LCCC ENGLISH DAILY NEWS BULLETIN
For Today/God’s Faithfulness
Romans 03/01-08: "What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? Much in every way! First of all, the Jews have been entrusted with the very words of God. What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar. As it is written: “So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge.” But if our unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.) Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world? Someone might argue, “If my falsehood enhances God’s truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?” Why not say—as some slanderously claim that we say—“Let us do evil that good may result”? Their condemnation is just!
Latest analysis, editorials from miscellaneous sources published on October 20, 21/14
To Hezbollah: Practice what you preach/The Daily Star/October 21/14
Abadi says it's a ‘psychological’ war on Iraq/By: Abdulrahman al-Rashed/Al Arabiya/October 21/14
Rare glimpses into the lives of Abu Sayyaf captors/By: Baker Atyani /Al Arabiya/October 21/14
A big-hearted U.S. president dedicated to peace/By: Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor /Al Arabiya/October 21/14
Why the Afghan First Lady has shocked fundamentalists/Camelia Entekhabi-Fard /Al Arabiya/October 21/14
Conflicting priorities for anti-ISIS coalition members/By: Raghida Dergham /Al Arabiya/October 21/14
When the Terrorists Become Activists/By: Salman Aldossary/Asharq Al Awsat/ October 21/14
Hezbollah Opts to Renew Hostilities Against Israel as IDF Opens Fire on Northern Infiltrators/Author: Dave Bender/Algemeiner/October 20, 21/14
Lebanese Related News
October 20, 21/14
Elias Bejjani/MP, Fatouch is an ugly and shameful politician
Salam to Highlight Ongoing Refugees Crisis during International Meet in Berlin
Lebanon MP punches woman in the neck
Future-Hezbollah verbal sparring raises stakes
Ibrahim in Qatar to Discuss Case of Abducted Servicemen as Negotiations Reach Standstill
Jumblatt demands immediate closure of Naameh dump
Lebanon faces high Ebola risk: health minister
Family of kidnapped brothers block Bekaa road
Hariri Set to Propose Roadmap to End Political Crises Another Lebanese soldier joins jihadists Discrimination persists in drug law application Iran vows to aid Lebanese, Army, resistance Practice what you preach Lebanon minister: Political parties not seeking confrontation Beirut airport sees more travelers, less goods Kataeb Urges Officials to Carry out 'Most Basic National Duties' to Save Lebanon
Report: Extremists to Attack North in Attempt to Grab Land
Roux Says STL Mandate Renewal is Certain
Kelley Says U.N. has No Count of Refugee Numbers in Arsal
Miscellaneous Reports And News published on
October 20, 21/14
Iran defense minister: Israel and Islamic State are pursuing same goals
Main square of Istanbul 'world's ugliest': PM
US airdrops weapons to Syrian Kurds Arab League vows support for Iraq against ISIS Kerry: Irresponsible not to support Kurds vs IS Turkey to let Iraqi Kurds reinforce Kobani
Syrian Kurds Find Refuge in Camp Named after Suicide Bomber
France Launches Fresh Strikes against IS in Iraq
EU Urges Turkey to Open Border to Help Kobane US reports 12 airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, Iraq
ISIS casualties pile up in battle for Ain al-Arab
Kurds Hail U.S. Arms Drop as Turkey Boosts Kobane Battle
EU Expands Syria Sanctions List
Israeli hospital treats Hamas leader's daughter
Israeli Arab doctor killed fighting for ISIS: Shin Bet
Yemen: Houthis push for key ministerial portfolios
Al-Qaeda insurgents kill 18 Houthis Germany arrests two over ISIS, Syria rebel links
Siege looms over Aleppo as Assad’s regime gains ground Egypt and Sudan to coordinate on Libya unrest Video of woman giving birth outside Egyptian hospital triggers outcry
Church should not fear change, pope says Ebola: Five questions about the killer virus Israel Warns Against Nuclear-Armed Iran as Deadline for Deal Approaches
UN: Iran not cooperating with nuclear probe
Elias Bejjani/MP, Fatouch is an ugly
and shameful politician
Elias Bejjani/ October 20/14/The crime that Zhali's residents did commit in electing this evil creature, MP, Nicola Fatouch is fatal and unforgivable. This politician in his political stances, practice, conduct, rhetoric and alliances portrays ugly and scary image that is void of honesty, patriotism, self respect and humanity. His aggressive, arrogant and rude conduct today with a female official employee must not let go without judicial investigation and appropriate charges. Politician from the like of Fatouch must be not elected or given any sort of public confidence. His conduct of today is condemned.
No more Fattouch, please
Myra Abdallah/Now Lebanon/Published: 20/10/2014
Has it become ordinary for an MP to punch a government employee only because she did her job unusually well? Lebanese people are always complaining that government employees are all about slacking, favoritism and bribes. So when an employee asks someone to wait in line, she should be hailed as a hero and be given a trophy, not punched! Earlier today, MP Nicolas Fattouch punched an employee, Manal Daou in the throat, because she was doing her job in the Lebanese Justice Palace in Baabda. Fattouch attacked Daou because “he can’t wait.” Daou, who is responsible for filing the complaints at the Justice Palace, asked Fattouch – who was filing a complaint at Daou’s desk – to wait for her till she processes other complaints previously presented by other lawyers. He punched her and walked out free, and upset. Yes, upset because he punched her. By attacking her, Fattouch assaulted her as a citizen, and also showed complete disregard for the state institution where she works. The incident went viral on both social and traditional media. Civil society activists and journalist will speak up, as usual. The buzz will die in a few days, until another assault on another citizen takes place (remember Bassil’s Caroline?).Maybe enough is enough. Fattouch has already destroyed many Lebanese mountains with his illegal quarries. He really needs to be stopped. We call for the Lebanese authorities to take action. Fattouch should be held accountable for his disgraceful attitude. Stop Fattouch now!
