September 05/14


Bible Quotation for today/
Don’t withhold good from those to whom it is due
Proverbs 03/27-28: "Don’t withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do it. Don’t say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again; tomorrow I will give it to you,” when you have it by you


Latest analysis, editorials from miscellaneous sources published on September 04 and 05/14

U.S. has no Syrian plan/The Daily Star/04 August/14

Why Sunni moderates can do much more/By: Michael Young| The Daily Star/04 August/14

Connecting the Dots Western leaders fail to recognize the similarities between the Islamic State and Hamas/By: Michel Gurfinkiel/J.Post/September 05/14

Target the Cause, not the Symptoms/By: Eyad Abu Shakra /Asharq Alawsat/September 05/14
ISIS is bruised and desperate for American targets/By: Joyce Karam /Al Arabiya/
September 05/14

Lebanese Related News published on September 04 and 05/14
Hostages Families Give Qahwaji 24 Hours to 'Arrest Ministers, Swap Them for Troops'

Kidnapped Lebanese troops' families lose patience with state inaction
IS Executes Arsal Man after Several-Day Abduction

Lebanon rejects swap deal in captive crisis
Report: Two Lebanese Jihadists Beheaded al-Sayyed
Al-Rahi: Lebanon Has Been Deprived of President for Factional Reasons

Al-Rahi, Patriarchs of the Orient to Meet Obama on Sidelines of Washington Conference
Berri, Bloc Members Submit Candidacies for Parliamentary Elections

Lebanese Cabinet 'Won't Carry out Exchange for Captive Soldiers,' to Contact Influential Countries for Help

EDL Contract Workers Prevent Employees from Entering HQ as Hayek Holds onto Law

Report: Kanaan Agrees with Rifi, Hammoud to Freeze IS Flag-Burning Summonses

Report: Hizbullah Training Iraqi Military Volunteers in Fight against IS

Report: Gemayel Wants to Become March 14's Alternative Candidate

Soldier critically wounded in personal dispute in Tripoli
Lebanon, Denmark discuss refugees, terrorism

EDL asks employees to resume work, repairs


Miscellaneous Reports And News published on September 04 and 05/14

Iran nuclear talks to resume Sep 18 in NY

EU: World powers, Iran to meet in New York on Sep. 18

Obama and Cameron pledge to combat ISIS

Sotloff Family Challenges Jihadist Killers on Islam

Cameron: Britain Actively Considering Arming Kurds

NATO Would Consider Iraq Request for IS Help

Obama to Lead Security Council Session Sept. 25 on Jihadist Threat

Saudi Crown Prince hold talks with French foreign and defense ministers

Arab role in Iraqi Kurdistan “weak”: Kurdish parliamentary speaker

Israel Hits Syria Army Post after 'Errant' Fire

Should Fiji troops be in Syria as peacekeepers?

U.S. open to new Gaza resolution if it helps truce

IDF hits Syrian army after stray fire hits Golan

Israel Charges Chief Suspect in W. Bank Teens' Kidnap

Israel Jails Former Druze MP for Syria Visit

Palestinian Deputy Speaker Says Shot at by Gunmen

Kerry Holds 'Constructive' Talks with Palestinians

Yemeni Justice Minister: The government cannot resign now
Ceasefire Hopes Rise, NATO Slams Russia

Germany arrests alleged local Kurdish PKK leader


Kidnapped Lebanese troops' families lose patience with state inaction
Nizar Hassan| The Daily Star/BEIRUT: Losing patience over the state’s inaction, the families of the captive troops Thursday gave the government 24 hours to act before they take matters into their own hands, calling on the Army to arrest all ministers and trade them for the captives. “We call on the Army Chief Jean Kahwagi to arrest all ministers and to swap them for soldiers detained by militants, out of respect for the prestige of the state," the protesters said in a statement Thursday afternoon.
“We give the government 24 hours to free our sons,” the statement added, “or else we are not responsible for anything that could happen.” The call followed a sit-in facing the Grand Serail from 10 a.m. Thursday, where the relatives had warned that further delay could lead to catastrophic results for the nation. "If one of their sons was among the kidnapped, they would have done anything to bring him back," said Nawaf, the brother of the kidnapped policeman Abbas Msheik, in reference to government ministers. “But they do not care about the normal people like us, because we are poor and we are not backed by any political party.” Nawaf told The Daily Star that Msheik was suffering from liver problems and needed urgent treatment. About 100 parents, children and cousins sat on the hot asphalt in the scorching sun, to warn the ministers - meeting just a few meters away - that if they do not act immediately to end the detention of their men, the results would be worse than expected. “They have a plan to wage a civil war!” one of the protesters shouted, in reference to ISIS and the Nusra Front. “We will not fall for it, but if they do anything to my brother, I know what to do to theirs.” His threat, referring to Syrian refugees in Lebanon, was echoed by other protesters. “Their families live among us here,” said Ali Hajj Hasan, who carried a file of documents and statements, and appeared to be the movement’s coordinator. “If they harm our people, we will just expel them from the country.” A cousin of a kidnapped Army soldier with the same name, Hajj Hasan accused the government of lying to the families for 30 days and of “not respecting the souls of the soldiers.”Although rejected by many political leaders, negotiating directly with the militants was widely supported by the demonstrators. “They only mention the state’s prestige, but what about the dignity of those wearing uniforms to defend the state?” Hajj Hasan yelled. “There is no shame in negotiating; the shame is in letting them kill those heroes while politicians are discussing what to do!” The protesters’ rage was aimed against both March 8 and March 14 politicians, who, according to one of the protestors, "sit in the air-conditioned Grand Serail and procrastinate on the most vital of all decisions." Thursday's protest was the first by the families of the kidnapped soldiers in Beirut, after they had blocked roads in east and north Lebanon to voice the same demands. Anxiety had clearly taken over the mothers’ faces, as they feared that that their sons’ fate could be similar to 1st Sgt. Ali al-Sayyed, who was beheaded by ISIS last week. During his funeral Wednesday, Sayyed’s family called for a “revolution” until the at least 23 soldiers and policemen still held by ISIS and Nusra Front are released. Sayyed and the other captives were taken captive by the militants during the five-day gunbattles with the Lebanese Army in the northeastern border town of Arsal last month. The jihadists have demanded the release of Islamist inmates held in Roumieh Prison in exchange for the soldiers

Hostages Families Give Qahwaji 24 Hours to 'Arrest Ministers, Swap Them for Troops'

