LCCC ENGLISH DAILY NEWS BULLETIN
Bible Quotation for today/ It is not what goes
into the mouth that defiles a person
Saint Matthew 15,10-20.: "Then he called the crowd to him and said to them, ‘Listen and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.’Then the disciples approached and said to him, ‘Do you know that the Pharisees took offence when they heard what you said?’ He answered, ‘Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit.’ But Peter said to him, ‘Explain this parable to us.’ Then he said, ‘Are you also still without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile."
Pope Francis 's Tweet For Today
Dear young people, listen within: Christ is knocking at the door of your heart.
Chers jeunes, écoutez en vous-mêmes : le Christ frappe à la porte de votre cœur.
Latest analysis, editorials from miscellaneous sources published on September 20 and 21/14
Syrian opposition activist Dr. Kamal Al-Labwani: Assad is a bigger threat than IS/Ynetnews/September 21/14
Qaradawi’s Double Standards/By:
Tariq Alhomayed /Asharq Al Awsat/September 21/14
Are the Houthis a symptom of regional mistrust/By: Abdullah Hamidaddin/Al Arabiya/September 21/14
On Jordan’s true role in the anti-ISIS alliance/By: Raed Omari /Asharq Al Awsat/September 21/14
Lebanese Related News published on September 20 and 21/14
Nusra Front execute Lebanese soldier, call on Hezbollah to withdraw
Nusra threatens to kill second Lebanese soldier
Salam: Lebanon's fate hinges on its unity
Lebanon to seek Turkish help with hostage crisis
Father of slain soldier dies
Lebanon to seek Turkish help with hostage crisis
Army arrests man for involvement in Arsal clashes
World should support Lebanese Army to destroy ISIS: UN envoy
Lebanon to seek Turkish help with hostage crisis
Lebanese Parliament likely to convene in two weeks: MP
Israeli drone crashes in south Lebanon
Miscellaneous Reports And News published on September 20 and 21/14
Inside the hierarchy of ISIS
Report: Security upped at Vatican over attack fears
US: Al-Qaeda's Syrian cell poses more imminent threat than IS
Senate okays $10m. bounty on IS killers
Kurdish Peshmerga forces expand ISIS offensive
Thousands of Syrian Kurds enter Turkey, fleeing ISIS advance
Eighteen ISIS militants killed fighting Syria Kurds
Turkish hostages abducted by Islamic State released
White House briefly evacuated after intrusion
Al-Qaeda Tunisia offshoot offers backing to ISIS
Yemen flights halted as truce talks end
Yemen: Sana’a clashes escalate as Houthis advance
Bahrain National Dialogue set to resume
Egyptian pleads guilty to 1998 U.S. embassy attacks
Report: Belgium prevented jihadist attacks
Poll: Majority of Likud voters want Netanyahu to launch diplomatic drive for Palestinian state
Hamas to PA: Show us proof that int'l organizations will cease aid if our salaries are not paid
France to present peace initiative to UNSC
German Muslims condemn IS in nationwide prayer
New Iran nuclear talks face old hurdles
Hatred, Bigotry and hypocrisy at the IDC Conference
Elias Bejjani/If any one wants really to see, hear and sense actual hatred, vindictiveness, anger, bigotry and lack of Christian faith, I advice him/her to watch Patriarch Laham in both his pro-Axis of Evil interview with Marcel Kaniem, as well as his "Assadi" charade of hatred at the conference. His conduct and rhetoric could be any thing but not Christian by any means. Anyhow he is not much different in this mercenary love for Assad than the Syrian Sunni Mufti. In reality all the clergymen from all faiths in the Arab countries are puppets and trumpets to the regimes' rulers. The only exception was the Maronite Church, but patriarch Raei ruined it completely and joined the flock. In conclusion any Lebanese who does not see what was the conference really all about must be selectively deaf, blind and in love with the Axis of Evil.
Question: "What age will everyone be in Heaven?"
Answer: The Bible does not specifically answer this question. Will babies and children who die still be babies / children in Heaven? What about elderly people who die--do they remain elderly in heaven? Some have guessed that babies are given a resurrection body (1 Corinthians 15:35-49) that is “fast-forwarded” to the “ideal age,” just as those who die at an old age are "re-wound" to the ideal age. This would indicate that there won’t be any children or elderly people in heaven. What is the ideal age? Again, this concept is not specifically biblical. Some believe it to be around 30. Some guess 33 since that is approximately the age Jesus was when He died. First John 3:2 declares, "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."One thing is for certain. Whatever age we appear to be, we will be gloriously perfect. Our entire person will be remade flawless, wholly and completely Christ-like. We will lose all trace of human fallenness, wearing the white robes of purity, holiness and absolute perfection. So whatever age we are, it will be the age of complete and total perfection.
Israeli drone crashes in south Lebanon
J.Post/September 20/14/An Israeli drone crashed in Lebanon on Saturday morning, an IDF spokeswoman confirmed. The plane was flying across the northern border on a regular surveillance mission when it fell from the sky. Media outlets in Lebanon first reported that a drone had crashed in the southern town of Marjayoun. The Beirut-based Al-Manar TV station, which is associated with Hezbollah, said the army had taken hold of the downed aircraft, as it broadcast images of the Israeli aircraft. Rulling out the possibility the drone was deliberately downed, the IDF said a technical malfunction caused the crash, adding that it was further investigating the incident. The Daily Star quoted security sources as saying the plane fell in a farm in the Saradah Valley and that a preliminary investigation suggested the unmanned aerial vehicle crashed due to a technical malfunction. The Lebanese Army closed off the site of the crash, according to the Star. This is not the first time a downed drone has dominated Arab press headline. Last month, Iranian media released footage of a spy drone it claimed to have shot down as it headed for a nuclear site. An unmanned plane was also reported to have crashed in Iraq in late August. The Arab-language Al-Mayadeen television network said at the time that the Hermes Model drone was shot down near Baghdad Airport.
