LCCC ENGLISH DAILY
analysis, editorials from miscellaneous sources published on October 23, 24/14
Disregarding realities/By: Tony Badran/Now Lebanon/October 24/14
Ottawa shooting magnifies extremism’s lone-wolf threat/By: Joyce Karam /Al Arabiya/October 24/14
Terrorists Thrive on Deaths - Anybody’s Except Fellow Islamists/ By Jerry McConnell/ October 23/14
Silence of intellectuals and emergence of ISIS/By: Mohammed Fahad al-Harthi /Al Arabiya/October 24/14
Winning Kobane, Losing Syria/By: Michael Weiss/Now Lebanon/October 24/14
Lebanese Related News published on October 23, 24/14
Lebanese Govt. Decides to Halt Non-Humanitarian Refugee Flow, Strip Those Visiting Syria of Refugee Status
Lebanese army kills three men in raid: security sources
ISIS militants now world's richest: experts Patient at Beirut hospital does not have Ebola: medical official
Beirut hospital patient free of Ebola: official
Cabinet votes to stop accepting refugees
Bodies recovered after Cyprus plane crash Lebanon plans $450M Eurobond issue by year-end Lebanese Army warns defectors: No room for traitors Abu Faour receives jihadists' demands for hostage release
Lebanese Army arrests terror suspect, kills three in North Lebanon raid Patient at Beirut hospital does not have Ebola: medical official Lebanon headed towards the unknown: Jumblatt
Rifi: Granting Jihadists their Demands Should be Done According to Law
Saudi FM Calls on Christians to Agree to Avert Political Crises
Countries Racing to Boost Aid to Lebanese Army to Battle Terrorists
Family: Body of Lebanese Businessman Found after Plane Crash
Families of Captive Servicemen Very Upbeat, Say Qatari Envoy to Return in 24 Hours
Fattoush Says Frenzy About Daou Takes Aim at his Political Stances
Miscellaneous Reports And News published on
October 23, 24/14
Man detained by police near where Harper lays wreath at war memorial
Canadian PM: Shooting rampage was terrorism
Suspect in Canada parliament shooting was convert to Islam
Man arrested near Canada's PM in sign of tensions
US airstrikes focus on Kobani, hit oil facilities
U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition/Cryptic coalition
Who is the Canadian radicallized Martin Couture-Rouleau?
Belgium extends Iraq air mission
Turkey to allow 200 Iraqi Kurds to cross into embattled Kobane
Stephen Harper says "Canada will never be intimidated" after attack in Ottawa
French moving troops toward Libyan border
Ebola still 'great concern' in west Africa epicenter
Earth hit by double asteroids 458 million years ago
France moving troops toward Libyan border
U.S.-led air strikes killed 553 ISIS fighters in Syria
Erbil approves Peshmerga fighters for Kobani
Hamas, Islamic Jihad salute Jerusalem terror attack, threaten new 'Palestinian intifada' in capital
After terror attack, Netanyahu vows quiet will be restored to Jerusalem
Mashaal: Hamas tunnels were defensive in nature, Israel imposed war on Gaza
European Rabbis worried over Mideast Christians
Father eulogizes infant killed in Jerusalem attack: 'You made us happy from the moment you
Jerusalem terrorist had a history of violence
Gaza rebuilding slowed by trickle of aid,
Blast outside Cairo University wounds 11
Yemen: Houthis storm Interior Ministry, set up Iranian cultural centers in Hajjah
Ottawa shooting magnifies extremism’s
Thursday, 23 October 2014
Joyce Karam /Al Arabiya
Two attacks in one week mark an unprecedented escalation in the terrorism threat for a country like Canada. Martin Couture Rouleau struck two members of the Canadian military with his car in Quebec on Monday before getting killed and Michael Zehaf-Bibeau is believed responsible for the attack in Ottawa yesterday, killing a soldier at the National War Memorial and breaking into the Parliament building.
Both attacks have the hallmarks of “lone wolf” terrorism, and the profile of Rouleau and Zehaf-Bibeau fit that of radicalized recruits of al-Qaeda or its more trending contemporary the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS). Both men have been on the Canadian intelligence radar and Roleau had his passport seized while Zehaf-Bibeau was arrested five times for alleged drug use. Also significant is that both men are converts to Islam and Zehaf-Bibeau has been described as “radicalized” by the government. Neither man has been linked to either ISIS or al-Qaeda definitively, but the acts do beg the question of whether they were acting alone.
Lone wolves’ threat
The lone-wolf style of terrorism, whereby one individual plans and carries out the attack, is not by any means nascent or exclusive to extremist groups such as al-Qaeda or ISIS. It is as old as Ted Kaczynski, the “unabomber,” who carried series of bombings in the United States between 1978 and 1995. It is also versatile in its roots in that it also encompass anti-Islamist terrorists such as the Norwegian Anders Breivik who killed 69 teenagers in 2011, or the neo-Nazi Neil Lewington who is serving a life sentence in Britain.
“Lone wolf attacks are a product of both increased recruitment efforts in the West”
In the case of al-Qaeda and ISIS, lone wolf attacks are a product of both increased recruitment efforts in the West, and their failure to execute a grand scale attack in the form of 9/11. Hence, and following September 2001 and the degradation of al-Qaeda central in Afghanistan and Pakistan, many sympathizers with the organization attempted to carry out attacks in the West. In 2009, Jihadi Jane was convicted for planning terrorist attacks, Nidal Hassan the former U.S. soldier opened fire killing 13 of his colleagues, and Faisal Shahzad attempted to blow up his car in Times Square in New York. Their names are only few examples of a long list of lone wolves who share many similarities with the profiles of Rouleau and Zehaf-Bibeau.
Other than their strong ideological leanings, lone wolves fit the background of socially isolated individuals or loners who plan and deliberate on their own how to carry a terrorist operation. Their strength is in their ability to plan creatively, stay under the radar and not be caught while communicating with fellow extremists or other groups. The weakness, however, is in their limited capability as individuals to orchestrate a big attack such as the London bombings which were coordinated and carried by four terrorists in 2005.
ISIS recruitment and returnees
ISIS has a superior ability when compared with other terrorist organizations in recruiting and attracting Westerners online. More than 40 percent of ISIS is made up of foreign fighters and the expansion of its cyber and territorial presence in the Levant along with its need to respond to the U.S. led airstrikes, increases the threat of lone wolf attacks in the West today. ISIS is succeeding at bringing delusional Islamic youth from Sydney to Saint Paul, who have joined its ranks in Syria. Just this week, the FBI returned from Frankfurt airport three American girls to Denver, spoiling their fantasy to join the land of the Caliph. Others such as the Australian teen Abu Khaled have made it to Syria and is now the spokesperson for ISIS, while Mamunur Roshid, a British citizen was killed in fighting with ISIS in Kobane.
Social media provides ISIS with a venue that was not as vastly available to Osama Bin Laden in 2001. YouTube videos in English, personalized messages to the Somali community in Minnesota, and a glossy monthly magazine in English speak to a big media operation by ISIS to speak to the West. Al-Qaeda has mostly communicated in Arabic, on the other hand.
The threat of returnees and those carrying lone wolf attacks is also more visible with ISIS than al-Qaeda. The shooting on Brussels Jewish Museum by Mehdi Nemmouche in May is one example of the threat that those returnees represent following training on using arms and explosives in Syria and Iraq. U.S. intelligence has pointed out that it’s nearly impossible to track all the returnees from Syria or fetch accurate data on those who have gone there.
As the events in Canada illustrate this week, combatting lone wolf attacks is a complicated and daunting task. While improved counterterrorism capability and legislations have prevented large scale attacks in the West and the Gulf, the lone wolf threat is on the rise, as a logical answer to ISIS in cashing in on its recruitment efforts and responding to the air campaign.
Lebanese Army arrests terror suspect,
kills three in North Lebanon raid
Antoine Amrieh| The Daily Star
Oct. 23, 2014
TRIPOLI, Lebanon: The Lebanese Army killed three gunmen during a raid in north Lebanon Thursday and arrested a local “terror” suspect accused of recruiting young Lebanese to join ISIS – including a relative involved in the beheading of a soldier held captive by Islamists, the military said.
In a statement, the military said “terrorist” Ahmad Salim Mikati, who was being monitored by Army Intelligence, was arrested in the Dinnieh neighborhood of north Lebanon during a dawn raid on his apartment.
It said a Lebanese soldier was slightly wounded in the operation.
Dubbed “delicate security operation,” the Army said three gunmen were killed in the raid at the apartment that housed a “group of terrorists.”
It said the military is yet to determine their identities.
