February 07/15

Bible Quotation For Today/Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 12/01-21: "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,  so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.  We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;  if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;  if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.  Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."


Latest analysis, editorials from miscellaneous sources published on February 06-07/15
Iran must confront its past to move forwards/Amir Taheri/Asharq AlAwsat/February 06/15
Israel's Arabs should join forces with sane Zionists/Kobi Richter/Ynetnews/
February 06/15
Why are we surprised by ISIS’s inhuman cruelty/Salman Aldossary/aAsharq Al Awsat/February 06/15
Moaz al-Kasasbeh and ISIS’ fatal misjudgment/Abdallah Schleifer/Al Arabiya/February 06/15

Lebanese Related News published on February 06-07/15
Al-Rahi Meets Pope at Vatican, to Head Mass on St. Maroun Occasion on Monday
Bahraini FM to Salam: We Hope No One Interferes in Our Affairs
Ibrahim Visits Naqoura, Says Lebanon Committed to 1701
Lebanon professor,  Raja Fayad, killed in US university shooting
Zoaiter Family Member Killed in Clash with Army in Fanar as Man Shot Dead in Akkar
ISIS planned Bekaa Valley emirate: report
France denies drafting anti-Hezbollah resolution
ISIS planned Bekaa Valley emirate: report
23 sentenced to death over 2007 Fatah al-Islam battle
Hizbullah, Aoun Mark Anniversary of MoU: Our Memo Must Be Applied to All Political Parties
Aoun: FPM alliance with Hezbollah kept Lebanon safe
Aoun Stresses Importance of 'Understanding among All Parties' to Elect President
What's on this weekend in Beirut?
Jumblatt reveals sheltered key Cold War spy
Tensions soar after Lebanese Army shoots dead suspected Beirut drug dealer
Health Ministry discovers rotten cheese in Hamra supermarket
Lebanon professor killed in US university shooting
Lebanese celebrate removal of political banners
Asir Supporter Arrested in Sidon, IS Slogans Found on his Mobile
Fourth Basin Crisis Hanging by a Thread as Rivals Agree to Legally Block Project

Miscellaneous Reports And News published on February 06-07/15
Saudi Postpones Flogging of Blogger for 4th Week
Obama seeks more war powers against ISIS
Uruguay expels Iran diplomat over bomb scare at Israeli embassy, says media
Yemen's Shiite rebels announce takeover of government
Two-region federal state is solution to crisis: former South Yemen leader
Monitor: More than 30 ISIS militants killed in coalition raids in Syria
The brutal messaging of ISIS works
U.S. State Dept says can not confirm reports hostage killed in Syria
Jordan’s Queen Rania joins march for murdered pilot
IS claims Jordanian airstrike killed female US hostage
US Vice Presiden Biden to miss Netanyahu speech to US Congress
UN envoy ends tenure, warns Israel it is on
PA hopes for change, secretly wants Netanyahu
Israeli backpacker killed in India
Turkey’s border unlikely to close to jihadists
Government forces not responsible for Diyala village massacre: Iraqi official
Turkey pulls out of Munich conference to avoid Israeli delegation
109 Boko Haram fighters killed after attack in Niger: minister
Kerry presses Iran FM on nuke deal outline by end of March
New EU sanctions to include Russian deputy defence minister: diplomatic sources
Putin hosts Merkel, Hollande for crunch Ukraine peace talks

Jihad Watch Site Latest Reports
Islamic State fatwa points to Muhammad to justify burning pilot
Al Azhar “freely” promotes slaughter of Christians and infidels
Raymond Ibrahim: Obama Says Christianity No Different From Islamic State
Islamic State blows up Church of Immaculate Virgin
Yemen: Shi’ite Houthi rebels announce they are taking over the government and dissolving parliament
Jindal: “The Medieval Christian threat is under control, Mr. President”
UK: Yet another Muslim rape gang charged
Harvard Prof: “Islam is not the major obstacle . . . for democratization in Muslim societies”
Obama quietly reveals that he met with Muslim leaders with ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood
British Muslim who faked his own death to return to UK from jihad in Syria is jailed for 12 years
Video: Robert Spencer on Sun TV on Jordan’s response to the Islamic State
Egypt: Coptic Christian arrested for “blaspheming” against Muhammad

Al-Rahi Meets Pope at Vatican, to Head Mass on St. Maroun Occasion on Monday
Naharnet/Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi held a meeting on Friday with Pope Francis at the Vatican, the state-run National News Agency reported. Al-Rahi is expected to head a mass at 7:00 pm on Monday at the Maronite College in Rome on the occasion of Saint Maroun. The Patriarch traveled on Tuesday to the Vatican on a three-week visit to take part in the meeting of the College of the Cardinals. Al-Rahi briefed the pope on the security situation in Lebanon and the conditions of the Christians. For his part, the pope expressed to al-Rahi his solidarity with Christians in the Middle East, stressing the need for their presence in the region. Al-Rahi will reportedly meet with the Director of the Department of the Middle East and North Africa at the French Foreign Ministry, Jean-François Girault,at the Vatican. Talks are expected to focus on the presidential deadlock in Lebanon. The French diplomat concluded on Thursday a two-day visit to Lebanon as his country is seeking to press officials to end the presidential stalemate and ease the tension. Lebanon has been without a president since May when the term of Michel Suleiman ended without the election of his successor. Ongoing disputes between the rival March 8 and 14 camps have thwarted the elections. Girault recently held talks in Riyadh, Tehran, Washington and the Vatican over the presidential crisis in Lebanon. He also met with al-Mustaqbal movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri in Saudi Arabia.