Nusra threatens to kill second Lebanese soldier
The Daily Star/BEIRUT: A Lebanese policeman pled for his life as he watched a fellow captive be executed with a gunshot to the head, in a video released by Nusra Front Saturday. The video showed soldier Mohammad Hammieh asking the Lebanese to put an end to Hezbollah's attacks on the Sunni community moments before a man, dressed in black, shot him in the head in the presence of Ali al-Bazzal, a captive policemen. Bazzal, wearing a white t-shirt and his military pants, begged Hezbollah to change its policy. "If you don't stop attacking and inciting against our Sunni brethren then I will follow my fellow soldier who was killed right there," Bazzal cried out with his hands tied as he knelt in front of a tree with Hammieh lying dead beside him. Sobbing and crying, Bazzal asked "the party of the devil" to withdraw from Syria and go back to fighting Israel. According to Lebanese media reports, the radical group said it would hand over the body of Hammieh in exchange for 15 detainees held in Roumieh Prison. Nusra Front said that Hammieh was "the one who paid the price" for Hezbollah's attempts to obstruct negotiations as well as the Lebanese Army's arrest of "civilians and shelling of Qalamoun."The statement, which was circulated on social media, also warned that the radical group was preparing to execute Bazzal.
The execution came after a roadside bomb attack Friday against Lebanese troops in Arsal that killed two soldiers, which prompted the military to launch raids in search of gunmen. Media reports said that some 200 people were arrested in the Army raids. The Nusra Front first threatened to kill Hammieh Tuesday, saying that he might be the first “to pay the price” of failed negotiations with the Lebanese government and Hezbollah’s continued crackdown on Syrian refugees in Arsal and along the town’s borders.
The government has been engaged in indirect negotiations through a Qatari-sponsored mediation with militants over the release of the abducted security personnel. Nusra Front and ISIS are both demanding the release of Islamist prisoners from Roumieh Prison in exchange for the Lebanese hostages. They are holding at least 22 soldiers and policemen captured during last month's clashes between radical militants and the Lebanese Army in the northeastern region of Arsal. While Nusra has released seven policemen as a sign of goodwill, ISIS has beheaded two soldiers.
Prime Minister: Lebanon's fate hinges
on its unity
The Daily Star/BEIRUT: Lebanon’s fate in the face of terrorism relies on the ability of the Lebanese to unite and rally behind the Army, Prime Minister Tammam Salam said Saturday. “Our fate hinges on our unity,” Salam warned, after holding talks with Speaker Nabih Berri to discuss the government's response to the ongoing hostage crisis. “We are in need of cooperation with each other and to be a single unified front and never give terrorists the chance to divide us.” The prime minister called on the Lebanese to rally behind the government’s decision in supporting the Lebanese Army and the various security agencies in their battle against terrorism “in Arsal, outside of Arsal and on the border.”“We sought to negotiate to secure the safety of our sons, but our numerous attempts to reach positive results had no effect and you saw what they did last night,” Salam told reporters, referring to the execution of soldier Mohammad Hammieh at the hands of Nusra Front. “If we were to negotiate and pave the way for these efforts, we cannot reactivate that while killing continues.”
“So long as the situation remains as such, our options are clear and it is to confront [terrorism] by uniting behind the Lebanese Army, its leaders and state institutions,” he said, in a veiled warning to both Nusra Front and ISIS who are holding at least 21 soldiers and policemen captured during last month’s battle with the Army. Asked about the ongoing negotiations via the Qatari mediator, Salam said all options were on the table but the government “refuses to negotiate at the expense of the country’s dignity.”
The radical groups are demanding the release of Islamist detainees held in Roumieh Prison since 2007 without trial. While the government has rejected a swap deal, judicial authorities have vowed to speed up the trials and finalize the cases of some 92 detainees.
Lebanese Army arrests Lebanese man for
involvement in Arsal clashes
The Daily Star/BEIRUT: The Lebanese Army said Saturday that it arrested a Lebanese man for fighting alongside militants against the military during last month's cashes in the northeastern region of Arsal. In a statement, the military identified the suspect as Seifeddine Hujeiri, who is "wanted for involvement in attacks against Army centers and the Internal Security Forces unit in Arsal." Hujeiri was arrested on the road linking Labweh to Arsal. The Army also said that it arrested a Syrian man, Khaled Abdel-Rahman Rahhal, on suspicion of belonging to a terrorist organization. Rahhal was arrested in Arsal. The Army has launched raids in search of militants in Arsal and its outskirts following a roadside bomb that killed two soldiers Friday morning.
Lebanon to seek Turkish help with
The Daily Star/BEIRUT: Lebanon will seek help from Turkey to secure the release of capture soldiers and policemen, Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk said Saturday. Machnouk announced that he would "hold contacts with the Turkish side over the soldiers hostage crisis starting Monday." Qatar dispatched a Syrian mediator to oversee negotiations with ISIS and Nusra Front who are holding at least 21 soldiers captured during battles with the Lebanese Army. The Nusra Front executed a soldier Friday, while ISIS has beheaded two so far.
