September 09/14


Bible Quotation for today/

Isaiah Chapter 03/04 I will give boys to be their princes, and children shall rule over them. 12 As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. My people, those who lead you cause you to err, and destroy the way of your paths.
Chapter 05/20-23: Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe to those who are mighty to drink wine, and champions at mixing strong drink; who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice for the


Latest analysis, editorials from miscellaneous sources published on September 08 and 09/14

World leaders should hang their heads in shame/By: Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor/Al Arabiya/September 09/14

Israel shouldn't underestimate ISIS/By: Eitan Haber/Ynetnews/September 09/14

142nd session after its creation in the 1940s,/The Arab League of their own/The Daily Star/September  09/14

US will lead war on ISIS from the front/By: Ron Ben-Yishai.Ynetnews/September 09/14

The trend of breakaway Islamists/By ARIEL BEN SOLOMON /J.Post/September 09/14


Lebanese Related News published on September 08 and 09/14

Lebanese government talking with Hezbollah to ease tension
Hezbollah official: Lebanese Army needs free hand to liberate captives
Rifi Says Trials of Islamist Inmates National, Humanitarian Demand
Energy Minister Slams Interior, Justice Ministries over EDL Crisis

Govt., Hizbullah Working to Curb Street Anger as Mashnouq Says Captive Soldiers' Case 'Will Take Time'

Borj el-Shamali Municipality Gives Syrians Ultimatum to Evacuate Encampment

Report: Gunmen Kidnap Several Arsal Residents in Retaliation to Captive Soldier

Army Detains Six Lebanese, Syrians in Ras Baalbek

Derbas: Government Will Not Deport Syrian Refugees

Report: Slain IS 'Emir' Identified as Suspect Ahmed Taha

Lebanon to Attend Jeddah Summit Set to Combat Extremism

Salam Declares Qatari Help in File of Abducted Soldiers: We Will Not Surrender

Lebanon village asks Syrian refugees to evacuate camp in 48 hours

Lebanese Army seizes detonators, six detained

After merger Julius Baer grows in Lebanon


Miscellaneous Reports And News published on  September 08 and 09/14

ISIS wants 'house of blood': new UN rights chief

Head of Egypt's Al-Azhar: ISIS jihadists are 'criminals'

Shimon Peres: Qatar and Turkey must be punished for supporting terror

Jerusalem doubts Indyk’s institute after Qatar funding reports

Israeli politicians praise Sisi plan to give Palestinians land for a state in Sinai

Arab League: Confront 'cancerous' Islamic State

Some Arab-Israeli express support for ISIS

Netanyahu to West: Nip Islamic extremism in the bud, or you'll find it at your doorstep
Mofaz: Islamic State's goal is to conquer Jerusalem, just like Hamas

Israel's Lieberman Doubts Gaza Truce Can Last

Hamas Says Abbas Trying to 'Destroy' Unity Deal

Arab Governments Agree to 'Confront' IS Jihadists

Jihadists Aim to Create 'House of Blood', Says New U.N. Rights Chief

Islamic State Fighters Using U.S. Arms

New U.N. Syria Envoy to Visit Damascus Tuesday

Iraq MPs Poised for Key Govt Vote as Obama Vows Strategy

Iran's Supreme Leader Undergoes Prostate Surgery

Turkey Fears PKK Could Obtain Arms Sent to Iraq

Joint Statement by Canada and the European Union


 The two Mideast Christian lobbies split on Iran, Assad and Hezbollah admin

admin on Monday, September 8, 2014/reviews [0] Mideast [32]

 The IDC lobby group which is holding a Conference in Washington DC on "Middle East Christians" will be holding a Press Conference on Tuesday September 9 from 2 PM to 3 30 PM at the National Press Building to explain his goals. IDC has been criticized by NGOs as "serving the Iranian agenda." The Middle East Christian Committee MECHRIC, which has filed a demand at the UN for a protected zone for minorities in Iraq will hold its press conference at 5:30 PM the same day in the US Congress. IDC has James Zogbi, the President of the Arab American Institute as a key note speaker and many of its speakers have expressed support to Gaza's Government. While MECHRIC has been pushing for independent Middle East Christian platforms opposed to ISIS and the Jihadists and also to Iran and Syria's regimes and Hezbollah. A Washington observer said IDC seems to be closer to Tehran and Damascus and critical of Israel while MECHRIC oppose the Muslim Brotherhood and the Ayatollahs at the same time.


 Mideast Christian leader stands with Naghmeh Abedini: "Iran's regime is an oppressor of Christians"

 During an event at the First Baptist Church in Orlando, Florida, where the wife of jailed Pastor Saeed Abedini, Nagmeh, spoke of his ordeal, a Middle East Christian NGO leader stood in solidarity with her calling the Iranian regime "an oppressor of Christians."

 Tom Harb, the co-Secretary General of the Middle East Christian Committee (MECHRIC) met with Mrs. Abedini at the church and discussed the case of her husband. He summed up the situation: "Pastor Abedini is a living martyr as he is tortured and jailed for his beliefs. The region is now under two ferocious oppressions of minorities, the Islamic State operating in Iraq and Syria and the dictatorships in Tehran and Damascus. Abedini's saga shows how the Islamic Republic of Iran is also a suppressor of Christians. As for ISIS, Tehran wants its Christian community to live under Dhimmi status. In Iran, unless Christians act under the strict conditions of the Khomeinists, they are oppressed. In Mosul, ISIS is imposing a tax (Jizya) on the Christians with the only other option being conversion."

 Mrs. Abedini voiced her assent, "The ordeal of my husband symbolizes the state of oppression Christians are living under in Iran."

 Harb argued, "The United States should do more for Pastor Saeed. And Christian Americans should also do more. However, we were disappointed that a meeting organized in Washington this week by a group calling themselves In Defense of Christians (IDC) has no spot for Pastor Abedini, nor even for his wife to explain his case. How can people claiming the defense of Christians in the Middle East ignore the plight of Christians in Iran? Unless that conference does not want to criticize the Iranian regime for the most visible case demonstrating the breach of human rights against Christians."


