The relatives of the over 21 army troops and policemen being held hostage by militants from Syria’s Nusra Front and ISIS near the border town of Arsal, have been blocking the main artery of Dahr al-Baidar linking Beirut with the eastern Bekaa Valley since Sept. 24 to press the government into negotiating for the captives’ release. The militants have reportedly demanded the release of Islamist inmates in Roumieh Prison in return for the soldiers’ freedom. The latter were among over 30 personnel captured during battles in Arsal between the Army and the militants last August. Two soldiers were beheaded by ISIS and one shot dead and seven released by Nusra Front so far.
Relatives of Lebanese soldiers and security personnel
being held by Islamist extremist groups/Worsening the crisis
The Daily Star/The relatives of Lebanese soldiers and security personnel being held by Islamist extremist groups have every right to be concerned and angry about the situation they and their loved ones find themselves in. But their preferred manner of expressing their outrage and putting forward demands – by blocking roads – is failing to have the impact they desire. Some of them have engaged in periodic shut-downs of the coastal highway south of Tripoli; others have camped out on the Dahr al-Baidar highway that links the Bekaa Valley to the rest of Lebanon. At a time when average people are trying to grapple with a deteriorating economy and other burdens, the road closures are in effect penalizing people who have no say over the kidnapping issue. Prior to the abductions the Bekaa Valley itself was already becoming increasingly isolated, because the war in Syria has closed off traditional avenues for marketing agricultural production and other goods. Moreover, the act of sealing off a road by protesters often leads to friction between the locals and the security and military authorities, who are tasked with ensuring public order. It’s likely that ISIS and the Nusra Front, which are holding the hostages, are happy to see such developments because they might translate into even more domestic tension in Lebanon which plays directly into the interests of these extremist groups. The Lebanese government has openly committed itself to negotiations in order to secure the release of the hostages. While the families of the kidnapped would like to see this process pick up pace, the road-closure protests risk siphoning off public support for their cause, and play right into the hands of the hostage-takers.
Salam Describes Situation as 'Complicated', Criticizes
Political Exploitation of Troops Abduction
Naharnet /Prime Minister Tammam Salam called on the families of the abducted soldiers and policemen to prevent the rival political parties from exploiting their ordeal, describing the situation as “difficult and complicated.”“I am not asking the relatives of the abducted men to trust the government, but I am asking them not to confront it... It's not the enemy nor the aggressor,” Salam said in an interview with al-Akhbar newspaper on Wednesday. He reiterated that no one can give them any guarantees amid the atrocities of the terrorists, considering that gunmen aim at undermining the authority of the state and destabilize the country. “We are trying to overcome all obstacles to achieve some progress,” Salam told his interviewer, pointing out that “the case could take a long time” before it ends.
The premier stressed that the key concern is to “maintain unity among the Lebanese,” lashing out at the kidnappers for directly contacting the families of the kidnapped servicemen to turn them against the state. He stressed that the Qatari mediation with the kidnappers is ongoing despite media reports saying that the negotiator withdrew from the case after the talks stalled.The soldiers and policemen were abducted by Islamist gunmen in August in the wake of clashes with the army in northeastern town of Arsal. Three of the captives have since been executed, a few were released, while the rest remain held by al-Nusra Front and Islamic State gunmen from Syria. The families of the hostages have staged demonstrations and blocked roads throughout Lebanon to pressure the government to exert more efforts to release them. Meanwhile, al-Liwaa newspaper reported that the relatives of the kidnapped men were planning on opening the roads during the Eid al-Adha holiday over the weekend, but they received a call from the abductors warning them that if they opened the road they will not be merciful. An Nahar newspaper said that a meeting held on Tuesday between Salam, Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq and General Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim tackled the kidnapping ordeal. The daily said that the relatives of the servicemen were informed that the state will not allow them to block roads leading to vital facilities, including Beirut's airport and port.
Hariri to Meet with al-Rahi Monday in Rome
Naharnet /Head of al-Mustaqbal Movement Saad Hariri is expected to meet with Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi on Monday in the Italian capital Rome. Local newspapers published on Wednesday reported that the meeting will tackle the presidential impasse.
Lebanon has been without a president since May when the tenure of Michel Suleiman ended. The majority of the March 8 alliance's MPs have been causing a lack of quorum in sessions aimed at electing a president, leaving the country without a head of state.
Hariri, who is currently in Paris, held talks on Tuesday with French President Francois Hollande on the latest local and regional developments. The former premier said after the meeting at the Elysee Palace that the presidential elections should take place before parliamentary ones. According to al-Joumhouria newspaper, Hariri agreed during a telephone call with al-Rahi ahead of his meeting with Hollande to hold talks next week. In September, Prime Minister Tammam Salam and Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil held separate meetings with Hollande on the sidelines of the 69th session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York. France is currently discussing with Lebanon the delivery of arms to the Lebanese military under a $3 billion Saudi grant.