World should support Lebanese Army to destroy ISIS: UN envoy
The Daily Star/BEIRUT: The international community should support Lebanon’s military to guarantee the success of the global coalition to combat ISIS, the Lebanese ambassador to the U.N. said late Friday. “Lebanon, which still suffers from terrorist attacks, the most of which recent was a bombing against soldiers following the abduction of troops, is with you today in this joint battle against terrorism,” Nawaf Salam told the U.N. Security Council during a meeting in New York. “Success in this battle requires you to help my country by strengthening its military forces and supporting its economy and national institutions.”Nawaf spoke about the growing threat of ISIS in Iraq, where the radical group had overrun swaths of land. “Today, Iraq is in danger. What threatens its future threatens ours as people and communities. The blind terrorist movement that has taken over large amounts of land in Iraq will not have mercy on anyone in Iraq and outside of it if we don't confront it quickly,” he said. “Lebanon appreciates the role your council has played in issuing Resolution 2170 and calls on you to come together and make a decision to unite the needed efforts to destroy ISIS and other similar groups and hold terrorists accountable for their crimes.”Salam also said that confronting terrorism was not only limited to military and financial measures but should also be combated via a comprehensive political and socio-economic review in the region
Father of slain soldier dies
The Daily Star/SIDON: The father of soldier Ahmad al-Kharrat who was killed in a bomb attack on an Army vehicle died Saturday, the National News Agency said. Relatives told The Daily Star that Hamadi Kharrat, who had been in a coma for a month, died Saturday morning, hours after the military handed over the body of his son who sustained fatal wounds to his head Friday. A roadside bomb targeted an Army patrol unit, killing Kharrat, 37, and another soldier from north Lebanon, in the northeastern town of Arsal as they were headed to Wadi Hmeid. Kharrat and his father will be buried during a joint funeral ceremony in the afternoon in their hometown of Sidon.
Lebanese Parliament likely to convene
in two weeks: MP
The Daily Star/BEIRUT: Parliament is expected to convene soon to address pressing draft laws, Lebanese Forces MP George Adwan said Saturday, in an attempt to break the months long legislative deadlock. “The secretary general of Parliament will convene next week to set the agenda for a Parliament session,” Adwan told reporters after meeting Speaker Nabih Berri in Ain al-Tineh. He said he expected Parliament to convene a legislative session in two weeks after Prime Minister Tammam Salam returns from New York. Parliament will most likely discuss the issuing of eurobonds and a draft law to retroactively legalize extrabudgetary government spending since 2005. Adwan also said he and Berri discussed efforts to amend items related to the parliamentary election deadlines in terms of the period in which the government should call for the poll and the creation of the election committee. The Cabinet has not yet approved the decree calling for the formation of a election supervisory committee, which the government should create 90 days before the scheduled poll. “The amendments would guarantee that no one submits a challenge to the election in case they took place,” he said, referring to disputes over a proposal to extend Parliament’s mandate once again in less than two years. Adwan said lawmakers had made progress in the draft law to raise the salaries of public sector employees and teacher, a long-waited proposal that civil servants and teachers have been protesting for. “The legislative session is to legislate pressing matters ... because we do not want to hold anyone hostage to the fact the absence of a president,” he said. Lawmakers with the March 14 coalition and other Christian MPs have refused to attend legislative sessions that Berri had called for, arguing that the legislative branch should only convene for urgent matter in the absence of a president.
Interpreting the Islamic State’s jihadi logic
By: Charles Krauthammer/Human Events
9/19/2014 09:25 AM
Why The Islamic State Is Scarier Than Al-Qaeda In Iraq
If anyone had any doubts about the threat posed by the Islamic State, the beheading of American journalist James Foley this week, captured in a slickly produced video, made it grimly clear that this is a group whose barbarity...
What was the Islamic State thinking? We know it is sophisticated in its use of modern media. But what was the logic of propagating to the world videos of its beheadings of two Americans (and subsequently a Briton) — sure to inflame public opinion?
There are two possible explanations. One is that these terrorists are more depraved and less savvy than we think. They so glory in blood that they could not resist making an international spectacle of their savagery — after all, they proudly broadcast their massacre of Shiite prisoners — and did not quite fathom how such a brazen, contemptuous slaughter of Americans would radically alter public opinion and risk bringing down upon them the furies of the U.S. Air Force.
The second theory is that they were fully aware of the inevitable consequence of their broadcast beheadings — and they intended the outcome. It was an easily sprung trap to provoke America into entering the Mesopotamian war.
Because they’re sure we will lose. Not immediately and not militarily. They know we always win the battles but they are convinced that, as war drags on, we lose heart and go home.
They count on Barack Obama quitting the Iraq/Syria campaign just as he quit Iraq and Libya in 2011 and is in the process of leaving Afghanistan now. And this goes beyond Obama. They see a post-9/11 pattern: America experiences shock and outrage and demands action. Then, seeing no quick resolution, it tires and seeks out leaders who will order the retreat. In Obama, they found the quintessential such leader.
As for the short run, the Islamic State knows it will be pounded from the air. But it deems that price worth paying, given its gains in propaganda and prestige — translated into renown and recruiting — from these public executions.
Understanding this requires an adjustment to our thinking. A common mantra is that American cruelty — Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, “torture,” the Iraq war itself — is the great jihadist recruiting tool. But leaving Iraq, closing Abu Ghraib and prohibiting “enhanced interrogation” had zero effect on recruiting. In fact, jihadi cadres from Mali to Mosul have only swelled during Obama’s outstretched-hand presidency.