Naharnet /Relatives of the abducted troops and policemen on Thursday called on Army chief General Jean Qahwaji to “arrest all ministers” and swap them for the hostages, warning that the state has 24 hours to act or face unknown consequences.
“We have an initiative that involves the (army's) arrest of all ministers and swapping them for the troops held by the militants out of respect for the state's prestige,” a spokesman for the families said during a lengthy sit-in outside the Grand Serail, where the cabinet was holding a regular session. “We give the state 24 hours to act or else we won't be responsible for the consequences,” the man cautioned. “We want our sons, with or without an exchange, and we all throw our support behind the army chief and we hope he will fulfill our demand,” he added. In response to a reporter's question, the spokesman said angrily: “No one has talked to us and they haven't informed us of anything." Earlier in the day, the relatives warned of a “strife” in the Bekaa, calling for the release of Roumieh inmates if the matter ensures their loved ones' safe release. “The government should exert efforts and make courageous decisions in the case,” the enraged relatives said during the sit-in at the Riad al-Solh Square in downtown Beirut. They told reporters that they agree to the exchange of Roumieh Islamist prisoners if that ensures the release of their sons. “We accept anything in return for the release of our sons.” The families of the abducted soldiers and policemen also lashed out at lawmakers for failing to carry out any action. They warned of a “bigger strife that would destabilize civil peace” in the Bekaa if any harm “was inflicted on our sons.” The families shouted slogans and held banners demanding the state to assume its responsibilities. The militants released several hostages in different stages but had beheaded Lebanese army sergeant Ali al-Sayyed. Al-Sayyed disappeared from Arsal around the time Islamist fighters from Syria overran the town early August, killing and kidnapping soldiers and policemen. The militants included fighters from the Islamic State group and the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front. The jihadists have reportedly called on the Lebanese government to release Islamist inmates from the country's largest prison in Roumieh in exchange for the captive security personnel. Only a few of the estimated 90 Islamists have been tried. Most of them were arrested over their involvement in bloody clashes with the Lebanese army at the northern refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared in 2007. The fighting in Arsal was the most serious border incident since the conflict in Syria began in March 2011. The families have been demonstrating and blocking roads across Lebanon since last week to press for the liberation of their captive sons.

IS Executes Arsal Man after Several-Day Abduction
Naharnet/Militants from the ruthless Islamic State jihadist group have executed a Lebanese citizen, around a week after they beheaded a Lebanese army sergeant in the outskirts of the Bekaa border town of Arsal, state-run National News Agency reported Thursday. “An armed group from the terrorists of the IS has executed the citizen Kayed Ghadada, who hails from the town of Arsal,” NNA said. It pointed out that Ghadada was kidnapped from the town less than a week ago. It is not the first time that the extremist group carries out an execution in Arsal. It usually accuses the victims of “collaborating” with Hizbullah or the Lebanese army. On August 28, IS militants published grisly photos showing the decapitation of the sergeant Ali al-Sayyed. Al-Sayyed disappeared from Arsal around the time militants from the IS and al-Nusra Front overran the town in early August, killing and kidnapping dozens of soldiers and policemen. The unprecedented Arsal battle broke out after the Lebanese army arrested militant leader Imad Jomaa.

Report: Two Lebanese Jihadists Beheaded al-Sayyed
Naharnet/ army sergeant Ali al-Sayyed, who was taken captive after Islamist gunmen overran the northeastern border town of Arsal. According to al-Akhbar newspaper published on Thursday, the masked man, who appears in the photos purporting al-Sayyed's beheading and his accomplice are two Lebanese nationals. Both reportedly hail from the northern city of Tripoli and had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). However, the identities of the two men remain unknown. Al-Sayyed was decapitated by the militants according to photos posted on social networks on August 28. Al-Sayyed disappeared from Arsal around the time militants from Syria overran Arsal early August, killing and kidnapping soldiers and policemen. The militants included fighters from the Islamic State group and the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front. The militants have reportedly sought to negotiate the release of the hostages in exchange for Islamist prisoners held in Lebanese jails. The fighting in Arsal was the most serious border incident since the conflict in Syria began in March 2011.

Al-Rahi: Lebanon Has Been Deprived of President for Factional Reasons

Naharnet/y the ongoing vacancy in the presidency, urging lawmakers to exercise their duty and elect a president. He said: “Lebanon has been deprived of a president for factional reasons.” He made his remarks during a mass marking the eleventh anniversary of the inauguration of the patriarchate garden in al-Diman. “The vacuum is a blow to Lebanese dignity and Lebanon's constitution,” declared the patriarch. Al-Rahi prayed that political powers “would bring joy to the people with the election of a president and resolution of pending disputes.”He also hoped that public officials would perform their duties “selflessly and steer away from corruption.”Lebanon has been without a president since May when the term of Michel Suleiman ended in May. Parliament has failed to elect his successor due to lingering disputes between the rival March 8 and 14 camps over a compromise candidate. Several elections sessions have been staged, but they were not held due to a boycott of the majority of March 8 blocs.

Al-Rahi, Patriarchs of the Orient to Meet Obama on Sidelines of Washington Conference
Naharnet/Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi and the patriarchs of the Orient are expected to hold talks with U.S. President Barack Obama on the sidelines of a conference in Washington. The conference, which will be held on September 9,10 and 11, aims at discussing the situation in the Middle East and the conditions of Christians, As Safir newspaper reported on Thursday. An organization called “In Defense of Christians” will be hosting the summit. The newspaper said that the patriarchs of the Orient will meet with Obama, who will attend the conference. Sources close to the Patriarchate told the daily that there's “no need to hold a private meeting with Obama as long as there will be a broad meeting with the patriarchs of the Orient.”As Safir newspaper reported that al-Rahi will also carry out several pastoral visits to various areas in the U.S. He will be accompanied by Bkirki spokesperson Walid Ghayad and Bishop Boulos Sayyah.

Soldier critically wounded in personal dispute in Tripoli
The Daily Star/BEIRUT: An Army soldier and a civilian were wounded after coming under fire in a personal dispute in the northern city of Tripoli Thursday evening, security sources told The Daily Star. Ahmad Dandashi, a 1st Sgt. at the Lebanese Army Special Forces unit was shot in his chest and Naser al-Jundi also sustained wounds, said the sources, requesting to remain anonymous. The dispute broke out in the area falling between the Nahr Abu Ali roundabout and the Malloula neighborhood in Tripoli. Dandashi and Jundi were rushed to the Sayde Hospital in Zghorta. The perpetrators remain at large.

Lebanon, Denmark discuss refugees, terrorism
The Daily Star/BEIRUT: Security threats imposed by extremist groups and the refugee crisis in Lebanon were the topics of discussion between the justice minister and his Danish counterpart Thursday. “We appreciate the great effort that Lebanon is making to receive the Syrian Refugees,” the Karen Haekkerup said after the meeting with Ashraf Rifi at his residence in Ashrafieh. She explained that as well as aiding Lebanon in its handling of the Syrian refugees in the country, Denmark was also encouraging refugees to leave Lebanon for Denmark. While he acknowledged the Danish efforts, Rifi voiced Lebanon’s dissatisfaction with the amount of aid it is receiving from the international community in general. “ Lebanon needs bigger roles and larger aids from [the international community] with the Syrian refugees in Lebanon reaching 35 percent of the population,” he said. The two justice ministers also discussed the security situation in Lebanon. “I assured her that the situation in Lebanon was acceptable compared to what is happening in the region,” the minister explained, “but also that we should be ready to intervene at any moment.”Rifi also said he informed Haekkerup about the counter-terrorism strategy being prepared by the Justice Ministry. "There is a common view with all of the world’s nations and especially Lebanon’s friends,” he said, “that we could discuss with any Danish team coming to Lebanon.”