Hizbullah, Aoun Mark Anniversary of MoU: Our Memo Must Be Applied to All Political Parties
Naharnet/A delegation from Hizbullah held talks on Friday with Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun to mark the ninth anniversary of the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the two sides, with the party emphasizing the importance of dialogue in easing tensions in Lebanon. Hizbullah politburo official Mahmoud Qomati said after the meeting: “The MoU between Hizbullah and the FPM should serve as an example of dialogue between all Lebanese parties.” Hizbullah and Aoun signed their memorandum of understanding in 2006 as part of their political alliance. Commenting on the dialogue between the Mustaqbal Movement and Hizbullah, Qomati remarked: “The talks are serious and they will continue.” “All participants are approaching the dialogue seriously and calmly,” he stated from Aoun's Rabieh residence. He added that the talks will emphasize the need to ease tensions in Lebanon before moving on to other articles on their agenda. “Those criticizing our dialogue with the Mustaqbal Movement are being harmed by it,” he noted. The gatherers agreed on easing political tensions in Lebanon resulting in the launch of a campaign on Thursday to remove party banners and photos from Beirut and several cities across Lebanon. Furthermore, Qomati revealed that “serious Christian dialogue will kick off soon.”He made his remark in reference to the expected talks between Aoun and his rival Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea. Asked if the Hizbullah delegation and Aoun had addressed the ongoing deadlock over the presidential elections, Qomati replied: “Our position on the presidency is clear.”“We will not abandon Aoun's presidential nomination no matter what anyone says,” he added.

Aoun Stresses Importance of 'Understanding among All Parties' to Elect President
Naharnet /Free Patriotic Movement chief MP Michel Aoun underlined Friday the importance of “understanding” among all the parties to elect a new president, noting that the FPM-Hizbullah memorandum of understanding that was signed nine years ago protected Lebanon more than once.Asked whether electing a new president needs an understanding during a phone interview on OTV, Aoun said, “Yes, a new agreement is needed among all the parties.”Earlier on Friday, a delegation from Hizbullah held talks with Aoun to mark the ninth anniversary of the signing of the MoU between the two sides, with the party emphasizing the importance of dialogue in easing tensions in Lebanon. Aoun and Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah signed the MoU on February 6, 2006 and one of its articles was that “national dialogue is the only way to find solutions for the crises that are hitting Lebanon.”The FPM leader reminded Friday that the “solidarity between the two Lebanese parties achieved major accomplishments and rescued Lebanon during security crises.” "We're relieved by the things that were achieved through the MoU with Hizbullah. Lebanon has passed through very tough junctures, and had it not been for the MoU, entire Lebanon would have been destabilized,” he added. He also said that “the events in Syria made the MoU and the solidarity between the two parties stronger.”Aoun stated his support for Hizbullah in its fight in Syria against the armed groups, even though he previously criticized it. When asked if he urges the other parties to join the MoU, Aoun replied: “I think that if they wanted to objectively discuss the results of the MoU, they can join it, because it went beyond the trust built between the two parties and exceeded its own content to a stronger and firmer one.”"If all of us have national consensus over a unified vision, Lebanon would be much stronger and the results would be better,” he added

Zoaiter Family Member Killed in Clash with Army in Fanar as Man Shot Dead in Akkar
Naharnet/A clash broke out on Friday between the army and a suspect wanted on drug dealing charges, reported the National News Agency, as a man was killed and four other were hurt, including two troops, in a shooting in Akkar. NNA said that the shootout erupted between a security patrol and Murad Zoaiter as he was being chased in al-Zoaiteriyeh neighborhood in al-Fanar. He was wounded in the clash and later transferred to Mar Youssef Hospital in Dora where he died from his injuries “despite the intense medical care he received,” added NNA. In an official statement, the army said its patrol “came under gunfire from Murad Abbas Munir Zoaiter, who is wanted on 24 arrest warrants over theft, assault and drug dealing offenses.” “The members of the patrol responded in kind,” the statement added, noting that Military Police has launched a probe into the incident. Soon after news of his death broke out, members of his clan in al-Zoaiteriyeh fired shots and rocket-propelled grenades into the air. The military arrived at the scene to contain the tensions.
Meanwhile, residents of al-Zoaiteriyeh told al-Jadeed television that they reject any clashes with the army. They deemed Zoaiter's death as an “assassination because the members of the army carried out a dirty operation, fleeing the scene without transporting him to hospital.”They accused the “gang of the army intelligence, led by Khaled Abou Ali, of killing Zoaiter,” reported al-Jadeed. “We will not remain silent and we will not receive Zoaiter's corpse before the arrest of Abou Ali,” demanded the residents.
They said that the victim was wanted on shooting offenses. Clashes have frequently erupted between the army and members of the Zoaiter family in the Zoaiteriyeh area in its pursuit of wanted suspects. Separately, NNA said gunfire erupted near an army checkpoint in the al-Sadaqa area in the northern region of Jurd Akkar. The shooting resulted in the death of B. M. and the wounding of M. S. D. and A. B. in addition to two soldiers, the agency added.