The statement described Mikati, 46, as “one of ISIS’ most important cadres” in north Lebanon. Moreover, according to the Army, Mikati had set up cells affiliated with ISIS in the north. Mikati also planned a “massive terrorist act” in coordination with his son, Omar, who is fighting with ISIS on the outskirts of the northeastern town of Arsal, according to the Army. It said Mikati is also accused of maintaining contact with ISIS commanders inside Syria and of recruiting young Lebanese men to join ISIS on the outskirts of Qalamoun, including his son Omar, nicknamed Abu Huraira, and his nephew Bilal Mikati, who is implicated in the beheading of 1st Sgt. Ali Sayyed. Sayyed was the first of three Lebanese soldiers to be executed by Islamist militants who took at least 30 soldiers and policemen hostage after briefly taking over the northeastern border town of Arsal in August, engaging the military in five days of fierce battles. The militants are still holding 27 captives hostage in an attempt to swap them with Islamist inmates held at Roumieh Prison.
Mikati has a warrant out for his arrest for his involvement in the Tripoli battles last year after being released from jail in 2010 after serving six years for “masterminding a terrorist attack against diplomatic facilities and foreign interests,” the statement said.
Furthermore, Mikati was linked to the 2003 bombing of the American fast-food outlet McDonald's in the northern city of Tripoli. He also took part in the eight-day gunbattles against the Lebanese Army on the outer edge of Dinnieh in 1999 after which he fled to the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain al-Hilweh in south Lebanon. He belonged to a group known at the time as Takfir wa Hijra. The statement said troops confiscated light and medium weapons, ammunition, rocket-propelled grenades, hand grenades, bombs, explosive belts as well as military equipment, including uniforms belonging to the Lebanese Army. Security sources told The Daily Star the Army clashed with terror suspects during an early morning raid on a two-story house in the Dinnieh neighborhood of Asoun. They said two men, including a Syrian, were killed in the 5 a.m. and a Lebanese soldier was wounded in the exchange of gunfire. Mikati was reportedly wounded during the operation and had managed to escape through a back door into nearby groves, according to the sources. But he was soon arrested by the Army and taken in an armored personnel carrier to a hospital outside north Lebanon where he was being kept under heavy military guard.The Army statement said Mikati was being interrogated by the military.
The security sources said prior to the raid, the Army arrested Abdel-Kader al-Akoumi, a soldier who had announced his defection to join ISIS in a video posted online 10 days earlier. The Army statement made no mention of his arrest.
Fneideq Mayor Khaldoun Taleb at the time told The Daily Star that Akoumi was "mentally unstable." The Daily Star's security sources said the Asoun apartment was inhabited by a "terror ring" made up of Lebanese and Syrian gunmen wanted by authorities.
They said among the fatalities was a Syrian national whose name was not immediately revealed and a charred body. The body of the Syrian man was taken to Asoun's public hospital.
Lebanese Army warns defectors: No room
Oct. 23, 2014/The Daily Star/BEIRUT: The Lebanese Army Thursday reassured soldiers that the military stands stronger than ever in its fight against terrorism, and warned the small handful of defectors that Lebanon can do without them. In its first public statement that directly addresses the issue of the hostages abducted during the fierce, five-day battle in August with jihadists in Arsal, the Army Command sought to boost the morale of its troops, committing to free the 27 captive soldiers and policemen. “Today, your institution is stronger and remains steadfast in attempts to undermine its unity and its role,” the statement, addressed to soldiers, said. “The Army remains open in the ongoing confrontation against terrorism,” it added, assuring soldiers that military measures taken along the eastern border with Syria, particularly in the Arsal region, have “besieged terrorist groups spread across the mountains and cut their supply routes.”The statement said that while troops stand ready to confront any infiltration attempt into Lebanese towns and villages, the Army has made “huge achievements” in dismantling terrorist cells and arresting its members.Terrorists will never be safe in Lebanon, the statement vowed. It said the Army Command was committed to the liberation of the 27 Lebanese soldiers and policemen held by Islamist militants from ISIS and Nusra Front. “Their cause is our cause, and that means using all available methods while refusing to succumb to any blackmail that the terrorists could later use against the interests of the Army and the nation.”Addressing the minority of soldiers who have defected to join Islamist militants, the statement said: “There is no room for traitors ... the Army does not need the services of any soldier who betrays his oath."
Saudi FM Calls on Christians to Agree to Avert Political Crises
Naharnet/Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal urged Christians in Lebanon to reach consensus and end their sharp differences to resolve the presidential deadlock and rectify the work of the state institutions.
According to An Nahar newspaper, al-Faisal made his statement during a meeting with Kataeb party MP Sami Gemayel, who traveled on Sunday night to Jeddah upon an invitation by the Saudi FM. Al-Faisal also called on the Lebanese to agree on any compromise candidate to reach the Baabda Palace. The two officials also discussed the kingdom's principles and point of view regarding the developments in the region and Lebanon. The country has been without a president since the term of Michel Suleiman ended in May as the rival parties have failed so far to agree on a compromise candidate, which is threatening to thwart the upcoming parliamentary elections. The crises are threatening further vacuum at Lebanese institutions, which could also impact the cabinet.
Sharp differences between the political arch-foes caused an impasse at the political scene in Lebanon. The March 14 alliance backs Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, while the majority of the March 8 alliance supports Free Patriotic Movement chief MP Michel Aoun.
Rifi: Granting Jihadists their Demands Should be Done According to Law
Naharnet /Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi said that he will abide by the law regarding any swap between Islamist inmates held at Roumieh prison and the abducted soldiers and policemen, considering that their freedom and safety are more important than any price paid.
“We will abide by the law,” Rifi said in comments published in An Nahar newspaper on Thursday. He pointed out that any convict needs a special or general amnesty. The minister, who is affiliated to al-Mustaqbal Movement, noted that the demands of the kidnappers are being thoroughly discussed by the cabinet, considering that the case requires a “political decision.”An Nahar reported that Rifi will head to Jeddah on Thursday on a one-day visit. The troops and police were kidnapped by militants from al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State group when they overran the northeastern border 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 of the servicemen are fearing that the extremists would kill their loved ones after they executed three of the hostages in August and September. The kidnappers have several demands to release the captives, including the freedom of Islamist inmates in Roumieh prison and the withdrawal of Hizbullah from battles in neighboring country Syria.
Lebanese Govt. Decides to Halt Non-Humanitarian Refugee Flow, Strip Those Visiting Syria of Refugee Status
Naharnet /The cabinet on Thursday endorsed a plan aimed at halting the flow of Syrian refugees into the country, except for “humanitarian cases,” noting that any displaced person who visits Syria after the decision will be stripped of the refugee status. “The cabinet endorsed the paper related to restricting the entry of refugees across the border, except for humanitarian and extraordinary cases,” Information Minister Ramzi Jreij announced after a cabinet session at the Grand Serail. “The names will be registered in order to verify that the measure is being implemented and no new refugees will be registered without prior approval from the social affairs ministry,” he noted. Under the plan, Syrian refugees will be encouraged to “return to their country or to other countries,” said Jreij. “The Lebanese laws will be implemented on them and anyone who tries to visit Syria and come back will be deprived of the refugee status,” the minister added. He said the state will obtain all the information necessary about the refugees in order to “decrease their numbers according to the international norms.”As for the impact of the refugee crisis on the security situation in the country, Jreij said security forces are continuing their efforts to control security at refugee gatherings, noting that the municipalities have been tasked with conducting statistical surveys in their areas. “There should be balance in the amount of aid offered to the refugees and the hosting communities” and “direct funding must be offered to the state through programs between donors and the Lebanese authorities,” Jreij added. The number of displaced Syrians in Lebanon has surged to around 1.5 million since the eruption of the civil war in their country in March 2011, which has severely affected the nation's already ailing economy. Many in Lebanon fear that by granting the refugees more basic rights, this would lead to their permanent settlement in the country and alter the demographic map. Separately, Jreij said the government hopes the media “will take part in an awareness campaign over the dangerous Ebola disease.”He also noted that the government asked the relevant authorities to “inspect the infrastructure in Dinniyeh and the areas that were affected by the heavy rains” in recent days in order to start repairing the damages.
Families of Captive Servicemen Very Upbeat, Say Qatari Envoy to Return in 24 Hours
Naharnet /The families of the troops and policemen held hostage by extremist groups expressed optimism Thursday that negotiations were making major progress, revealing that the Qatari envoy will return to Beirut within 24 hours.