March 14 Hits Back at FPM, Accuses It of 'Supporting Militias'
Naharnet /The March 14 forces on Wednesday condemned “the attempt by terrorist factions coming from Syria to enter Lebanon,” saying they should be confronted by the Lebanese army, while accusing the Free Patriotic Movement of “supporting militias” instead of state institutions. In a statement issued after its weekly meeting, the March 14 General Secretariat said it deplores “the attempt by terrorist factions coming from Syria to enter Lebanon through the northern Bekaa region and it considers it a blatant violation of national sovereignty.”
It was referring to Sunday's major assault by the Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front against several Hizbullah posts in the outskirts of the Bekaa border town of Brital and along the entire Eastern Mountain Range. The general secretariat said the offensive should have been repelled “by the same force by the Lebanese army and the legitimate Lebanese authorities, because the responsibility of defending Lebanon belongs exclusively to the Lebanese state.” In an earlier statement, the secretariat had said that “border defense at the hands of Hizbullah is rejected,” which drew a scalding response from the FPM's Change and Reform parliamentary bloc. “O Lebanese, sleep tight and rest assured because the General Secretariat is at the frontiers and hills, … prepared to repulse any attack against you,” the bloc said.
The secretariat stressed on Wednesday that “defending Lebanon is the mission of the Lebanese state and Lebanese army, and no one has authorized Hizbullah to defend Lebanon, not in the North nor in the South.”General Secretariat coordinator Fares Soaid, who recited the statement, called on the FPM to “reevaluate its political calculations,” noting that “this movement claimed in 1989 that it was defending legitimacy and the Lebanese army, while today it is supporting militias in Lebanon instead of supporting the Lebanese army and the principle of the state.”Soaid also pointed out that the Brital clashes have “refuted the equation launched by Hizbullah's secretary-general on May 25, 2013 under the slogan 'Whoever wants to fight must go to Syria'.”“Any clash between the terrorist groups and the Lebanese army would unite all Lebanese behind their national army, while such unanimity is missing when the clash is with Hizbullah,” Soaid noted. He also questioned the rationale behind “the blast that targeted an Israeli patrol in the Shebaa Farms, eight years after the issuance of U.N. Security Council 1701, to which Hizbullah committed itself in the cabinet meetings.”
Fletcher Says Britain Determined to Aid Lebanon, Extends Further Support to Army
Naharnet/British Ambassador to Lebanon Fletcher stressed his country's determination to help Lebanon combat terrorism, expressing fear over the “grave dangers” facing the country.
The United Kingdom will “expand its support to Lebanon's resilience,” Fletcher told reporters after meeting with Prime Minister Tammam Salam at the Grand Serail. He pointed out that his country is determined to be on Lebanon's side to face the “grave dangers,” including the threat formed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). “We will stand beside the Lebanese state to show terrorists that they will find no haven here. Daesh (ISIL) is a threat to all of us.”“This is about action not words,” the diplomat said.
Clashes took place on Sunday between gunmen from al-Nusra Front, which came from Assal al-Ward in Syria to the outskirts of Hamme and Brital, and Hizbullah fighters. The clashes come two months after jihadists from the Islamic State group and Al-Nusra attacked Lebanese security forces in the northeastern border town Arsal, which also lies on the Syrian border. The jihadists withdrew into the mountains around Arsal after a ceasefire, but took with them soldiers and policemen as hostages.
Three of them have since been executed, contributing to rising anxiety in Lebanon over the encroachment of jihadists and spillover from the more than three-year-old war in Syria Fletcher noted that his country has “already increased tenfold the support to the Lebanese army.” “We understand the threats that they (soldiers) face on the Syrian border. So, we will train and equip a Third Land Border Regiment,” he said, expressing hope that Lebanon would take full control of its borders. Fletcher also revealed that his country will create job opportunities, help municipalities to deliver better services and continue its “biggest-ever” humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees. “We believe in Lebanon’s potential.” Concerning the ongoing presidential impasse, the British diplomat reiterated calls for the election of a new head of state, saying: “Every day without a President is a missed opportunity. Every day of vacancy is a day when the forces destabilizing the country become stronger. Every day without a Presidential voice makes it harder for us to help Lebanon.”Lebanon has been without a president since May when the tenure of Michel Suleiman ended. The majority of the March 8 alliance's MPs have been causing a lack of quorum in sessions aimed at electing a president, leaving the country without a head of state. “No-one should ever underestimate the resilience of the Lebanese people. Nor the commitment of Lebanon's allies,” Fletcher remarked.
Lebanese Kidnapped in Mozambique Released after One-Day Kidnap Ordeal
Naharnet/A Lebanese, who was kidnapped in Mozambique in southeast Africa, was released on Wednesday a day after his abduction. Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil announced via Twitter that the man was released without the payment of a ransom.