Ibrahim Visits Naqoura, Says Lebanon Committed to 1701

Naharnet/General Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim visited on Friday the headquarters of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon to extend his condolences over the death of a Spanish peacekeeper last week. Ibrahim met with UNIFIL Commander Maj. Gen. Luciano Portolano at the mission's base in the southern town of Naqoura. Lebanon is committed to Resolution 1701, he said in response to Israeli accusations that Hizbullah violated the resolution which ended the 2006 war. Portoano also expressed confidence that all sides were committed to 1701. Cpl. Francisco Javier Soria Toledo was killed last Wednesday during the Israeli military's exchange of fire with Hizbullah near the disputed Shebaa Farms area. The deadliest escalation on the frontier since the 2006 war came after Hizbullah fired missiles on Israeli army convoys, leaving two soldiers dead. Ibrahim earlier inspected the base of General Security at the Naqoura crossing. He was briefed on the work of General Security agents there.

Lebanon professor,  Raja Fayad, killed in US university shooting
The Daily Star/Feb. 06, 2015/BEIRUT: A professor believed to be from Lebanon was shot dead Thursday at the University of South Carolina in an apparent murder-suicide, local media and the coroner's office said. The State newspaper identified the victim as 45-year-old Raja Fayad, a graduate director, head of the division of applied physiology and an expert in colon cancer at the urban campus’ Arnold School of Public Health. The State quoted witnesses as saying the shootings occurred on the fourth floor of the five-story campus building along busy Assembly Street. Fayad was one of two who died in what police dubbed a murder-suicide at the Public Health Research Center on campus.The Richland County Coroner's office confirmed that Fayad had died of multiple gunshot wounds to his upper body.
It did not identify the suspected killer, but said the two had a "history together." The State said authorities late-Thursday afternoon were at a home Fayad owned in a Lexington County subdivision near Lake Murray. Neighbors said he was Lebanese and moved into the neighborhood in 2009. The report said he traveled to Lebanon each summer to visit his mother. It also said Fayad received his medical degree from Aleppo University School of Medicine in Syria. “Today, the USC family experienced a great tragedy,” president Harris Pastides said in a statement, acknowledging a murder-suicide. Residents in the neighborhood where Fayad lived came home from work Thursday to discover a half-dozen unmarked police SUVs and cars parked at the professor’s home, according to the report. It quoted Fathi Elsahli, a next door neighbor of Libyan descent, as saying he and Fayad got together occasionally over tea to chat in Arabic about “typical things neighbors talk about” as well as campus life at USC. Elsahli said he and Fayad recently spoke about a stormy relationship with a woman Fayad lived with and described as his girlfriend. The problems worsened a few weeks ago after Fayad said he moved out to be with another woman, Elsahli, a part-time USC computer science teacher, said.

France denies drafting UNSC resolution against Hezbollah
The Daily Star/Feb. 06, 2015/BEIRIUT: French Ambassador to Lebanon Patrice Paoli Friday dismissed reports that Paris was planning a U.N. Security Council draft resolution against Hezbollah. In remarks to local newspaper An-Nahar, Paoli reiterated France’s position "which calls for the protection of Lebanon's sovereignty, territorial integrity and Resolution 1701.”“There is no French conspiracy against any [political] party,” he stressed. “We are in a conspiracy for the sake of Lebanon and its stability.”Media reports had emerged Thursday claiming that France was preparing a resolution to censure Hezbollah after its attack on an Israeli military convoy last week in the occupied Shebaa Farms that killed two soldiers. The attack came in response to a Jan. 18 Israeli airstrike on a Hezbollah convoy in Syria's Golan Heights that killed six party members and an Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander.

ISIS planned Bekaa Valley emirate: report

The Daily Star/Feb. 06, 2015/BEIRUT: Confessions made by terrorism suspects in custody have revealed that jihadis were planning to create a security belt along the Lebanon-Syria border in addition to the establishment of an ISIS emirate in the Bekaa Valley, according to a local newspaper report Friday. As-Safir, citing a "well-informed" security source, said the anticipated ISIS plan included expanding inland toward the Bekaa Valley regions of Masnaa and Jdeidet Yabous. It said the Lebanese Army was equally concerned about attempts by terrorist groups to turn some Syrian refugee camps into an ISIS emirate, according to the confessions by the terrorist suspects. The report said confessions helped the Army seize several car bombs in the northeastern town of Arsal.

23 sentenced to death over 2007 Fatah al-Islam battle
Youssef Diab| The Daily Star/Feb. 06, 2015/BEIRUT: Lebanon’s Judicial Council sentenced 23 people to death Friday over their involvement in the 2007 Fatah al-Islam attacks on the Army, a judicial source said. The 23 convicts were identified as: Mahmoud Mansour, Bilal al-Khodor, Ali Mustapha, Abdel-Aziz al-Masri, Ahmad Shawat, Bilal Badr, Mohammad Qaddour, Abdel-Karim al-Batal, Mohammad Mustapha, Wafiq Aql, Youssef Khalil, Youssef Shedid, Ibrahim al-Tarman, Moussa al-Amleh, Mahmoud Basyouni, Raafat Khalil, Nader Halwani, Ahmad al-Daqs, Haitham Mustapha, Shadi Makkawi, Adel Ouwayed, Ali Ibrahim and Dahham Ibrahim. The source added that Khodor Merhi was sentenced to seven years in prison, while Fadi Ibrahim was found innocent and released from custody.
The council charged the 23 convicts with belonging to Fatah al-Islam, which is officially classified as a terrorist organization. The indictment said the group aimed to weaken the Lebanese state and create a “takfiri fundamentalist emirate in north Lebanon first, and then expand to most [other] Lebanese areas.” In 2007, Fatah al-Islam waged a full-fledged battle against the Lebanese Army in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in north Lebanon, leading to the death of 170 soldiers and 64 civilians.