“This is the first time that we leave reassured from a meeting (with the government) and (General Security chief) Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim has made certain steps which we cannot reveal,” a spokesman for the families said, after a meeting with Maj. Gen. Mohammed Kheir at the Grand Serail. “According to what major generals Kheir and Ibrahim said, we can expect positive developments and journalists must help us by keeping the details under wraps,” the spokesman told reporters. “We left the meeting very relieved and for the first time we are feeling some security, because we did not hear mere remarks but rather serious reassurances. We are hoping for a happy ending but we can't specify a certain date,” another relative of a hostage serviceman said. He said there is a “positive step” that the families might do “for the sake of Maj. Gen. Kheir.” “But we won't announce it now,” the man added, declining to confirm if the relatives intend to put an end to their sit-ins. More than 27 Lebanese soldiers and policemen are still in the custody of militants from al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State, following deadly battles with the Lebanese army in and around the northeastern border town of Arsal in early August. The capture of the serviceman and the Lebanese authorities' failure to secure their release have sparked angry protests by their relatives 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. They have recently moved their protest from Dahr al-Baidar to Beirut's Riad al-Solh Square, erecting three tents to pressure the state to exert more efforts to release their relatives from captivity. The kidnappers have several demands to release the captives. One of them is the freedom of Islamist inmates in Roumieh prison.
Fattoush Says Frenzy About Daou Takes Aim at his Political Stances
Naharnet/Zahle MP Nicolas Fattoush denied on Thursday that he assaulted a female Justice Palace office worker earlier this week, saying the accusations against him were aimed at targeting his patriotic stances. “I raised my voice at her but I did not hit her,” Fattoush said during a press conference he held to brief the public opinion about his dispute with Manal Daou, an officer who processes complaints at the Baabda Justice Palace. Fattoush claimed that he had a “simple argument” with Daou and that the media frenzy about it was directed at his “political stances, which seek to salvage” the country, mainly his submission of a draft-law on the extension of parliament's term. Fattoush submitted in August the draft-law calling for an extension of two years and seven months. “God forgive her,” he said about Daou.
The alleged assault has stirred a storm on social networking websites. Activists and citizens have vented their anger at Fattoush and expressed solidarity with Daou. In his press conference, the lawmaker also slammed Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi for meeting with the woman on Tuesday. Daou recounted to Rifi what happened during the dispute, which according to several media reports ended after Fattoush “punched” her on the shoulder before he was stopped by other employees at the Justice Palace. According to Daou, she directed Fattoush to where lawyers can submit their complaints and to where citizens can do so. At that point, the MP placed a paper on her desk, she said. “I was putting another complaint aside in order to take his complaint” when Fattoush said: “You are a woman who lacks morals.”
She said she was surprised and asked who he was. At that moment, his bodyguard interfered. But Fattoush claimed on Thursday that there was no line for him to wait for his turn and that she told him she had “business to do” when the MP inquired her why he should wait for his turn as a lawyer and former minister. “I challenge any person to come forward to claim that I have done any violation during my career as a minister and lawmaker,” he said. Fattoush's press conference came hours after public administration employees held protests across Lebanon, including at the Baabda Justice Palace. Daou attended the sit-in and thanked her colleagues for their compassion. She confirmed that she filed a lawsuit against Fattoush, saying: “Let justice take its course.”
Family: Body of Lebanese Businessman Found after Plane Crash
Naharnet/Lebanese businessman George Obaji's body was found in Cypriot territorial waters after his plane crashed en route to Beirut, his family and authorities said on Thursday. The chief of Cyprus' aircraft accidents board said earlier that search crews found wreckage belonging to the small aircraft that vanished on Wednesday. Yiannakis Loizou told The Associated Press that a German warship from the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon will ferry the wreckage to Cyprus for investigators to begin their probe. Interior Minister Nouhad Mashnouq said Wednesday that he contacted UNIFIL head of mission and force commander Major-General Luciano Portolano and announced later that the forces were able to locate the debris of the plane.
Portolano said in a press release that “this is a tragic incident and our UNIFIL Maritime Task Force peacekeepers are doing their utmost to provide the necessary assistance through our joint efforts with the Lebanese Armed Forces –Navy.”
The twin-engine Diamond DA42 plane had taken off from an airport near the town of Paphos, on Cyprus' western coast. Information obtained by LBCI said that the pilot, a Cypriot, contacted the airport in Cyprus at 7:02 pm Wednesday to report a technical problem before it disappeared from the radar two minutes later. Cypriot authorities said the plane disappeared around 80 kilometers southeast of the coastal town of Larnaca. Only the pilot and Obaji were on board. They were reportedly on a training flight.
The body of the pilot was recovered too on Thursday. The men will be officially identified through DNA sampling once they reach shore, authorities said. Cypriot Defense Minister Christoforos Fokaides expressed condolences to their families.
Countries Racing to Boost Aid to Lebanese Army to Battle Terrorists
Naharnet/Several countries are currently boosting their arms aid and delivery to the Lebanese army to fortify its capabilities to confront jihadists, who are entrenched on the outskirts of the northeastern border town of Arsal on the porous Syrian-Lebanese border.
A high-ranking military source denied in comments published in al-Joumhouria newspaper on Thursday that Army General Jean Qahwaji discussed with U.S. officials during a recent visit to Washington an Iranian grant to the military.
“The military command is not concerned with such a matter. The cabinet should first agree on the grant,” the source told the daily. Iran had recently offered to support the Lebanese army, following suit two of its rivals Saudi Arabia and the United States.
The source described Qahwaji's visit to the United States as “successful,” pointing out that the U.S. military aid exceeded 1 billion dollars in the last period and increased after the Arsal battles. “Discussions focused on arming the Lebanese military according to the challenges of the current period as Qahwaji stressed the army's readiness to battle terrorism.” The sources stressed that Lebanon's participation in a U.S.-led coalition to degrade and destroy the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is a political decision that should be agreed upon by the cabinet. Last week, Qahwaji attended a meeting for military leaders from more than 20 partner nations in the coalition against ISIL. Saudi Arabia last year announced it would give the Lebanese army $3 billion to purchase weapons and equipment from France, but that deal has yet to be fully implemented. In August, the kingdom offered another $1 billion in funds to allow the army to purchase supplies immediately. Washington has also sought to bolster Lebanon's military, and recently announced it had delivered a new shipment of Hellfire missiles and would also supply light aircraft. On Tuesday, Britian's Chief of the Defense Staff General Sir Nicholas Houghton discussed during a short visit to Lebanon means to boost aid to the Lebanese army,
He tackled with Qahwaji a project to erect monitoring posts to control the Lebanese-Syrian border. Iranian foreign ministry's spokeswoman Marziya Afkham announced on Wednesday that it's waiting for a response form Lebanese authorities regarding its military grant. Defense Minister Samir Moqbel during his visit to Tehran earlier this week discussed the Iranian aid amid differences between Lebanese officials on whether to accept the grant or not. Iran, a major weapons manufacturer in the region, has in the past said it exported military products to scores of countries, although it has never revealed details. Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq also traveled to Russia in September to persuade senior officials to sell arms to Lebanon. Russia made in the past many promises to Lebanon to supply its army all types of equipment from fighter jets to helicopters but according to media reports it never delivered on its promises.
Abu Faour receives jihadists' demands
for hostage release
Oct. 23, 2014/The Daily Star/BEIRUT: Health Minister Wael Abu Faour said Thursday that he had received a list of demands issued by jihadists holding 27 Lebanese servicemen hostage. "I have personally received the demands of the kidnappers," he told reporters while entering a Cabinet session. Earlier in the day, Abu Faour said that negotiations to secure the hostages' release were on the right track. "We have received some of the demands of the kidnappers," he said. "Everything is negotiable." The minister, however, admitted that the process would take some time. Head of the Higher Relief Committee Maj. Gen. Mohammad Kheir visited Thursday the families of the kidnapped soldiers at their protest site in Riad al-Solh Square near the Grand Serail. After the meeting, the families told reporters that they have received positive news from Kheir. They said it was the first time they felt assured about the destiny of their sons since they were abducted nearly three months ago. Kheir said the “ambiances are positive,” but refused to confirm or deny what Abu Faour said about receiving new demands. He announced that “the Qatari mediator Mohammad al-Khatib is expected to arrive with the written demands of the kidnappers.”Abou Faour had not specified what the kidnappers’ demands were, in line with the government's policy of discretion over the matter. But it has been widely reported that the jihadists from the Nusra Front and ISIS are calling for the release of Islamist prisoners in exchange for the hostages, taken during a five-day battle with the Lebanese Army in August in Arsal. The families of the hostages briefly blocked the northern entrance of Beirut Wednesday over the government's failure to show progress in the case. Abu Faour, who has been tasked with maintaining dialogue with the families, convinced the protesters to reopen the road after assuring them that negotiations were progressing. Families of the hostages Wednesday had also blocked the Qalamoun highway linking Beirut and Tripoli for nearly a day before reopening it Thursday morning.