Ibrahim in Qatar to Discuss Case of Abducted Servicemen as
Negotiations Reach Standstill
Naharnet /General Security chief Major General Abbas Ibrahim traveled to Qatar to follow up the case of abducted soldiers and policemen, As Safir newspaper reported on Monday. The daily said that Ibrahim will kick off discussions with Qatari officials, who are tasked with negotiating the safe release of the captive servicemen. The Lebanese government had requested from its Qatari and Turkish counterparts to help in mediating the release of the kidnapped soldiers and policemen. Meanwhile, al-Liwaa newspaper reported that negotiations with al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) forcefully ended due to the bad weather conditions on the outskirts of the northeastern border town of Arsal, where the jihadists are taking positions. Sources also told the newspaper that confusion marred the negotiations after the emir of al-Nusra Front in Qalamoun, Abu Malek al-Talli, was replaced by Abou Omeir, who is negotiating with mediators the swap of servicemen with Roumieh prison Islamist inmates and a safe passage to Arsal. The daily said that the latest round of negotiations failed to reach a breakthrough. The troops and police were kidnapped by militants when they overran the town of Arsal in August and engaged in bloody clashes with the army. Their capture and the failure of the Lebanese authorities to secure their release sparked protests across Lebanon. The families are fearing that the extremists would kill their loved ones after they executed three of the hostages in August and September.
To Hezbollah: Practice what you preach
The Daily Star/Oct. 20, 2014
Lebanon’s interior minister engaged in a good deal of candor when he spoke over the weekend about responsibility for the security situation in the country. Nouhad Machnouk chose a symbolic event – the anniversary of the assassination of Internal Security Forces chief Col. Wissam al-Hasan – to deliver remarks that cut through the mountains of security rhetoric. Machnouk made it clear a dominant “political party” was responsible for sabotaging recent government-endorsed security plans, by continuing to insist on loopholes for what should be a straightforward policy. He did not use the word Hezbollah, but the meaning of his words was crystal-clear to all. Instead of allowing all Lebanese to be treated equally, this party pursued its usual tactic of securing exemptions for certain people who enjoy its “protection.” Thus, the security plan ended up having counter-productive results, Machnouk said, because this party’s selectivity led to a rise in inter-communal tensions and feelings of injustice. Politicians from across the March 14-March 8 divide constantly talk about the need to support the army and state security bodies, but actions speak louder than words. Enhancing the security situation in Lebanon boils down to a two-way street; when one group continues to hold itself above the law, it can’t expect others to respect the same set of rules. Instead of lecturing people on the need to bolster security and move away from extremism, Hezbollah should spend less time talking and more time devoting itself to full cooperation with state authorities. Its current policies have only encouraged other groups to take matters into their own hands, with disastrous results for Lebanon.
Hariri Set to Propose Roadmap to End Political Crises
Naharnet /Al-Mustaqbal Movement leader MP Saad Hariri is set to propose a roadmap to end the ongoing political crises as Speaker Nabih Berri is expected to call for a session that would include on its agenda the extension of the parliament's term at the end of October.
Sources told al-Joumhouria newspaper published on Monday that Hariri intensified contacts to resolve “urgent issues.”The sources told the daily that Hariri, who is expected to return to Lebanon soon ahead of the extension of the parliament’s tenure, will propose in person a new roadmap to salvage the country from the ongoing political crises. The former premier reportedly set the extension of the legislature's term as a key step to prevent further vacuum at Lebanese institutions to ensure the survival of the state, in particular to safeguard the cabinet's unity. The Speaker's visitors also quoted him as saying that he will call for a parliamentary session at the end of October. Berri didn't rule out the possibility of discussing the extension of the parliament's tenure anew. The speaker, despite his unmoving rejection to extend the parliament's term, had recently said that he opposes the staging of parliamentary elections, if it was boycotted by a key party. Hariri had stated that the presidential elections should be a priority for Lebanon, revealing that his movement will not participate in the parliamentary polls should they be held in the absence of a president. Some political blocs have been demanding that the parliamentary elections, which are set for November, be held even if a head of state is not elected. Others have been demanding that parliament's term be extended for a second time given the vacuum, poor security situation, and dispute over an electoral law. Poor security and the disagreement over the law forced the extension of parliament's term last year. Lebanon has been without a president since the term of Michel Suleiman ended in May. Ongoing disputes between the rival March 8 and 14 camps over a compromise candidate have thwarted the elections.
Lebanon minister: Political parties not seeking confrontation
Oct. 20, 2014/The Daily Star/BEIRUT: Lebanon's political parties want to avoid a clash over controversial issues, Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas said Monday. “I have sensed from all the parties their desire to avoid a clash over critical issues because the government is the last intact constitutional” authority, Derbas told a local radio station, while stressing that the formation of a new government was not possible under the given circumstances. Lebanon has been without a head of state since May when former President Michel Sleiman’s term ended with lawmakers unable elect a successor due to lack of quorum. “This is why differences must be kept within narrow limits,” Derbas added. A war of words erupted over the weekend between the Future Movement and Hezbollah as Lebanon faces mounting security threats from Islamist militants. Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk criticized Hezbollah, blaming it for the failure of security plans in Lebanon while accusing certain security institutions of being biased toward the party. Hezbollah swiftly responded, rejecting talk about a “security balance,” a phrase uttered by Machnouk. “What does the talk about security balance mean? Does it mean that areas that do not witness support for takfiri and terrorist groups and do not witness attacks on the Army and security forces should be put on equal footing with groups that practice such terrorist acts?” Hezbollah Minister of State Mohammad Fneish said. He said Hezbollah had never barred security forces from pursuing any criminal or attacker in areas where the party enjoys wide support.
Lebanon MP Fattoush punches woman in the neck
Oct. 20, 2014 /The Daily Star/BEIRUT: MP Nicolas Fattoush Monday punched an office worker in the neck after she refused to prioritize his file at the Baabda Judicial Palace, a source inside the courthouse told The Daily Star. Fattoush arrived to the office of Manal Daou, an administrative officer responsible for processing complaints by lawyers. The lawmaker handed Daou his file and asked her to expedite it, but she responded that she was already working on another file, and that he would have to wait a few minutes before she could help him. Angered by her request, the Zahle MP notified Daou of his position in government, and demanded that she give him priority. The situation quickly escalated with the office worker refusing to make an exception, and repeating for him to wait with the other visitors.