Tensions soar after Lebanese Army shoots dead suspected Beirut drug dealer
The Daily Star/Feb. 06, 2015/BEIRUT: A suspected drug dealer who was wounded in an alleged shootout with security forces near Beirut Friday has died from his wounds, prompting his family to fire weapons into the air, a security source said.
Twenty-year-old Mourad Zeaiter died inside St. Joseph Hospital in Dora to where he fled after being shot by security forces in the nearby area of Fanar. But the man’s family accused Army troops of murdering him in cold blood, denying claims that he was armed.
Zeaiter’s relatives and friends, including one man who said he witnessed the incident, said that he was killed in an “assassination-like shoot-and-run” attack by Army Intelligence members known to the neighborhood’s residents.
They told TV reporters that he was eating a sandwich when the Army suddenly attacked him. They said the Army shot him four times as he tried to run up to his apartment. News of Zeaiter’s death prompted his relatives to fire guns and rocket propelled grenades into the air outside their homes in the Fanar neighborhood of Zeaitrieh. The Army responded by closing a road leading to the neighborhood and imposing strict security measures in the area. The security source said Zeaiter was driven to the hospital by unknown people after being wounded. Security forces then followed them to the hospital which was soon surrounded by Army and police to prevent members of his clan from interfering with his arrest. Although only 20 years old, security forces had several arrest warrants out for Zeaiter over crimes related to drugs, the source explained.

Israel's Arabs should join forces with sane Zionists
Kobi Richter/Ynetnews /Published: 02.06.15 / Israel Opinion
Op-ed: Arab citizens who want to live in peace and equality with Israel's Jews don’t have to become Zionist, but they can help replace the nationalistic-aggressive government with a democratic peace government. I would like to turn to Israel's Arab citizens because we share the same fate: We share the heart's desire and responsibility in the upcoming elections to turn the rule over from Benjamin Netanyahu's nationalistic-aggressive camp government to Isaac Herzog's democratic peace camp government.
In my opinion, the decision to choose the name "Zionist Camp" was not a bright one – not because I am not Zionist, but because it contains a rejection of my potential partners, Israel's Arab citizens. However, I do see this decision – and I know Herzog and Tzipi Livni thought it over before they approved it – as a mistake with good intentions. The decision assumes that the electorate whose voting patterns should be changed is the Jewish public from the center to the right, which sees Zionism as an attractive headline. This decision also contains an assumption that the shared interests between the sane Jewish camp and Israel's Arab citizens are so clear that the title of the camp's name will not separate them. I believe that Israel's Arab citizens are smart enough to understand their partnership of goals with the Zionist Camp – not because they are Zionist, but because of the interests they share with this camp. I would also recommend that Herzog include in his government ministers and deputy ministers from Israel's Arab population, who have a high expertise level in many fields such as education (Prof. Faisal Azaiza), health (Dr. Bishara Bisharat), internal affairs and social services (Zohir Bahalul), science (Prof. Hossam Haick). Zionism, as it was formulated in the minds of its fathers, does not deprive the Arabs of their rights and status. True Zionism has made it its goal to create a national home for the Jews here, alongside the Arab and in collaboration with them. Those Israeli Arab citizens who want to live in peace and equality with Israel's Jews don’t have to become Zionist, but they can cooperate with the sane Zionists.
In his book "The Founding Fathers of Zionism," Benzion Netanyahu described the Zionist doctrine of Theodor Herzl, Leon Pinsker, Max Nordau, Ze'ev Jabotinsky and Israel Zangwill. The five of them tried to create a Jewish movement for national independence; only two of them, Herzl and Jabotinsky, went as far as to describe the outcome – a mixed society of Arabs and Jews.
Jabotinsky phrased Zionism in his essay, "The Iron Wall": "Not for Jews only but for all people, and its foundation is equal rights for all the people."Herzl's hero in "The Old New Land" describes Israel together with the Arab Rashid Bey and says along with him: "My friend and I don't distinguish between people. We don’t ask a man which race or religion he belongs to. He has to be a human being, that's all as far as we're concerned." The representatives of the Hebrew Yishuv and all streams of the Zionist Movement demanded in the State of Israel's Declaration of Independence "complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex."
I ask those Arabs who are willing to advance the aspiration to replace the government to give their vote to Herzog. I ask those who find it too difficult to do so to go to the polls and vote for the Joint Arab List in order to secure an obstructive bloc. This list will be able to cooperate with a government of peace from the inside and from the outside and to raise the party vote threshold which may leave nationalistic parties out of the Knesset. This is not just a Zionist interest, but an interest shared by all of Israel's sane citizens, both Arabs and Jews, who see our joint life in two states for two people as the beginning of the solution.