Lebanon headed towards the unknown:
Oct. 23, 2014 /The Daily Star/BEIRUT: Progressive Socialist Party head Walid Jumblatt forecast a grim future for Lebanon Thursday, saying that Parliament was headed towards an extension, and predicting a prolonged presidential vacuum and worsened security condition. “There will be no regional change in the interest of Lebanon during the current phase,” Jumblatt said in in interview with Al-Akhbar published Thursday. "This will lead the country towards a parliamentary extension and a prolonged presidential vacuum," he added. A parliamentary extension is contingent on the presidential vote, Jumblatt said. “As soon as a president is elected..., parliamentary elections will follow.” But presidential elections won’t take place any time soon, he added. Rival factions have tied the fate of Lebanon's presidency to the outcome of Syria's war, with some betting on the fall of the Syrian regime and others believing it will survive, he said. “I was not one of the people who bet on the quick fall of the regime.... I knew that it was going to be a long battle.” Jumblatt also said that Lebanese Forces head Samir Geagea and MP Sami Gemayel had traveled to Saudi Arabia in order to conduct talks with Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri alongside other officials. The meeting aimed to ensure that a parliamentary extension would be constitutional and that Christian figures would be included in the decision to extend Parliament.
Henri Helou, Jumblatt’s presidential candidate, has been deemed the barrier to securing quorum over a single candidate. Backed by 10 parliamentary votes, Helou’s nomination prevents the two main rival candidates, Geagea and Free Patriotic Movement Head Michel Aoun, from acquiring the majority of votes. Jumblatt rejected any suggestion calling for a withdrawal of Helou’s candidacy, saying that “other candidates are not any better than Helou.”Aoun has not officially declared his candidacy, but he is widely acknowledged as being the March 8 pick. The presidential deadlock is not a result of Helou's candidacy, according to Jumblatt, but instead, could be boiled down to two main barriers: The first involves the discord between rival candidates Geagea and Aoun, while the second is characterized by the lack of dialogue between Hariri and Hezbollah Chief Hasan Nasrallah. Shifting to security issues, the PSP head said that "Lebanon is now directly involved in the Syrian war," but said it was "meaningless" to blame Hezbollah for that. The situation in the eastern village of Brital and the northeastern town of Arsal, which are among several border towns that have recently been targeted by militants, serves to prove Lebanon’s direct involvement in the Syrian war, he said. Jumblatt said that “he feared for the safety of all of Lebanon,” citing tensions within the Druze community as evidence of broader tensions overwhelming the country. Jumblatt's concern is not restricted solely to Lebanon, with the PSP head also expressing his fears over the deterioration of the Arab world. Not a single national entity formed after the Sykes-Picot agreement between former colonial powers Britan and France is left today, Jumblatt said. The ISIS threat, which is derived from "years of poverty and tyrannical rule," has succeeded in wiping out the previous mapping of the region and is "dragging the Arab world in to the unknown," he added. “This the challenge,” Jumblatt said, referring to the preservation of Lebanon as a national entity in the face of this threat. Separately, the PSP head recalled a heated argument between the late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and Syrian President Bashar Assad, during Hariri’s 2004 visit to Damascus, one year before his assassination. Jumblatt quoted Assad saying to Hariri: “I am the one who makes the orders here.”
Suspect in Canada parliament shooting was convert to Islam
by BOB FREDERICKS October 22, 2014 /Corporal Nathan Cirillo _ canada
Soldier killed at war memorial identified as Cpl. Nathan Cirillo
A Canadian convert to Islam fatally shot a soldier guarding Canada's war memorial, according to a report, and up to 50 other shots rang out in Parliament and near a shopping mall in downtown Ottawa early Wednesday - wounding two others - as cops frantically searched the area for other shooters. The suspected gunman was identified as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, in numerous media reports. Dramatic raw video taken by a reporter for The Toronto Globe and Mail showed police searching for one of the suspects in the historic chamber as multiple gunshots rang out - many fired just outside the room where Prime Minister Stephen Harper was addressing legislators. "Incidents occurred at National War Memorial, near the Rideau Centre [mall] and Parliament Hill this morning," Ottawa police said on Twitter about 11:20 a.m. All three sites are within less than a mile from each other, and cops said as many as three shooters may have been involved. Details were sketchy, but the CBC reported that two other victims were taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Eyewitnesses said a rifle-toting man with long black hair and a blue and white headscarf emerged at the war memorial just before 10 a.m., fired about four times, and a guard went down, Bloomberg News reported.
Patient at Beirut hospital does not
have Ebola: medical official
Oct. 23, 2014 /Nizar Hassan| The Daily Star/BEIRUT: The patient showing possible symptoms of Ebola who was tested at Beirut's Rafik Hariri University Hospital Thursday is not infected with the virus, a hospital official told The Daily Star. The hospital’s media official said the doctor responsible for testing the patient “is now 100 percent sure that it is not an Ebola case.” A Health Ministry source said the ministry had not yet been informed of the official results but explained that the patient was a man who arrived from West Africa one week ago. “He did not show any symptoms during his flight [or] when he was filling out the application,” the source said. “But when the ministry followed up on him today, he said he has been experiencing many suspicious symptoms.” Health Minister Wael Abu Faour had confirmed that a patient was being tested for Ebola, stressing that he would remain in quarantine until the official results are issued. "We will announce the results as soon as they are issued," he told reporters from the Grand Serail. Radio station Voice of Lebanon 100.3 said the patient is a man in his 20s who recently arrived to Lebanon from a West African country through a connection in France. According to the Health Ministry source, Ebola causes symptoms similar to other viruses, especially malaria. He said that 12 patients suspected of carrying Ebola had been tested over the past months in Lebanon, none of whom tested positive.
Bodies recovered after Cyprus plane crash
Oct. 23, 2014 /The Daily Star/BEIRUT: The bodies of a Lebanese businessman and a Greek Cypriot whose small plane crashed in the sea en route to Beirut from Cyprus have been found. A statement from the family said Lebanese businessman George Obagi, 47, was found in Cypriot territorial water. Agence France Press reported that the plane’s wreckage and the bodies of a Lebanese man and a Greek Cypriot were found 83 kilometers from Larnaca, on Cyprus's southeastern coast. Obagi was on board the twin-engine Diamond DA 42 plane with his trainer when the aircraft disappeared Wednesday night. Yiannakis Loizou, the chief of Cyprus' aircraft accidents board, had announced that the search crews found wreckage belonging to the small plane. He told Associated Press that a German warship attached to a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Lebanon would ferry the wreckage to Cyprus Thursday for Cypriot investigators to begin their probe. AFP said the Israeli navy joined UNIFL in the search, and the Cypriot man’s identity will be verified through a DNA test.
U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition/Cryptic coalition
The Daily Star/Oct. 23, 2014/While the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition conducts under a dozen air raids around Ain al-Arab a day, Syria’s regime seems to be intensifying its bombardments across the country, with over 200 airstrikes over a 36-hour period in recent days.
There appears to be a missing link somewhere here, or perhaps several missing links, amid an emerging anti-ISIS coalition which is drawing together friends and enemies alike. The Syrian regime said Wednesday it too was providing assistance to the Kurds, joining a motley crew of Iranians, the U.S., Gulf countries and many European nations. The Iraqi Kurds agreed to send peshmerga forces to support their Syrian brethren, a decision made feasible by Ankara’s unexpected announcement that it would allow them access from Turkey into Syria. But there are mixed signals coming from Turkey, which is also now apparently not happy with U.S. airdrops of weapons to the Kurds. It appears, perhaps, that everyone involved in the fight against ISIS has their own, self-motivated reasons for doing so.
For Bashar Assad, the international alliance against ISIS backs up what he has been claiming all along – that his regime did not turn a peaceful uprising into a civil war but that from the outset it was dealing with brutal, foreign terrorists. For Ankara the battle has the potential to fundamentally weaken the Kurds, and by extension, their struggle for statehood. The U.S. has admitted the battle for Ain al-Arab is part of a wider strategy to weaken ISIS across Syria and Iraq. But it seems there are other, murkier, motivations at play here, and we may not know what they are before it is too late.
Who is Martin Couture-Rouleau?
CBCCBC – Tue, 21 Oct, 2014.
He may have been just a "lone wolf," working without links to any other radical groups, his deadly actions possibly motivated by Canada's involvement in the fight against ISIS.
But what's known for sure is that Martin Couture-Rouleau had been considered some kind of threat by the Canadian government.