Rai, patriarchs to meet Obama over Christian persecution
Hussein Dakroub| The Daily Star/BEIRUT: Arrangements are underway to set a meeting between Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai and Eastern patriarchs and U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington to discuss the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, officials in Bkirki said Sunday. Rai is scheduled to leave for Washington Monday at the head of a delegation of Eastern Church patriarchs to attend a three-day conference on protecting the Christian presence in the Levant in the face of mounting threats posed to the community by ISIS and other takfiri groups in Syria and Iraq. The “Defending the Middle East Christians” conference, sponsored by an American NGO from Sept. 9 to 11, will draw senior Middle Eastern Christian figures and American officials to Washington, D.C. “Arrangements in principle are being made for a meeting between President Obama and Patriarch Rai and the Eastern Church patriarchs at the end of the conference,” Walid Ghayyad, a spokesman for Rai, told The Daily Star. “During the meeting, Patriarch Rai will stress the international community’s role in putting an end to the wave of violence and wars sweeping across the region,” he said.A senior source in Bkirki said Rai would underline during talks with Obama the need for protecting the Christians through “halting the financing of ISIS and other terrorist movements” blamed for the displacement and killing of Christians in Iraq and Syria.
“Patriarch Rai will call for helping countries to stop the expansion of ISIS and other takfiri organizations in the region. He will also stress that protecting the Christians cannot be achieved through encouraging them to emigrate to European countries,” the source told The Daily Star. The first day of the conference will take place at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in D.C., followed by two days at the Capitol building, where Rai and his colleagues will hold talks with U.S. senators and attend lectures on human rights and freedom of belief.
The delegation of patriarchs includes Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan, Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II and Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako. Rai headed a delegation of Eastern patriarchs to Iraq last month to show support and solidarity with Iraqi Christians suffering at the hands of ISIS militants in the northern city of Mosul. Earlier Sunday, Rai urged Lebanon’s Christian politicians to incorporate Christian values into their political performance and immediately elect a new president.
“We expect a biblical voice from Christian politicians to pull the country out of the presidential vacuum and paralyzed institutions,” Rai said in his Sunday Mass in Bkirki. “We expect them [Christian MPs] to take new initiatives that will lead to the election of a new president as soon as possible because it is the only thing that can guarantee national unity.”Meanwhile, Lebanese Forces (LF) leader Samir Geagea called on Lebanon’s Christians not to be intimidated by ISIS, which he described as “a cancerous tumor.”“ ISIS is a cancerous tumor that surfaced at first in parts of Iraq and Syria and it’s still containable to a certain point. This can be removed only if we join our efforts via an international and Arab alliance,” Geagea said during a ceremony at his residence in Maarab, north of Beirut, Saturday to commemorate the LF martyrs killed during the 1975-90 Civil War. “If they’re trying to intimidate us, then do not fear them ... Those who faced major challenges and the likes of ISIS throughout history should not fear those today,” he said. “We are the sons of the historical Lebanese resistance.”Geagea said ISIS was doomed to extinction. “ ISIS has nothing to do with Islam and Arabism. It carries with it the seeds of its extinction. Like fire, it will eat itself,” he said. Speaking about the presidential election deadlock, Geagea indirectly criticized his rival MP Michel Aoun for aspiring the presidency even at the country’s expense. “It is a political crime to cut off the head of the republic in order to occupy that position,” Geagea said. He added that the only reason Aoun sought to amend the Constitution was “because he failed to reach the presidency.”The March 14 coalition has rejected Aoun’s proposal for a constitutional amendment that would allow the president to be elected directly by the people instead of by lawmakers.

Hezbollah official: Lebanese Army needs free hand to liberate captives
The Daily Star/BEIRUT: The Lebanese Army should be given a free hand to secure the release of captured soldiers and police officers, the deputy head of Hezbollah's executive council said Monday, accusing March 14 rivals of restraining military action against the takfiri militants holding them. Speaking at a memorial ceremony for a Hezbollah member in south Lebanon, Nabil Qaouk said that ISIS's beheading of two soldiers was meant to stir sectarian strife in Lebanon.
“We are stronger and smarter than being driven to sectarian strife, and we are much more keen on preserving our national unity,” Qaouk said, in reference to unrest in the streets and blocked roads triggered by the news of the second beheading over the weekend.
“The kidnapping of Lebanese soldiers is an abduction of national dignity and a violation of sovereignty and freedoms, as well as a continuous aggression against the nation. The liberation of the soldiers should inevitably entail giving the Army a free hand [militarily],” Qaouk said. Accusing March 14 parties of restraining military action against the militants, Qaouk warned that “as long as the Army has its hands tied down by politics, it cannot put pressure on the captors or act militarily to save the soldiers.”
“The position of March 14 should rise up to the level of the dangers of the current phase and the level of the Army’s sacrifices. Any leniency in dealing with the matter would facilitate the infiltration of takfiri terrorism into Lebanon,” Qaouk warned.
At least 29 security personnel, including soldiers and members of the Internal Security Forces, went missing in five days of fighting that pitted the Army against militants from ISIS and Syria’s Nusra Front in early August. At least 22 are still believed to be in the hands of the militants, after five captives were freed were freed by Nusra and the two soldiers killed by ISIS. The captors have demanded the release of Islamist detainees in Roumieh Prison in exchange for the captives.
Qaouk urged rival parties to unify ranks and join hands in support of the Army. “We should convey a strong message, that all of Lebanon stands as one in the face of takfiri terrorism,” Qaouk said.
The Hezbollah official also underscored the need to approve a defense strategy for fighting takfiri terrorism, which he said “is a decisive battle that should take precedence over all other internal matters.”
He argued that combining the strength of the Army, Hezbollah’s armed resistance and the people “makes Lebanon stronger and harder to be taken hostage by ISIS.”“Israel and takfiri terrorism are allies having the same goal of weakening the resistance axis stretching from Iraq, to Syria and Lebanon. But Lebanon, which defeated Israel, is very well capable of defeating Israel’s tools [takfiri militants],” Qaouk added.
Hezbollah’s armed resistance is a main cause of the deep schism between the Future Movement-led March 14 coalition and pro- Hezbollah March 8 camp. The former has called for Hezbollah to disband its armed wing after Israel ended Lebanon’s occupation. However, March 8 has argued that Israel’s threat remains prominent and Hezbollah’s arms are still relevant in protecting Lebanon.

Lebanese government talking with Hezbollah to ease tension
The Daily Star/BEIRUT: The Lebanese government is in touch with Hezbollah to ease tensions after the beheading of a second Lebanese soldier at the hands of ISIS, the interior minister said. “We are in open communication with the leadership of Hezbollah, and in all directions, to rein in sectarian tension and anger on the streets,” Machnouk told the local daily As-Safir in remarks published Monday. “We emphasized the need to ward off any sectarian strife during talks with Hezbollah,” he stressed, pointing out that discord is “what the kidnappers are after.” Machnouk said contacts with Hezbollah deputy leader Hussein Khalil and Hezbollah’s top security official Wafiq Safa had “contributed to controlling tensions in streets and facilitated self-restraint.”Dozens took to the streets in outrage after ISIS announced Saturday evening that it had executed a second Lebanese soldier, Abbas Medlej, a Shiite from the eastern city of Baalbek. Jihadists from ISIS and the Nusra Front engaged in deadly gunbattles with the Lebanese Army during a five-day incursion into the Bekaa Valley border town of Arsal last month. They took more than two dozen servicemen hostage when they retreated from Arsal toward the outskirts. The militants are now believed to be holding at least 22 soldiers and policemen captive. Asked whether the government had received “clear demands” from the captors, Machnouk said the demands were still being shaped up. “We expect this issue to drag on,” he added. Machnouk said Doha had dispatched an envoy to mediate the release of the soldiers and policemen, but that the mediator was not a Qatari national.

Head of Egypt's Al-Azhar: ISIS jihadists are 'criminals'
Agence France Presse/CAIRO: The head of Egypt's Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam's highest seat of learning, said Monday that ISIS jihadists "criminals" serving a "Zionist" plot to "destroy the Arab world.""These criminals have been able to transmit to the world a tarnished and alarming image of Muslims," Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb said."These fundamentalist terrorist groups, whatever their names, and their backers are colonial creations that serve Zionism in its plot to destroy the Arab world."