Yemen's Shiite rebels announce takeover of government
News Agencies/Ynetnews /Published: 02.06.15/Israel News
Houthi rebels finalize lengthy power grab by dissolving parliament and forming presidential council, raising potential for sectarian conflict and for bolstering local al-Qaeda offshoot. Yemen's powerful Shiite rebels announced on Friday that they have taken over the country and dissolved parliament, a dramatic move that finalizes their months-long power grab. In a televised announcement from the Republican Palace in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa, the Houthi rebels said they are forming a five-member presidential council that will replace President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi for an interim two-year period.The Houthis also said that "Revolutionary Committee" would be in charge of forming a new parliament with 551 members. The committee is the security and intelligence arm of the rebel group, led by Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, relative to the Houthis' leader, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi. Some political leaders attended the announcement, which took place at the Presidential Palace. Former interior and defense ministers were also there, indicating that the announcement has the blessing of some other political factions. The statement in Sanaa, read by an unidentified announcer, claimed that it marked "a new era that will take Yemen to safe shores." It came after political parties failed to meet a Houthi-imposed deadline on Wednesday to agree on an acceptable way forward. The development also plunges the impoverished country deeper into turmoil and threatens to turn the crisis into a full-blown sectarian conflict, pitting the Iran-backed Houthi Shiites against Sunni tribesmen and secessionists in the south.
It could also play into the hands of Yemen's al-Qaeda branch, the world's most dangerous offshoot of the terror group, and jeopardize the US counter-terrorism operations in the country. The Shi'ite Muslim movement, which is backed by Iran, had set a Wednesday deadline for political factions to agree a way out of the crisis, otherwise, the group said, it would impose its own solution. Yemen has been in political limbo since President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the government of Prime Minister Khaled Bahah resigned after the Houthis seized the presidential palace and confined the head of state to his residence in a struggle to tighten control. Yemen's stability is particularly important to neighboring Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter. The Arabian Peninsula country is also fighting one of the most formidable branches of al Qaeda with the help of US drone strikes. The announcement did not give a timetable for elections and gave no indication on the fate of Hadi.

IS claims Jordanian airstrike killed female US hostage
AP/Ynetnews /Published: 02.06.15/ Israel News /White House has not confirmed report that hostage died during Jordanian strike in Syria, while Jordan says it is skeptical. A statement attributed to the Islamic State group claimed an American female hostage was killed in a Jordanian airstrike on Friday on the outskirts of the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, the extremist group's main stronghold. The statement identified the woman as Kayla Jean Mueller and said she was killed during Muslim prayers -- which usually take place around midday on Fridays -- in airstrikes that targeted "the same location for more than an hour."No Islamic State militants were killed in the airstrikes, the statement further claimed.It published photos allegedly of the bombed site, showing a severely damaged brown colored three-story building -- but no images of the woman. The White House said it could not confirm the reports. "We are obviously deeply concerned by these reports. We have not at this time seen any evidence that corroborates ISIL's claim," said Bernadette Meehan, spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council, in a statement. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said: "I cannot confirm those reports in any way. Obviously people are looking into them, but cannot confirm them." When asked if she knew if the hostage was alive, Harf said: "We're just not going to get into specifics about Americans being held overseas."
The IS statement could not be independently verified. It appeared on a militant website commonly used by IS and was also distributed by IS-affiliated Twitter users. Jordan said it was highly skeptical about claims by Islamic State that an American woman held hostage by the militants in Syria had been killed in a bombing raid by Jordanian fighter jets. "We are looking into it but our first reacion is that we think it is illogical and we are highly skeptical about it... It's part of their criminal propaganda," government spokesman Mohammad Momani said.
"How could they identify Jordanian war planes from a huge distance in the sky? What would an American woman be doing in a weapons warehouse?" he added. Mueller, of Prescott, Arizona, had been working in Turkey assisting Syrian refugees, according to a 2013 article in The Daily Courier, her hometown newspaper. The 26-year-old told the paper that she was drawn to help with the situation in Syria. "For as long as I live, I will not let this suffering be normal," she said. "It's important to stop and realize what we have, why we have it and how privileged we are. And from that place, start caring and get a lot done."According to the local paper, Mueller had been working with the humanitarian aid agency Support to Life, as well as a local NGO that helped female Syrian refugees develop skills.
A 2007 article about Mueller from the same local newspaper said she was a student at Northern Arizona University and was active in the Save Darfur Coalition.
On Sunday, President Barack Obama said the US was "deploying all the assets that we can" to find Mueller.
"We are in very close contact with the family trying to keep them updated," he said in an interview with NBC's Today Show. "Obviously this is something that is heart-breaking for the family and we want to make sure we do anything we can to make sure that any American citizen is rescued from this situation." Her identity had not been disclosed out of fears for her safety. If her death is confirmed, she would be the fourth American to die while in the captivity of the Islamic State militants. Three other Americans, journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and aid worker Peter Kassig were beheaded by the group. Jordan, which is part of a US-led coalition bombing Islamic State group targets in Syria, stepped up its attacks after IS announced it had killed a captive Jordanian pilot. The Syrian government said Thursday that dozens of Jordanian fighter jets had bombed Islamic State training centers and weapons storage sites. It did not say where the attacks occurred. There was no word from the Jordanian government on whether its planes had struck Raqqa on Friday. But activists who monitor the Syrian conflict from inside the country said US-led coalition planes hit several targets on the edges and outskirts of Raqqa, in quick succession on Friday.