Mohammed Ali Ahmed, who hails from the southern town of Hariss in Bint Jbeil, was abducted by a gang in Mozambique on Tuesday night. The Lebanese charge d'affaires in Maputo Ara Khjatorian followed up on the case to ensure the safe release of Ahmed.
Army Ready to Eliminate Mawlawi, Mansour Group as Fears Mount in Tripoli
Naharnet/The Lebanese army and security forces expressed readiness to launch a swift operation in the northern city of Tripoli to arrest the group of two notorious fugitives Shadi al-Mawlawi and Osama Mansour.
“If the endeavors of Muslim clerics failed to end this phenomenon, then the army and security forces will intervene,” security sources said in comments published in al-Akhbar newspaper on Wednesday.
The two fugitives reportedly took asylum in the Sunni Bab al-Tabbaneh neighborhood after the Lebanese judiciary charged them 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 army troops in the area. They were also indicted in the case of the August 3 bomb explosion that killed Tripoli resident Issam al-Shaar in the al-Jinan area. Bab al-Tabbaneh residents denied that barricades and sand bags were erected around a security square established by al-Mawlawi and Mansour. On Tuesday, Voice of Lebanon radio (100.5) said that the the barricades are spread on the main streets separating the rival Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen neighborhoods in the northern city and between Bab al-Tabbaneh and army posts in Tripoli. The radio station said that surveillance cameras were also set to monitor the security square that includes al-Asmar square, Starco, Tartous street and the vegetable market. However, security sources told al-Akhbar that the security cameras were placed three weeks ago in the area. Sources told the newspaper, that there is popular sympathy with the Mawlawi and Mansour group but no one is ready to defend them against the army and security forces.
On September 12, Mansour, who leads an Islamist militia in Bab al-Tabbaneh, denied reports that his group had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State or al-Nusra Front. The 27-year-old militant had been wanted on dozens of arrest warrants and was recently apprehended in the Bekaa before being eventually released. Mansour's 20-member group had recently “occupied” the Omar bin Massoud Mosque in Bab al-Tabbaneh and he started “playing a bigger role” in the city with the beginning of the Arsal battle in the Bekaa in early August. Mansour and his group have however denied “occupying” the mosque, noting that they are present there because they are residents of the neighborhood.
Lebanon's Arabic press digest – Oct. 8, 2014
Oct. 08, 2014
The Daily Star
The following are a selection of stories from Lebanese newspapers that may be of interest to Daily Star readers. The Daily Star cannot vouch for the accuracy of these reports.
Hariri convinced France to resume active role in Lebanon
Sources following up on the meeting between former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and French President Francois Hollande in Paris Tuesday said Hariri spelled out the conditions causing the obstruction in the presidential election and what is preventing the election from being held.
The sources said Hariri was able to persuade the French to resume their active role in Lebanon and Hollande promised to take the presidential election issue seriously.
Meanwhile, Kataeb MP Elie Maroni said Hariri and head of the Kataeb Party Amine Gemayel agreed during their meeting in Paris not to hold parliamentary elections before the presidential election.
Hostage families told not to close Beirut roads
While there is no clear knowledge on the Qatari-conducted mediation with the captors of the Lebanese soldiers and policemen, MP Walid Jumblatt launched a fresh bid Tuesday to reopen the Dahr al-Baidar highway and has dispatched Health Minister Wael Abu Faour to meet with Prime Minister Tammam Salam for this purpose.
Jumblatt is expected to multiply his efforts Wednesday.
Meanwhile, a message has been delivered to the hostages’ families telling them they are not allowed to shut down Beirut roads or vital facilities such as the airport or the port.
Salam to hostages’ families: Don’t help politicians use you as a political commodity
Prime Minister Tammam Salam acknowledged that negotiation with the captors is challenging with many interfering and overlapping issues, including the split among politicians over the hostage crisis and the fact that the government is dealing with groups and not a state or one team.
“These groups [ISIS and Nusra Front] do not hesitate to carry out any brutal and inhumane act, something that doesn’t help negotiations,” Salam told Al-Akhbar.
“Nevertheless, we are trying to overcome all the obstacles to achieve progress, either through our internal capabilities or with external help,” he added.
“It is no secret and I cannot deny the political struggle in Lebanon,” Salam said. “The hostage crisis comes amid this split and we are watching the rival [politicians], each in his own way, trying to exploit the issue through mobilization and incitement for personal gains.”
The hostage crisis, he stressed, “is not a political commodity and cannot be subjected to justification of our differences."
Hezbollah passed on a message Tuesday that it is still in Shebaa
Sources told Al-Joumhouria that all expectations about an imminent war in south Lebanon were not so accurate because neither Israel nor Hezbollah intend to open a war on the southern front.