Fattoush then raised his voice and began to punch her repeatedly in the throat, the source said. Daou’s coworkers and Fattoush’s bodyguard quickly intervened, creating a ruckus in the facility that only calmed down after the MP and his bodyguard left. The staff expressed their anger over Fattoush’s attack, and called on authorities and Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi to respond to the case. The sources said that many people witnessed the incident, and that Daou has filed a lawsuit against Fattoush through the office of the prosecutor.
Iran defense minister: Israel and
Islamic State are pursuing same goals
Iran's defense minister on Saturday accused Israel and the Islamic State of pursuing the same goals in the Middle East: killing innocents and destroying economic infrastructures in an effort to minimize anti-Zionist sentiment in the region, the Iranian news agency Fars reported.
Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehqan made the remarks equating Israel and the Islamic State in a meeting with his Lebanese counterpart Samir Mokbel. The two met to discuss expanding military and security cooperation, according to Fars. The Fars piece also said that Israeli hospitals have been treating Islamic State militants wounded fighting in Syria. Some 1,200 Syrians have been treated in Israel, reportedly at a cost of about $10 million, since the start of the country's civil war in 2011. Fars also reported that Kurdish forces found Israeli food packages and equipment in Islamic State headquarters in the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Iraq. It added, however, that Kurdish sources "refrained from revealing more details about their findings." Last month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu equated Islamic State with Hamas and its sponsor, Iran, in his address to the United Nations General Assembly. "…Militant Islam’s ambition to dominate the world seems mad, but so too did the global ambitions of another fanatic ideology that swept into power eight decades ago," Netanyahu said.
"The Nazis believed in a master race. The militant Islamists believe in a master faith. They just disagree who among them will be the master of the master faith. That’s what they truly disagree about. And therefore, the question before us is whether militant Islam will have the power to realize its unbridled ambitions. "There is one place where that could soon happen -- the Islamic State of Iran. For 35 years, Iran has relentlessly pursued the global mission which was set forth by its founding ruler, Ayatollah Khomeini, in these words. “We will export our revolution to the entire world until the cry ‘there is no god but Allah’ will echo throughout the world over.” And ever since, the regime’s brutal enforcers, Iran’s revolutionary guards, have done exactly that."
Abadi says it's a ‘psychological’ war on Iraq!
Abdulrahman al-Rashed/Al Arabiya
Monday, 20 October 2014
Prior to June 6, former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki took warnings related to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) with disdain, claiming reports about the group were meant to exert pressure on him. Although American drones were roaming across Iraqi airspace on a daily basis, monitoring fighters' movements and sending information to Washington - which repeatedly warned Maliki - he preferred to listen to the reassurances of his advisers who had no information.
But truth prevailed in no time as Mosul, along with its military base, regiments and intelligence, fell in the hands of the ISIS. More cities and provinces later suffered Mosul's fate. It wasn't a political maneuver or a psychological intimidating game.
As part of an official campaign aiming to reassure people, new Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi told Iraqi citizens not to worry as 70 percent of the war on Iraq they're hearing about is psychological! To assert this, the defense ministry showed television recordings of citizens saying the situation is safe and that Baghdad is secure.
If 70 percent of the war is really psychological, how can the Iraqis comprehend the presence of swarms of fighter jets in their airspace? And how does Abadi explain the fall of one third of Iraq in the hands of the ISIS?
“If 70 percent of the war is really psychological, how can the Iraqis comprehend the presence of swarms of fighter jets in their airspace?”
Perhaps the government is afraid that citizens will rush to flee Baghdad the minute they hear news of the arrival of ISIS fighters. The government is right to be worried of the possible disaster; however denying that the threats exist does not eradicate them. Abadi's statements will be tested in the upcoming weeks and months. If Iraqi forces succeed at confronting militias and achieving stability, Abadi will have won the propaganda and psychological battle. But what if other major areas fall to ISIS? This is not ruled out as the terrorists’ pace towards the governorates of Babil and Karbala is increasing and they are ferociously fighting in Anbar hoping to seize the city of Amiriyah Fallujah neighboring the capital Baghdad.
A real war
What's happening in Iraq, and Syria as well, is not a psychological war. It's one of the most real wars in the region's history. Most modern wars are managed like video games - people get killed without seeing the fighters' faces, hearing the roar of aircrafts and witnessing explosions. The fighters of these battles are from the Middle Ages. They carry American and European weapons, use Japanese cars, pursue their victims on foot and display their victims' severed heads.
Abadi can say "70 percent of the war is psychological," but he must recall what Maliki said and did in the months before he was defeated - he was showing footage of soldiers dancing and celebrating delusional victories as towns were being destroyed!
What will happen if gunmen gain entire control of Anbar province, surround the capital and shell the airport?
The governments' reassurances will be of no use without comprehensive steps. One million people may flee Baghdad because their trust in the government is still weak and not because the war is psychological. The escape of Maliki's forces from Mosul and its aftermaths make everything that's being said of no value. Winning the trust of Iraqi citizens requires more transparency and reassuring them with political decisions, not by underestimating militant threats. Abadi has not yet established a character for himself that distances him from Maliki. His promised political plan for reconciliation remains mere talk. This means the war with ISIS and a few rebellious groups will turn into a state of a civil war. This is the terrifying nightmare which the new government is supposed to think about. ISIS is a terrorist group and the Iraqis - both Sunnis and Shiites - will fight it and the world will fight along their side. However a civil war means that Abadi will have to fight on his own.
Rare glimpses into the lives of Abu Sayyaf captors
Baker Atyani /Al Arabiya
Monday, 20 October 2014
Another two hostages have returned to the light of freedom after a six-month ordeal that put their lives on pause by militants in the island of Sulu, south of the Philippines.
No one is happier today than Stefan Okonek and Henrike Dielen, the German couple released last Saturday, and who knows better what an overwhelming happiness this is – when life seems to be caught between dream and reality – than one who has experienced his own freedom being snatched away.