US Vice Presiden Biden to miss Netanyahu speech to US Congress
Ynetnews/Associated Press /Published: 02.06.15/ Israel News
US Vice President's office announces he will not attend PM's address on March 3 because he will be abroad, but refrains from specifying his destination. US Vice President Joe Biden will miss Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's address to a joint meeting of Congress, his office said on Friday.  Biden's office said he will be traveling abroad. Netanyahu's speech has angered the White House, which has had a tense relationship with the prime minister. Congressional Republican leaders coordinated the speech with the Israelis but did not consult with the Obama administration. The White House says that's a breach of diplomatic protocol. It was unclear where Biden would be traveling. His office says the trip was in the works before Netanyahu's March 3 speech was announced.
As president of the Senate, the vice president typically attends joint meetings of Congress. The White House has said Biden missed one previous session in 2011 before of foreign travel. Last week, US House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi suggested the speech could damage the Obama administration's attempts to broker a deal with Iran on nuclear weapons development,. "Such a presentation could send the wrong message in terms of giving diplomacy a chance," she said. On Thursday, Pelosi said she was seriously considering attending the speech, but hoped it would not take place. "I'm seriously considering going. As of now, it is my intention to go. It is still my hope that the event will not take place. There's serious unease," she told reporters. Also on Thursday, three prominent House Democrats vowed to skip the speech to Congress, saying they disapproved of House Speaker John Boehner's decision to invite the Israeli leader without consulting President Barack Obama.  Reps. John Lewis of Georgia, G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina and Earl Blumenauer of Oregon said they would not attend.  On Wednesday, Ron Dermer, Israel's ambassador to the United States, met privately with seven Jewish Democrats to discuss the planned speech, and participants said some of the lawmakers urged the prime minister to postpone the speech or hold it somewhere other than Congress.

Uruguay expels Iran diplomat over bomb scare at Israeli embassy, says media
Ynetnews/AFP/Published: 02.06.15/Israel News
Evidence allegedly links Iranian to fake explosive device; bomb squad leader says it may have been rehearsal for bona fide attack. Uruguay has expelled a senior Iranian diplomat over last month's planting of a dummy bomb near Israel's embassy in Montevideo, Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Friday. Citing an unidentified "senior official in Jerusalem", it said the diplomat was expelled two weeks ago and although Uruguayan officials briefed Israel on the move they made no public announcement. "Investigations carried out by Uruguay’s intelligence services after the discovery of the device yielded information pointing to a possible involvement of someone at the Iranian embassy," Haaretz's diplomatic correspondent wrote. "The Uruguayan government turned to Iran’s government for information and after consultations between the two, it was decided to expel one of the senior diplomats at Iran’s embassy." Israel's foreign ministry declined to confirm or deny the report. "I am aware of it but I have nothing to add," a spokesman told AFP. On January 8, Montevideo bomb squad officers detonated what turned out to be a fake bomb near the Israeli embassy, located in the World Trade Centre office complex in the city. The convincing-looking fake -- complete with fuse, detonator and other elements found in a real bomb -- was detected some 70 metres (230 feet) from the building by bomb-sniffing dogs. After destroying the device, bomb squad Lieutenant Colonel Alfredo Larramendi told reporters that it "never posed any danger" but might have been part of a dress rehearsal for the real thing.
"It might have been put there to see the response time" of responders, or to size up the quality of the security of Israel's embassy," Larramendi said. Israel has long accused Iran of sponsoring attacks against it around the world, using Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas as proxies. "Iran and Hezbollah have a well-established terrorist infrastructure in South America, based on Shiite Lebanese migrants," Haaretz wrote. In 2013, Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman accused Iran of opening secret intelligence stations in several South American countries to plan and conduct terror attacks. Nisman was found dead in his apartment with a gunshot wound to the head last month on the eve of a congressional hearing at which he was expected to accuse President Cristina Kirchner of covering up Iranian involvement in a 1994 bombing at a Buenos Aires Jewish centre. The bombing killed 85 people and wounded 300, the deadliest such attack in Argentina's history.

Why are we surprised by ISIS’s inhuman cruelty?
Salman Aldossary/aAsharq Al Awsat
Friday 06 Feb, 2015
It is as if we have suddenly woken up to the brutality and barbarism of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). As if, prior to this, we expected ISIS to reduce the level of its aggressiveness. As if the burning alive of Jordanian pilot Muadh Al-Kasasbeh by ISIS contradicts the writings and ethics of this terrorist group. It is not the brutality and barbarism of ISIS that is astonishing and surprising; rather it is the fact that we ever believed that the terrorist group would cease to shock us with its unreasonable and illogical crimes.
The story of ISIS, in short, is one of a group that has shown limitless immorality, sadism and brutality in its dealings with everybody. Even its own members, when they show any signs of dissent, are slaughtered. The burning alive of the Jordanian pilot Muadh Al-Kasasbeh is one more link in a chain of acts by ISIS that contradict human nature. Nevertheless, some continue to turn a blind eye to this under the pretext that the group is fighting kuffar (infidels) or rafidaa (so-called Shi’ite “rejectionists”), or is defending “vulnerable Sunnis”.
They enslaved, raped and stoned women to death and slaughtered men in a manner endorsed by no religion. Hundreds of tragic accounts and recordings documenting ISIS crimes have been published on social networking sites. This glorifying of their crimes is just another example of how this group’s terrorist acts have no limit. Those who think silence, neutrality or implicit sympathy will protect them from ISIS’s evil are destined to be burnt by its fire and become victims of its terrorism.
Looking at the regional and international stances towards terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria, such as Al-Qaeda, the Al-Nusra Front, ISIS and dozens of others who share similar ideologies—albeit with different details—it is clear that some are adapting their own positions and responses based on their own interests. For instance, the West did not move to take any action until it saw, with its own eyes, how its interests were being harmed as terrorist groups spread beyond the territory they had previously been confined to. Other governments are still hesitant to get involved in the fight against terrorism, believing that they are exercising political pragmatism. In fact, some governments have even opened back-channels with these groups, oblivious to the fact that, sooner or later, they will be burnt by the fire that they are playing with. Moreover, their current approach eliminates any room to fully extinguish this fire. When Saudi Arabia launched a relentless war on Al-Qaeda extremists, the international response were superficial: “It is a Saudi war; it is nothing to do with us.” When the Kingdom warned that allowing Bashar Al-Assad’s government to remain in power and failing to arm moderate Syrian rebels would allow terrorist groups to grow and develop and threaten the region, the world turned a deaf ear until this became a fait accompli. When the international community finally decided to launch an international coalition against terrorism, Saudi Arabia once more emphasized that defeating ISIS must be linked to strengthening the forces of moderation, represented by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) as well as other moderate rebel factions, while not forgetting the need for boots on the ground. The world will procrastinate and delay, as usual, before deciding to truly confront the forces of evil on the ground, rather than just from the skies.
One Saudi preacher joined ISIS before breaking ranks with the terrorist group and turning himself in to the Kingdom’s authorities. He subsequently appeared on television to reveal that ISIS has claimed that all Saudis are infidels. ISIS has called on all Saudi nationals to “migrate to the land of Islam,” in reference to the group’s so-called Islamic emirate. So, are we still surprised by ISIS and their new religion? Can people in the West truly believe that ISIS has any relation to true Islam and true Muslims?
If the Kharijites (a 7th century faction of Muslims who rejected the caliphates of both Ali Ibn Abi Talib and the rival caliphate of Muawiyah I) were still around to witness ISIS’s barbarism, they would say: “They are the true kharijites (meaning ‘those who went out’), not us.”