The sources said Tuesday’s bombing was a response to Israel’s violation in Adloun, adding that Hezbollah also aimed – the blast – to pass on a message that the resistance party still exists in Shebaa and other occupied territories, and that it is always present and fully ready, contrary to what is being portrayed weeks ago that the Free Syrian Army has penetrated this area.
Berri stands with Hariri over election delay
Oct. 08, 2014/The Daily Star/BEIRUT: Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said Wednesday he stands side-by-side with former Prime Minister Saad Hariri against holding parliamentary elections before a presidential vote. “I refuse to hold parliamentary elections if a basic component in Lebanon reject it,” Berri told lawmakers during his weekly meeting. Separately, Berri downplayed Hezbollah's Tuesday attack on an Israeli patrol on the border that wounded two soldiers, saying he is more concerned about routine Israeli violations in Lebanon. "Before answering this question, let me ask about the Israeli enemy’s blatant violations [of Lebanese sovereignty] and the recent attack against the Lebanese Army that took place in front of UNIFIL’s eyes,” Berri was quoted as telling visitors late Tuesday who asked him to comment on the incident. “In any case, we are seeking answers to the ongoing Israeli violations,” he added. “We got used to the fact that all hell breaks loose whenever an Israeli is wounded, while no one raises a question over the ongoing attacks on Lebanon and on Lebanese civilians and military personnel,” Berri pointed out. Hezbollah claimed responsibility for planting a bomb that wounded two Israeli soldiers on the south Lebanon border area of Shebaa Tuesday, two days after a Lebanese soldier was wounded by Israeli fire in the same area.
Faisal Qassem, the Al-Jazeera journalist who mocked Lebanese Army misses court hearing
Oct. 08, 2014/The Daily Star/BEIRUT: Faisal Qassem, the Al-Jazeera journalist in hot water for criticizing the Lebanese Army, missed a court hearing over the incitement case Wednesday, after the Attorney General failed to notify him of the date of his session.
Judicial sources told The Daily Star that Attorney General Charbel Abu Samra has rescheduled the hearing to Dec. 1 after admitting that Qassem was not notified of Wednesday's hearing. Qassem, an anti-regime Syrian news host, was expected to deliver oral testimony over Twitter posts he made last month mocking the Lebanese Army. Judge Samir Hammoud had tasked the Central Criminal Investigation department with locating Qassem's residence and informing him of the date of his hearing. Qassem posted on his Twitter account that the only achievements the Lebanese Army had made since its establishment were shooting video clips with Lebanese singers Wael Kfoury, Najwa Karam, Elissa and Haifa Wehbe, along with setting fire to Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon. Outraged by the comments, a delegation of Lebanese lawyers filed a lawsuit against Qassem for violating Articles 295 and 157 of the Lebanese Penal Code. The lawsuit alleges that Qassem's remarks amounted to a “provocation of Lebanese public opinion through indirect incitement against the Army," and “undermining the prestige of the state and weakening national sentiment.”
Lebanon minister: don't speculate over vaccinated girl's
Oct. 08, 2014/The Daily Star
BEIRUT: Lebanon's Health Ministry Wednesday criticized the media for spreading rumors over the mysterious death of a 4-year-old girl that occurred one day after she was vaccinated. “Media outlets and social media activists should fully respect the privacy of the family in light of the tragedy,” Minister Wael Abu Faour said in a statement. News of Celine Rakan’s death went viral on social media networks after her father posted on his Facebook page that the girl died after receiving a vaccine, raising speculation about the possibility that she was inoculated with a contaminated drug. The health minister urged all parties to "desist from publishing conclusions and accusations" until the results of the investigations are released. In a statement released earlier this week Abu Faour said investigations had revealed that the vaccine given to Celine was not supplied by the ministry, which usually distributes UNICEF-provided drugs to dispensaries and hospitals.Abu Faour Tuesday referred a doctor to the Order of Physicians for further investigation into Rakan’s death.
Pointless Blame Games
Ali Ibrahim/Asharq Al Awsat
Wednesday, 8 Oct, 2014
It seems the “blame game” season is in full swing. It began just after it became evident that no one had expected the situation in Iraq and Syria to deteriorate to the extent that a terrorist organization can capture large expanses of territory, including a major city such as Mosul, in such a short period of time, becoming a threat to regional stability and global security.
A recent episode of this blame game saw bickering between the US on the one hand, and Turkey and the UAE on the other. Eventually, the US had to apologize and clarify to Ankara and Abu Dhabi recent comments made by US Vice-President Joe Biden, in which he was understood to be blaming Washington’s friends in the region for the growth of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Biden was quoted claiming that Washington’s allies were responsible for its failed policy regarding Syria.