Berri, Bloc Members Submit Candidacies for Parliamentary Elections

Naharnet /Speaker Nabih Berri and his parliamentary bloc submitted their candidacies on Thursday for the parliamentary elections. According to the National News Agency, Berri, who is also the head of the Development and Liberation parliamentary bloc, submitted his candidacy before leaving the country on a private visit. Media reports said that his bloc members also filed their candidacies. The head of the AMAL movement has continuously called for the staging of timely polls despite the presidential vacuum. Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq issued a memo last week detailing the documents needed for those seeking to run in the elections on November 16. The memo was based on a decree that he issued last month, calling on the electoral bodies to elect lawmakers.It stated that nominations will be accepted from August 28 to September 16. Last year, the rival MPs extended their tenure until November 2014 after they failed to agree on a new electoral draft-law. Lebanon has been without a president since May 25 when Michel Suleiman's six-year term ended amid differences between the rival parliamentary blocs on a compromise candidate. Several blocs have boycotted the sessions aimed at finding a successor to Suleiman, causing lack of quorum.

EDL Contract Workers Prevent Employees from Entering HQ as Hayek Holds onto Law
Naharnet /Electricite du Liban contract workers prevented on Thursday full-time employees from entering the premises of the company's headquarters in Beirut's Mar Mikhael area. “The actions undertaken by the contract workers are outrageous,” the company's Director General Kamal al-Hayek told reporters gathered outside the building. He considered the paralysis of the company “bigger than any electricity malfunction in the country.” Most of Lebanon have been plunged into darkness since last week as the gap between the EDL contract workers and management increased, threatening further electricity rationing. Hayek accused the contract workers of “taking the company hostage” to press the implementation of their demands. However, he pointed out that the company's board of directors will negotiate with them within the “law and civil service regulations.”The contract workers, who have been on an open-ended strike for the past three weeks and closed the gates of the company's HQ, set tires ablaze when Hayek arrived at the scene on Thursday. EDL board of directors called on full-timers to resume work on Thursday morning. A statement issued by them on Wednesday, after a meeting at the Zouk power plant, said that “employees should return to their work in all branches and at the company's HQ in order to carry out the needed repairs and reduce the electricity rationing.” Hayek blamed Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq and Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi on Thursday for failing to implement the law by keeping the “occupation in the company.” EDL contract workers later called on Hayek in a statement to launch a calm and balanced dialogue to resolve the crisis. “We are not road blockers,” the workers said, expressing hope that officials would swiftly resolve “this dilemma.”They also apologized for “any offense, which was an emotional reaction and not intended.” The rift between EDL board of directors and the contract workers increased when several erected tents at the EDL HQ and sealed off the gates to press the company to adopt their full-time employment.
The company's board of directors has claimed that a law, adopted by parliament in April, only allows 897 workers to become full-timers.

Report: Kanaan Agrees with Rifi, Hammoud to Freeze IS Flag-Burning Summonses
Naharnet/MP Ibrahim Kanaan has reportedly agreed with Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi and General Prosecutor Judge Samir Hammoud to suspend the summonses issued against several young men who have burned the Islamic State group's flag in Beirut. Rifi had asked Hammoud to investigate the case when a video showing several men burning the IS flag in Ashrafieh's Sassine square was circulated on social media. The flag includes the Islamic shahada, “There is no god but Allah, Mohammed is the messenger of Allah.”
The minister considered that their actions were offensive to Muslims. In Lebanon, the disrespect of religious symbols is punishable by law. However, Kanaan, who is a member of the Change and Reform bloc and a lawyer, immediately rushed to their defense. LBCI said Thursday that the lawmaker met with Rifi and Hammoud away from the media spotlight. The conferees agreed to freeze the summonses against the suspects, the TV station added. There are fears that burning of the flag would up sectarian tension. Assailants have been spray-painting the walls of several churches in the northern city of Tripoli and reports said that angry men have burned crosses. Rifi has also ordered an investigation into the alleged cross-burning.

Report: Hizbullah Training Iraqi Military Volunteers in Fight against IS
Naharnet /Hizbullah and Iran's Revolutionary Guards are cooperating in the training process of Iraqi Shiite volunteers, who are waging a war against the Islamic State in their country. The Kuwaiti al-Rai newspaper reported on Thursday that Hizbullah is conveying its expertise to the Iraqi fighters to combat IS. An Iraqi source told the newspaper that “the training has been fruitful.” “We need more military training, which is still at its beginning and will not end as long as the dangers posed by the IS on Iraq, Lebanon and Syria are ongoing,” the source added. Iraqi Shiite volunteers, who had been fighting in neighboring Syria, have been heading home to battle an offensive that has brought militants to near Baghdad. Iraqi clerics had recently called for the formation of units to defend religious sites in Iraq after the IS group controlled roughly a third of Iraq and Syria, including several strategically important cities like Fallujah and Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria.

Report: Gemayel Wants to Become March 14's Alternative Candidate
Naharnet /Kataeb party leader Amin Gemayel is reportedly insisting on becoming the March 14 alliance's candidate for the presidency if the camp was able to agree with the rest of the country's factions on a compromise figure. Gemayel wants to replace Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea, a March 14 alliance source told the Kuwaiti al-Anbaa newspaper in remarks published on Thursday. The March 14 source told al-Anbaa however that certain officials have informed Gemayel that he should receive the backing of centrist Progressive Socialist Party chief Walid Jumblat first. The camp made an initiative on Tuesday, saying it holds onto the candidacy of Geagea, but expressed the camp's “full readiness to discuss with the rest of the factions the name of a person who receives the backing of all the Lebanese and who is committed to the country's principles.” The majority of the March 8 camp's officials have claimed that there should be an agreement on a compromise candidate before heading to the polls. They have boycotted parliamentary sessions aimed at electing a president in a clear message of rejection to Geagea's candidacy. Geagea's rival, Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun has not officially announced that he was running for the polls, claiming there should be a compromise on him first. The disagreements among the rival parties and the parliamentary blocs have left the country's top Christian post vacant. President Michel Suleiman's six-year tenure ended in May.

Israel Hits Syria Army Post after 'Errant' Fire
Naharnet /The Israeli army said it struck a Syrian military position on Thursday after presumed "errant fire" hit the Israeli-occupied sector of the Golan Heights. A statement from the army said that "at least one projectile hit the northern Golan Heights."A military spokeswoman told AFP it hit an open field without causing any damage or harm to anyone. "Initial reviews suggest that this was a result of errant fire from the internal fighting in Syria," the statement said. "In response, the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) targeted a Syrian army position. Hits were confirmed." Another army spokeswoman told AFP the forces had fired a Tamuz anti-tank missile at the Syrian military position. Israel is closely monitoring the fighting between Syrian troops and Islamist rebels close to the armistice line on the Golan out of fear of a spillover of the internal conflict. There has been repeated fire across the ceasefire line since the uprising in Syria erupted in March 2011, not all of it stray. In June, Israeli warplanes attacked Syrian military headquarters and positions after an Israeli teenager was killed in what the Jewish state said was a cross-border attack by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad. Israel seized 1,200 square kilometers (460 square miles) of the Golan Heights during the Six-Day War of 1967, then annexed it in 1981 in a move never recognized by the international community. Agence France Presse

Lebanese Cabinet 'Won't Carry out Exchange for Captive Soldiers,' to Contact Influential Countries for Help