And as details began to emerge about the 25-year-old, who had a pressure-washing business registered in Quebec, they began to paint a picture of a man whoseemed to have embraced extremist ideas, and who, according to one friend, dreamed of dying as a martyr.
As Public Safety Minister Steve Blaney asserted at a morning news conference, Couture-Rouleau, who waited in a parking lot for at least two hours before driving his car into two Canadian soldiers, was “clearly linked to terrorist ideology.”
The RCMP revealed that officials had been monitoring Couture-Rouleau closely, concerned that “he had become radicalized." On Tuesday, RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson confirmed that Couture-Rouleau's passport had been seized and that he was one of the 90 suspected extremists who the RCMP believed intended to join militants fighting abroad.
And all of this has left his friends and family in shock. Gilles Rouleau, Martin's father, was in tears this morning when he spoke to Radio-Canada
'I lost my son'
“I lost my son, my son is everywhere [in the media] this morning. Leave me in peace. I have no comment."
Coutoure-Rouleau lived with his father in a St-Jean-sur-Richelieu white brick family home, where neighbours say they watched Couture-Rouleau change over the last year since his conversion to Islam.They say he grew a beard and stopped wearing jeans in favour of Islamic clothing.
CBC News spoke with Faisal, a Facebook friend of Couture-Rouleau’s in Saudi Arabia, who described Couture-Rouleau as a “really kind person."
He said he befriended Couture-Rouleau on Facebook and began messaging him in June. "I was actually looking over some posts on Facebook ... and I saw all these people, they were for some reason dissing Islam, making fun of us, so I saw him actually replying in a really calm, modest, humble way," Faisal told CBC News.
But Faisal added that this was before he found out Couture-Rouleau was a supporter of ISIS.
Faisal, who spoke on the condition CBC News not publish his last name, said he changed the topic of conversation in the few instances Couture-Rouleau mentioned ISIS to him.
He referred to Couture-Rouleau as “Ahmad,” the name he adopted when he converted to Islam.
Faisal said he lived in Canada for a period of time, and did not agree with Couture-Rouleau when he allegedly called some members of Canada’s military personnel “infidels.”
Angry that Canada supported U.S. bombing of ISIS
"So he was really mad that Canada actually supported the American bombing of [ISIS] in Syria and Iraq so I think that was the main motive in killing that Canadian soldier."
Radio-Canada reported that Couture-Rouleau's Facebook page, which is no longer active, identifies him as Ahmad LeConverti (Ahmad the Converted). Legal documents show Couture-Rouleau converted to Islam in 2013
Propaganda videos and other materials admiring jihad — or “holy war” against enemies of Islam — were on his Facebook profile page, including a video featuring the logo for ISIS.
On a separate Facebook page, under the name Ahmad Rouleau, the profile picture had been changed last Friday to show a picture of two doors opening, one that appears to be leading to heaven, and one to hell.
Months earlier, on April 14, one of the posts reads: "Allah has promised the hypocrite men and hypocrite women and the disbelievers the fire of hell, wherein they will abide eternally. It is sufficient for them. And Allah has cursed them, and for them is an enduring punishment."
Underneath that post was the image of a sheik, combined with an Israeli and American flag and American dollar bill. It's one of a series of images critical of American foreign policy. The page also features links to anti-Semitic videos posted on YouTube.
On that Facebook page, Couture-Rouleau defends Islam, at one point writing "don't judge Islam by what other[s] do....study for yourself ... read the Qur'an."
According to information Radio-Canada obtained from a friend of Couture-Rouleau, he had convinced at least four or five people in his circle of friends to convert to Islam. But he said that Couture-Rouleau got carried away with an extreme interpretation of the Qur'an.
The friend said Couture-Rouleau spent hours on the internet and devoured jihadist literature, adding that Couture-Rouleau dreamed of dying as a martyr.
'Seems to be a lone wolf'
Dave Charland, a former intelligence officer with CSIS, said from the information he's gleaned so far about Couture-Rouleau, he believes Couture-Rouleau "seems to be a lone wolf" in part because of the lack of sophistication of the attack.
"Based on what's public right now, I don't think he had any links with any groups but clearly he had an extremist ideology. So he must have influences."
RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson confirmed that Couture-Rouleau's passport had been seized and that he was one of 90 suspected extremists who the RCMP believed intended to join militants fighting abroad.
Man detained by police near where
Harper lays wreath at war memorial
The Canadian PressBy The Canadian Press | The Canadian Press
OTTAWA - A man was detained by police this morning not far from Stephen Harper as the prime minister stopped by the National War Memorial to pay tribute to Cpl. Nathan Cirillo. No other details were immediately available. Harper visited the memorial to lay a wreath where Cirillo was fatally shot Wednesday by a gunman who then raced to Parliament Hill, where he was killed in a gunfight in the halls of the Centre Block. As the prime minister arrived, police could be seen wrestling a man to the ground and cuffing him before taking him to a nearby police cruiser. Several federal MPs were also on hand to pay their respects, even taking part in an impromptu rendition of O Canada. Harper and the rest of the MPs are expected to be in the House of Commons to resume the business of government.
France moving troops toward Libyan
Sylvie Corbet| Associated Press/PARIS: A top French military official says the country is moving troops toward the Libyan border within weeks and, along with U.S. intelligence, is monitoring al-Qaida arms shipments to Africa's Sahel region. A French base will go up within weeks in a desert outpost just a hundred kilometers from the lawless Libyan border region overrun by Islamic militants, the official said on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly on the matter. U.S. intelligence is helping French troops "a lot," he said. Earlier this month, French troops destroyed an arms convoy in northern Niger carrying three tons of weapons from Libya to Mali. France has 3,000 troops, 200 armored vehicles and six fighter jets deployed in the Sahel region.
Stephen Harper says "Canada will never be intimidated" after attack in Ottawa
By Andy Radia | Canada Politics/https://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/canada-politics/stephen-harper-says-canada-will-never-be-intimidated-003221049.html
Stephen Harper took to the airwaves on Wednesday night following the deadly shootings at the National War Memorial and Parliament Hill.
In the televised address to the nation, the prime minister said that today’s events were a grim reminder that Canada is not immune to the types of terrorist attacks we have seen elsewhere in the world.
"We are also reminded that attacks on our security personnel and on our institutions of governments are by their very nature attacks on our country, on our value, on our society, on us Canadians as a free and democratic people who embrace human dignity for all," Harper said from an undisclosed location.
"But let there be no misunderstanding. We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated. In fact this will lead us to strengthen and re-double our efforts and those of our national security agencies to take all necessary steps to identify and counter threats and keep Canada safe here at home. Just as it will lead us to strengthen our resolve and and re-double our efforts to work with our allies around the world and fight against the terrorist organizations who brutalize those in other countries with the hope of bringing their savagery to our shores."Harper also offered prayers for for the family of 53-year-old soldier Patrice Vincent who was killed Monday by a car driven by Martin Rouleau in an incident believed to be linked to terrorist ideology.
Harper didn’t, however, didn’t provide many details about the events on Parliament Hill.
Earlier in the day, Ottawa police said that they received several 911 calls about multiple shootings in the downtown area.
Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, 24, a Canadian forces reservist, was shot — and later pronounced dead — by a gun man while guarding the National War Memorial.
Minutes later, another series of shootings took place on Parliament Hill.
The suspect — identified by media as 32-year old, Canadian-born Michael Zehaf-Bibeau — was shot dead by House of Commons security staff as MPs were convening for the weekly caucus meetings.
At least one security guard was injured in the combat with a non-life threatening wound.
Much of downtown Ottawa, including Parliament Hill, was put on lock-down, for most of the day, while RCMP swept the area. 10 hours after the incident, many areas were still in lock-down.
At a 2 p.m. media conference, police remained guarded about the details of the shootings. They wouldn’t say whether or not there were multiple suspects or whether they believed that this event was akin to the event on Monday.
Earlier in the day, the PMO released photos of Harper being briefed by RCMP chief Bob Paulson (included at the top of this post) and speaking to U.S. President Barack Obama on the telephone.
The White House released this statement:
"President Obama condemned these outrageous attacks, and reaffirmed the close friendship and alliance between our people.
"The President offered any assistance Canada needed in responding to these attacks. Prime Minister Harper thanked the President and the two leaders discussed the assault and agreed to continue coordination between our governments moving forward."
NDP leader Thomas Mulcair also had the opportunity to address the country.
"These acts were driven by hatred but also designed to drive us to hate. They will not," he said.
"We will stand up and we will stand together. We will persevere and we will prevail."
During the day, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau's communications director Kate Purchase released this statement.