Turns out the Islamic State’s best recruiting tool is indeed savagery — its own. Deliberate, defiant, triumphant. The beheadings are not just a magnet for psychopaths around the world. They are choreographed demonstrations of its unbounded determination and of American helplessness. In Osama bin Laden’s famous formulation, who is the “strong horse” now?
We tend to forget that at this stage in its career, the Islamic State’s principal fight is intramural. It seeks to supersede and supplant its jihadi rivals — from al-Qaeda in Pakistan, to Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria, to the various franchises throughout North Africa — to emerge as champion of the one true jihad.
The strategy is simple: Draw in the world’s great superpower, create the ultimate foil and thus instantly achieve supreme stature in radical Islam as America’s nemesis.
It worked. A year ago, the world had never heard of this group, then named ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria). Now it is the subject of presidential addresses, parliamentary debates and international conferences. It is the new al-Qaeda, which itself has been demoted to JV.
Indeed, so eclipsed and upstaged is al-Qaeda that its leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, scrambled to reveal the creation of a new India/South Asia branch. It announced itself this month with its first operation — a comically botched attack on a Pakistani frigate that left 10 al-Qaeda fighters dead and the ship intact.
While al-Qaeda was being humiliated, a huge Paris conference devoted entirely to the Islamic State was convened by Secretary of State John Kerry. Like his other conferences, it failed. Obama’s “broad coalition” remains a fantasy.
It’s more a coalition of the unwilling. Turkey denied us the use of its air bases. The Sunni Arab states are reluctant to do anything militarily significant. And not a single country has volunteered combat troops. Hardly a surprise, given that Obama has repeatedly ruled that out for the U.S. itself.
Testifying on Wednesday to the Senate, Kerry declared that the Islamic State “must be defeated. Period. End of story.” Not the most wisely crafted of declarations: The punctuational emphasis carries unfortunate echoes ofObama’s promise about health care plans and the word “must” carries similar echoes of Obama’s assertions that Bashar al-Assad had to go.
Nonetheless, Kerry’s statement remains true for strategic and even moral reasons. But especially because when the enemy deliberately draws you into combat, it is all the more imperative to show the world that he made a big mistake.
Canada's FM, Mr. John Baird's Address to the United Nations Security Council on the Situation in Iraq
September 19, 2014 - New York City, United States
Check Against Delivery
I welcome this meeting, and the active role the U.S. has played on this.
Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t need to explain to you what impact ISIL is having in Iraq and Syria.
I don’t need to persuade you that ISIL is evil and that it must be stopped before it becomes an even greater threat to global security.
The question we must answer today is how do we, as an international community of civilized nations, confront this dangerous and nihilistic force?
I believe that not only is terrorism the greatest challenge of our generation, but we need to face up to a new generation of terrorism.
ISIL is more of a terrorist army than the traditional image of an isolated cell of extremists.
It is the toxic mix of medieval ideology with modern weaponry.
And with that unusually high capability comes a high arrogance. A sense of invincibility.
They don’t hide their vile acts—they bask in them, and exploit the Internet to try to give them a disproportionate impact.
They think that the more brutal they are, the more cowed we will be.
They are wrong.
They wanted attention.
But now they have it, it is time to show them that they are more vulnerable than they realize.
We must also reject their nihilistic world view wherever we find it.
Sadly, their extremist ideology and bloodthirsty methods are shared by a growing number of other groups around the world.
I visited Iraq for myself a few weeks ago.
I talked to a Christian family who had five minutes to flee their home after their neighbours told ISIL fighters about them.
This rejection of religious freedom…
This severing of long-standing bonds and shared history…
This is not humanity. It is the law of the jungle.
No nation-state condones ISIL.
But as I stated in Paris at the start of this week, this is not somebody else’s problem.
We must work together, to each of our strengths and abilities.
For Canada’s part, we are supporting those in the front line against ISIL with the deployment of advisers and the delivery of equipment.
We are also funding regional efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters.
And we are, of course, assisting with urgent humanitarian efforts to alleviate the suffering of those who have fled ISIL’s barbarity.
Ladies and gentlemen,
There is no question that ISIL and its ilk are a real danger to global stability and security.
These terrorists talk openly about wanting to establish a caliphate from India to south of Spain.
They stretch their delusional fantasies across generations, and across borders.
To confront them, we must rely on the forces that have shaped human history.
On defending the firm and unyielding principles of human liberty and dignity.
Principles that have withstood the tests of fascism, communism and now terrorism.
This is our test today.
And we cannot afford to fail it.
Canada Welcomes Result of Scotland’s Referendum
September 19, 2014 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement regarding the result of Scotland’s referendum:
“The Scottish people have voted to remain within a strong United Kingdom. The peaceful, open and democratic way in which two very different but sincere views was handled is a credit to the Scottish and U.K. governments.
“Canada welcomes this decision. As Prime Minister Stephen Harper said during the campaign, the United Kingdom has been an overwhelmingly positive force in the world.
“Canada and the United Kingdom share deep historical bonds and an important working partnership. We look forward to this friendship continuing well into the future.”
Qaradawi’s Double Standards
Tariq Alhomayed /Asharq Al Awsat
Saturday, 20 Sep, 2014
Dr. Yusuf Al-Qaradawi criticized the US-led fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) earlier this week. In a tweet, he said: “I oppose ISIS in its ideological path and its methods of action, but I will never agree that the country to fight it should be the United States, which is not motivated by the values of Islam, but by its own interests, even if blood is spilled as a result.”