Iran must confront its past to move forwards
Amir Taheri/Asharq AlAwsat/Friday, 6 Feb, 2015
Over the past week the Iranian authorities have marked the 36th anniversary of the Khomeinist revolution by deploying the heaviest propaganda artillery at their disposal. The official narrative is that Iran, under its “Supreme Guide,” has the most perfect political and economic system known to mankind since the advent of Islam fifteen centuries ago. The only problem, official propaganda claims, is that “vicious powers” are trying to undermine the Islamic Republic by fomenting internal dissent combined with economic and diplomatic sanctions.
However, while cymbals of self-congratulation are crashed, voices could also be heard demanding a realistic assessment of the past decades. Nations that have experienced a revolution have often used the entry into the fourth decade of the new regime as a good point to take stock. In most cultures three decades is regarded as the lifespan of a generation, a vantage point from which a new generation can examine the record of the preceding one. That self-examination, or self-criticism as Marxists have it, is not aimed at settling past scores with players who have either died or faded into oblivion. The aim is to achieve a better understanding of an experience that, because of its very nature, included tragic aspects. A revolution’s self-criticism does not always come in the same manner. Nor does it produce identical results. In the case of the French Revolution the Thermidor episode just two years into the new era proved to be just a flash in the pan. France had to wait until the July Monarchy in 1830 to conduct the genuine self-criticism it needed. In Russia, the exercise took the shape of the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) in 1956, in which Nikita Khrushchev exposed Stalin’s “personality cult” and announced measures to undo some of the worst atrocities committed in the name of the revolution. Thanks to de-Stalinization millions of people, including whole nations such as Chechens and Crimean Tatars, were allowed to return home after years of exile in Central Asia and Siberia.
In Communist China, the break came in the plenum of the party’s Central Committee in July 1972. There, the blame for all that had gone wrong, including crimes committed in the name of revolution, was put on Lin Biao who had conveniently died, or been liquidated, in an air crash. By admitting the folly of such policies as the Great Leap Forward and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, the party opted for de-Maoization while keeping Mao Zedong, the chief architect of the tragedy nominally in place. Cuba had a similar experience in 1980 when the ruling Communist Party conducted its own version of de-Stalinization without jettisoning Fidel Castro, the man most responsible for the tragic mistakes of the regime. However, the “correction” enabled Cuba to disentangle itself from wars “to export revolution” to Latin America, Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. It provided a slight opening of the political space by recognizing the right of other parties to exist, though not to govern. It also ended the wave of executions that had marked the new regime since 1959.
Does Iran need its version of de-Stalinization? Many Iranians, including some within the regime, say “yes,” at least in private. Instead of burying its head in the sand of self-delusion, Iran would do well to carry out a serious examination of the past three decades, a move that could be labelled de-Khomeinization.
A decade ago, some had hoped that newly-elected President Muhammad Khatami would trigger such a process. He did not. His successor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad toyed with the idea but never went beyond rhetorical pirouettes. Both men lacked the courage to tackle the demons of the past. Though he lacks the stature and the charisma of Khatami and Ahmadinejad, the current president, Hassan Rouhani, faces the same challenge. If he leads a process of de-Khomeinization he might succeed. If he does not he will fail as his predecessors did.
In Iran, no-one can ignore the tragic record of the revolution. Over the past three decades some six million Iranians have fled their homeland. The Iran-Iraq war claimed almost a million lives on both sides. During the first four years of the Khomeinist regime alone 22,000 people were executed, according to Amnesty International. Since then, the number of executions has topped 80,000. More than five million people have spent some time in prison, often on trumped-up charges. In terms of purchasing power parity, the average Iranian today is poorer than he was before the revolution.
De-Khomeinization does not mean holding the late ayatollah solely responsible for all that Iran has suffered just as Robespierre, Stalin, Mao, and Fidel Castro shared the blame with others in their respective countries. However, there is ample evidence that Khomeini was the principal source of the key decisions that led to tragedy. He triggered the wave of executions with little or no trial, often in writing as testified by the late Ayatollahs Sadeq Khalkhali, the Iranian version of Fouquier-Tinville, France’s Judge Blood.
Khomeini’s erstwhile successor and later adversary, Ayatollah Montazeri, has also released documents showing that the self-styled Imam was responsible for triggering the eight-year war with Iraq and the seizure of American diplomats as hostages. It was also Khomeini who insisted that a draft constitution be re-written to enshrine absolute rule by a mullah, meaning himself. Memoirs and interviews and articles by dozens of Khomeini’s former associates—including former Presidents Abol-Hassan Banisadr and Hashemi Rafsanjani and former Premier Mehdi Bazargan—make it clear that he was personally responsible for some of the new regime’s worst excesses. These include the disbanding of the national army, the repression of the traditional Shi’ite clergy, and the creation of an atmosphere of terror, with targeted assassinations at home and abroad. Khomeini has become a symbol of what went wrong with Iran’s wayward revolution. De-Khomeinization might not spell the end of Iran’s miseries just as de-Stalinization and de-Maoization initially produced only minimal results. However, no nation can plan its future without coming to terms with its past.