I have been following the developments and the threats extended by the couple’s kidnappers as if I was reliving the same moments. But more interesting was when I read that the spokesman for the kidnappers was a man named Abu Rami.
Abu Rami is in his mid-twenties. He left his education after his first year in university and joined the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in Sulu Island. He later joined a subgroup that comes under the incumbent leader of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) named Radolan Sahiron. But Abu Rami did not stay for long and soon joined a community linked with Abu Sayyaf led by Kasman Sawadjan, who was a known thief and led till his death the second-largest community linked with ASG in Sulu Island.
“How deeply drenched they are in their ignorance; knowing nothing but the rules of the jungle in which they live”
Abu Rami is the only person in the community of around 200 who speaks English, the others do not know except the Island's local language, Tausug. Even his broken English does not hamper his yelling and threats. Abu Rami is also known by the name Ams, a short form of his alias Ammar. Among my kidnappers, he was the first person to speak to me and was also the translator between me and their leader Sawadjan. It was Abu Rami's idea that I should be filmed with a knife held to my neck exactly how Stefan appeared in one of his pictures. I strongly resisted and pushed the knife away with my hand which left a deep cut on my finger and damaged the tendon.
Abu Rami didn’t even feel ashamed to send text messages from my mobile phone to all of my contacts, including my seven-year-old son, threatening to behead me in case the ransom was not paid. This was the same pattern seen in the German hostages' case. Whenever Abu Rami expected the ransom to come he would call me "brother" and when he felt there was no ransom he termed me as "Khawarij" (a person astray from Islam). When I asked him if he knew what the word meant, he stuttered ignorantly with no answer.
‘Are Americans Shiites?’
How deeply drenched they are in their ignorance; knowing nothing but the rules of the jungle in which they live. They know little, if nothing, about their religion. Even their knowledge of their religion is a mixture of their faith and traditions. They are also blind of the purpose for which they carry their arms.
I found Abu Rami, who is the most civilized among them, asking me once if the Americans were Shiites?! He later asked if London was situated in the United States. I had no option but to answer, "Until the day I was kidnapped, London was somewhere else. I have no idea what happened after that."
I believe the most accurate way to define these people is to say they are human settlements spread all over Sulu and the Basilan islands, in the south of the Philippines. These communities have adopted kidnapping as a profession. Every community comprises of different families and is led by the strongest of these families in terms of arms and money. The one leading the community provides the other families with ammunition and food on daily basis. In return, the members of these families obey every command and serve the largest family. Every community leader is obliged to give the biggest community, which is led by ASG leader Radolan Sahiron, 20 percent of any income generated through kidnappings, robberies or even charity, in order for the act to carry the name of Abu Sayyaf.
What is worst still is that these communities are protected and supplied with all kinds of resources to maintain their livelihood by influential elements in the Philippines. And why shouldn't this be the case? Kidnapping is a boom business fetching big incomes. There are people who plan and trap the targets and victims bringing them to these communities in the jungle and the moment a target is found, many raise their heads, from politicians to members of the police and civil society, offering to work as mediators to secure the release of the hostages.
And for this business to continue, these communities are linked with militant groups that are internationally underlined as terror outfits such as al-Qaeda. Though, most experts on militant groups maintain that Abu Sayyaf and its auxiliaries are interlinked locally with currently no sponsorship from outside. Even majority of the members of Jamaa Islamia (JI) in Southeast Asia, who took refuge in the south of Philippines before and after the Bali bombings, left Sulu while a few of them were actually hunted by some of the communities and groups belonging to Abu Sayyaf, just to get the death money placed on them.
It is, however, worth mentioning here that the recent support shown by some of the communities to ISIS, including demanding Germany to withdraw from the international alliance against ISIS as a condition to release the German couple, could be explained in the context that these communities are very much influenced by the ISIS’ practices and are looking to seek some sort of patronage from the group. The possibility of the ISIS adopting these communities at a later stage should not be ruled out. One would be surprised to know that the location of these kidnappers and communities is not a secret; asking any local in that island can easily lead to their whereabouts. Moreover, all their communications and negotiations over their hostages take place via their cellphones while their pictures are floating all over social media.
My heartiest congratulations go out to Stefan and Henrike on getting their freedom back but there are still other hostages in the shackles of these communities who await every one of us to work for their release and pressurize the Filipino government and its institutions to apply serious efforts for hostages. The authorities would have to deal with all those who are harboring and protecting these kidnappers with an iron hand. The representatives of the Muslims of Philippines also have to rise up to their responsibilities and expose these communities who have adopted kidnapping as their sole means of living, all in the name of religion.
U.S. president dedicated to peace
Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor /Al Arabiya
Monday, 20 October 2014
Earlier this month, I had the privilege of spending quality time exchanging ideas with President Carter and his wife Rosalynn at the Carter Center in Atlanta as well as at Illinois College, Jacksonville, where he came at my invitation to initiate ‘Pathways to Peace’ - a proposal designed to find solutions for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, an issue afflicting our region and the West.
Regularly held seminars involving 12 Illinois College students and faculty members will be held in the spring of 2015 so that participants can study methods of resolving ethnic, cultural and religious conflicts with a view to nurturing fresh ideas on how to bring an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Students will travel to Jordan, Palestine and Israel to meet with other students and decision-makers and to garner their opinions. Final papers will be presented to me in Dubai for evaluation.
“I really think the problem is we don’t see other people’s points of views,” was the insightful message from Illinois College President Barbara Farley. “We just try to push our own. So we need to get people over there to see what’s going on and then say how can we change what’s going on over there based on their beliefs not on our beliefs.”
Having President Carter on board gives this initiative impetus and the gravitas it deserves. Thank you, Mr. President, for answering the call without hesitation and for being an outstanding leadership role model at a time when true leadership is sorely lacking worldwide. While you are out there, working hard to assist the poor and disenfranchised, unafraid to speak the truth about the plight of the Palestinians, others make meaningless diplomatic noises. Presidents, Prime Ministers and human rights organisations are big on talk but do anything to back-up their words. You make a difference.