“All Canadians are particularly shocked and saddened by the horrific shooting of a young man, as he dutifully guarded our National War Memorial,” she wrote.
“Canadians are a resilient people who treasure our freedom. We cannot and will not allow armed criminals to terrorize our country and our democracy. Mr. Trudeau spoke with the Prime Minister earlier this afternoon and offered the Liberal Party of Canada’s absolute support as we seek to prosecute those responsible for this attack, and prevent events like it from happening in the future.”
And finally, Green Party leader Elizabeth May urged Canadians and lawmakers to remain calm.
"Today is not a day that ‘changes everything.’ It is a day of tragedy. We must ensure we keep our responses proportionate to whatever threat remains," May said in a statement.
"This senseless, horrifying attack has shaken all of us who work in Parliament, but we stand together, strengthened in our resolve to uphold the values of peace and democracy upon which our country was founded."
In terms of response against terrorist attacks in Canada, the Conservatives have already indicated that they will introduce legislation, this week, to give CSIS more powers “to allow our security and intelligence service to better operate and investigate threats from abroad."
At the public safety committee meeting, earlier this month, CSIS director Michel Coulombe said they were monitoring 80 suspected Canadian terrorists that had returned home from conflicts around the world.
The RCMP also noted that they were tracking numbers of others who have become radicalized. Are you a politics junkie?
Islamic State recruits loose in Toronto
By: Tarek Fatah/The Toronto Sun
October 22, 2014
Martin Couture-Rouleau, shown here in an undated Facebook photo, was shot to death after running his car into two Canadian Forces soldiers. A year ago, when the words ISIS and ISIL had not yet entered our vocabulary, writing in this space I asked the question, "Have Islamist jihadis declared world war?" Well, now it seems this war has come to the shores of Canada with an attack by a follower of Islamic State. On Monday, Martin Ahmad Couture-Rouleau, a Caucasian convert to Islam, deliberately drove into two Canadian Forces soldiers in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, near Montreal, before he was shot dead after a police chase. One of the soldiers died Tuesday in hospital while the second is now considered out of danger. The jihadist who committed this act of terrorism was known on Twitter as "Abu Ibrahim AlCanadi," where he used the ISIL flag as his picture. Among the 53 people he followed were supporters of ISIL, who propagate jihadist ideology and believe in imposing Sharia law as the supreme law on earth.
If there was any doubt about Couture-Rouleau's motives, it ended when Quebec's TVA Nouvelles reported Couture-Rouleau called a 911 dispatcher and explained he was "acting in the name of Allah."
Lost in the horror of these murders that some are still referring to as a "possible" terrorist attack, was the news on Saturday that three Muslim girls of Somali heritage, who wanted to travel to the Mideast and join ISIS in Syria as wives of jihadis, were back home and free.
The Toronto Star reported the teenage girls' parents had tipped off the RCMP, who arranged to apprehend the teens in Turkey and return them to Toronto. What was particularly disturbing was that instead of arresting and charging these three ISIS recruits, the RCMP simply sent them back into the community, under the care of their parents. The Star quoted their families' lawyer saying, "The parents felt comfortable in contacting police to prevent the young girls from ruining their lives."
He said Somali community leaders are happy the RCMP has not prosecuted them and hopes, instead, to glean intelligence from the case which will stop others.
In my view, this is multiculturalism taken to its worst extreme.
Twenty years ago, would the RCMP have released teenage IRA recruits back into the care of their parents?
We now have three teenage girls who apparently believe in the ISIS doctrine of armed jihad and who flew out of the country to join it, walking freely about our city, while the rest of us have no information as to who they are or what to look out for.
As someone who has received death threats from Islamists as late as two weeks ago, and who in 2011 received a threat from a teenage Somali girl when I was hospitalized, perhaps I am a bit paranoid.
However, after Couture-Rouleau used a car as his weapon to kill his conception of the "infidel", I have every reason to be.
After all, I have been called an "apostate" in the past by Islamists, an offence punishable by death in Islam. What is also worrisome is that no other newspaper, TV or radio host (other than myself) has followed up on the story of the three ISIS recruits.
I asked the three major Toronto mayoral candidates if they were aware the RCMP had not charged or arrested these three young ISIS recruits living in their city. Not one has answered the question.
***Tarek S. Fatah is a founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, a columnist at Toronto Sun, host of a Sunday afternoon talk show on Toronto's NewsTalk1010 AM Radio, and a Robert J. and Abby B. Levine Fellow at the Middle East Forum. He is the author of two award-winning books: Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State and The Jew is Not My Enemy: Unveiling the Myths that Fuel Muslim Anti-Semitism.
Martin Couture-Rouleau, shown here in an undated Facebook photo, was shot to death after running his car into two Canadian Forces soldiers.
Terrorists Thrive on Deaths - Anybody’s Except Fellow Islamists
Canada Free Press
Author/By Jerry McConnell October 22, 2014
It’s early afternoon of Wednesday, October 22, 2014, in the neighborhoods of eastern Canada and the United States, mere hours from the late morning devastation of wanton murder, for what appears to have been just killing for the sake of killing in Ottawa, Canada where a Canadian soldier and one of the guilty gunmen were the victims. Not many known details have been made public as yet, so all first hand reports are in great scarcity. But it has been made known by FoxNews, that the incident took place “as multiple gunmen stormed the Canadian Parliament complex in Ottawa. spraying as many as 30 shots inside the government building in a brazen assault that left the nation’s capital on lockdown just two days after a terror attack in Quebec, officials said.”
Fox further reported “The gunmen next ran into the Parliament Hill building, where one MP reported hearing as many as 30 shots fired and a sergeant at arms was later credited with shooting one of the gunmen dead. In the following moments and hours, Royal Canadian Mounted Police converged on the scene, more shots were fired less than a mile away near a mall, and officials told Ottawa residents to barricade themselves in their homes as they searched for one or more possible gunmen.”
As an aside, we’ve been hearing rumored reports of ISIS announcements that that group of Islamic terrorists claiming to be the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria will be coming to the North American continent verifying many suppositions that the egos of these “lovers of peace through Islam” have gotten overgrown and more than likely feeding on their victories in the Middle Eastern countries which are no match for the likes of America and Canada.
But many people of those two countries in the West are holding firm to the beliefs that Obama and his ISIS rag-tag, shoot ‘em up, bang, bang practitioners of “Invincible Islam” followers in the Islamic nations are far less of a credible force. Many people of the Western nations feel that Obama is soft-pedaling American might and weaponry in a treasonous wish of success for ISIS. Our American Indians had a saying for principles such as that saying, “He speaks with a forked tongue” meaning talking tough and acting wimpish.
But the attacks against Canada has as of this hour, not been clearly explained as to motives or certainty of identity. Most of the reports have been repeats or pure speculations but of little substance in relation to the incident. One report from the U. S. State Department said that “Secretary of State John] Kerry who’s on his plane on the way back from Berlin has been briefed on the situation and is following it closely.” In my humble opinion, I think it wiser to leave Kerry where he is as he will only obfuscate matters and wind up blaming Global Warming, oops, I mean Liberal Climate Change for the shootings.
FoxNews.com added that this incident occurred just “two days after two Canadian soldiers were run over—and one of them killed—in Quebec by a man with jihadist sympathies. And on Tuesday, Canada had raised its domestic terror level from low to medium due to “an increase in general chatter from radical Islamist organizations like ISIL, Al Qaeda, al-Shabab and others who pose a clear threat to Canadians,” said Jean-Christophe de Le Rue, a spokesman for the public safety minister.”
So the presence of ISIS or other Islamic peaceful religion murders can not be discounted and more likely can be very probable. The other unseemly probability, that of a group of Canada or United States citizen morons who quite unbelievably would turn against their own fellow country men and women to side with ISIS terrorists, also can not be discounted after seeing proof of such total brainlessness in the past weeks from just this type of person.
If I had my way, those who desert their homelands and people deserve a fate worse than mere death; they should be subjected to a prolonged execution for the treasonous actions of fighting against their own even if only verbally. I would leave the details to some of our more efficacious and angrier thinkers. In a late Wednesday afternoon update, FoxNews.com stated briefly, “The shooter was identified by Canadian authorities as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, Fox News confirmed. He was believed to be Canadian-born. No further details were immediately available.”
Reuters: Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a recent convert to Islam
**Jerry McConnell is a longtime resident of planet earth with one half century on the seacoast of NH. He is a community activist but promises not to run for President and he feeds ACORN’s to the squirrels. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org with complaints or the editor at letters@canadafre
Silence of intellectuals and emergence
Thursday, 23 October 2014
Mohammed Fahad al-Harthi /Al Arabiya
The rapid rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has exposed clear fault-lines in the Arab world, not least the failure of Arab intellectuals to stand up and be counted in the face of autocracy and fascism spreading across the region.