ISIS wants 'house of blood': new UN rights chief
Stephanie Nebehay| Reuters/GENEVA: The new U.N. human rights chief urged world powers to protect women and minorities targeted by ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria, saying Monday the fighters were trying to create a "house of blood."Jordan's Zeid Raad al-Hussein, the first Muslim to hold the position, called for the international community to focus on ending the "increasingly conjoined" conflict in the two countries, and abuses in other hotspots from Ukraine to Gaza. ISIS fighters have overrun large parts of Syria and Iraq since June, declaring a cross-border caliphate. The Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council last week agreed to send a team to investigate killings and other abuses carried out by the group on "an unimaginable scale".Zeid, Jordan's former U.N. ambassador and a Jordanian prince, described ISIS in his maiden speech to the Council as "takfiris" - people who justify killing others by branding them as apostates.
"Do they believe they are acting courageously? Barbarically slaughtering captives? ... They reveal only what a Takfiri state would look like, should this movement actually try to govern in the future, said Zeid who succeeds Navi Pillay in the Geneva hotseat.
"It would be a harsh, mean-spirited, house of blood, where no shade would be offered, nor shelter given, to any non-Takfiri in their midst," Zeid added.
He called on Iraq's new government and prime minister to consider joining the International Criminal Court to ensure accountability for crimes committed there.
"In particular, dedicated efforts are urgently needed to protect religious and ethnic groups, children - who are at risk of forcible recruitment and sexual violence - and women, who have been the targets of severe restrictions," Zeid said.
The Council has an independent investigation into war crimes by all sides in Syria, where more than 190,000 documented killings have occurred during the conflict that began in March 2011, according to a report by Pillay last month.
"In the takfiri mind, as we have seen in Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Kenya, Somalia, Mali, Libya, Syria and Iraq ... there is no love of neighbor - only annihilation to those Muslims, Christians, Jews and others, altogether the rest of humanity, who believe differently to them," Zeid said. Zeid called for an end to Israel's seven-year blockade of the Gaza Strip and said Palestinians in Gaza and the occupied West Bank deserved to lead a normal life free of illegal settlements and what he called excessive use of force.
"On this point, I also note that Israelis have a right to live free and secure from indiscriminate rocket fire," he said, referring to rockets fired by militants in Hamas-ruled Gaza.
On Ukraine, he said "at least 3,000 people" have been killed since fighting began in April and called on the Kiev government, armed groups and neighboring states including Russia to protect civilians and ensure compliance with international law.
Italy's envoy Maurizio Enrico Serra, speaking on behalf of the European Union, condemned what it called "the aggression by Russian armed forces on Ukrainian soil in clear contravention of international law."
Russia denies accusations by Kiev and the West that it has sent troops into eastern Ukraine to prop up a revolt by pro-Russian separatist rebels. Zeid voiced alarm at ongoing threats against activists and prospective witnesses in Sri Lanka. The Council in March launched an inquiry into atrocities in the 26-year conflict between government forces and Tamil rebels that ended in 2009. "I also deplore recent incitement and violence against the country's Muslim and Christian communities" he said.

Lebanon village asks Syrian refugees to evacuate camp in 48 hours
Mohammed Zaatari| The Daily Star/BURJ AL-SHEMALI, Lebanon: Syrian refugees have been given 48 hours to evacuate one southern village, according to notices from the police, over health problems and security concerns in their informal refugee camp.Police from Tyre's Burj al-Shemali Municipality handed out letters to Syrian refugees in the village saying they had 48 hours to evacuate or be held accountable. The camp, built on public property belonging to the municipality, consists of 110 tents each housing more than one family who have fled to the southern village since the uprising began in 2011. Mayor Ali Dib said the measure was in light of health and security concerns, saying the municipality also sought to get rid of “random refugee settlements.” “Diseases, especially skin diseases, have spread among the refugees due to sanitation issues,” Dib told The Daily Star.“We are not against the presence of refugees, but we do not want random settlements to increase, therefore, we asked them to leave the tents and either rent apartments or live on farms they already work in.” Most of the refugees in Burj al-Shemali and other southern villages work in farming. The mayor also cited security concerns over the presence of groups of refugees in light of recent clashes in the northeastern border town of Arsal between the Lebanese Army and militants from Syria, some of whom resided in refugee camps nearby. Meanwhile, a group of Syrian refugee families fled several south Lebanon villages, fearing reprimands against them over the killing of two Lebanese soldiers by ISIS. ISIS beheaded in the past two weeks two Lebanese soldiers who were among troops kidnapped during Arsal clashes. The radical group is demanding the release of Islamist detainees in Roumieh Prison in exchange for the release of the soldiers.

Salam Declares Qatari Help in File of Abducted Soldiers: We Will Not Surrender
Naharnet/Prime Minister Tammam Salam announced on Sunday that Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani has been exerting efforts to help free the abducted Lebanese soldiers, stressing that negotiations with “blood” will not make the government surrender.
“Anger is immense but we should know that sedition, which terrorists seek, could be taken advantage of by ignorant individuals and weak souls. It is the entrance to ruin our national peace,” said Salam in a speech addressing the Lebanese.
On Saturday, several pro-jihadist Twitter accounts published gruesome pictures apparently showing Islamic State militants beheading one of the abducted Lebanese soldiers who were held captive in the clashes in the northeastern town of Arsal in August.
The beheading comes around ten days after the same group executed captive army sergeant Ali al-Sayyed. The pictures triggered massive protests and angry people blocked several roads and burned tires in various areas. “What happened in the streets of Lebanon in the last few days harmed the cause of the martyrs and our kidnapped soldiers. It could have led the country to dangerous repercussions,” he stated, adding that blocking roads and obstructing the country will not bring the soldiers back.
“Although the pain is immense, allowing terrorism to infiltrate out national structure is much more agonizing. It is what the criminals want,” he stressed. In reference to the Islamist jihadists, he added: “They only understand the language of slaughter, but we will not panic and our intent will not weaken. We will stay united and determined to get our sons back.” “We are not in a position of weakness, we have several power cards. Contacts are continuing based on the latest cabinet session which set the rules not to swap any inmates, but to use international channels for negotiations with the kidnappers.”Slamming all reports claiming that Qatar did not engage in the negotiation efforts to free the soldiers, Salam extended gratitude to Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani for his adamant efforts to help Lebanon overcome this ordeal. “The enemy is not a traditional one, it caused us much pain and we are all required to have faith in the government and its ability to manage this thorny file,” he concluded.

Report: Gunmen Kidnap Several Arsal Residents in Retaliation to Captive Soldier
Naharnet/Armed men from al-Masri family reportedly kidnapped several residents from the northeastern border town of Arsal, media reports said on Monday. According to al-Jadeed TV, the alleged gunmen abducted Abdullah al-Breidi and Hussein al-Fleiti to press the release of soldier Ali Zeid al-Masri, who was held captive, along with other soldiers and policemen, by Islamist militants. However, LBCI reported that four were kidnapped in Arsal including Fleiti and al-Breidi. The other two were identified as Marwan al-Hujeiri and Abdullah Sultan. The state-run National News Agency reported that the army intelligence briefly apprehended and freed Hussein and Mohammed al-Masri after investigation revealed that they have no links to the incident. Militants in Syria, including the Islamic State group, are holding around 20 soldiers and policemen. They were seized after militants briefly overran the northeastern border town of Arsal in August, the most serious spillover yet of Syria's conflict into the neighboring country.  The angry families of the captive men have blocked highways, burning tires and vowing to retaliate from Syrian refugees in Lebanon.On Sunday, Prime Minister Tammam Salam pleaded in a rare televised appeal for his countrymen to be calm, as anger swelled over the continued capture of soldiers and policemen.
The call came after photos emerged showing that militants of the Islamic State group had beheaded a second captive Lebanese soldier on Saturday.

Army Detains Six Lebanese, Syrians in Ras Baalbek
Naharnet /The Lebanese army detained three Lebanese national and three Syrians in a pickup truck in the Ras Baalbek region in the eastern Bekaa and seized in their possession illegal material. “An army unit arrested at 3:00 pm on Sunday three Lebanese nationals and three Syrians and seized in their possession 109 detonators, reels, igniters and fuses, in addition to six bags containing chemical substance,” the army said in a communique issued overnight Monday. The Lebanese were identified as: Haidar Abdul Karim al-Hujeiri, Kamal Abdul Rahman Rayed and Ziad Abdul Karim al-Hujeiri. The Syrians are: Abdul Aleem Tamer al-Mughayzel, Mohammed Mahmoud Sharafeddine, and Abdo Suleiman Darwish. The driver of the pickup Haidar al-Hujeiri, according to the statement, didn't hold legal identification papers. The detainees were handed over to the competent judicial authority for questioning. The security situation in Lebanon has been steadily worsening, inflamed by the Syrian civil war, in particular after deadly clashes that broke out between the army and Islamist gunmen in the northeastern border town of Arsal on August 2 over the arrest of a member of the al-Qaida-affiliated al-Nusra Front. The fighting ended with a ceasefire on August 7 but the militants kidnapped several troops and policemen. The development prompted the U.S. and Saudi Arabia to pledge to bolster the army.