Not for you a quiet retirement on the golf course. You fly from country to country, even those that are conflict-ridden or undergoing epidemics, risking your life for the betterment of mankind irrespective of race or colour. To quote my friend, Congressman Paul Findley, who has worked tirelessly for the Palestinian cause, “Jimmy Carter is the only president whose presidency didn’t end after he left the White House.”
Like Barack Obama, President Carter was the recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize. The difference is that whereas as Jimmy Carter earned his “for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights and to promote economic and social development,” Obama has done nothing but make hollow promises.
“President Carter’s presidential achievements should not be glossed-over”
When Carter said “I’ll never tell a lie” and “I’ll never avoid a controversial issue” during the run-up to his election, he meant every word, but, unfortunately, the Iranian hostage crisis and America’s failed attempt to release its citizens forcibly held by Iranian radicals in the U.S. embassy, cast a shadow over his re-election prospects. He told the packed-to-capacity hall at Illinois College that when he is asked about how his life has been in the last few years he cites a cartoon depicting a small boy telling his daddy “When I grow up I want to be a former President.”
President Carter’s presidential achievements should not be glossed-over. One of the most outstanding was his mediation at Camp David that helped to seal an Israeli-Egyptian peace deal and laid the foundations for future Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on two states. His reflections and insights on that era can be found in his book “The Blood of Abraham.” He aspired to making his government competent and compassionate; he produced eight million jobs and reduced the budget deficit. He expanded the National Parks by millions of acres, improved the Social Security system and ensured that government jobs were available to women, African Americans and Hispanics. Moreover, he boldly established diplomatic relations with China and successfully negotiated a nuclear limitation treaty with the Soviet Union.
Making a difference
Determined to continue making a difference, Mr. and Mrs. Carter opened the Carter Center – a nongovernmental, non-profit organisation to ‘advance human rights and alleviate human suffering’ in 1982 in Atlanta partnered with Emory University. Besides being a respected, neutral election observing body, it mediates conflicts, champions human rights, and works to eradicate diseases. President Carter has been a hands-on founder clearing the path for a U.S.-North Korea nuclear pact; accompanying Colin Powell to Haiti to restore the country’s democratically-elected president, negotiating a treaty between Sudan and Uganda and making an historic visit to Cuba aimed at improving U.S.-Cuban relations.
However, elusive peace between Israel and the Palestinians remains close to this heart. His best-selling book “Palestine: Peace not Apartheid” was praised for its honesty in a climate hostile to opponents of Israeli policies and condemned by the pro-Israel lobby for bordering on anti-Semitism, a label Israeli advocates throw around like confetti in an attempt to cast a slur on anyone who dares to challenge Israel’s impunity.
Undeterred, President Carter said, “Many controversial issues concerning Palestine and the path to peace for Israel are intensely debated among Israelis and throughout other nations – but not in the United States. This reluctance to criticise any policies of the Israeli government is because of the extraordinary lobbying efforts of the American-Israeli Political Action Committee and the absence of any significant contrary voices.”
Following Israel’s recent onslaught on Gaza that robbed over 2,000 Palestinians of their lives and displaced 250,000 from their homes, President Carter condemned Israel for committing war crimes. He called for international judicial proceedings to hold Israel to account and for Israel to immediately lift the blockade on the Gaza Strip.
President Carter’s career is indelibly associated with compassion for those less fortunate and his passion to further human rights. His humility is well-known. At his inauguration he waved away a limousine in favour of strolling with his wife down Pennsylvania Avenue and he always carried his own bag when boarding Air Force One. I’ve met him three times, including twice in Dubai where I hosted him and members of his family at my farm. A former farmer, he was entranced by our farm animals and felt right at home.
I’ve always found him to be very humble, gracious, positive and energetic. In short, an impressive human being who takes his Christian values seriously. His wife, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, has been his right hand since they wed in 1946. A forceful personality in her own right, she was present at Cabinet and Policy meetings during her years at the White House and was appointed U.S. envoy to Latin America. I think President Carter would willingly endorse the saying, ‘Behind every great man is a woman’. One thing’s for certain. If there were more people with influence with President Carter’s courage and commitment our world would be a far better and more peaceful place.
Why the Afghan
First Lady has shocked fundamentalists
Camelia Entekhabi-Fard /Al Arabiya
Monday, 20 October 2014
It took months for Ashraf Ghani Ahmad Zai, now president of Afghanistan, and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah now the government’s chief executive to unify and agree on power-sharing, but still controversy surrounds them.
The legitimacy of the elections, the power-sharing terms and whether this coalition government can last for five years have been the most important questions asked in Afghanistan recently. All these questions are monitored by Afghans and observers but the public guards are quick to cut off any queries about the new president’s wife when he presented her to the public.
Talking about wives, daughters and female relatives is a big taboo in Afghanistan. Up until the last few weeks, Afghanistan’s problems were mainly limited to the fights against terrorism, corruption, the economy and healthcare. Today, the nation faces a culture shock; the president’s middle-aged, Lebanese-American wife Rola is seeking to have a public presence.
“A fight against fundamentalism is now more essential in Afghanistan than the fight against terrorism ”
For a country where a woman’s social activities are so limited and many are subject to harsh treatment and sexual violence in a male-dominated society, a stable public life for women is not easy and not welcomed by the majority of Afghans.
The life of Hamed Karzai’s wife, Zinat, who was a practicing obstetrician when she was living in Pakistan, has dramatically changed since became the president’s wife. She totally disappeared from public life and in a rare interview she gave to the BBC’s Persian service, she agreed on to talk but only if her face wouldn’t show.
Now Afghanistan has a president who lived most of his life abroad and was in the U.S., worked for the World Bank and is western-educated. Once Ashraf Ghani, at his inauguration, gave his wife a nickname, Bibi Ghol (Lady flower) the whole room turned to whispers and murmurs of disbelief at what they heard.
The hardliners and conservatives are already labeling Rola Ghani a Kafir (infidel) and are lining up against her. The conservatives are saying which Rola Ghani never publicly admitted her conversion to Islam and see her as a Christian advocate rather than a humanitarian helper. Whatever they think or act, there are certainly some women in Afghanistan who feel they can be liberated by showing support for the country’s new first lady.