Religious scholars believe their mission now is to reveal the true intentions and dangers of ISIS, as a party that is using Islam to recruit people, especially the youth, to carry out its nefarious agenda. The Council of Senior Scholars in Saudi Arabia has done the right thing by labeling ISIS a criminal and terrorist movement.
Religious scholars are on the mark, but what about intellectuals? Despite the dire need for more thinkers to join the conversation, their voices are barely heard. They have lost their audience, leaving many confused.
“The thinking that groups in the East and West are conspiring against Islam and Arab civilization satisfies the most narcissistic of people’s fantasies”
Mohammed Fahad al-Harthi
The educated elites across the region are showing that they are fickle, changing their positions depending on their own interests, or as power structures shift.
The ISIS phenomenon requires a response on religious and ideological levels. It is also clear that there is a certain immaturity in a society that does not have the capacity to reject illogical and irrational acts.
The media in this part of the world is also geared up to empower authoritarianism by justifying and condoning the behavior of those who have political and economic power.
Arab intellectuals are failing to counter this sycophancy and inertia by offering a rational and modern ideological framework that can be used as a rallying point for people. This has resulted in the growth of extremism, ignorance and sectarian wars.
The Arab world also suffers from another illness — the love of the conspiracy theory. Instead of self-reflection and acknowledgement of mistakes, many opt to take the easier road and blame others for their problems.
The thinking that groups in the East and West are conspiring against Islam and Arab civilization satisfies the most narcissistic of people’s fantasies. Unfortunately, this thought process has resulted in the younger generation holding grudges and desiring to fight rather than seeking dialogue. This fuels hate, violence and extremism.
We face a similar problem with writers who attempt to polish the image of a political leader by framing him as a nation’s only savior. We see this clearly among intellectuals in Syria who still applaud President Bashar Assad despite his role in killing over 250,000 of his people.
They even dare to say that the sacrifice was necessary in this war as if people can’t tell right from wrong. Fighting to give legitimacy to the regime, some intellectuals indirectly justify the killing and displacement of thousands of people.
The only way for these people to have some recognition is by appeasing the ruling authorities. They are the cheerleaders often seen in the front-row seats making the most noise. They are contributing to diminishing the role of people who are honest and have integrity.
However, the leaders who bask in this false glory eventually discover they have believed their own propaganda. By this time it is too late and they are headed either for a prison cell or forced to flee.
It can be stated quite unequivocally that Arab intellectuals have played a major role in creating the current political situation in the Arab world. Consider, as an example, the decision of the French writer Jean-Paul Sartre to write his famous book, Shame in Algeria, exposing the role of his country in torturing Algerians. Sartre prioritized morality over material benefits and fake popularity.
It is safe to say that our mistakes have not been solely caused by dictatorial regimes. Intellectuals here have failed to speak up and thus allowed the barbarous ISIS to exploit this vacuum and continue to recruit naive and reckless people. Our intellectuals may want to rethink their position because they may be as culpable as those out there shedding blood on the battlefield.
Tony Badran/Now Lebanon
The very core of the White House strategy rests on the false premise that the retreating US can create an alternative concert system of states.
The Center for New American Security, a Washington think tank close to the Obama administration, has produced a strategy for the war against the Islamic State (ISIS). While the paper, authored by Marc Lynch, professor of politics at George Washington University and senior fellow at CNAS, presents itself as a set of new recommendations, it really just re-packages the White House’s current policy. But this is a very useful exercise, as it makes explicit a number of assumptions that the administration is consciously playing down. By exposing the White House’s full thinking to the light of day, the paper inadvertently highlights glaring deficiencies in the president's strategy.
Lynch’s paper is part of a quiet White House campaign. In the last couple of weeks, its influence was evident in a number of articles that made the same point: President Obama is facing pressure to escalate in Iraq and Syria, but he should resist that pressure and dial back, especially in Syria.
Limiting the American commitment to the war is only one part of the president’s strategy. The other is to integrate Iran into a new regional security architecture. But this goal introduces a debilitating contradiction into the heart of the strategy. On the one hand, the president seeks to keep the Middle East at bay; on the other hand, however, he is working to impose a radical new order on US allies, who regard Iran as an enemy. Thus, the strategy exhibits a stunning disregard for geopolitical realities.
Riding roughshod over allies is a dangerous proposition even when the US is fully engaged in the region. But Obama is intent on avoiding precisely such a commitment. If his goal is to minimize US involvement, he should be seeking to tailor his policy to the interests of traditional US allies—Saudi Arabia and Turkey, first and foremost. The strategy, however, either ignores those interests, or pretends that they are much more malleable than they actually are. As a result, the strategy is beset by false assumptions. A few in particular stand out.
First, Obama’s strategy assumes that ISIS is so threatening to the local players that they will overlook their conflicts with each other and work together against the common threat. We’ve already seen that this is a fallacy, as Sunni regional actors, even when they’ve joined the coalition, have continued to prioritize the removal of Bashar al-Assad, Iran’s primary ally. For them, regime change is a core interest — a priority unaffected by the ISIS factor.
Even more fanciful is the strategy’s rosy view of Iran’s posture and calculation. The allies of the US remain preoccupied with Iran’s malicious role, as Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faysal recently made clear. Ignoring this central fact of regional politics, the paper contends that “the Iranian regime’s domestic and regional policy goals currently require de-escalation with Saudi Arabia.” This is a claim easily disproved by Iran’s actual regional posture, from Yemen all the way to its continued full-throttled support for the Assad regime, to say nothing of its nuclear drive. Iranian “de-escalation” is a fiction.
The White House is looking to use the ISIS crisis “to create a sustainable regional accord.” Presumably, it envisions a scenario in which Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey will sit down together and work out a regional accommodation. Not only will this not happen, it also assumes a symmetry that does not exist. It suggests that Riyadh and Ankara command influence over Sunni fighters in Syria and Iraq that is analogous to the influence that Iran has over its proxies. This is an erroneous assumption. There’s nothing analogous to the Qods Force and its Hezbollah arm in Saudi Arabia or Turkey.
Still, the White House points to the new Iraqi government as a model for the kind of cooperation that, in Lynch’s words, has “helped stabilize the situation and galvanize political change.” The idea is that the new government in Baghdad is generating cooperation across sectarian lines—not just inside Iraq but also in the region more broadly.
But does anyone outside of the White House and its surrogates in the Washington policy world actually think this is happening? As Hussain Abdul-Hussain points out, the Sunni tribes of Iraq have no confidence whatsoever in the Obama administration, and they continue to side with ISIS.
Then there’s Syria. First, the White House strategy, as channeled by Lynch, proceeds from the assumption that Washington will not support the rebels in any serious manner. Instead, it will abandon the goal of regime change and work for a “pause" in the fighting between Assad and the rebels. How? By pushing to “expand local ceasefires.” But this is a thinly-veiled pro-Assad position, as no less a figure than UN special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi recently stated. Those local ceasefires, he said, are in fact “part of Assad’s war plan, and not part of any peace plan.”
The White House is sacrificing regime change in order “to secure Assad’s/Iran’s buy-in” for the “pause” and for some form of power sharing with the opposition. Iran, according to this view, will go for a deal that “protects its core equities in Syria” — which are left undefined. Per Iran’s own definition, they must include preserving the regime with Assad at the helm. The American abandonment of regime change may or may not secure Iranian buy-in, but it will certainly alienate all of America’s allies.
In the end, the very core of the strategy rests on the premise that the retreating US can create an alternative concert system of states, “a new regional compact [bridging] the Iranian-Arab divide," that will work to stabilize the region.
As Obama remarked recently, “the old order that had been in place for 50 years, 60 years … was unsustainable.” This was an order which American power underwrote. The new, supposedly more sustainable order is one where the “stake and equities” of the Islamic Republic are “protected,” where Assad stays in power, and where everyone ignores his policies which have killed hundreds of thousands of Sunni Muslims and uprooted millions more.
Not only will Obama’s strategy not achieve his own stated goal of defeating ISIS, it will bring untold disruption to a Middle East that has already seen enough.
***Tony Badran is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He tweets @AcrossTheBay.
Winning Kobane, Losing Syria
By: Michael Weiss/Now Lebanon
Within the space of a week, Kobane, the Syrian-Kurdish city on the lip of the Turkey that has been besieged for weeks by the Islamic State, has gone from being “not strategically vital” to “symbolically important,” to give the Wall Street Journal’s paraphrase of official U.S. government thinking on the subject. The number of airstrikes there has now far outstripped that of any other target in either Syria or Iraq. This includes Mount Sinjar, the site of ISIS’ first aspirational genocide of an ethnic minority population from which ISIS was temporarily expelled last August. Unfortunately, however, the jihadists are back there again, having completely encircled the barren mountain where tens of thousands of Yazidis were left stranded without food and water in August. Yazidi villages have been retaken, although this time US aerial interference seems far less exigent, in light of Kobane’s plight.