This is a new chapter in this process of shifting blame onto others, and it is not expected to be the last. It actually began within Washington itself—between US President Barack Obama and the intelligence community. Obama was quoted as saying the intelligence community had underestimated the risk of the Islamist group while at the same time putting too much stock in the capabilities of the Iraqi army. For its part, the intelligence community said it had warned of the group in reports the White House had overlooked due to its other preoccupations. Over the past two days, former US secretary of defense Leon Panetta also criticized Obama. In his new book, Panetta holds Obama to task for not heeding advice from military officials and former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton to strike a deal with then-Iraqi prime minister Nuri Al-Mliki’s government so that the US army stays in Iraq instead of completely pulling out of the country and causing a vacuum.
Without doubt, mistakes have been committed; otherwise, things would not be as bad as they are right now. It is widely believed that the rapid withdrawal of the US army from Iraq, without ensuring the presence of strong and inclusive state institutions, is responsible for the current deterioration in security. Moreover, reluctance to act early on the Syrian crisis allowed radical groups to reorganize and assemble themselves there before moving on to Iraq and erasing the borders between the two countries. The deal between Washington and the Afghan government to keep US forces there may provide a lesson here.
These mistakes must provide strategy and diplomacy scholars with a subject for study to determine who is responsible for the current mess—and to prevent future generations from making the same mistakes. But under the present circumstances, no one will benefit from the blame game currently being used for domestic policy purposes. This approach will create more damage than benefit, damaging the partnerships and trust among the members of the international anti-terror coalition that is currently being cobbled together to defeat groups like ISIS.
The important thing now is to agree on realistic strategies and policies in this war, and to mobilize regional and international efforts to surround and eradicate the terror phenomenon. The situation has seriously worsened and is now extending beyond Iraq and Syria into Lebanon, attracting other terror groups in other areas, such as Libya and other north African countries, who employ similar methods and threaten to expand the geographical scope of terror. Years ago, no one had a clear idea about the complex nature of Syria’s domestic map and the possibility of it being used by the Syrian regime or other parties to turn what started as a legitimate popular uprising into a civil war with a sectarian flavor. In fact, the Syrian regime has ample experience in this department, sending out countless radical fighters across the border into Iraq during the US occupation.
On the other hand, we shouldn’t overestimate the capabilities of these terror groups. Panetta’s recent talk of the war dragging on for decades or even 30 years is questionable. Certainly, if there are concerted and genuine political and military efforts, the war on terror need not take all that time. Crises drag on when states exploit them in order to achieve their political and private interests. The Syrian crisis is an example of how regional and international powers have collided in a manner reminiscent of the proxy wars between the US and the former Soviet Union. It would be better for all sides to cooperate in order to defuse these crises, whether in Syria or in Iraq.
Canada votes to join anti-ISIS air strikes in Iraq
Wednesday, 8 October 2014
Canadian lawmakers voted Tuesday to join the international coalition launching air strikes on the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group in Iraq. Parliamentarians led by Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper carried the vote, 157 to 134, in favor of the six-month mission. Both the opposition New Democrats and Liberals voted against it, saying they fear the mission could become a quagmire. Six hundred air crew and other personnel, along with six fighter jets and several other military aircraft, will now head to the Middle East.
Harper has ruled out sending ground combat troops. But 69 special forces soldiers already on the ground will continue to advise security forces fighting the Islamic State group in the northern part of Iraq. The White House welcomed Canada’s decision.
“The United States welcomes the Canadian government’s deployment of fighter and refueling aircraft, as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft to participate in the campaign to degrade and destroy ISIS in Iraq,” a White House spokesman said.
“Canadians and Americans have fought alongside each other in several major conflicts over the past century, and we are grateful for Canada's further contribution against terrorism,” the spokesman added. ISIS gained international attention in August, when its fighters and those from other militant groups swept through the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, then overran swaths of territory north and west of Baghdad. Western governments fear ISIS could eventually strike overseas, but their biggest worry for now is its gains in Iraq and the likely eventual return home of foreign fighters. U.S. President Barack Obama last month outlined plans for a broad international coalition to defeat the group in Iraq and Syria. The coalition, which includes Arab countries, intends to “significantly degrade the capabilities of ISIS, specifically its ability to engage in military movements of scale or to operate bases in the open,” Harper said on Friday, using an alternate acronym for the group. The military mission is supported by 64 percent of Canadians, according to a poll published by the daily Globe and Mail.
EU pulls out of anti-Israel UN debate, Islamic states outraged
Vol. 509 | October 8, 2014
In an important development, the European Union has stopped participating in the UN Human Rights Council’s regular agenda item against Israel. This has the Arab and Islamic states up in arms. Below from the UN summary are segments from the recent debate on September 23, 2014, under Agenda Item 7, “The Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.”
The State of Palestine expressed its disappointment at Israel’s decision not to participate in this agenda item of the Council. The occupation and numerous human rights violations by Israel for the last 47 years made Israel the world’s biggest violator of human rights.