Perhaps neighboring countries like Iran are not pleased by Rola’s performance. In front of the camera, in an interview with the BBC’s Persian service, Rola Ghani let her scarf slip down on her shoulders and adjusted it calmly while speaking about empowering women in a fluent Persian Dari accent. This kind of change and reform is not what exactly neighbors Iran or Pakistan would welcome.
An official from Iran’s foreign ministry once told me during the presidential election in Afghanistan that the election of Dr. Abdullah Abdullah would have a huge impact on neighboring countries especially Iran. He described Dr. Abdullah as a “western,” open-minded candidate and saw him as a big challenge for Iran if he were to become president. Iran didn’t openly support any of the candidates and claimed it was being neutral but I believe it secretly opposed Dr. Abdullah as he promised to sign a security agreement with the U.S. when he becomes president. An agreement which Iran sees as an ultimate threat for its national security. But both frontrunners Dr. Abdullah and Ghani vowed they would sign the U.S. security agreement but perhaps Iran didn’t believe Ghani would sign it as easily as he did on his first day in office.Not only did Iran feel disappointed and betrayed at this, now the conservative and the fundamentalist Afghans are shocked seeing the president’s wife all over the papers and news. Perhaps soon, Ghani will have to confront the fundamentalists that can’t tolerate his wife, along with the Taliban. While controversy over the legitimacy of his presidency remains an open question, if he dares to bring the changes which are necessary to Afghanistan he would achieve a lot. A fight against fundamentalism is now more essential in Afghanistan than the fight against terrorism.
priorities for anti-ISIS coalition members
Raghida Dergham /Al Arabiya
Monday, 20 October 2014
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will not compromise on the conditions he set out to President Barack Obama for entering as a direct party in the war on ISIS.
He is not convinced about the U.S. mercurial policy behind this war, especially after the Obama administration dodged the request to establish a no-fly zone in Syria.
Erdogan wants to get Obama to show where he really stands on Assad. He is convinced that enlisting in an open-ended war for years under the banner of the fight against ISIS’s blitzing terrorism would place Turkey in the vanguard, for which it would pay the highest price among the coalition members.
Erdogan wants a clear blueprint for the goals of this war and an execution strategy. He knows his country is the main gateway for NATO into Syria, and understands full well the meaning and value of this. He recalls how President Obama dithered and backtracked on his pledge that Assad’s days were numbered, and will no longer accept mere promises but wants concrete guarantees, including removing the regime in Damascus.
He wants other guarantees as well, such as preventing the establishment of a Kurdish state stretching from Iraq and Syria, to Turkey and Iran. The Kurdish minorities in all these countries have suffered for too long, and the events in Iraq and Syria have revived among their leaders the idea of realizing the dream of an independent state.
Special relationship with Qatar
Erdogan also wants, perhaps more than anything else, a regional role beyond the Turkish border in the east, a role that would turn Turkey into a major regional power with blessings from the United States and Europe. He has great ambitions. His bargaining chips are valuable. His tactics are controversial. His strategy is complex, and part of it is based on sponsoring the Muslim Brotherhood, the cornerstone of his regional comeback, and another part is based on appeasing Iran, despite the disagreement with it over Syria, all while Erdogan has his mind on Egypt and the Gulf countries.
“The priorities and agendas of the countries participating in the coalition – whether strongly, loosely, or with preconditions – are different and some are conflicting”
I reckon the Turkish president believes that as long as he maintains a special relationship with Qatar, which he believes shares his support for the Muslim Brotherhood, the Gulf countries would remain permanently split. This relieves Erdogan, because Saudi Arabia and the UAE are determined to head off the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood to power in the Arab region.
This week, Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud met with the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, to discuss developments in the region and their alliance against ISIS, their agreement on the need to remove the regime in Syria, their concern over Iran’s role in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, and their differences over the Muslim Brotherhood, not to mention the convergence between Turkish and Qatar over the policy on Egypt.
At a session organized by a think-tank in New York earlier this month, Emir Tamim bin Hamad tackled several accusations that have been made against Qatar. The session was closed and off the record, but Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid al-Attiyah later gave his permission to publish everything the emir had said at his request.
Emir Tamim said that the policy of providing shelter for the Muslim Brotherhood, adopted by Qatar in the past, was now “over.” However, the emir said that Qatar’s policy based on “open doors” and “mediating” between players in the region, regardless of who they are, had no bounds, because Qatar wants mediation to be the cornerstone of its foreign policy.
He said relations between Qatar and Iran had good ties but that there were matters Qatar objects to in Iranian policy, including “interfering in Arab countries,” “occupying Arab territories,” and “the negative role it [Iran] plays in Syria.” Commenting on Iranian President Hassan Rowhani, who is said to be a moderate that champions a new policy in Iran, Emir Tamim said, “Truthfully, we see no change. But we know that he desires change.”
Concerning Qatar’s role in the coalition, Emir Tamim said, “Let’s say there is a role, but it is not a large one.” He added that the coalition was possible without Qatar, and said, “Our participation in it was definitely a difficult choice,” because there was no answer to the “fundamental question of: what next?”
What is common to Qatari, Turkish, Saudi, and Emirati attitudes is that they all consider removing Bashar al-Assad, and possibly also his regime, a cornerstone of their policies on Syria. Where they diverge is the “day after.”
Saudi Arabia and the UAE do not want the Muslim Brotherhood and their offshoots to return to power in an Arab country, whether through the Turkish gateway or through Qatari mediation. Their differences with Turkey and Qatar on Egypt are not transient, and are not over yet, as long as there has been no radical change in Turkish and Qatari policies vis-à-vis Egypt. This is a strategic issue for Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
For his part, the Turkish president seems determined to seek the assistance of the Muslim Brotherhood to implement his strategy, fulfill his ambitions, and enhance his regional influence, from the Syrian, Iraq, Lebanese, and Jordanian gateways. This would allow him to become a regional force that can fill the vacuum and replace Egypt and Iran, making Recep Tayyip Erdogan the master of the region. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and other Gulf countries are thus apprehensive about the next steps of the Turkish president, as he bargains over his role and place in the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition. The Gulf countries are not comfortable.