Naharnet /The government stressed on Thursday that it will not compromise over the safety and lives of the soldiers and policemen held captive by Islamist militants since August. “The cabinet will not carry out an exchange for the captives and it will contact influential countries to help it resolve the case,” said Information Minister Ramzi Jreij after a government session at the Grand Serail chaired by Premier Tammam Salam. He revealed that influential countries had been contacted previously in order to ensure the safety of the recent batch of soldiers who were released by the kidnappers. He did not name the countries to preserve the secrecy of the case. Further contacts will be carried to release the remaining captives, added Jreij. The cabinet also tasked a ministerial crisis committee with following up on the case. The committee is headed by Salam and chaired by Defense Minister Samir Moqbel, Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq, Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil, Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil, and Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi. Jreij highlighted the need for the cabinet to maintain a united stance over the case of the captives, while urging the media to keep this issue away from speculation, sensationalist reporting, and political exploitation. He was tasked with taking the necessary measures against all violators.
The soldiers and members of the Internal Security Forces were taken captive by the militants who last month entered the northeastern border town of Arsal and engaged in bloody gunbattles with the military before pulling back to Syrian territories. The fighters released several hostages in different stages but the Islamic State group beheaded one soldier, who was buried on Wednesday amid widespread anger. The jihadists have called on the Lebanese government to release Islamist inmates from the country's largest prison in Roumieh in exchange for the captive security personnel. The March 8 alliance's representatives in the cabinet have totally rejected such a measure while the March 14 camp's ministers have called for the speedy trial of the Islamists. Only a few of the estimated 90 Islamists have been tried. Most of them were arrested over their involvement in bloody clashes with the Lebanese army at the northern refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared in 2007. Kataeb Minister Sejaan Azzi told several local dailies published on Thursday that it was the duty of the political parties represented in the cabinet to back Prime Minister Tammam Salam in his decision to reject the prisoner swap. “Certain parties should not claim that there are two different policies inside the cabinet on the negotiations aimed at releasing the captives,” he said.

Ceasefire Hopes Rise, NATO Slams Russia
Naharnet /Ukraine on Thursday raised hopes of a ceasefire with pro-Moscow rebels during a NATO summit where Britain and the United States urged the international community to stand up to Russia and counter the threat from Islamic State. President Petro Poroshenko briefed leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and said he expected a deal to be signed on Friday "for the gradual introduction of the Ukrainian peace plan." The separatist administrations in the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk in Ukraine also said they were ready to issue a ceasefire order if the Kremlin-backed peace plan is signed, but the reaction in Newport in Wales was cautious. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on the sidelines of the meetings that "small confidence or optimism is growing that we are maybe on the way towards the de-escalation of the conflict."
President Francois Hollande called for a "real ceasefire" that would lead to a broader political agreement and said France would only deliver warships worth 1.2 billion euros to Russia if these conditions were in place.
As the summit billed by NATO as one of its most important since the Cold War continued, Agence France-Presse reporters heard explosions on the outskirts of the flashpoint city of Mariupol where Ukrainian officials said they had repelled a rebel tank attack.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also lashed out after British Prime Minister David Cameron and U.S. President Barack Obama argued in an article in the Times newspaper that Russia had "ripped up the rulebook" over Ukraine. Lavrov denied Russian military involvement and accused the United States of undermining peace efforts by supporting "a pro-war party" in Kiev.
He said Washington was "drunk on anti-Russian rhetoric" after repeated accusations from the West that Russia is training and supplying rebels and sending its soldiers into Ukraine. The summit is expected to create trust funds for Ukraine's military, set up new high-readiness units and position troops and equipment in former Soviet bloc NATO members unnerved by Russia's involvement in the conflict in Ukraine. Ukraine tops the agenda at the two-day talks, but the 28 NATO leaders must also tackle the menace of Islamist extremists in Iraq and Syria and a problematic withdrawal from Afghanistan. Cameron and Obama said they would not be "cowed" following the beheading of two U.S. journalists by Islamic State jihadists and promised to "confront" the radicals.
NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen also said the alliance would "seriously" examine any request from Iraq for help in its campaign against the Islamic State, while Cameron said Britain was actively considering arming the Kurds.
"To the east, Russia is attacking Ukraine, To the southeast we see the rise of a terrorist organization, the so-called Islamic State," Rasmussen said as he arrived for the summit, adding: "We will take important steps to counter these threats." In a clear effort to seize the initiative ahead of the summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled a plan on Wednesday which he said would produce a ceasefire on Friday -- the same day the European Union is expected to announce additional economic sanctions against Moscow.
French President Hollande said the sanctions would be approved on Friday "if there has been no progress"."Everything will depend on the next few hours," he told reporters at the summit.
But a British government source said the sanctions were sure to go ahead.
NATO has accused Russia of sending hundreds of troops and tanks into Ukraine in what Rasmussen has warned is the most serious security threat to Europe since the Cold War. NATO sees Russia's March annexation of Crimea from Ukraine as a violation of the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act which fixed Europe's post-Cold War borders and prohibited the use of force to change them.  There is speculation that the landmark treaty could now be revoked, although Rasmussen has insisted that the planned NATO commitments in Eastern Europe do not breach its terms -- as Russian actions have done. NATO meanwhile faces another quandary in Afghanistan, where the alliance is due to end its combat operation this year, but finds it has no government to hand over to as presidential elections have failed to produce a winner. Rasmussen warned that time was running out for a solution, raising doubts about NATO's planned post-2014 training mission after it formally concludes its longest-ever war this year. "Time is short," he said.
Later on Thursday, the U.S. Pentagon said Russian forces deployed near Ukraine's eastern border are "more lethal" than before and heavily armed with artillery and air defense weaponry. "The force that we see arrayed on the border is exceptionally capable, probably more capable, more lethal than anything that we've seen up until now," spokesman Colonel Steven Warren told reporters. The Russian contingent now had "higher concentrations" of field artillery, rockets, anti-aircraft systems, as well as engineers and other troops providing logistical and other support to combat forces, he said. "It is a capable armed force that we are very concerned about," Warren said. But the overall number of Russian troops along the Ukraine border had not increased and remained at roughly 10,000, he added.
Since the crisis erupted in March, the United States has provided about $70 million in "non-lethal" aid to Ukraine's security forces but it has so far opted against sending arms to Kiev. Agence France Presse
U.S. has no Syrian plan
The Daily Star/04 August/14
A couple of years back, and Syria was the main focus of global news. Today it is ISIS, both in Iraq and its neighbor. And Assad has taken advantage of this to carry on with his brutality unabated. Tuesday, the target was Jobar, in the Damascus suburbs, and Wednesday it was apparently a school bus in Deir al-Zor. And every day it is Aleppo, which is being pounded by barrel bombs, and other sites across the country, struck with a ferocity seemingly reserved for civilians and moderate rebels – for when the regime occasionally decides to strike ISIS, it does so rather mutely. Thankfully, it appears the U.S. and its partners have realized that even though they share a common enemy in ISIS, the Syrian regime cannot be trusted. But unfortunately it does not appear that they have any clear strategy to combat the threat posed by ISIS in Syria, and this is despite us knowing exactly where certain ISIS units are at any given time, as they constantly publicize their territorial gains. They are not an invisible enemy. Perhaps if it weren’t for the two recent beheadings of American journalists by ISIS, the U.S. would not even be so concerned about what utter havoc the “caliphate” is wreaking. But while trapped Iraqis are, rightly, receiving airdrops and support from the Iraqi army – which is in turn backed by the U.S. – the Syrian people are being abandoned to massacres committed both by the regime and ISIS. Nearly 200,000 people have been killed, and still the West has no plan for Syria. The policymakers in Washington and London have shown themselves to have no sense of history, to have no regard for human life, and to be opportunistic and selfish above all else.