United Arab Emirates for the Arab Group expressed extreme discontent about the European Union’s decision to boycott this agenda item.
Iran for the Non-Aligned Movement condemned in the strongest terms the violations of human rights as a result of Israel’s military aggression against Palestine. The Non-Aligned Movement was deeply disappointed by the decision of certain states to cease their participation in this agenda item.
Pakistan for the Islamic Group expressed deep disappointment that certain member states of the Western European and Others Group had ceased their participation under agenda item 7 which was particularly disturbing in the light of the latest Israeli behavior.
Saudi Arabia condemned the actions of Israel, including the recent violations in Gaza. Saudi Arabia said it saw that an increasing number of States were insisting on boycotting agenda item 7, which was proof of double standards concerning Israel. Item 7 was a fundamental agenda item of the Council which would stand until Israeli occupation and impunity ended.
UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer took the floor
Today is an important day for justice at the United Nations.
In free and democratic societies governed by the rule of law and the principle of constitutionalism, right is preserved by an independent judiciary empowered to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority.
Here at the United Nations, the system works differently. Here, the majority faction has the power to decide whatever it wants. There are no limits. The minority faction has no judicial recourse, no right of appeal, no remedy.
Now, today we meet under Agenda Item 7, which singles out one nation, Israel, for differential and discriminatory treatment.
Let us recall that in 1968, a similar form of discrimination took place in Tehran, at a UN conference celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
René Cassin, author of that Declaration, was present at that event. When he saw that one nation was being singled out, he left early in protest.
Because sometimes, Mr. President, non-participation speaks loudest. Sometimes, it is the only remedy that can deny the legitimacy of a bigotry which cannot otherwise be challenged or overcome.
Let us also recall that the Agenda Item 7 that is before us was denounced by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon immediately after its adoption, in June 2006, for denying the universality of human rights, and that its one-sided mandates have also been criticized by human rights groups including Amnesty International.
Today, the international community is joining the voices of principle.
Today, we heard complaints, but in fact non-participation in this debate is a sign of support for justice.
We see the European Union did not take the floor in this debate.
The United States did not take the floor.
Nor did Canada, Australia, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, and many other liberal democracies.
Today we heard loudest from deeds, not words. The free and democratic world, echoing the appeal of René Cassin, has spoken for justice.
Thank you, Mr. President.
With brazen attack inside Israel, Hezbollah lays down new
BY AVI ISSACHAROFF October 7, 2014
The Times Of Israel
The ring of explosives detonated alongside an IDF patrol on the border with Lebanon on Tuesday was another in a series of messages from Hezbollah to Israel. It was a brazen attack, carried out inside Israeli territory, the message being that, from now on, every incident in which Israel causes Lebanese injuries will be greeted with a response along the Lebanese or Syrian borders
As opposed to other recent cross-border attacks, in which the perpetrators didn’t claim responsibility, the message this time was loud and clear: a full admission by Hezbollah. The claim of responsibility also gave a reason for the attack.
“The Group of the Martyr Ali Hassan Haydar detonated an explosive device in the Shebaa Farms,” the Shiite group said in a statement, using the Lebanese name for the Mount Dov region, where the attack took place.
Haydar was a Hezbollah sapper killed on September 5 in Lebanon while attempting to defuse an explosive device attached to an alleged Israel spying apparatus discovered that day. Hezbollah vowed revenge.
At first blush, the developments in Mount Dov, including the Hezbollah claim, appear to portend a larger conflagration on the horizon. The potential for a deterioration of the situation is only increasing, with the Shiite group trying to lay down new red lines for Israel — red lines that Israel is likely to cross: Israel will almost certainly continue to disrupt the smuggling of game-changing weapons from Syria to Lebanon (indeed, those violate Israel’s own avowed “red line”), “forcing” Hezbollah to respond the next time it or its allies come under IDF attack.
Still, there are no indications that either side has real interest in a sustained conflict. Israel, fresh out of a 50-day war in the Gaza Strip with a not-insignificant hole in its defense budget, is mostly looking for quiet. The leadership in Jerusalem, which well understands that another war is likely to damage its position, is wary of the consequences of a wide-ranging campaign against Hezbollah, with many more rockets hitting Israeli cities than during the conflict this summer, and many more casualties.
The Shiite organization, meanwhile, is taking advantage of Israel’s wariness in order to establish a new set of ground rules. And yet one doubts whether Hezbollah, which doesn’t have many available fighters, is seeking to escalate the situation to all-out war or even a more limited conflagration. The organization is tied up with a war that has already been raging for three years, fighting alongside President Bashar Assad’s forces. This week, eight of its fighters were killed in battles in Syria’s Qalamoun region. In all, a third of Hezbollah’s forces are currently in Syria, where they’re battling a plethora of Sunni extremist groups, including the notorious Islamic State.It’s thus likely that in the coming months we’ll see occasional flare-ups along the border but no all-out escalation. And yet, the outcome of Tuesday’s attack, which wounded two soldiers, could have been much worse, and one is forced to recall that in July 2006, no one predicted that a cross-border attack (with far more dire results) would precipitate the Second Lebanon War.