These countries are staunchly opposed to an equation where Assad and his regime would be removed in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood. They would instead prefer deposing Assad but maintaining a part of his regime in a new political process that would involve the moderate – rather than the Islamist – opposition.
What the Gulf countries participating in the coalition have to contend with is the weak commitment made by Obama to overthrow Assad, on the one hand, and Erdogan’s strong commitment to pushing the Muslim Brotherhood forward to seize power in Syria and replace the Assad regime.
The priorities and agendas of the countries participating in the coalition – whether strongly, loosely, or with preconditions – are different and some are conflicting. Even militarily, the coalition is in disarray. The meeting, which brought together the senior military leaders of the countries participating in the coalition (Turkey was represented at a level lower below the rank of Chief of Staff), and which was held this week in Washington, seemed more unfocused than cohesive.
‘What do we get in return?’
Neither the goals are agreed upon, nor are military plans ready for preemptive strikes, especially with Turkey’s insistence on clear goals and prior military and political commitments, with guarantees. There is no preparedness on the part of the United States to impose a no-fly zone in Syria along the Turkish border, and no Turkish willingness to help militarily in Obama’s war on ISIS without this. There is no ground forces trained to do what is necessary to offset the practical limitations of air strikes on their own. Neither the Americans nor the Europeans, nor the Arabs in the coalition are willing to send troops on their own, and require a regional and international alliance before doing so. Even in air strikes, there are differences over roles.
Regarding the return, the reward, or the bargain, this is the language spoken by the Turkish president alone, and publicly, with the U.S. president, telling him what effectively boils down to that his participation in the war would not be for free.
The Arab parties in the coalition are not asking for something in return publicly, but they are telling the U.S. leadership gently and behind the scenes that the public opinion in their countries, as well as in Syria and Iraq, is very restless over their participation as partners in Obama’s war, which has no political horizon or roadmap, whether in Syria or Iraq. They are also telling the U.S. leadership that there is rising discontent over the U.S. insistence on avoiding tackling the subversive Iranian role in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen, and on covering up the Iranian gains from the war on ISIS, while Iran’s allies Ansar Allah (the Houthis) in Yemen seize province after province after they took the capital.
Most probably, the U.S. President Obama will not listen well to what is being said because he doesn’t have to. He is drowning in his priorities, from how to destroy a terrorist group that is metastasizing across the borders like ISIS with scattered air strikes, to how to deal with a necessary partner in this war that is demanding him publicly for something in return.
Erdogan is not backing down or apologizing for his obstinacy and for sticking staunchly to his guns. His price is high, but the cards in his hands are precious and not available to others. His worst enemy is his arrogance that is pushing him to overplay his hands. He does not care for appearing entirely devoid of human emotion, as he struck the Kurds and refused to rescue them from ISIS in Kobane. In his opinion, Syrian Kurds had made a grave mistake by associating themselves to the regime that has bombed its people with barrel bombs. Erdogan sees himself from the perspective of a strategic man who stands on the shore of a sea where the waves are drowning others, while he is afloat, and triumphant.
Terrorists Become “Activists”
Salman Aldossary/Asharq Al Awsat
Monday, 20 Oct, 2014
Saudi Arabia has issued a death sentence for a Saudi Shi’ite religious figure, Nimr Al-Nimr. The charges that have been proven against him are numerous and quite varied. The most prominent among them include using armed violence against the state and leading efforts to incite and support terrorists who have murdered civilians and security personnel and set fire to public property, not to mention his publicly boasting of his links with Iran and calling for the fragmentation of Saudi Arabia and for the establishment of the velayat-e faqih (rule by a supreme Islamic jurist) in “his country.”
What really stands out here, however, is the way international human rights groups and media outlets have dealt with the sentence, labeling Nimr an “opposition” figure and not a terrorist, despite his committing acts that are illegal in every country in the world.
I am fully aware that the issue of religious minorities in Arab countries is very much a tune the West likes to whistle, and there is a widespread belief—some aspects of it true, others false—that these minorities currently suffer from persecution and discrimination in their countries. This belief, however, is based on emotion, not fact. It holds that anything these minorities do falls under the umbrella of “human rights,” while everything done to them constitutes an infringement of their basic rights as citizens. Unfortunately, there are those who belong to these minorities who exploit this, in effect harming their own countries.
Maybe if this sentence was carried out on a non-Shi’ite it would have been considered a mere judicial one, but in Nimr’s case it has been considered by some to be political, the idea here being to transform Nimr into an “opposition figure” being hunted down by the state. But the very same court issued a very similar sentence against Al-Qaeda’s official ideologue. How can one of these men be a terrorist and the other an “opposition figure” if their crimes are virtually identical? The truth is there is only one difference between the terrorists of Al-Qaeda and those from Nimr’s hometown, Al-Awamiyah: the former are Sunni and the latter Shi’ite. It is also a truth that Saudi Shi’ites have the same rights and responsibilities as all other Saudi citizens.
Let’s leave aside Iran and its allies and helpers for a minute—that is, Lebanese Hezbollah, the Bahraini Al-Wefaq party, and the Houthis in Yemen—for they are part of a strategic Iranian project that is very much public knowledge now. What we are concerned with here are those organizations and media outlets who have failed to realize that Nimr, despite the proven crimes which he has committed, is not so much of a threat to the Saudi state that it has to make him the target of political persecution; after all, there are others in the Kingdom who raise their voices, attacking the state with their words, sometimes even overstepping their limits, but none of them face any legal measures whatsoever. As for that broken record of “freedoms and human rights”—the perennial lifeline of transgressors of the law—the whole world understands this game now, and it has become hackneyed and boring; not even Western governments fall for it anymore. Perhaps to illustrate this point, I can turn to part of the actual sentence itself, where it says that Nimr had “gone beyond merely expressing an opinion, which the convicted [Nimr] did for years without facing any [legal] response.” In other words, the issue here is not one “opinions” or “freedom of expression” as is being reported.