Lebanon to Attend Jeddah Summit Set to Combat Extremism
Naharnet/Lebanon received an invitation to attend a conference hosted by Saudi Arabia to discuss the pressing regional developments, including the growing threats by takfiris in the Arab world. According to An Nahar newspaper published on Monday, the meeting follows a NATO summit, which was held on Friday in Wales, and will focus on ways to safeguard the country from extremism. The conference comes in light of efforts to create a broad coalition to defeat the Islamic State group, which led an offensive that overran parts of Iraq in June and also holds significant territory in neighboring Syria.Islamist gunmen belonging to the al-Qaida affiliate al-Nusra Front and the IS group briefly overran the northeastern border town of Arsal in August, the most serious spillover yet of Syria's conflict into the neighboring country. Arab states agreed on Sunday to take the "necessary measures" to confront Islamic State militants, Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi said, after a meeting of foreign ministers in Cairo.

Report: Slain IS 'Emir' Identified as Suspect Ahmed Taha
Naharnet/The Islamic State revealed the identity of its slain “emir”, revealing him to be Abou al-Hassan al-Filastini, who was killed in the clashes in the northeastern town of Arsal in August, reported al-Akhbar newspaper on Monday.
The daily added that the excerpt on his life, released by the group, indicates that he is also Ahmed Taha, a suspect wanted by the Lebanese judiciary for firing rockets towards Beirut's southern suburbs of Dahieh in 2013. The excerpt said that Taha was a resident of the Bourj al-Barajneh Palestinian refugee camp in Dahiyeh. He was formally a supporter of the Hamas Palestinian group, but he soon changed his views after being detained by Lebanese authorities on various charges. “He soon rejected the Muslim Brotherhood mentality that was friendly with the Iranian heretics,” said the IS statement. The group revealed that Taha was influenced by Islamist inmates during his detention period in Lebanon. He was killed during the Arsal clashes after being severely wounded in the head in Lebanese army shelling.
Investigations said that Taha worked with Naim Abbas, a detained top official in the al-Qaida-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades. Taha had “embarked on his jihadist path by first being a member of the Brigades before joining the Islamic State,” said al-Akhbar.
The Arsal clashes erupted upon the arrest of a member of the al-Qaida-affiliated al-Nusra Front, Imad Jomaa. Taha, under the name of al-Filastini, waged the battle, but was killed in the clashes, reported As Safir newspaper in August. In June, Taha and another suspect were charged with belonging to a terrorist group and the death penalty was demanded against them.

Derbas: Government Will Not Deport Syrian Refugees

Naharnet /Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas stressed that the government will not take “arbitrary measures” against Syrian refugees in Lebanon, reported the pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat on Monday. He told the daily: “We will not deport the refugees, but the residency of Syrians who do not fit the refugee status will be reconsidered.” “There are several Syrian regions where the Syrians can live safely,” he explained. There has been growing resentment by the Lebanese people against the refugees given the recent developments in the country, most notably the abduction of a number of soldiers and policemen by Islamists from the northeastern town of Arsal in August. The militants have beheaded two of the captives, sparking angry protests by their families, who have blocked roads and staged demonstrations throughout Lebanon. Prime Minister Tammam Salam appealed to the people on Sunday to “have faith in the government's handling of the file.” “The battle will be long and we should not have any illusions that it will end any time soon,” he said in a televised address.He also called against taking any retaliatory action against Syrians. In May, the Lebanese authorities took a decision to ban Syrian refugees from heading to their country or lose their status. Hosting more than 1.1 million Syrians fleeing their country's three-year war, Lebanon is home to the highest number of Syrian refugees in the region, and also to the highest refugee population per capita in the world.

Borj el-Shamali Municipality Gives Syrians Ultimatum to Evacuate Encampment
Naharnet /The Municipality of Borj el-Shamali in the southern district of Tyre gave Syrian refugees on Monday a 48 hours ultimatum to evacuate their tents and leave the town or they will have to bear the consequences. “The decision was taken to safeguard the Syrian workers and to maintain the security in the area,” head of Borj el-Shamali municipality Ali Deeb told the state-run National News Agency. He stressed that the Syrian encampment in the area was erected on a land that belongs to the municipality. There are around 200 tents in the town. “We reject any assault against Syrian refugees and the taken measure is a precaution to prevent any hostile action as we don't have accurate details on those who are entering and leaving the encampment,” Deeb said. There has been growing resentment by the Lebanese people against the refugees given the recent developments in the country, most notably the abduction of a number of soldiers and policemen by Islamists from the northeastern town of Arsal in August. The militants have beheaded two of the captives, sparking angry protests by their families, who have blocked roads and staged demonstrations throughout Lebanon. Tents housing Syrian refugees in encampments in Beirut's southern suburb neighborhoods of al-Lailaki and Hay al-Sellom were torched after news emerged on the beheading. Other refugees were given an ultimatum to leave the towns they are residing. There are fears that Syrian refugees would be assaulted in retaliation to the beheading of the two army soldiers, however, the Islamic groups warned of any revenge act. In May, the Lebanese authorities took a decision to ban Syrian refugees from heading to their country or lose their status. Hosting more than 1.1 million Syrians fleeing their country's three-year war, Lebanon is home to the highest number of Syrian refugees in the region, and also to the highest refugee population per capita in the world. Prime Minister Tammam Salam appealed to the people on Sunday to “have faith in the government's handling of the file,” calling against taking any retaliatory action against Syrians.

Govt., Hizbullah Working to Curb Street Anger as Mashnouq Says Captive Soldiers' Case 'Will Take Time'
Naharnet/Contacts are ongoing between the government and the Hizbullah leadership in order to contain the tensions on the street in light of the demonstrations staged in protest against the murder of soldier Abbas Medlej at the hands of his Islamist captors over the weekend, reported As Safir newspaper on Monday. Resolving the case of the captive soldiers and policemen will likely “take some time”, said Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq. “The contacts are ongoing with Hizbullah and on all fronts,” he told the daily.
The talks included Hussein Khalil, Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah's aide, and Wafiq Safa, the party's liaison and coordination officer. “The contacts focused on averting strife because that is the abductors' goal,” added Mashnouq.
The talks were carried out by Prime Minister Tammam Salam and Mashnouq on the one hand and Khalil and Safa on the other, said As Safir. “The officials agree that the Islamic State group is seeking to create Sunni-Shiite strife,” it reported. “They agreed that such a plan should be thwarted,” it added.
Moreover, it stated that Hizbullah had carried out intense efforts in its areas of influence in order to contain the anger sparked by Medlej's beheading and protect Syrian refugees. Anger has swept through the Lebanese people over the execution of Medlej at the hands of Islamists that had kidnapped him and a number of other Lebanese from the northeastern border town of Arsal in August. Tents housing Syrian refugees in encampments in Beirut's southern suburb neighborhoods of al-Lailaki and Hay al-Sellom were torched after news emerged on the beheading  Other refugees were given an ultimatum to leave the towns they are residing. About two dozen more members of the country's security forces remain held captive by the militants. They were seized in August when several Syrian rebel factions, including the Islamic State group and al-Qaida linked Nusra Front, overran Arsal, killing and kidnapping soldiers and policemen in the most serious spillover yet of the neighboring civil war. The family of Medlej issued a statement late on Saturday calling for warding off sedition and preventing takfiris from infiltrating the country and achieving their goals. As news broke that Medlej was executed, angry protesters took to the streets and blocked roads in Beirut's southern suburbs, Bekaa's Ablah, al-Labweh, al-Ain, and the northern town of Halba. There are fears that Syrian refugees would be assaulted in retaliation to the beheading of the two army soldiers, however, the Islamic groups warned of any revenge act. Efforts are underway with Qatar to negotiate the release of the kidnapped security personnel.
Mashnouq told As Safir that a delegation from Qatar is handling the negotiations with the captors. He added however that the negotiator is not a Qatari national. The delegation had met with the Islamists last week in order to negotiate the release of the captives. The militants are reportedly demanding the release of a number of fellow Islamists from Roumieh prison and a ransom of five million dollars.Ministerial sources told An Nahar daily on Monday that the negotiations are at a standstill because the government is still adamant in respecting the red lines it placed over the negotiations.