New details about Canadian jihadist Farah Shirdon reveal militant ideology
Stewart Bell | October 7, 2014 | National Post
More from Stewart Bell | @StewartBellNP
TORONTO — In his propaganda video debut, Farah Shirdon threatened Canada and the United States, warning “we are coming and we will destroy you, with permission of Allah.” He then tossed his Canadian passport into a fire.
The stunt last April by the Toronto-born Somali-Canadian was a symbolic rejection of Canada in favour of the puritanical utopia the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham wants to impose by force, first in Syria and Iraq and then worldwide.
It is a stark and intolerant vision but one that has hypnotized youths like Mr. Shirdon. Despite having been raised in countries like Canada, they have turned their backs on Western society. And now they are at war with it.
As Members of Parliament voted Tuesday to join the air campaign in Iraq, new details about Mr. Shirdon, an outspoken Canadian foreign fighter, show that the international anti-ISIS coalition is up against both a military force and a militant ideology.
“To understand the appeal of ISIS to young Canadians, you have to understand it as a religious sect within Islam, one made up of conservative Salafism, mixed with the more violent ideology of thinkers like Sayed Qutb,” said Amarnath Amarasingam, a postdoctoral fellow at Dalhousie University’s Resilience Research Centre.“ISIS follows the thinking and writing of early 20th century thinkers like Maulana Maududi and Qutb, both of whom argued that the establishment of an Islamic state was a necessary prerequisite for the fulfillment of a Muslim’s faith,” said Mr. Amarasingam, who is involved in a study of Canadian foreign fighters. The Islamic state is portrayed by its strident champions as a perfect society, unlike liberal Western culture, which they disregard as corrupt. Those who buy into this vision face the option of either remaining within the West world they despise or fighting it to create their fantasyland. “For them, the choice is a no-brainer,” Mr. Amarasingam said.
A letter written by a 19-year-old arrested at Chicago’s O’Hare airport on Saturday as he was allegedly leaving to join ISIS expressed similar views. He told his parents it was an obligation to migrate to the Islamic state. “We are all witness that the Western societies are getting more immoral day by day. I do not want my kids being exposed to filth like this,” he wrote. Impudence like that is hard to hear, but particularly coming from Mr. Shirdon given that, when Somalia collapsed in the early 1990s, it was Canada that offered his family refuge from the lawlessness that ruined their homeland.
Handout HandoutAt school Farah Shirdon had been a chubby class clown and small-time dope dealer. The Shirdon family is originally from Dhusamareb, Somalia. Farah Shirdon’s father was born there and studied at the Somali National University, later becoming dean of agriculture and director general of the Ministry of Agriculture, according to his thesis. While he was studying plant breeding at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., Somalia disintegrated. The government fell in 1991 and warfare erupted between rival clan militias, forcing the Shirdons’ relatives to join the exodus across the border into the refugee camps of Kenya.
“I foresaw that trouble would start,” the father told the Cornell Chronicle in 1992, as a U.S.-led force landed in Mogadishu to ensure that humanitarian aid was delivered. “But I never imagined the government would collapse all at once.”
The father welcomed the U.S. military mission to Somalia. “The U.S. is doing what needs to be done,” he told the Cornell Chronicle. “It’s the right time to intervene — all other options have been exhausted.” He said his U.S. visa was about to expire but he could not go back to Somalia. “I don’t know where I go from here,” he said.
In 1993, after completing his PhD thesis — which he dedicated to his wife and three children, including Farah — the father left for Canada, giving his new address as an apartment in Toronto’s Jane and Eglinton neighbourhood. The family later moved to Calgary.
Farah Shirdon claims his awakening began with Al Qaeda’s Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States and the response that followed, which he saw as targeting Muslims (he was only eight at the time). “The war on terror was a key turning point,” said Mr. Amarasingam, who has been researching Mr. Shirdon and the wider circle of Calgary extremists for his study.
Mr. Shirdon was not part of a clique of Calgary jihadists that included Damian Clairmont, Salman Ashrafi and brothers Gregory and Collin Gordon, Mr. Amarasingam said. “He had mutual friends with them, but seems to have interacted with them very minimally.”
Although at school he had been a chubby class clown and small-time dope dealer, in September 2012 his posts on Twitter became more overtly religious. “I disown those who settle in the land of the mushrikeen [non-Muslims],” he wrote, quoting an Islamic scholar.