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said recently that those British citizens who had declared allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) should be considered “traitors” and tried for “high treason”—a charge which carries a life sentence. Notice here how this punishment is meted out on those who merely declare their allegiance to ISIS. Well, what about those who also support, strengthen and defend terrorist organizations? Two days ago, those terrorists that Nimr incited to commit violent acts fired on a security patrol unit in Al-Awamiyah and blew up an oil pipeline there. Who knows, we may find some people calling them “activists,” the way Nimr has been labeled an opposition figure.
The various phenomena which have emerged from what is known as the “Arab Spring” seem endless. The most prominent of these is that of the “colorless, tasteless” political activist. The role of the activist no longer possesses, as it did before, strict guidelines that allow us to differentiate between a true activist and a mere amateur (and self-styled) activist who takes upon himself a label without even possessing the bare minimum of credibility. For at the same time we are entering the twilight of this porcelain “phenomenon of the activist,” we now have to contend with another, more inane phenomenon, one which seeks to transform terrorists into opposition figures, defying laws, convention, and even logic.
Kurds Hail U.S. Arms Drop as Turkey Boosts Kobane Battle
Naharnet/Kurds battling jihadists for the Syrian border town of Kobane welcomed a first U.S. airdrop of weapons Monday as neighboring Turkey said it will help Iraqi Kurds to join the fight. Ankara has refused land deliveries of arms to the Syrian Kurds, who are linked with Turkey's outlawed rebel Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), but said it was helping Iraqi Kurds to reinforce the strategic town. The main Syrian Kurdish fighting force in Kobane hailed the airdrop, saying it would "help greatly" in the town's defense against a nearly five-week offensive by the Islamic State group (IS). U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said it would have been "irresponsible of us, as well as morally very difficult, to turn your back on a community fighting ISIL," using another acronym for IS.
The top U.S. diplomat said the situation amounted to a "crisis moment" and insisted the move was not a shift in policy. He echoed remarks by a senior administration official that the airdrop was in recognition of the "impressive" resistance put up by the Kurds and the losses they were inflicting on IS. Washington's hope was that "Kurds who have proven themselves to be very strong and valiant fighters will take this fight on," Kerry said. Three C-130 cargo aircraft carried out what the US military called "multiple" successful drops of supplies, including small arms, provided by Kurdish authorities in Iraq. The supplies were "intended to enable continued resistance against ISIL's attempts to overtake Kobane," said Central Command, which oversees American forces in the Middle East.
The US-led coalition has carried out more than 135 air strikes against IS targets around Kobane, and an AFP correspondent just across the border in Turkey reported a fresh raid on Monday afternoon. The main Syrian Kurdish fighting force in Kobane, the People's Protection Units (YPG), swiftly welcomed the US arms drop. "The military assistance dropped by American planes at dawn on Kobane was good and we thank America for this support," said YPG spokesman Redur Xelil. "It will have a positive impact on military operations against Daesh and we hope for more," he added, using the Arabic acronym for IS.
Xelil declined to detail the weapons delivered but said there was "coordination" between U.S. officials and YPG forces over the drop. "Weapons have been sent according to their needs, and this is the first batch, and included heavy weapons," said Halgord Hekmat, a spokesman for Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga forces, without providing further details on the arms. IS militants launched their offensive on Kurdish fighters around Kobane on September 16, swiftly pushing them back to the town itself and sparking an exodus of 200,000 refugees over the border into Turkey. But the Kurds have kept up a dogged resistance on the streets of the town, of which they currently control around half. One senior administration official said Kurdish fighters had put up an "impressive" effort in the face of the IS but cautioned that the security situation was "fluid". Ankara has kept the YPG at arms length because of its links to the PKK, which has waged a three-decade insurgency for Kurdish self-rule in southeast Turkey that has left some 40,000 people dead.
Just Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan again described the group as "terrorists".But Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey was helping Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga forces to join the fight to defend Kobane.
"We are assisting peshmerga forces to cross into Kobane," Cavusoglu told reporters in Ankara, adding that talks on the issue were ongoing but without giving further details. "We have no wish at all to see Kobane fall." The YPG spokesman said no peshmerga had yet arrived in Kobane and declined to comment on the Turkish plan. In its latest air strikes, the U.S.-led coalition bombed a bundle of supplies that went astray near Kobane to prevent it from falling into the jihadists' hands, Central Command said.
But despite carrying out its first airdrops in Kobane, the U.S. military says its top priority remains Iraq, where IS swept through much of the Sunni Arab heartland north and west of Baghdad in June. Since last week, the Iraqi capital has seen a rise in the number of bomb attacks, several of which have been claimed by the Sunni extremist IS. And on Monday a suicide bomber detonated explosives outside a Shiite mosque in the central Baghdad neighborhood of Sinak, killing at least 11 people and wounding 26, officials said.
The violence has raised fears that IS will attack large gatherings of Shiite worshipers during the upcoming Ashura commemorations, the target of devastating bombings in past years. Agence France Presse
Israel Warns Against Nuclear-Armed Iran as Deadline for Deal Approaches
October 20, 2014 /Author: JNS.org
JNS.org – With the Nov. 24 deadline for a final nuclear deal between Iran and world powers approaching, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that a nuclear-armed Iran “is a threat to the entire world.” “This threat is grave to all of us, far more than the threat of the Islamic State group. Today, we are facing the danger of an agreement that would leave Iran as a nuclear threshold state, with thousands of centrifuges with which it could produce material for a nuclear bomb within a short period of time,” Netanyahu said at an event honoring former prime minister Yitzhak Shamir, according to Israel Hayom. According to a report by Israel’s Channel 2 report, the U.S. is willing to accept an agreement with Iran that would permit the Islamic Republic to retain 5,000 centrifuges.
In a New York Times op-ed published Sunday, Israeli Intelligence and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz wrote that Iran “has softened its inflammatory anti-Western rhetoric and shown some flexibility on less important issues, but we must not be duped by these gestures.” “President [Barack] Obama must stand by his declaration that no deal with Iran is better than a bad deal,” wrote Steinitz.