Rifi Says Trials of Islamist Inmates National, Humanitarian Demand
Naharnet /Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi considered on Monday that putting Islamist inmates on trial is a “national and humanitarian” demand, revealing that the Judicial Council upped its efforts to wrap up the matter. The minister denied that the trials were put at the forefront due to the pressing demands by the Islamist gunmen, who have taken hostage several policemen and soldiers after they overran the northeastern border town of Arsal in August. “This is not accurate,” Rifi said in comments published in al-Joumhouria newspaper.
He said that sentences were issued in 22 cases out of 37.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 cabinet has totally rejected such a measure as 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.

Energy Minister Slams Interior, Justice Ministries over EDL Crisis

Naharnet/Energy Minister Arthur Nazarian lashed out on Monday at the Internal Security Forces for failing to end the “occupation” at the Electricite du Liban headquarters in Beirut's Mar Mikhael neighborhood. “The company is being occupied by the contract workers,” Nazarian said in a press conference from the Zouk power plant after a meeting with the company's board of directors. He accused the Interior and Justice Ministers of failing to assume their duties regarding the EDL crisis. The minister warned that the failure to collect electricity bills threatens the salaries of employees and will increase the burden on the citizens. “The ongoing abnormal phenomenon will have negative repercussions and plunge the country into complete darkness due to the reduction in productivity,” Nazarian said. Most of Lebanon have been plunged into darkness recently as the gap between the EDL contract workers and management increased, threatening further electricity rationing. “Citizens will lose their trust in the judiciary due to its failure to end these suspicious acts,” Nazarian said.
He stressed that the law “prevents anyone from occupying a state institution,” pointing out that the company's Director General Kamal al-Hayek is ready to engage in a dialogue with the contract workers. The contract workers have been on an open-ended strike for the past four weeks and have closed the gates of the company's HQ in Mar Mikhael. The rift between EDL board of directors and the contract workers increased when several of them 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. Last week, the contract workers prevented full-time employees from entering the premises of the company's HQ, prompting Hayek of describing their acts as “outrageous.” He accused them of “taking the company hostage” to press the implementation of their demands.

142nd session after its creation in the 1940s,/The Arab League of their own
The Daily Star/In its 142nd session after its creation in the 1940s, the Arab League called Sunday on its member states to confront ISIS both “militarily and politically.” But after 141 meaningless sessions, are we really to be expected to have any faith in the organization?
Over seven decades which have seen perhaps the greatest upheaval the region has ever witnessed, the Arab League has been little more than a witness itself. The body itself seems a symptom of bureaucracy and hypocrisy, and it has achieved nothing despite the seemingly endless cycle of conflicts and humanitarian catastrophes in the region. On Palestine, the enduring crisis throughout the Arab League’s history, it has done nothing to alleviate the situation, or the suffering of millions of Palestinians, both at home and elsewhere in the region as refugees. Its resolutions – when any are even agreed upon – are virtually meaningless, and catalyze no genuine action on the ground. Its 22 member states, although having joined the Arab League in the alleged interest of cohesion and unity, more often than not use their membership as a platform for bickering and a sphere in which to deepen divisions between members. The way the Arab League acts and works now undermines the very premise upon which it was founded. If its members have any real commitment to a vision of the Middle East which is safer, more prosperous and more secure than it is now, then they should do the honest thing and let the Arab League die a quiet death, and let it rest in peace. In its place they can create an entity which has teeth, one which has a sense of urgency, and values the need for transparency.

Israel shouldn't underestimate ISIS

By: Eitan Haber/Ynetnews/Published: 09.08.14
Op-ed: IDF is good at scoring achievements in big wars, but is not that successful in small wars, retaliation operations and minor tactics warfare. It's hard to find in our region a single person who predicted the new situation (is it really new?) of a murderous war among Muslims, which is spilling to the West and may also affect us. First non-Muslim victims have already been sacrificed for the sake of Western apathy, and this is probably only the beginning. The phenomenon of the murderous Islamic State is not new, but it has so far not been the focus of the West's attention, and especially not the focus of the State of Israel's attention. We had enough trouble of our own. We wouldn't have been pushed to the top of the line in this case it if was not for the heavy concern over this new-old trouble, which may top the charts of murderous chants. The Israeli tendency to disregard this terror organization is clear. We say to ourselves: They include only several thousand members, and we can destroy them with the thrust of a shell. Didn't we reach Entebbe and Dubai? We'll reach them too. They may be multiplying like mushrooms after the first rain of the season, but we will destroy them even before the last heat wave. Well, it's a well-known fact and our experience shows that the IDF is good at scoring achievements in big wars. We are good in mobilizing plenty of tanks, in moving thousands of infantry soldiers, and we have shot down hundreds of enemy planes which failed to reach their destinations over the years. Recently, we even received a new blessing in the form of the Iron Dome system.
But, and this is another thing we have learned from years-long experience, we are not that successful in the small wars, in the retaliation operations, in minor tactics warfare (after all, almost 40 years have passed since Entebbe) and in keeping in line.
We are capable of changing the entire urban building scheme of Gaza and Rafah and Khan Younis within days, perhaps hours, destroying entire neighborhoods and multi-story buildings, but are facing difficulties in the different intifadas, in wars of attrition, in protecting the northern and southern communities. We are capable of occupying Gaza or Beirut, but we are finding it difficult to deal with a dozen Hamas terrorists suddenly emerging from the ground.
A last example: Thousands of soldiers searched for days, within a small area in the Hebron mountains, for the three kidnapped teens before finding their bodies. And they have yet to find the kidnappers. These are the facts of life, whether we like reading and hearing them or not. The conclusion is that the Western world is trying to ignore the great danger stemming from the Islamic State organization which is rising to destroy it and us. The natural tendency is to say that it's not our business and that others should pay the price. In this case, the "other" is us – the State of Israel. The Western world is expecting miracles and wonders from us. We have always taken it upon ourselves to target the bad guys, and the leaders in the White House, in the Élysée Palace and on Downing Street would like us to pay the price of the war between Sunnis and Shiites for them, even when it spills into the West. In the past few days the US is apparently realizing the danger waiting at its doorstep, and it trying to organize coalition forces to fight the murderous organization's fighters, but the US and the European countries are likely still taking their summer nap. We are facing a double problem: The war on these murderous organizations almost definitely calls for insane coalitions, like the US and Iran for example. We currently see Iran as a horrible enemy of ours, following the intention to build nuclear facilities, and the US is the only one which can prevent such a catastrophe. What shall we do? We will have no choice but to understand that the war on the Islamic State organization creates weird matches. At the moment, it's urgent to fight the murderous terror organization till the end. The important thing is to neutralize the Iranians' ability to build a bomb.
And another conclusion: I wouldn't want to be a prime minister in Israel these days. And one last conclusion: A well-known saying here is that a person is expected to suffer from any choice he makes.