Why Sunni moderates can do much more

Michael Young| The Daily Star
04 August/14
The decision of Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi to take legal action against young people in Ashrafieh who burned the flag of ISIS was inept. In claiming to want to protect the Quranic texts on the ISIS flag, all Rifi did was open himself up to the charge that he was currying favor among the ISIS sympathizers in his own community. Rifi erred in several ways. First, he will have only reinforced a growing, if erroneous, belief that many Sunnis are of two minds about ISIS. Second, his argument that he was only protecting the Quranic inscriptions on the flag will sound absurd to many people. The flag was not burned for what it said, but for what it represents. Third, Rifi’s action came at a particularly sensitive moment when ISIS said that it had killed a Lebanese soldier taken hostage by the group.
And fourth, and perhaps most damaging, it put Rifi on a collision course with Christians, who burned the flag. But the justice minister is not alone among moderate Sunnis in failing to grasp what ISIS means to Christians, as well as to Shiites and Druze. For all three communities it is an existential menace, while there are many who feel, rightly or wrongly, that there is a sense of schadenfreude in the Sunni community, a feeling of pleasure at the alarm ISIS provokes, particularly among Shiites.
This is a debatable point, but it happens to be circulating freely among Lebanon’s non-Sunni communities. It was remarkable, for instance, that when television journalists went to predominantly Sunni Fnaydek last week to interview people on the beheading of a soldier from the town, almost none condemned the killers in ISIS. Instead, they turned their anger against the state and politicians. The state can be blamed for many things, but it did not senselessly murder Ali al-Sayyed.
On Sunday the former prime minister, Fouad Siniora, made a speech to a gathering of Christians at the Saydet al-Jabal monastery. Siniora, who personifies the “moderate Sunni” made many reassuring points, but somehow did not say what many Christians wanted to hear: that ISIS is, ideologically, an aberration worthy of condemnation, and that the Future Movement in particular and Lebanon’s Sunnis in general will do everything in their power to oppose it and the threat it poses to the region and to Lebanese sectarian coexistence.
There is a view that the moderate Sunni leadership in Lebanon does not want to alienate its popular base by focusing too much on ISIS and its evils. That has to be verified, but if it’s true then it is very worrisome, and Rifi’s reaction did little to dispel the doubts. In Sunni communities that are poor and downtrodden, and where ISIS may have some appeal, the moderates have to impose themselves. Of the $1 billion grant Saad Hariri brought from Saudi Arabia, a sizable portion must be poured into such areas, helping to contain the possibility of radicalization. This is even more important for Sunnis than for Lebanon’s other communities. The reason is that we are fast moving toward a moment when Sunnis may find themselves isolated nationally, which would only benefit the radicals’ agenda.
Whenever Sunnis express their dissatisfaction, they do so by highlighting the abuses committed by Hezbollah. That’s understandable, as the party has violated virtually every rule of Lebanese coexistence. Hezbollah humiliated Sunnis repeatedly between 2005 and 2011; it entered the Syrian war against the Sunnis at Iran’s urging, indifferent to what this might mean for sectarian relations at home; and it continues to exacerbate sectarian divisions to rally other Lebanese communities against the Sunnis, all because it is caught up in a quagmire in Syria, which it is not winning. Hezbollah’s hubris has been disastrous for Lebanon. With the fighting in Qalamoun continuing, it has been trying to enroll the Army in the fight against the rebels and jihadists opposed to Bashar Assad’s regime. But there are limits to this perilous game, as a substantial number of soldiers are Sunni. Dividing the Army to save Hezbollah is simply a mad idea. The Sunni moderates have much work to do. For starters, they must use their influence in the Arab countries to secure funds and invest in vulnerable Sunni communities, where the appeal of radicalism may be strongest. The mainstream clergy, under a new mufti, has a major role to play in combating extremism. Outreach by Sunni leaders to other communities is necessary to help find mechanisms for alleviating sectarian tension where and when it occurs. By the same token, politicians and clergy in the other communities must ensure that irrational suspicion doesn’t build up against the Sunnis. If Rifi manipulated the burning of the ISIS flag for political gain, parliamentarians from the Free Patriotic Movement, in proposing to defend the flag burners, did the same. No one has an interest in seeing sectarian relations relegated to the level of partisan political disputation. Today much more is needed to neutralize the foul sectarian mood in the country. Most Lebanese Sunnis are not responsible for ISIS, but that doesn’t mean they can sit by and do nothing. Speaking about Sunni moderation is not the same as giving moderates all the means to prevail against extremism. And whether Sunnis realize it or not, they are at the center of national attentions, and anxieties, today. How they respond will determine how all other Lebanese communities react to them.

Political bickering keeps U.S. ambassadors at home
David Ignatius| The Daily Star/04 August/14
Talk about America’s decline is usually wrong. But how else would you describe a country that, in a world of exploding tensions, is unable to confirm dozens of ambassadors to foreign posts because of partisan political squabbling?  Even by Washington standards, the Senate Republicans have hit a new low for hypocrisy. They denounce President Barack Obama’s inaction on foreign policy – and simultaneously refuse to confirm his nominees for U.S. ambassadors to such hotspots as Turkey, on the front lines against ISIS, and Sierra Leone, the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak. Let’s say it plainly: This is how nations lose their power and influence, when they are unable to agree even on basic matters such as diplomatic representation. The decision-making system breaks down, and the public is too bored or disunited to take action. Sadly, that’s a snapshot of America in 2014. The State Department says it has 65 nominees awaiting confirmation. A few of them are ill-prepared political appointees who bungled their confirmation hearings and, frankly, should be withdrawn. But 40 of them are career diplomats with distinguished careers whose only misstep was to get caught in the Washington morass of partisan politics. The average wait time for nominees who managed to clear the Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate floor is 237 days.
Here’s a map of America’s dysfunction: Eleven of our empty embassies are in Africa, where disease and terrorism are spreading, and countries are desperate for American leadership. Nine are in Eastern Europe, where Russian President Vladimir Putin is on the march. Six are in East Asia, where China is flexing its muscles. Worried about the Middle East? Sorry, but we lack ambassadors to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, in addition to Turkey.
The State Department’s Foreign Service doesn’t even have a director-general. Arnold Chacon, a distinguished career diplomat, has been waiting 326 days for confirmation. John Estrada, a decorated former sergeant major of the Marine Corps who was born in Trinidad and Tobago, has waited 394 days to be confirmed as ambassador there. The Senate hasn’t confirmed assistant secretaries of state to oversee the United Nations, or arms control negotiations, or global energy affairs. Consider the case of Guatemala: Senators give windy speeches about stopping that country’s migration of undocumented children. Yet for 86 days, they have stalled the nomination for a new ambassador to Guatemala, who could deliver the message in person.
Sometimes in Washington, you can say that the problem is everyone’s fault, or nobody’s fault. But that isn’t the case here. This one belongs to the Senate Republican leadership. Apparently, they want to make the Democrats pay a price for removing the filibuster power. Republicans on the Foreign Relations Committee, including Sen. Robert Corker, the ranking member, are said to favor a deal that could break the logjam. But no: It’s payback time. Nobody seems to have told the Republican leaders that the price is being paid by the United States in lost representation. Ambassadors matter, even in the age of Twitter. They can open the door at a key ministry, or introduce a prominent business official. The State Department estimates that this year, U.S. businesses have sought embassy help in $119 billion in contracts in countries where we have no ambassador (a list that includes France, Ireland, Norway and Finland). The Obama administration is all but pleading for action. Officials have signaled they would support a plan to allow the 40 career diplomats to be confirmed as a group, the way military promotions are, and save the partisan rancor for the political appointees. No deal, so far. A wise move for the administration would be to pull back political nominations that were mistakes. Find a replacement for the fundraiser who was nominated to be ambassador to Oslo, for example, who described one of Norway’s ruling parties as extremist. Withdraw the nomination of the money-bundler pegged for Argentina, a country he said he had never visited and whose language he barely speaks. Ask the soap opera producer waiting for a star turn in Budapest to find another way to serve her country. Once the list is pared to nominees who are clearly qualified to represent America, this issue should be a no-brainer. The world is a mess these days, and nations need a diplomatic connection to a United States that values and respects them. Yet when the world looks to Washington, what do they see? A capital in decay, whose embittered politicians can’t even agree on ambassadors. **David Ignatius is published twice weekly by THE DAILY STAR.