How are we supposed to understand this position when compared to all the crimes committed by ISIS? Does Qaradawi truly oppose ISIS at all?
How can he oppose ISIS but reject the US-Arab alliance that aims to fight this terrorist group? How could Qaradawi authorize NATO intervention in Libya, but reject intervention against ISIS now? How could he call for international intervention in Syria when he believes that the US “is not motivated by the values of Islam?” Was the international intervention in Libya in line with the values of Islam, according to this rationale?
Therefore, we are facing one of two options here; either Qaradawi is talking about something that he knows nothing about or he wants ISIS to win. When Qaradawi accepted NATO intervention in Libya, he justified this by saying that this intervention was taking place with the approval of the Arab League. Today, the Arab League, the Gulf States and the entire international community—including Iraq—accepts this international alliance to confront ISIS, so what reason does he have to reject this?
In fact, the meeting where the decision to confront ISIS was made was held in Saudi Arabia, so what is Qaradawi’s political or religious justification to reject this alliance? Of course, he has none.
Isn’t it strange for Qaradawi to criticize US attempts to combat ISIS for not being motivated by the values of Islam but rather to serve their own self-interest? This statement was issued at the same time that Iranian Supreme Guide Ali Khamenei criticized the US move to confront ISIS, explicitly rejecting any cooperation with Washington “because they have dirty hands.” However, Iran cooperated with the US to help topple Saddam Hussein, while Tehran also cooperated with the US and NATO in the ouster of the Gaddafi regime. So how are we supposed to understand this double standard?
Therefore, either Qaradawi is talking about things that he knows nothing about, or he is truly seeking to defend ISIS. This could also be motivated by Muslim Brotherhood bitterness towards the US; Washington failed to stand with the Brotherhood following Mursi’s ouster in Egypt. It is important to note here that the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan have also rejected Amman’s involvement in the anti-ISIS alliance. This is a sign that the Brotherhood may have returned to square one; namely trading on religion and religious issues to bolster their own position and popularity. If true, this is a sign of the group’s political ignorance, particularly as the situation in the region has changed completely. We are now witnessing a general state of complete rejection towards religious extremism—whether Sunni or Shi’ite.
The reality is that it is misinformed and opportunistic statements and discourse that most harm our region and its achievements, whether we are talking about the peace process or counter-terrorism. This typifies the position currently being taken by Qaradawi and the Muslim Brotherhood towards the fight against ISIS.
Are the Houthis a symptom of regional
By: Abdullah Hamidaddin/Al Arabiya
Saturday, 20 September 2014
Ten years ago this month Ali Saleh had ordered the field execution of Husayn al-Houthi. This was after a three-month war between government forces and Husayn’s supporters in a remote village in northern Yemen. At the time, Husayn’s supporters were few and I believe the matter could have ended there. But Saleh decided to push on and confront the rest of Husayn’s family who then reacted by picking up arms again. They ended up surviving five wars waged by the government. Today Abdulmalik al-Houthi – Husayn’s younger brother – has forces in Sanaa and this time he is threating the Yemeni government, forcing it to make concessions.
In the past year alone, the Houthis have altered the political landscape of Yemen. They pushed the Ahmar family out of their homes and overthrew their three hundred year sheikhdom and authority in the tribal federation of Hashid. They took the al-Jawf area as a strategic last stronghold for their adversaries. They’ve forged alliances with most tribes in the northern region and also in the south. And now in Sanaa they are fighting against both the militias of the Islah party (Muslim Brotherhood branch in Yemen) and military factions loyal to General Ali Muhsin Al-Ahmar in what could escalate into a major war in the fragile capital city.
This growth in power did not only stem from their bravado or local support. Hezbollah and Iran are allegedly supporting them, hoping to get a foothold in Yemen. This Houthi-Iran-Hezbollah triangle allows the Houthis to become potential springboard for Iranian activities directed against neighboring Gulf states.
Mistakes and victims
But another more important source for their growth was the mistakes of their adversaries. The Houthis are from the Hashemy clans in Yemen who trace their lineage back to the Prophet Mohammad and subsequently draw vast spiritual capital among Yemen’s population. And the father of Husayn was a well-known and respected scholar which gives them even more aura. The Houthis lived far away from urban areas preferring to be amongst the tribal villages around Saadah building strong relations in the process. Despite all that, with all the spiritual and social capital they had, the Houthis – 10 years ago - were barely able to solicit tribal support, and had narrow legitimacy amongst Zaydis, and limited Hashemy interest in their cause; even as the then President Saleh sent government forces to arrest and then kill Husayn.
“Today, Yemenis do not trust each other. They trust their guns. ”
But the government’s policy turned that around. First: Instead of focusing on a surgical operation against the small number of Houthis at the time, it unleashed its media against all Zaydis, and all Hashemys; pushing them in time to the Houthi camp under the motto: we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t; so we will do! Second: Instead of acting as a State and dealing with the Houthis as non-law abiding citizens; the government created tribal militias to fight alongside the army against the Houthis; and then it told those militias ‘you are fighting a religious war!’ Sectarian and ethnic rhetoric may have helped in mobilizing those militias but it empowered the Houthis like never before. Sympathy for them increased, and more of those sitting on the fence decided to jump in and join the fight. Such mistakes must be kept in mind today as policy makers think of how to confront them. Repeating them would only multiply their power and further destabilize Yemen.