The trend of breakaway Islamists
09/08/2014 03:08
Arab tribes have been fighting and allying with each other for centuries. And tribes also tend to unite against an invasion by outsiders.
Islamic State, which broke off from al-Qaida, has distinguished itself by higher levels of ruthlessness and on-the ground results – conquering and administering territory in the heart of the Arab world – outshining its mother movement. Though the two Sunni jihadist groups are not too dissimilar ideologically, it is the power Islamic State has achieved in practice that sways the masses of Muslims to its side. It was Osama bin Laden himself who foresaw his organization’s demise: “When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature, they will like the strong horse.”Lee Smith uses this statement by bin Laden in his book, The Strong Horse: Power, Politics, and the Clash of Arab Civilizations, explaining, “The wars waged between Arabs according to the strong horse principle make the Arabic-speaking peoples of the Middle East a much graver threat to themselves than they are to anyone else.”Arab tribes have been fighting and allying with each other for centuries. And tribes also tend to unite against an invasion by outsiders.
The ruling al-Saud family defeated or allied itself with other tribes in order to take and form Saudi Arabia. In terms of Islamic State, the current strong horse in the Islamist world, it has a similar long term goal as other Islamist groups, the main ones being al-Qaida and the Muslim Brotherhood – of conquering the world under the rule of an Islamic Caliphate. All three have different strategies on how to get there.
The Brotherhood, which is the basis ideologically for its two jihadist predecessors, al-Qaida and Islamic State, is a more pragmatic, patient group that prefers to bide its time, building followers from the ground up through its social welfare networks of schools, clinics and charities, before waging jihad. Sayyid Qutb, the Brotherhood writer that led the way for the emergence of al-Qaida, wrote in his book, Milestones: “Indeed, Islam has the right to take the initiative. Islam is not a heritage of any particular race or country. This is Allah’s din [law] and it is for the whole world. It has the right to destroy all obstacles in the form of institutions and traditions that restrict man’s freedom of choice.”
Al-Qaida did not have the patience to build up support at the grassroots level, but wanted to strike its Arab and Western enemies immediately. And now Islamic State has paved the way for further radicalization. Caliph Abu Bakar al-Baghdadi and his mentor Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and Qutb, have a similarity in that they all moved the ideology of their followers in a more extreme direction, though holding different roles. Daniel Pipes, the president of the Middle East Forum, told The Jerusalem Post he agrees with that statement.
“These are similar processes of radicalization. The Islamic State appears to be the ultimate radical group, but who can say for sure these days?” says Pipes.
“Two simultaneous processes are under way. One is radicalization. The other is becoming part of the mainstream and winning elections, as symbolized by Turkish Prime Minister [Recep] Erdogan,” says Pipes. “ I think the former is doomed but the latter is very dangerous.”
In his previous writings, Pipes said Islamists that are willing to play the “democratic game,” such as the Brotherhood, are more dangerous in the long run than radical jihadists, since stronger Western or Arab forces would eventually defeat them.
“Baghdadi is a brilliant administrator, Qutb was a writer,” so Pipes does not see their roles as similar. Jean-Pierre Filiu, professor of Middle East studies at Sciences Po’s Paris School of International Affairs and a long-time French diplomat who served in Arab countries told the Post he thinks any comparison to the Brotherhood is irrelevant, as what is really going on here is that Islamic State’s separation from al-Qaida is the “posthumous victory of Zarqawi over bin Laden.”
“Baghdadi won against [al-Qaida head Ayman al-] Zawahiri because, like his mentor he is a seasoned fighter, not a chatterbox,” said Filiu, implying Islamic State’s results and growing power is more than al-Qaida’s leadership has achieved.
“Bin Laden had altogether 10 days of fighting experience; Baghdadi has a 10-year record of guerrilla warfare. Basically, Bin Laden became a loser, while Baghdadi became a winner,” he said. Asked about the idea that al-Qaida is more patient or pragmatic in its strategy than Islamic State, Filiu said he does not think it is a question of patience, but that “Zarqawi and Baghdadi are doers and killers.” Baghdadi is based in the center of the Middle East, not in the distant tribal wastelands of Afghanistan and Pakistan, he said. Moreover, Baghdadi’s organization controls and administers territory and does not have to deal with a hosting country such as al-Qaida had to do with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Filiu said the Islamic State leader is better at playing on Muslims’ emotions, motivating them to support his fight. “In the real world of real jihadis, ideology does not matter that much.”Filiu referred to the story of the French journalist held hostage for months in Syria, Nicolas Henin, who said one of his captors was a Frenchman, Mehdi Nemmouche.
“The former French hostage just testified that his kidnapper did not even mention Allah once during his months of detention,” said Filiu.Reuters contributed to this report.

Mofaz: Islamic State's goal is to conquer Jerusalem, just like Hamas
J.Post/08.09.14/The Islamic State's goal is to conquer Jerusalem, Kadima party chairman and former defense minister Shaul Mofaz said Monday. Speaking at a conference held by the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya, Mofaz said Islamic State terrorists are active throughout the region, and are looking to move in to Jordan, Gaza and Lebanon. "But their goal is Jerusalem, just like Hamas. Islamic State and Hamas are one, let us make no mistake. They are from the same village, and they are branches of the same tree," he said. "The Islamic State beheads its victims, and Hamas operates with the same cruelty. True, this is not photographed. But anyone who heard the recording of the murder of the Israeli teenagers kidnapped three months ago, and the laughter of the Hamas men who shot them, understands that Hamas is no less barbaric than the Islamic State," Mofaz said. "Hamas is much more advanced. It uses rockets and attack tunnels. The Islamic State isn't there yet, but it's seeking to get there." Hamas employs terrorism as part of its strategy to head a Palestinian state in place of Fatah and PA President Mahmoud Abbas, Mofaz argued. "Hamas is parked on our border. Two months ago, I turned to the prime minister in the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, and proposed that we demand the disarmament of Gaza in exchange for its rehabilitation. Disarmament is a must. We can't not negotiate with the Palestinians on one channel, while allowing Hamas to dominate the lives of millions of Israelis in the second channel," he added.
He called for a demilitarized Palestinian state, with no army, missiles, or armored vehicles that can threaten Israel. "Hamas is stronger and bigger than the Islamic State. The Islamic State has about 15,000 members. Hamas is made up of 25,000 members. It can continue to function despite the very severe blow it absorbed [this summer]," said the Knesset Member and ex-IDF chief of staff. In exchange for disarmament, Gaza could receive 50 billion dollars over five years for reconstruction, he said. This would "disconnect Hamas from [Gazan] civilians and give the Palestinian Authority an opportunity to move into Gaza, together with reconstruction." But if no arrangement that includes disarmament is reached, Israel will have no choice but to disarm Gaza by force, he warned. "Before we send in the army and our sons, we must try it through an arrangement. If the world unites around this issue, and Israel works to unite the world around this, it can be achieved. If not, this will be done by force." Mofaz said Israel must convert the achievement of Operation Protective Edge to a series of diplomatic arrangements, including seeking a long-term arrangement with the Palestinian Authority. "It's true that we are a power, and can deal with our neighbors. But we need a long-term arrangement with the Palestinians. There is no other option.
This is the safeguard of Israel's future." Earlier, the Minister for Science, Technology and Space, and former head of the Shin Bet [Israel Security Agency] Yaakov Peri addressed the conference. He argued that the biggest threat to Israel's welfare is still Iran, despite the brutality and growing scope of threats like the Islamic State. "Iran succeeded in the past, and is now succeeding in building land bridges to Middle East states. It is strengthening extremists, and its proxies are in the Golan Heights," Peri said. "Despite the media quiet that has reigned here about this, especially from the chief spokesman [a reference to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu], our motto must remain stopping Iran's expansion in Syria and Lebanon, and stopping its nuclear program," he stated. Meanwhile, a new Middle East is taking shape rapidly, Peri said, noting a new clear division between two camps; a radical Islamic camp versus moderate regional countries. "There is a clear and very disturbing rise of terror organizations, both Shi'ite and Sunni," he said. Israel must "change its defense perceptions" to fit the new era, the minister said. "The struggle will mostly be asymmetrical. Threats and opportunities have to be differentiated," he added. Defensive components like Iron Dome air defenses must be strengthened, and money must be invested in intelligence and the creation of banks of enemy targets. At the same time, the former intelligence chief said, the "threat of classic all-out war hasn't fully passed." On the other hand, Peri said, a new regional coalition is emerging, made up of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, the PA and Israel. He cited close military and diplomatic cooperation with Egypt, and the refusal of many Middle East states to endorse Hamas's demands. Recent calls by the Saudi foreign minister for peace with Israel can't be ignored in Jerusalem, Peri said.
He called for a regional conference with moderate Middle East states, and for the launching of a "general, regional maneuver that will include a solution to the Palestinian - Israeli conflict, and the rebuilding of a system of ties and forces in the area. This should start as soon as possible."