Target the Cause, not the Symptoms
By: Eyad Abu Shakra /Asharq Alawsat/Thursday, 4 Sep, 2014
Under pressure as a result of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) bloody campaign in Iraq—one strewn with massacres, ethnic and sectarian cleansing, and attempts to subjugate women unprecedented in the modern history of Arabs and Muslims—US president Barack Obama has at last decided to act. This, however, is taking place against the following background of a series of regional crises. In Syria, Bashar Al-Assad is continuing his fight to consolidate his grip, albeit at the expense of the fragmentation of the country and drawing its minorities into religious and sectarian strife. Lebanon remains without an elected president, because the faction that seeks to subordinate the Lebanese state to its confessional “statelet”—Hezbollah—will not allow parliament to convene unless it elects its own candidate.
The Palestinian territories are at a crisis point following Hamas’s recent “victory” and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s candid criticism of some of Hamas’s actions, including its “execution” of so-called “collaborators” without trial.
In Yemen the beleaguered President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi continues to plead with the Iran-backed Shi’ite Houthi rebels to take it easy on his weak transitional government. In addition to the above, the Sudanese government recently accused Iran of spreading Shi’ism in Sudan, ordering the closure of its cultural center in Khartoum. Iran’s interventionist and expansionist strategy is the common denominator in all the aforementioned cases. Yet the speedy advances of the ISIS now seem to be a priceless gift to Tehran’s regional ambitions, and Tehran is now presenting itself—and its regional henchmen and appendages—as an indispensable ally to the world community, particularly the West, in the “war against takfirist terrorism.” Sunni terrorism, in other words.
Actually, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s pronouncements last week were direct, frank and clear. The Iranian president offered a serious vision of future cooperation, specifically between Tehran and Washington, in solving regional conflicts, beginning with fighting “takfirist terrorism.” Rouhani’s position was made public after Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Mouallem’s bizarre press conference, in which he declared his government’s readiness to join the fight against the same terror it helped create, and sponsored and exploited for years. The principal difference between Mouallem’s bizarre move and Rouhani’s serious vision is obvious. The Damascus regime has been, for some time, a mere marginal appendage of Tehran’s regional project. It is indebted to Shi’ite militias from Lebanon and elsewhere for its survival, militias founded and commanded by Iran—such as Hezbollah, the Al-Abbas Brigades and the Asaib Ahl Al-Haq Brigades. Its dwindling regional influence is now also being exposed by its failure to hold on to vast areas of Syria itself. The latest setbacks include its loss of the Tabqa air base in Raqqa province, ISIS’s virtual takeover of eastern Syria, and the Al-Nusra Front’s advances in the Quneitra province towards the ceasefire line in the occupied Golan Heights.
Iran, on the other hand, is a heavyweight regional player, adept in planning and executing its maneuvers. It has been active in financing and supporting several groups, some of which are regional and local foes. Obviously, it has had scores of spectacular regional victories, particularly since the “moderate” Rouhani assumed the presidency and began promoting (along with his teammate, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif) a western-friendly image, communicating in a sophisticated diplomatic language acceptable to the West.
As is now well known, the White House is committed to “opening up” to Iran. And if we are to read correctly between the lines of the discussions and the analysis in the American press, we can see that the Washington–Tehran rapprochement is going ahead in spite of the misgivings of America’s regional friends and allies. One proof of this could be how quicker President Obama was in reacting to the threat of ISIS in Iranian-dominated Iraq—compared this with the more than three and a half years of inaction in Syria, where the Assad regime has used chemical weapons against its own people. Another proof is the chattering of David Hale, the US ambassador in Beirut, about the political crisis there, as Hezbollah continues to blackmail the Lebanese people, using a Maronite puppet as its mouthpiece while mercilessly exploiting this puppet’s manic obsession with the presidency.
The emergence of ISIS and similar groups is undoubtedly a very dangerous development in the Middle East, as they threaten to tear apart its social fabric. However, they do not threaten just the region’s religious and sectarian minorities; ISIS and its allies also threaten Sunni interests, even if they do not constitute a physical danger to Sunnis themselves. These groups’ rejection of positive interaction and coexistence with others will surely destroy the chances of future generations of young Muslims seeking education outside the Muslim world, damage future trade and business, and sever cultural exchanges with the rest of the world. Indeed, the first victims of the backwardness and intolerance of ISIS and similar groups are the Sunnis, who will also pay the price of these groups’ atrocities, and see their enemies being exonerated and rehabilitated, and their crimes against them forgotten and forgiven.
Thus, it is the duty of Sunnis, both in the Middle East and elsewhere, to defend their own interests and confront all those who harm or distort the image of Islam by their ignorance, extremism and arrogance. It is incumbent on all Muslims and Arabs to be aware of all aspects of the crucial challenge they now face, and not misinterpret the great changes taking place all around them by relying on parochial attitudes.
In this instance it would be impossible not to take into account the importance of Egypt and Turkey’s roles in counterbalancing Iran’s ambitions, and Israel’s continuing efforts to avoid a regional peace agreement.
Iran is playing its cards intelligently, and is even employing regional and local foes to help it achieve its goals, including some militant Sunni groups. Likud-governed Israel, on the other hand, does not seem to mind Tehran’s growing influence inside the Palestinian territories. It welcomes infighting among the Palestinians, as well as Sunni–Shi’ite conflict. Such a scenario serves the intersecting Iranian and Israeli interests under an American-sponsored regional master plan.
What can Egypt and Turkey do here? How do they figure in such a scenario?  In spite of its popularity and recently renewed electoral mandate, the Turkish leadership has continued to pursue narrow ideological policies. As for Egypt, which is still emerging from its experience of Muslim Brotherhood rule, it looks to many like its regional policies are being shaped by its recent painful national experience, forgetting how good the relations between Tehran and the Muslim Brothers were—an approach that may end up causing more harm than good when it comes to Egypt’s standing in both the Arab and Muslim worlds.