A Calgary youth who knew him around that time said the Somali-Canadian began to openly challenge speakers at Muslim seminars at the University of Calgary. “There seemed to be a kind of ignorant arrogance that he had,” he said.
Influenced by radical preachers like Anwar Awlaki, Mr. Shirdon “became convinced that by living and paying taxes in the West, you are contributing to the suffering of your fellow Muslims around the world,” Mr. Amarasingam said.
Mr. Shirdon claims nobody recruited him. “Actually no one spoke a single word to me. All I did, I opened the newspaper, I read the Koran. Very easy,” he told the U.S. website VICE, boasting that Canadian authorities had questioned him five days before he left for the Middle East but had not arrested him.
Vice/YouTubeFarah Shirdon claims his awakening began with Al Qaeda’s Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States and the response that followed.
In April, Mr. Shirdon reappeared on Twitter after a long absence, calling himself Abu Usamah. He said ISIS was paying him a salary, and urged others to “run to the land of jihad brothers and help us in re-establishing the Islamic caliphate.”
He later wrote: “Beheading Shias is a beautiful thing.”
His posts were so offensive that Twitter suspended his various accounts three times, most recently last week. He did not respond to questions sent to him, nor did his family.
“I just heard that I was on the news and Canada fears I will return to attack them,” he wrote after the video of his passport burning was publicized internationally. “Rest assured,” he added, “I have no plans on returning.”
Instead, Canada is now coming to him.
US prods Turkey over inaction against ISIS
Published October 08, 2014
A Pentagon official signaled Wednesday that the U.S. is pressing the Turkish government to intervene in support of Kurdish forces desperately battling to keep the Syrian border town of Kobani from falling into Islamic State hands.
Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby told Fox News that U.S. officials are talking with the Turks about "what they can or will or may do here."
He added: "This is a decision the Turkish government has to make. We can't make it for them."
But The New York Times reported earlier that the White House is growing frustrated with Turkish inaction as the situation next door in Kobani gets worse.
Kirby also stressed the "limits of airpower" and said the U.S. needs more help on the ground.
"There's just so much you can do from the air," he told Fox News. "You've got to have willing partners on the ground. You've got to have ground forces."
The New York Times quoted a senior administration official who slammed the Ankara government for "dragging its feet to act to prevent a massacre less than a mile from its border."
"After all the fulminating about Syria's humanitarian catastrophe, they're inventing reasons not to act to avoid another catastrophe," the official continued. "This isn't how a NATO ally acts while hell is unfolding a stone's throw from their border."
The Times reported that Secretary of State John Kerry had spoken with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu multiple times over the prior 72 hours in an effort to resolve tensions between the two sides.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the U.S.-led coalition's air campaign launched last month would not be enough to halt the Islamic State group's advance. Turkish troops have been massed near the border since the assault on Kobani began, but have so far not taken an offensive posture.
"Kobani is about to fall," Erdogan told Syrian refugees in the Turkish border town of Gaziantep, according to The Associated Press. The Turkish president called for greater cooperation with the Syrian opposition, which is fighting both the extremists and forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad.
"We asked for three things: one, for a no-fly zone to be created; two, for a secure zone parallel to the region to be declared; and for the moderate opposition in Syria and Iraq to be trained and equipped."
The Times reported that President Obama prefers that Erdogan not tether the fight against Islamic State, commonly known as ISIS, to the effort to overthrow Assad. U.S. officials also tell the paper that Erdogan's demand for a no-fly zone against the Syrian Air Force is meaningless on the grounds that the airstrikes have created a no-fly zone in all but name.
On Wednesday, Fox News reported that machine gun and small arms fire could be heard and seen near Kobani, indicating street fighting at close quarters. Artillery fire could also be heard at the center of town. The minaret of the town's mosque was destroyed by ISIS fire.
U.S. Central Command said Tuesday that five airstrikes on ISIS positions had been carried out near Kobani. A Fox News crew witnessed at least two airstrikes. One strike hit an ISIS tank on a hillside overlooking the town, while another two tanks appeared to be hit to the town's southwest.
While it is thought that supply lines for ISIS might have been disrupted by the stepped up attacks, enough ISIS fighters have entered the town with heavy arms back-up to wage a serious fight.
On Tuesday, the United Nations envoy for Syria issued a call for "concrete action" to prevent "humanitarian tragedies."
"The world has seen with its own eyes the images of what happens when a city in Syria or in Iraq is overtaken by the terrorist group called ISIS or Da'esh: massacres, humanitarian tragedies, rapes, horrific violence," Staffan De Mistura said. "The international community cannot sustain another city falling under ISIS.
"The world, all of us, will regret deeply if ISIS is able to take over a city which has defended itself with courage but is close to not being able to do so," De Mistura added. "We need to act now."
Fox News' Greg Palkot contributed to this report.