US will lead war on ISIS from the front

By: Ron Ben-Yishai.Ynetnews/08/09/14
Analysis: Obama's strategy against jihadist organization includes airstrikes, aiding Kurdish militia and Iraqi army forces on the ground, collecting intelligence on ISIS, cutting it off from its financial sources and forming coalition with Arab states. The United States and Britain have finally come up with a strategy to curb ISIS and are now beginning to implement it. They already have a basic coalition, the balance in Iraq is already being tilted against ISIS, but the road is still long. The formulated strategy is aimed at destroying ISIS – no less – by operating on six different channels:

1. Forming an international coalition, which would provide an umbrella of legitimization under international law for fighting ISIS on the ground, and which will make it possible to divide the economic burden such fighting entails.
US President Barack Obama is following in the footsteps of President George H.W. Bush, who formed an international coalition in 1991 for a war against Saddam Hussein, and following the Libya precedent in 2011. In Libya, the US "led the coalition from behind" and bombed Muammar Gaddafi's forces from the air, while the rebels waged a war against him on the ground. But the most important thing at the time was that the Europeans joined the coalition and even carried out most bombardments.
In the war against ISIS, the US has apparently decided to lead the forces from the front rather than from behind, like it did in Libya, both in the international arena and in the fighting against ISIS on the ground. This is already good news, although the European coalition which fought Gaddafi with American logistic and intelligence assistance did a good job.
2. After forming an international coalition providing legitimization to the fighting against ISIS under international law, the next stage is the fighting on the ground and the assignment of tasks and division of the economic burden it entails.
Most of the fighting will be carried out from the air, using warplanes which will bomb ISIS concentrations, the permanent facilities set up by the jihadists in Syria and Iraq and the long convoys of pickup trucks of ISIS fighters traveling on the roads towards their destinations.
Another key element in the aerial war is the remote-piloted vehicles used by the Americans and their Western allies to hit major targets such as leaders and commanders' gatherings. This is what the US does when it fights al-Qaeda, these days too.
The fighting from the air against an exposed terror and guerilla organization has proved to be very efficient both in Libya and in Afghanistan, at least in the stage before these organizations assimilate into the population and the cannot be bombed.
This is now true in regards to ISIS. In 2003, I saw the American armed forces operating in the same way against units of Saddam Hussein's army in the Mosul area.
I was escorting American forces operating in northern Iraq against the Kurdish militia, the Pêşmerge. The fighting was simple at the time – the Pêşmerge led the American Special Forces which parachuted in northern Iraq towards convenient post overlooking Saddam Hussein's Iraqi army concentrations.
F-14 warplanes, which took off from Sixth Fleet ships in the Mediterranean, approached the area and members of the Special Forces marked the targets for them using laser. We then clearly saw the bombs sliding from the planes towards the Iraqi soldiers, who fled with panic. When the bombing ended, the Kurdish Pêşmerge got up, brushed the dust off their clothes and approached Mosul together with the American Special Forces.
That's how we crossed the Euphrates River and entered Kirkuk and Mosul, with the process repeating itself frequently: The planes bomb, Saddam Hussein's soldiers take off their uniform, get into "civilian" clothes and escape, and the Pêşmerge advance together with the American Special Forces and the fighters of an American paratroopers unit and take over the occupied territories.
This is more or less what is happening now in the Mosul area, but on a much smaller scale.
In 2003, by the way, while the Americans were invading Iraq, a heavy disaster took place. An American F-14 jet, likely due to bad weather conditions, bombed a convoy we were in which was advancing in the footsteps of the fleeing Iraqi army. Dozens of Pêşmerge members were hurt, as well as several British journalists from the BBC. But in general, this method worked, and it is apparently also working now.
In order to carry out this kind of fighting against ISIS, it's not enough to cooperate with the fighting Kurds. Ad hoc local alliances must also be created with fighting militias wherever ISIS is. I am mainly talking about alliances with the Iraqi army or what is left of it, with Shiite militias in Iraq, with the Free Syrian Army and with other groups of rebels which do not belong to the radical Islam in Syria.
We won't have to wait long before these forces are trained and stock up on weapons. A small number of British, American, Canadian and Australian special forces can get the job done if they receive assistance in navigation, transport and intelligence from the local militias. That's what happened, for example, in the Turkmen town of Amirli, which is located in the eastern side of the Turkish enclave in northern Iraq.
The Turkmens bravely defended their town, and then the aid arrived – the Americans bombed from the air, the Shiite militias trained by the Iraqi government attacked on the ground, and Amirli's Turkmens, who are also Shiite, were relieved as ISIS ran for its life.
This pattern of operation will succeed if it is carried out extensively and if the fighting on the ground is backed by other means. The occupation of Amirli was the turning point in the fighting in Iraq, and over the weekend ISIS has also lost several villages it took over during the summer.
3. The third channel is cutting off the ISIS members, who are radical Sunni Muslims, from the Sunni population they are operating from within in the Ar-Raqqah area in Syria and in the Anbar province in western Iraq. Without the help of Sunni tribe leaders and former members of Saddam Hussein's regime, the Baath party members, ISIS would not have succeeded in taking over such wide areas.
Pickup-truck convoys with a heavy machine gun installed in their trunk and fighters waving Kalashnikovs standing on them is not enough – there is also a need for a tactic, a strategy and fighting methods, and these were supplied by former members of Saddam Hussein's army who teamed up with ISIS, particularly members of a group called Naqshbandi.
The Sunnis are helping ISIS because the Shiite-controlled Iraqi government has turned its back on them and discriminated against them, both politically and economically. This trend must be reversed, and the Americans have already started doing so by bringing about the ouster of Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki from the Baghdad government.
Similar action must be taken in Syria by aiding the moderate Sunni forces operating against President Bashar Assad. The operation in Iraq is relatively easy for the Americans and the newly established coalition, as the Iraqi government invited them to operate there. In Syria it will be harder for the Americans to bomb without getting the approval of Assad's army, although the American bombings and the activity of their special forces could help Assad survive.
This problem, however, can likely be overcome in creative ways through aerial activity from Iraq and Turkey, where the Americans have bases from which they can operate, as well as quite a few friends.
Recently, the Syrian army has been bombing the Ar-Raqqah area, ISIS's capital, with growing efficiency. Western intelligence sources estimate that the intelligence information about ISIS is being transferred to the Syrian regime through non-Israeli Middle Eastern sources, and perhaps even by German sources. 4. In addition, ISIS must be cut off from its financial sources – particularly the Syrian oil which it has already started selling and the oilfields it has taken over in the Ar-Raqqah area – as well as from the funds it receives from countries like Qatar and private elements in Saudi Arabia. Without money, ISIS will quickly shrink into several thousand fighters and will not be able to pay the Sunni tribe leaders in Iraq and Syria for their support.
5. The international coalition must include Arab states which most of ISIS' foreign recruits come from. Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia must all be included by the US in the coalition in order to prevent the flow of new recruits to ISIS and the transfer of funds to the organization. US Secretary of State John Kerry is embarking on a tour of the region in order to recruit the Arab states whose participation in such a coalition is highly important, not only because the moderate Arab regimes are afraid of ISIS, but also because they are the ones who can disconnect the nipples ISIS is sucking on ideologically, logistically and financially. 6. The international coalition is very important in another area – collecting intelligence on ISIS and its abilities. We are talking about both intelligence on the ground and information about its donors in Europe and in Arab states and about its leadership. On the whole, ISIS isn't more dangerous than al-Qaeda. It is another global jihad mutation which can and must be hit, and at least narrowed down to tolerable dimensions.
Israel can only hold an indirect role in this coalition, mainly by supplying weapons, technology and information to the different forces which are fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria. There is no need for us to get involved, but we are capable of offering quite a lot of aid to Jordan, Egypt and other elements if they seek our help. The Americans will have to decide whether they wish to receive help from Iran too – and pay a price for it.