ISIS is bruised and desperate for American targets
Joyce Karam /Al Arabiya
Thursday, 4 September 2014
The beheading of the second U.S. citizen Stephen Sotloff at the hands of the terror group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is a sign of desperation and political impotence and not strength or resilience. ISIS while licking its wounds in Iraq and antagonizing Muslims and non-Muslims regionally, has gone back to the old playbook of shedding American blood to reassure its base of support. Killing Stephen Sotloff came despite Qatari mediation to help in his release, and a plea from a mother to grant amnesty for her child. The reason for that is ISIS saw more political benefit in the despicable act of murdering him on social media than in seeking ransom or a deal, or sending a good gesture through his release. ISIS is eying such brutality to save face after serious losses in Iraq and to reassure potential recruits of its standing, while claiming its Jihadist stature as the most anti-American group operating today.
Saving face after Iraq
Since early August, the United States has launched more than 124 airstrikes targeting ISIS equipment, checkpoints and forces in western Iraq. The effort, coupled with political progress in Baghdad and a push by the Kurdish and Iraqi forces on the ground, has halted ISIS movements in Iraq. Today, the terrorist group that was pledging earlier in the summer to take Baghdad and Arbil, is very far from attaining both and is losing manpower and territory around Mosul and Anbar.
“‘John the Jihadist,’ who was apparently seen in both YouTube videos, is more of a performer and a recruiting tool for the group”
ISIS after failing to inflict damage directly on the United States inside Iraq’s battlefield, is seeking reprisal in more cowardly acts in its wider base in Syria. While the group boasts of having some anti-aircraft missiles, humvees and even scud missiles, it has not downed one American plane since August 7 or killed a U.S. military adviser out of the 820 in Iraq today. Responding in neighboring Syria by decapitating two American unarmed civilians is a rash cowardly act, and a sign of weakness from hooded executionists masquerading as liberators. “John the Jihadist,” who was apparently seen in both YouTube videos, is more of a performer and a recruiting tool for the group. While former Al-Qaeda head Osama Bin Laden made sure to speak Arabic and appear in undisclosed location in his videos, the ISIS messages are less sophisticated when it comes to location and are targeting a different audience. Both the James Foley’s and Steven Sotloff’s videos are designed to address the English speaking recruits of ISIS while at the same time inject fear and political uncertainty in the West. Today, according to CNN, ISIS has recruited fighters from Russia (+800) and France (700) as it is from Morocco (1,500). Assuring these recruits that the so-called Islamic State is still standing - at least on social media- and is capable of standing up to the United States and targeting Americans is key to its survival.
Anti-American stature
In the midst of its fighting in Iraq, ISIS is also battling with Muslims and non-Muslims alike in Syria. In some places, its enemies and rivalry list range from the anti-Assad rebel groups to al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra to the Syrian regime forces. Targeting Americans will always strengthen ISIS’ hands and promote it as the address of worldwide Jihadism. It also helps in stealing the thunder from al-Qaeda central or other terrorist groups such as al-Shabaab in Somalia or AQAP in Yemen or Nusra in Syria.
By sitting at the helm of Anti-Americanism, ISIS will boost its recruits and funding across the globe, and cover up other hideous crimes it’s committing against fellow Muslims. ISIS does not propagate its venom against Muslims in the same fashion as when it murders U.S. hostages. In the last two weeks, its fighters have decapitated in cold blood Syrian Journalist Bassem Raies and Lebanese army member Ali Seyyed. The killing of Muslims is not as advantageous in terms of propaganda for ISIS as targeting Americans. The fate of the other Western hostages held with ISIS is tied to its political and military fortunes.
In its videos, ISIS calls on U.S. President Barack Obama to leave Iraq and what it refers to as Muslim lands. Truth is, its brutality against Iraqis is what reengaged a risk averse president in a war he was always against. This same monstrosity is reigniting calls among Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Congress to expand the campaign into Syria, in order to hit ISIS command and control. Such reaction was perhaps not foreseen by ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, but if executed, it will back ISIS further into a corner and deepen its moral and political bankruptcy.


Connecting the Dots Western leaders fail to recognize the similarities between the Islamic State and Hamas.
By: Michel Gurfinkiel
The Jerusalem Post
September 04/Published on 31.08.14
The summer of 2014 is probably the most appropriate moment to remember a 19th century maverick genius: Jan Gotlib Bloch, otherwise known as Jan Bogomil Bloch, Johan von Bloch, Ivan Stanislavovich Bloch or even, among his French readers and admirers, as Ivan de Bloch. Born in Radom, then a city in Russian Poland, in 1836, educated in Berlin, Bloch made a fortune in the construction of railways in the Russian Empire. While he converted to Calvinism, clearly for social rather than spiritual reasons, he remained close to his former Jewish brethren, fought anti-Semitism, funded investigations on the Jewish contribution to Russian economic development, and supported nascent Zionism.
His greatest achievement was a six-volume book published in Paris – and in French – in 1898, some four years before his death: La Guerre de l'Avenir ("Future War," translated into English as "Is War Now Impossible?").
Drawing from the best available information on military and strategic affairs, and in particular on the rapid and global improvement of military technologies, Bloch warned that a major war between industrial countries in Europe would result in a stalemate on the ground, the entrenchment of large armies, enormous casualties, financial bankruptcy, the break up of social organization and finally revolution.
In other terms, he accurately predicted what was to take place from the chain reaction of August 1914 to the overthrow of the Russian, Austrian and German monarchies in 1917 and 1918, and the rise of Communism.
Bloch may thus be praised as one of the real founding fathers of geopolitics as we understand it today, the study of power relations between states, nations and other human groups. Much more so, one would venture to say, than Harold Mackinder, whose major concepts, "Heartland" and "World Island," have always been as questionable as fashionable, or Karl Haushofer, who, for all his talent and insight, never took off from pan-Germanic fantasies about organically growing states and lebensraum.
What makes Bloch even more endearing is that he erred on a major point: he was convinced (or claimed to be convinced) that European leaders and statesmen would realize in time the dangers of a global war, and avert it.
One may accumulate information and knowledge without even being able to understand it: that was the failure of Bloch's contemporaries, who did not grasp, as he did, that war's modernization would change the very nature of war, and raise its cost to unbearable heights. One may also accumulate enough information and knowledge to perceive what the future's broad outlines might be, and at the same time ignore (or feign to ignore) one particular factor – in Bloch's case, that policy making does not rest on rational considerations only.
"Many Western statesmen have expressed shock and horror at the so-called Islamic State's reign of terror in Syria and Iraq, and at the same time failed to recognize the similarities between the Islamic State and Hamas."
Our challenge, 112 years after Bloch's demise, and 100 years after the outbreak of the catastrophe he had so strikingly foreseen, is to avoid both his contemporaries' intellectual frivolity and his own psychological generosity. Indeed, one should connect the dots between the various battles currently fought in the Middle East, and remember that there is no such a thing as a merely rational approach to peace, or peace for peace's sake.
Over the past weeks, many Western statesmen have expressed shock and horror at the so-called Islamic State's reign of terror in Syria and Iraq, and at the same time failed to recognize the similarities between the Islamic State and Hamas. Many who are bewildered when the Islamic State undertakes the genocide or expulsion of Christians and Yazidis and Shi'ites do not realize that Hamas, Hezbollah, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and even to a large extent Fatah and the PLO call for genocide and the uprooting of Israeli Jews.
Three former conservative prime ministers of France, Alain Juppé, Jean-Pierre Raffarin and François Fillon, have called for a French humanitarian initiative for both the Middle Eastern Christians and Gaza civilians – and have thus drawn an implicit parallel between the Islamic State and Israel; it did not dawn on them that Israel is fighting in Gaza the same Islamist radicals that slaughter Christians a few hundred miles further east.
Pope Francis, a saintly spiritual leader, rightly endorses now the bombing of the Islamic State's forces in order to protect Syrian and Iraqi Christians; a few weeks earlier he had no such qualms, "praying for peace" with both the Israeli outgoing president Shimon Peres, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas, who had included Hamas in a national unity government. It comes hardly as a surprise that many Arab countries understand much better what is at stake and have tacitly supported Israel. They stand on the front line, don't they? And feel the heat. The author is the founder and president of the Jean- Jacques Rousseau Institute, a conservative think-thank in France, and a Shillman/Ginsburg Fellow at Middle East Forum.