The about-face is extraordinary. Earlier in the month, both the Pentagon and Ankara announced that Kobane’s fall was imminent. US Secretary of State John Kerry was all torn up but coldly realistic: “As horrific as it is to watch in real time what’s happening in Kobani,” he said on October 8, “you have to step back and understand the strategic objective.” Now Kerry says this: “We cannot take our eyes off the prize here. It would be irresponsible of us, as well as morally very difficult, to turn your back on a community fighting [ISIS], as hard as it is, at this particular moment.”
Except that, as other US officials continue to insist, the “prize” isn’t Syria at all; it’s Iraq. ISIS is just so stupid that it has decided to throw the bulk of its manpower and its US-purloined heavy equipment at Kobane, which has thus become flypaper for terrorists. Some 400 ISIS fighters have been killed thus far, with serious losses in armaments and vehicles. US Central Command has dropped about 24 tons of medicine and weaponry onto the Kurdish citadel-city’s defenders, principally the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a militia run exclusively by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is the Syrian branch of the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK). It was these fighters who fought “valiantly,” according to Kerry, not just in Kobane but around Mount Sinjar last August, rescuing the Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga who couldn’t hold out against the IS onslaught.
Here things got a little tricky for Washington because the PKK is a US-designated terrorist organization. Not to worry: White House and State Department lawyers cast a quick juridical eye over the problem and decided that the PYD is a legally distinct entity and therefore not subject to the same proscriptions on gun-running and military cooperation as the PKK, a fact which must have made PYD officials wiping their damp brows and laughing simultaneously given that they don’t deny being the Syrian branch of the PKK, and they openly consider Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned PKK commander, their ideological godfather and hero — an assessment shared by Ankara for some 30 years.
Kobane’s transformation from an unworthy sideshow to the Dunkirk of Operation Inherent Resolve was remarkably swift, easy and rather creative for a normally languorous and analytically cautious commander-in-chief. True, US officials, beginning with former State Department Syria policy coordinator Robert Ford, had been holding indirect or quiet talks with the PYD since 2013, but in reality, Obama didn’t hesitate to arm the affiliate of a US-blacklisted organization to stop another, far more brutal one. “[O]fficials were desperate for partners on the ground on the Syrian side of the border,” the Journal noted. “In recent days, the Kurdish fighters had made gains.”
First, CentCom Commander General Lloyd Austin showed the president a proposal for saving the city, which couldn’t be done without resupplying the YPG. That was Friday. Obama approved the decision there and then. By Sunday, Soviet-era weapons, such as AK-47s, procured by the United States from Albania for resupplying the Kurdish peshmerga in Iraq were en route from Erbil to Kuwait, where they were stowed aboard C-130 cargo planes. The planes began dropping them to the YPG units on Monday, although one errant package filled with grenades, mortar rounds and such blew the wrong way in the wind and wound up in the hands of ISIS, which was quick to publicize the catch on YouTube. (The Pentagon has since confirmed the mishap, though it insisted that this was just one cargo of 28.)
A representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) elaborated on the supply-chain to me yesterday. “Weapons were collected by the peshmerga from Sulaymaniyah, Erbil and Dohuk,” he said. This logistical workaround was what you might call both symbolically important and strategically vital. White House and State Department lawyers figured that the PYD/PKK fudge would matter less if the arms being sent to the YPG technically belonged to Kurdistan Regional Government, under the leadership of President Massoud Barzani, an open ally of the United States. Barzani’s peshmerga, according to Kurdish media reports, are now ready to deploy to Kobane to help finish ISIS off, in a rare show of pan-Kurdish unity, albeit complete with the customary intra-Kurdish disagreement over who’s really in charge of what.
The peshmerga’s mobilization is also likely a salve to Turkey, which was unimpressed by Washington’s ingenuity; Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on October 20 that Turkey had already been letting Kurdish fighters from Iraq into Kobane; now there is talk of a formal “corridor” for peshmerga convoys. Multilateral talks between and among the KRG, PYD, other Kurdish parties, Turkey and the US have taken place in Ankara and Dohuk. As ever, everyone came away with different interpretations as to what was agreed.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in remarks published on Sunday, after he returned from a one-day trip to Afghanistan: “There has been talk about forming a front against ISIL by giving the PYD arms. But the PYD, for us, is equal to the PKK; it is a terrorist organization.” But then Obama rang and told him arming the PYD was a fait accompli. (Hurriyet columnist Murat Yetkin parsed which came first: Erdogan’s denunciation or Obama’s call, based on the DC/Ankara time difference, and decides it was likely the former). What Erdogan does next is anyone’s guess, although I hope that, whatever it is, it’s broadcast on live television.
Perhaps not wanting to feel left out, the Assad regime, too, has also announced that it will “continue” to send “military aid… at the highest level” to Kobane, according to Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zohbi, who may be lying just to rub it in further or distract from the fact that the Syrian Air Force has taken the coalition’s preoccupation with one city as license to pursue its own objectives of late. It has escalated its aerial assaults — especially with barrel bombs — on the Free Syrian Army and Islamic Front positions in Idlib, Aleppo, Hama, Damascus, Deraa and Quneitra. Under other circumstances, or in another news cycle, some of these pummeled forces might be considered “partners on the ground on the Syrian side of the border.” The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has claimed that the regime has conducted over 210 airstrikes in the last 36 hours alone, whereas its daily average is around 12 to 20. Kobane, then, matters to Assad, too: so long as the coalition is preternaturally fixated there, he can annihilate the rebels he hates most with impunity and very little media attention.
America’s fickle favoritism with its proxies has not gone unnoticed by the majority of aspirational ones. Just as the first airdrops were being conducted over Kobane, Jad Bantha, an Oxford-educated activist in Damascus, tweeted a series of observations and complaints on October 20 which, judging from my recent conversations with other erstwhile pro-American rebels, reflect growing sentiment among Syria’s majority population. “Obama sent 1 tonne of medical supplies & loads of military supplies to PYD kurds only, neglecting thousands of Syrians who have fought ISIS” ran one. “Obama & his admin lied to us so many times, I would rather trust ISIS than Obama & his jokers! The US admin again prove they are our enemies” ran another.
And on the same day Bantha’s tweets were published, the Washington Post’s Liz Sly explained to the world the victims not so fortune enough to be considered of strategic or symbolic value to the Obama administration. For three days in early August, Sly writes, IS psychopaths “shelled, beheaded, crucified and shot hundreds of members of the Shaitat tribe after they dared to rise up” against them in Abu Hamam, a village in Deir Ezzor. “By the time the killing stopped, 700 people were dead, activists and survivors say, making this the bloodiest single atrocity committed by the Islamic State in Syria since it declared its existence 18 months ago.” Men and boys older than 15 were summarily killed once IS took Abu Hamam. Then IS boasted of its savagery online:
A photo essay on an Islamic State blog boasted of the different ways tribesmen were killed, including beheadings, mass shootings and a crucifixion. A video shows how the militants lined up scores of captives on a road, their hands bound, then set about clumsily decapitating them, one by one. The executioners, speaking in Tunisian, Egyptian and Saudi accents, taunted those not yet dead by swinging severed heads in front of their faces and telling them, “It’s your turn next.”
Abu Salem, a Shaitat tribesman who survived this massacre, and who spoke to Sly in Turkey’s Reyhanli, said: “We saw what the Americans did to help the Yazidis and the Kurds. But they have done nothing to help the Sunnis against the Islamic State.”
At this point, Sunni Arabs in Syria might consider shopping for a new faith or ethnicity if they want America’s attention. Barrel bombs, Scud missiles, gang-rapes, electrocutions, genital mutilations, chlorine and sarin gas attacks, all Holocaust-invoking revelations of systematic torture in Assad’s dungeons — sorry, but this is all quite boring. Where’s the symbolic importance? The strategic vitality? Yes, we know Syrian rebels fought and routed ISIS as well as the Kurds have, but that was in January and ISIS came back. And while it may be true that rebels have a better track record with keeping American-made weaponry out of the hands of ISIS than the US or Iraqi militaries have, we’re still not impressed. What have you done for us lately?
**Michael Weiss is a columnist at Foreign Policy and a fellow at the Institute of Modern Russia. He tweets at @michaeldweiss