Let's trust each other
The Houthi threat must be taken seriously. Not only due to their Iran/Hezbollah alliance but also because no viable state in Yemen can exist in the presence of a militia that can paralyze the government. But this has to be done wisely. The mistakes of the past should not be repeated. Military confrontation will only produce innocent victims and almost no results on the ground. A media campaign against them will simply make the Houthi identity more radical. Statements from the U.N. Security Council condemning Houthi actions will simply embolden them and increase their local legitimacy. So what is a proposed solution?
The Houthis are a symptom of two collapses: the collapse of the state in Yemen after Saleh became president; and the collapse of the regional order after America’s invasion of Iraq. And the only way to solve the Houthi issue is to attend to those two. At the heart of building order is building trust. Today, Yemenis do not trust each other. They trust their guns. Regional countries do not trust each other and prefer to trust their military capacities. Any way forward has to start with a trust-building process. It will take years; but without trust, we will have no order, without order there is going to be a catastrophic human tragedy; one that has already began to unfold for some years now.
On Jordan’s true role in the anti-ISIS
Raed Omari /Asharq Al Awsat
Saturday, 20 September 2014
Abandoning diplomatic caution, Jordan is now a member of the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Amman has traditionally avoided referring to the jihadist group by name, instead alluding to it within the broad context of radicalism and terrorism.
There are an estimated 1,800 - 2,000 Jordanians fighting alongside ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s Syrian wing. Jordan also has a long border with Syria and Iraq, extending to more than 500 kilometers. These considerations, along with the fear of “sleeper cells” within the 1.5 million Syrian refugees in the kingdom, contribute to Jordan’s careful wording over ISIS.
Similarly, although Jordan has placed itself within the camp opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, it has refrained from explicitly criticizing his regime for fear of retaliation from Damascus.
An internal war
King Abdullah of Jordan was among Arab leaders at the Sept. 4-5 Nato summit in Wales, during which the anti-ISIS alliance was formed. After Baghdad, Amman was the second destination of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s regional tour to garner support for the war on ISIS. Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh was among the high-ranking Arab officials to attend a recent meeting on ISIS with U.S. officials in the Saudi city of Jeddah.
King Abdullah has made clear that Jordan will not put boots on the ground in Iraq and Syria, but has reiterated his country’s readiness to offer help in tackling radicalism. Jordanians, already impacted by regional turbulence, would not want to go to war beyond their country’s borders.
Plus it is an established principle for the Jordanian army to not get involved in external affairs unless there is a danger from outside. So if ISIS comes closer to the Jordanian borders with Iraq and Syria, the army will act. Jordanian tribes have also vowed to fight ISIS if it poses a threat to their country’s stability and sovereignty.
For now, Jordan’s role in the U.S.-led war on the group remains within the levels of intelligence and logistics cooperation. Jordan has strong connections with the Arab Sunnis in Anbar and other western Iraqi provinces who are fighting ISIS. With several Iraqi Sunni leaders already residing in Amman, Jordan can extend valuable intelligence help to the anti-ISIS alliance.
Jordan has already embarked on an “internal war” against the group by cracking down on its supporters and arresting imams promoting its ideology and hailing its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Jordanian authorities recently arrested Salafists who took part in a pro-ISIS rally. Raids on hardliners are expected to increase as the war on the group intensifies. In a bid to counter the radical ideologies of ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, Jordan has also embarked on a campaign to promote the moderation of Islam.
US: Al-Qaeda's Syrian cell poses more imminent threat than IS
American officials fear Khorasan group, who is recruiting Europeans, Americans in Syria, will use these recruits to sneak explosives onto US-bound flights.
Ynetnews /Published: 09.20.14/Israel News
WASHINGTON - While the Islamic State group is getting the most attention now, another band of extremists in Syria - a mix of hardened jihadis from Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and Europe - poses a more direct and imminent threat to the United States, working with Yemeni bomb-makers to target US aviation, American officials said.
At the center is a cell known as the Khorasan group, a cadre of veteran al-Qaeda fighters from Afghanistan and Pakistan who traveled to Syria to link up with the al-Qaeda affiliate there, the Nusra Front.
But the Khorasan militants did not go to Syria principally to fight the government of President Bashar Assad, US officials said. Instead, they were sent by al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to recruit Europeans and Americans whose passports allow them to board a US-bound airliner with less scrutiny from security officials.
In addition, according to classified US intelligence assessments, the Khorasan militants have been working with bomb-makers from al-Qaeda's Yemen affiliate to test new ways to slip explosives past airport security. The fear is that the Khorasan militants will provide these sophisticated explosives to their Western recruits who could sneak them onto US-bound flights.
The Obama administration has said that the Islamic State group, the target of more than 150 US airstrikes in recent weeks, does not pose an imminent threat to the continental US. The Khorasan group, which has not been subject to American military action, is considered the more immediate threat.
Because of intelligence about the collaboration among the Khorasan group, al-Qaeda's Yemeni bomb-makers and Western extremists, US officials said, the Transportation Security Administration in July decided to ban uncharged mobile phones and laptops from flights to the US that originated in Europe and the Middle East. The Khorasan group's plotting with al-Qaeda's Yemen affiliate shows that, despite the damage that years of drone missile strikes has done to the leadership of core al-Qaeda in Pakistan, the movement still can threaten the West. It has been rejuvenated in the past year as al-Qaeda offshoots have grown in strength and numbers, bolstered by a flood of Western extremists to a new terrorist safe haven created by Syria's civil war.