World leaders should hang their heads in shame
Monday, 8 September 2014
Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor/Al Arabiya
Oh, what an impressive show NATO is putting on in the Welsh city of Newport! Tom Jones’ Green, Green Grass of Home is now peppered with tanks and missiles while Cardiff plays host to mighty warships. Enemies of the West must be quaking in their boots; except they’re not. They must be chuckling at the hollow rhetoric coming out of the mouths of the Leader of the Free World and his European allies, empty words delivered in the presence of representatives from four Arab countries. Are they there to write a script for one of Adel Imam’s famous humorous parodies on life; this situation is starting to look like fodder for one of this legendary Egyptian actor’s movies.
Our planet is experiencing unprecedented man-made crises. Like me, people everywhere are asking, “What’s happening to our world?” We look at those leaders and think, if these are the people responsible for protecting our lives, then God help us.
As unbelievable as it sounds, here’s the plot. Take note please, Adel Imam!
“There are no heroes in this unfolding script; only rogues, wimps and fools marching us towards Armageddon”
Khalaf Ahmad al-Habtoor
A gang of losers seeking power, wealth and territory decide to dupe feeble-minded young Muslims with the promise of an Islamist State; a Utopian land stretching from Syria to Iraq and eventually encompassing Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia where flogging, stoning, beheading, crucifying and burying children alive are accepted norms. In this supposedly “magical caliphate” women, recognizable only by their eyes, are barred from leaving home without a close male relative. Televisions are smashed. Schools are forbidden to teach music, art and philosophy. Smokers are lashed in public. Landmarks are painted black to match the group’s fluttering flags.
This is a place where fake Imams tell followers: “We will take you to Paradise, even if we have to drag you in chains on the way there.” This hell on earth not only attracts educated fighters from distant shores, it holds an appeal for young Western girls eager to become brides and breed a new generation of psychopaths.
Dressed in black and taking over
Some 10,000 – 15,000 masked and attired in black, of course, initially succeed in taking swathes of Syrian and Iraqi territories larger than the size of the United Kingdom, virtually unopposed. Armies run from those thugs like rabbits; soldiers caught and stripped are mercilessly executed. Tens of thousands of civilians flee to a barren mountain top where many succumb to thirst. Parents weak from hunger and dehydration are forced to abandon elderly parents and young children to the sands during escapes.
In the meantime, the fanatics consolidate their state flush with “Made in America” weapons and a treasure chest overflowing with oil revenues, cash plundered from banks, kidnap ransoms and the sale of women and girls in the local slave market. Nobody can accuse them of being disorganised. They’re managing civil society, overseeing public institutions, passing laws, hiring experts to advise them in various fields and doing a roaring trade in Iraq’s natural resources.
No, Mr. Imam, this isn’t a period movie set in the 10th century; it’s a contemporary reflection of events happening now. What’s that you say? It lacks credibility? Yes, I know that Egyptian audiences aren’t dumb enough to fall for such a fantastical, unrealistic scenario…but…
Yesterday, while watching the most powerful men on earth discussing what to do about the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) during the NATO summit, I felt an impending sense of doom. What’s there to discuss! Eradicating a handful of murderous criminals before the contagion spreads is surely no challenge for a superpower. The U.S. and its allies didn’t hesitate in going after Saddam Hussein’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction or to invade Afghanistan to smoke out a cave dweller. In truth, they must bear responsibility for this gang’s rise; ISIS, now the self-declared Islamic State, drew strength and popularity out of Obama’s inaction in Syria to end the regime’s slaughter of its own people. Its seeming success, amplified by its well-oiled propaganda machine, spawns tentacles reaching into dungeons, back alleys and tunnels creating a complex web of danger.
Inept leaders
Yet, in the case of ISIS, President Obama and his sidekick David Cameron have ruled out boots on the ground. Even their pledge to arm the Kurdish Peshmerga, battling to protect Arbil as well as besieged minorities, has yet to manifest. Dropping bombs on ISIS convoys won’t cut it. Why? Because those extremists will simply blend with local populations or head back into northern Syria to re-group. And as Obama has controversially admitted, he has no strategy to attack the ISIS in Syria, where it’s headquartered. Bravo David Cameron! It’s so reassuring to know that the UK government is compiling evidence against ISIS fighters for crimes against humanity. I’ll bet those cockroaches preferring death to life are suffering sleepless nights worrying about ending up behind bars in The Hague. They deserve pest control not a panel of judges.
If the United States, Europe and NATO are too cowardly to confront this scourge they should hire mercenaries headed by former military/intelligence chiefs to do the job for them, just like security firms such as the infamous Blackwater which, in 2003, terrorized populations in Iraq. The Sicilian Mafia would be more effective than Obama and co. Perhaps the Peruvian Shining Path or the Colombian Farc could be persuaded.
However, there is one question that bugs me more than most. Where are the Arabs? This madness is playing out on our doorstep; it threatens us directly and imminently. The fact that it hides under the banner of Islam is nothing short of a sacrilegious assault on our faith. Forget the Arab world as an entity; it’s disunited and in disarray! The GCC has the fire power and expertise to militarily intervene on its own. GCC states don’t need permission from Washington to protect themselves or our brothers in Iraq and Syria. Why aren’t we embarrassed that the Kurds are battling on our behalf? If we don’t stand up to this threat and others, such as the Shiite Houthis bent on the destruction of Yemen, not only history will stand judge, so will our great-grandchildren.
There are no heroes in this unfolding script; only rogues, wimps and fools marching us towards Armageddon. And as for Obama and Cameron, they’re nothing but strutting bit part actors in a plot that gives them the jitters. The U.S. President appears to have stage fright desperately seeking cues and lines from the British PM. Neither displays the presence of a leader capable of rescuing the world, like Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill or Dwight Eisenhower, not to mention our great Arab personalities, such as Omar bin al-Khattab and Khalid bin al-Waleed, whose word was their bond and whose bravery was beyond reproach.
In this B-rated film, a bunch of bloodthirsty bad guys emerge as victors. I can only pray for a different ending before it hits theatres close to all of us.

Joint Statement by Canada and the European Union

September 8, 2014 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Catherine Ashton, today issued the following joint statement upon the conclusion of meetings in Ottawa:
“The Canada-EU relationship has never been stronger. This was confirmed once more during our discussions here in Ottawa, where we agreed to further strengthen and broaden the scope of Canada EU cooperation.
“Building on this successful cooperation, we concluded negotiations on the Canada-European Union Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA). This initiative sets out a framework for continued dialogue and cooperation between Canada and the European Union. The SPA complements the expansion of our economic relationship and enhances our commitment to the principles and values of open economies and societies.
“The SPA also outlines our many shared and long-standing values, and the objectives which we are working towards together—such as freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, international peace and security and effective multilateralism. It consolidates our cooperation on energy, sustainable development and the environment, and opens new opportunities on research and innovation. These and many others are areas in which Canadian and EU expertise can be leveraged to improve lives both at home and around the world.
For more information, please visit: Canada-EU Strategic Partnership Agreement.
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