Mideast Christians and Yazidis at the UN Security Council seeking international protected area in northern Iraq
New York, NY
3rd of September 2014
In an historic visit to the United Nations Security Council and Secretariat General, the widest coalition of Iraqi Christian and Yazidi and Middle East Christian NGOs and organizations ever assembled to date appealed to the international community not to allow further ethnic cleansing of minorities inside Iraq and their uprooting from ancestral lands for resettlement throughout the world. The joint delegation organized by the Middle East Christian Committee (MECHRIC) and the Yazidi International Human Rights Organization was received on August 22, 2014, at the Secretariat General of the United Nations and at the U.S., Russian, French and UK missions at the Security Council as well as at the Italian mission at the UN, which holds the Presidency of the European Union.
The joint delegation has requested the meetings in implementation of the resolutions of the MECHRIC Conference held at the European Parliament in November 2013 and the Middle East Christian special sessions at the Coptic Solidarity Conference in Washington, D.C., in June 2014. Both conferences tasked MECHRIC leaders to reach out to the United Nations and request an internationally protected area for the Christians of Iraq in the Nineveh plain in northern Iraq. After the barbaric attacks, massacres and ethnic cleansing by the “Islamic State” (Daesh-ISIS) towards the end of June and early July, MECHRIC reached out to the Yazidi community leaders and included them in a joint delegation to the UN.
During the month of July, MECHRIC organized a central demonstration in Washington, D.C., and another rally in August, in coordination with the Yazidis, both in front of the White House, generating a series of demonstrations throughout the world against the massacres perpetrated by the “Islamic State” and coordinated with NGOs to organize demonstrations around the world. MECHRIC and Yazidi leaders met with officials at the White House, the State Department, the U.S. Congress and foundations to address the threat of genocide and ethnic cleansing in northern Iraq against Christian and Yazidi minorities. During the same time, MECHRIC officials reached out to the United Nations Secretariat General and the various missions and obtained meetings for the 22nd of August 2014.

UN responds to Iraqi minorities delegation to UN Security Council last week: "
New York, NY
3rd of September 2014
The Human Rights Council of the United Nations has responded to a request by the joint delegation of the Middle East Christian Committee MECHRIC and the Yazidis to investigate the Islamic State for potential war crimes committed in Northern Iraq in particular and throughout Iraq in general, from ethnic cleansing to mass executions to kidnapping, rape and torture. The delegation composed of Yazidi, Assyrian, Chaldean, Syriac NGOs was accompanied by Coptic, Maronite and Melkite NGOs as well. It met with the Secretariat General of the UN and was received by the US, French, UK and Russian missions at the Security Council as well as the Italian mission. The delegation expressly demanded the initiation of an international prosecution of the Jihadists of IS and any Terror organization implicated in killing of civilians or of war crimes. The memo presented by the delegation said:
"Article 6.Establishing a special tribunal to indict and bring to international justice those responsible for the atrocities against the population of Sinjar, Nineveh and Mosul’s minorities."
The delegation included
Mr. William Youmaran, President of Assyrian American National Federation
Mr. Abraham Buyuksal, Bethnahrin National Council (Syriac)
Mr. Medlum Merogi, Chaldean Syriac Assyrian Popular Council
David William Lazar, Chairman, American Mesopotamian Organization (AMO)
Mirza Ismail, Chairman, Yezidi Human Rights Organization International
Mr. Magdi Khalil, Coptic Solidarity International
Mr John Hajjar, Melkite Committee
Mr. Eblan Farris, Director of Relations for the World Maronite Union
Mr. Tom Harb, Secretary General of the World Maronite Union
Dr. Walid Phares, Special Advisor

Canada's FM Visits Kurdistan Regional Government, Reiterates Canada’s Support of Efforts Against ISIL
September 4, 2014 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird was in Erbil, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, today to meet with Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) officials and discuss their efforts to address the humanitarian and security situation in the region, as well as Canadian assistance. He was joined by an all-party delegation consisting of Paul Dewar, Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre, and Marc Garneau, Member of Parliament for Westmount-Ville-Marie.
In meetings with KRG President Masoud Barzani and Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir, Head of the Department of Foreign Relations, Baird discussed the situation concerning the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
“By offering safe haven to over 850,000 displaced persons internally and by engaging in direct combat with ISIL forces, the Kurdish people have shown the world their strength and their commitment to pluralism and peace,” said Baird. “Canada stands by the security forces in Iraq, including the Kurdish Peshmerga forces, in achieving this goal.”
On behalf of the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Baird also announced a further $7 million in humanitarian assistance for relief supplies, emergency shelter and urgent health care for thousands of civilians in northern Iraq as well as support to humanitarian organizations on the ground.
“As Prime Minister Harper said, ‘Canada will not stand idly by while ISIL continues its murder of innocent civilians and religious minorities,’” said Baird. “That is why I am proud that Canada is again standing with the Iraqi people by contributing humanitarian assistance to those who face ISIL’s barbarism, especially women, children and religious and ethnic minorities.”
Baird, along with his colleagues, visited an internally displaced persons camp in Erbil to witness first-hand the number of people affected. He also met with Yezidi and Christian leaders and reiterated Canada’s support for their communities and for all others persecuted by ISIL. Later, he met with Peshmerga soldiers who are risking their lives on the front line every day.
“The soldiers I met with today have demonstrated courage and determination,” said Baird. “Canada will continue to support all efforts to combat ISIL. We cannot allow this terrorist organization to continue to threaten regional and global security.”
As Baird announced yesterday in Baghdad, the Government of Canada is providing $15 million in additional security assistance, most of which will directly benefit Peshmerga forces and humanitarian efforts in the region.