That Yemen affiliate, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), has been able to place three bombs on US-bound airliners, though none has succeeded in downing the aircraft.
"The group's repeated efforts to conceal explosive devices to destroy aircraft demonstrate its continued pursuit of high-profile attacks against the West, its increasing awareness of Western security procedures and its efforts to adapt to those procedures that we adopt," Nicholas Rasmussen, deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center, recently told a Senate panel.
James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, first disclosed during a Senate hearing in January that a group of core al-Qaeda militants from Afghanistan and Pakistan was plotting attacks against the West in Syria.
But the group's name, Khorasan, or its links to al-Qaeda's Yemen affiliate, which is considered the most dangerous terrorist threat to the US, have not previously been disclosed.
In a question-and-answer session on Thursday, Clapper became the first US intelligence official to publicly use the name of the cell.
“There is potentially yet another threat to the homeland, yes,” Clapper said.
Clapper said the disruption of a plot to behead people by supporters of ISIS in Australia underscored the threat posed by homegrown sympathizers of the group, which he said is adept at motivating and recruiting followers.
Khorasan refers to a province under the Islamic caliphate, or religious empire, of old that included parts of Afghanistan.
Many US officials interviewed for this story would not be quoted by name talking about what they said was highly classified intelligence. Some lawmakers who have been briefed on the Khorasan group threat were willing to discuss it in general terms. One member of Congress who declined to be identified in order to discuss intelligence matters used the group's name in conversations with a reporter.
The CIA refused to confirm the group's name or any details in this story.
Rep. Adam Schiff, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, declined to name the group. But he described concerns among intelligence officials about "an unholy mix of people in Iraq and Syria right now — some who come from AQAP, some who come from Afghanistan and Pakistan, others from the Maghreb" in North Africa.
"They can combine in ways that could pose a greater threat than their individual pieces. And that's something we worry about," said Schiff, D-Calif.
US officials have identified some members of the Khorasan group, but would not disclose the individuals' names because of concerns they would hide from intelligence-gathering.
Intelligence officials have been deeply concerned about dozens of Americans and hundreds of Europeans who have gone to fight for various jihadist groups in Syria. Some of those Westerners' identities are unknown and therefore they are less likely to draw the attention of intelligence officials when they purchase tickets and board a crowded jetliner heading for European and American cities.
AQAP's master bomb-maker, Ibrahim al-Asiri, is believed to have built the underwear bomb that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to detonate on a passenger jet over Detroit in December 2009.
Al-Asiri is also believed to have built two bombs hidden in printer cartridges placed on US-bound cargo jets in 2010, and a body bomb that was acquired in a 2012 operation involving Saudi, British, and US intelligence agencies.
US intelligence suggests al-Asiri and his confederates are constantly trying to tweak their bomb designs so that the explosives can get past airport security and also detonate successfully.
The TSA ban on uncharged laptops and cellphones stemmed from information that al-Qaeda was working with the Khorasan group to pack those devices with hard-to-detect explosives, a US official said.
Syrian opposition activist Dr. Kamal Al-Labwani: Assad is a bigger threat than IS
The Media Line/Ynetnews
Published: 09.20.14/Israel News
Dr. Kamal Al-Labwani criticizes Obama for his inaction on Syria, calls for a no-fly zone over northern and southern Syria and more humanitarian aid.
Dr. Kamal Al-Labwani is on a mission - to help overthrow the Syrian regime which he says is responsible for the death of 400,000 Syrians and the displacement, both inside and outside the country, of ten million. To achieve that mission he will do almost anything, including a visit to Israel, a long-time enemy of Syria. “I thank the Israeli people and the Jewish community in the US for all of the humanitarian aid they have given the Syrian people,” Al-Lubwani told journalists. “I have visited the Holocaust museum here and this is a crime until today.”
He compared the killing in Syria since the civil war began in 2011 to the Holocaust during World War II, which killed six million Jews.
“You understand more than any people in the world what a massacre is,” Al-Labwani told journalists, including some Israelis, at the Jerusalem Press Club. “Bashar Assad commits serious crimes like in the Holocaust.”
Al-Labwani called for an internationally enforced no-fly zone in both northern and southern Syria and humanitarian aid entering Syria via the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War. That area has recently seen heavy fighting between Syrian rebels and troops loyal to Assad, and this week the United Nations moved all of its troops from the area into Israel. He called on Israel and other states to send more humanitarian aid across the border between Syria and Israel.
The Syrian activist, who is also a medical doctor, is on a ten-day visit to Israel. He would not say who sponsored his trip or who he is meeting with while in the country, except to say that it includes Israelis from across the political spectrum.
He said he came to Israel across the Allenby Bridge from Jordan, with an Israeli-government issued visa.
Al-Labwani was a doctor in the army during the 1982 massacre at Hama, when Syrian troops killed between 10,000 and 40,000 Syrian citizens to quell an uprising from the Muslim Brotherhood. He spent most of the years from 2001–2011 in a Syrian prison for his human rights activism and for forming the Syrian Liberal Democratic Union in 2001, one of the first opposition groups in Syria.
Since then, Al-Labwani has worked in Turkey as a member of the Syrian National Council, which tried to unite the opposition factions. Then, after the Syrian National Council's dissolution, as a member of the General Secretariat and Committee of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Oppositionist Forces. In early 2014, he withdrew from the National Coalition and has been working independently ever since. Dr Labwani also became known for his public call for Israel to take a clearer stand and intervene on the side of the moderate Syrian Opposition.