Moaz al-Kasasbeh and ISIS’ fatal misjudgment
Abdallah Schleifer/Al Arabiya
Friday, 6 February 2015
The turnaround is extraordinary.
I have only been in Amman for little more than two weeks, but it was very clear that there was a strong current of Jordanian public opinion opposed to Jordanian participation in Coalition air attacks against ISIS. That critical current had apparently been simmering here in Jordan for weeks in the wake of ISIS taking the Royal Jordanian Air Force pilot Lt. Moaz al-Kasasbeh prisoner when his jet crashed in Syria. It was a sentiment that had surfaced in public expression and escalated in recent days, as ISIS cynically offered to spare an already dead Kasasbeh’s life and free a Japanese hostage it would eventually behead in exchange for Jordan releasing a would-be Iraqi suicide bomber. Since that video’s release, Safi al-Kasasbeh has demanded that Jordan “annihilate ISIS” - a demand echoed by the thousands of Jordanians Then the 22-minute ISIS video of al-Kasasbeh being set on fire and burnt to death turned everything around. The most powerful symbol of that turnaround is Moaz’s father, Safi Kasasbeh. Only a week ago Safi not only called upon the Jordanian government to give ISIS whatever was necessary to secure the release of his son, but he openly challenged Jordanian participation in the Coalition. According to Safi, Jordan and its air force had no business fighting in a war that did not concern it, one that was being waged beyond its borders.
Then ISIS released its video, confirming Jordanian Intelligence’s unpublicized concern that Moaz might already be dead. That is why all last week the Jordanian authorities had kept demanding - with ISIS failing to respond – that proof be provided before any prisoner exchange could take place.
A father's demand
Since that video’s release, Safi al-Kasasbeh has demanded that Jordan “annihilate ISIS” a demand echoed by the thousands of Jordanians who turned out to cheer King Abdallah II upon his return to Jordan from the U.S. The king has pledged to wage a relentless war against ISIS. Safi al-Kasasbeh’s demand was also echoed by government and army spokesmen who promised that “Jordan’s wrath would devastate ISIS’s ranks.”
Of course Jordan is not alone in its horror and anger. Every faction in the Syrian civil war has condemned the killing; in Egypt the Sheikh al-Azhar Ahmed el-Tayyeb has called for the destruction of ISIS and both the Muslim Brotherhood and its supreme enemy – the Egyptian government - have denounced this particularly cruel and painful murder of a prisoner of war. But in Jordan there are immediate political and military implications in this massive reaction. Here even the most vocal critics of the king have either rallied to his side or have, at the very least, kept silent. There are reports that the Royal Jordanian Air Force has already intensified its air strikes against ISIS and everyone is expecting a still more spectacular military response.
Iraqi militants executed
The day before yesterday, in the early hours of the morning, two al-Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQM) Iraqi militants were executed at a Jordanian prison some 50 kilometers south of Amman, one of whom -Sajida al-Rishawi - was the object of ISISs bargaining. Rishawi was part of an AQM suicide-bomber team responsible for deadly attacks against three Jordanian hotels in 2005. She survived because her explosives vest malfunctioned. The other prisoner executed here, Ziad al-Karbouli, was one of the planners of that attack though he had been sentenced in 2008 for murdering a Jordanian national. Both had been sentenced to death by Jordanian courts but had been spared by a moratorium on the death penalty that was lifted only last December. So the executions were entirely legal and not, as hinted at by some foreign news organizations, arbitrary revenge killings. No one here has suggested that their execution had in any way avenged Moaz’s murder and no one here has expressed this in stronger terms that Moaz’s father.
Of course ISIS is no more barbaric now than it was a week ago. ISIS fighters hold portions of the long Iraqi border with Jordan, and one would think it would be obvious to anyone that had ISIS managed to overrun all or nearly all of Iraq, it would have moved its forces against Jordan. But somehow that was simply too abstract an understanding for many Jordanians. Some of those many Jordanians may have harbored a cautious sympathy for ISIS for this is a country where the Muslim Brotherhood is active and Salafist sentiment has been growing. The brutal fiery death of Moaz al-Kasasbeh has changed all of that.