He criticized US President Obama’s focus on Islamic State (IS) at the expense of confronting Syrian President Bashar Assad.
“Four thousand people have been killed by IS and 400,000 by the regime – who is the bigger terrorist?” he asked. “For me IS is only a small problem, but the Syrian government is a much bigger problem.”
Al-Labwani said that IS currently controls 40 percent of the land in Syria, although it has few followers among the Syrian people, while the regime controls another 40 percent. He said many of those who have joined the ranks of IS did so for economic reasons. If the economy in Syria improved, he said, many of them would leave IS.
Israel has been reticent to get involved in the fighting in Syria. While it has treated at least 800 Syrian patients in Israeli hospitals and sent some humanitarian aid, it has said the fighting in Syria is an internal matter. Privately, Israeli officials have said that they prefer the Assad regime to stay in place, as the border between Israel and Syria has been relatively quiet.
Article written by Linda Gradstein.
Reprinted with permission from The Media Line.
Inside the hierarchy of the Islamic State
Ynetnews/Published: 09.20.14/ Israel News
Documents extracted from home of IS military leader in Iraq show organization leader al-Baghdadi has two deputies to help run Iraq and Syria territories respectively, as well as a 7-man cabinet and governors running the different regions.
Documents seized in an Iraqi military raid of the home of an Islamic State leader reveal the governing structures of the new self-declared caliphate for the first time, according to new data by the Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium (TRAC).
The information, extracted from memory sticks taken from the home of ISIS military chief of staff in Iraq, Abu Abdul Rahman al-Bilawi, who was killed in the military raid, shows how the jihadist group has gone from being a strictly military force to an organization that can provide state bureaucratic services like gas, food and legislation to the 4 million people in its conquered territories.
Unlike his predecessors who reportedly kept the leadership centralized, current Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has decided to compartmentalize and appoint a rigid hierarchy of deputies to help govern all aspects in the vast territory the group has seized, according to the Telegraph.
Islamic State's hierarchal structure. Click here to enlarge.
"I describe Baghdadi as a shepherd, and his deputies are the dogs who herd the sheep (the Islamic State's members). The strength of the shepherd comes from his dogs," Hisham al-Hashimi, a security analyst who had access to the documents, told the Telegraph.
The executive branch of al-Baghdadi's government, known as "Al Imara," is made up of al-Baghdadi himself, his cabinet advisers and two senior deputies.
The deputies - Abu Ali al-Anbari and Abu Muslim al-Turkmani (whose real name is Fadel Ahmad Abdullah al-Hiyali) - oversee Syria and Iraq respectively. They previously served in the Iraqi military under Saddam Hussein.
"These men (are) the reasons behind the strength of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. They are the key people who keep him in power," Hashimi told the Telegraph.
TRAC's Southern Africa Director, Jasmine Opperman, told CNN she believed the current separation in the governing of Iraqi and Syrian territories was "purely administrative at this time."
"They don't want to be seen as downplaying the caliphate, but to make it easier to govern they were forced to make a separation between Syria and Iraq," Opperman said.
Each of these governments sends orders to governors of regions within each country, who instruct local councils on the implementation of the executive branch's decrees.
The documents show each of the seven-member advisory cabinet has a role. Abu Salah, whose real name is Muafaq Mustafa Mohammed al-Karmoush, manages the finances for the Iraqi territories, according to the Telegraph. Meanwhile Abu Abdul Kadr, whose real name is Shawkat Hazem al-Farhat, advises on general management issues, and Abu Louay (or Abu Ali), whose real name is Abdul Wahid Khutnayer Ahmad, counsels on security.
Other roles in the cabinet include managing prisoners (Abu Mohamed, whose real name is Bashar Ismail al-Hamdani), supervising internal communications (Abu Hajar al-Assafi, whose real name is Mohammed Hamid al-Duleimi) and managing foreign fighters' arrival (Abu Kassem, whose real name is Abdullah Ahmed al-Meshedani).
The seventh member of the cabinet was al-Bilawi - the Iraqi commander from whose home the information was extracted and who is now dead. It is unclear who replaced him in his role as military adviser in Iraq.
There are also 24 governors in charge of the different regions in the territory - 12 in Iraq and 12 in Syria - responsible for passing on and enforcing orders from al-Baghdadi's government. Each of these governors has his own "councilors" to help manage every detail in their respective regions.
Hashimi told the Telegraph there were now 25,000 men in Iraq who work under the IS government. "Each of these men has a job within the organization, a geographical area in which they must work, and a monthly salary," he said. These salaries range from $300 to $2000 a month.
Among these men are believed to be approximately 1,000 medium and top level field commanders, the Telegraph said.
The caliphate's religious monitor is the Shura Council. It reports directly to al-Baghdadi and ensures the state's various local councils and governors are adhering to the caliphate's version of Islamic law.
"Let's say a significant execution is going to take place, something that will get ISIS on the front page of the newspaper," Opperman told CNN. "It cannot be done without Shura council approval."
Despite being appointed by and reporting to al-Baghdadi, the Shura Council keeps him and his executive branch in check as well, Opperman said.
"The Shura council has the right to tell Baghdadi to go if he's not adhering to ISIS' religious standards. It would most probably never happen, but the fact that it's possible indicates the council's prominence," she said.
Opperman said both the governing branch and the military branch of the Islamic State work in tandem.
"It's two sides of the same coin. We've seen the military side, with the war cabinet that directs brigades. But now on the other side we're seeing how ISIS wants to govern. The two processes inform one another," she told CNN.