LCCC ENGLISH DAILY
Bible Quotation for today/Duties to Parents
Sirach (Apocrypha), chapter 03/01-16: "Children, listen to me; I
am your father. Do what I tell you and you will be safe, for the Lord
has given fathers authority over their children and given children the
obligation to obey their mothers. If you respect your father, you can
make up for your sins, and if you honor your mother, you are earning
great wealth. If you respect your father, one day your own children
will make you happy; the Lord will hear your prayers. If you obey the
Lord by honoring your father and making your mother happy, you will live
a long life. Obey your parents as if you were their slave. Honor your
father in everything you do and say, so that you may receive his
blessing. When parents give their blessing, they give strength to their
children's homes, but when they curse their children, they destroy the
very foundations. Never seek honor for yourself at your father's
expense; it is not to your credit if he is dishonored. Your own honor
comes from the respect that you show to your father. If children do not
honor their mothers, it is their own disgrace. My child, take care of
your father when he grows old; give him no cause for worry as long as he
lives. Be sympathetic even if his mind fails him; don't look down on him
just because you are strong and healthy. The Lord will not forget the
kindness you show to your father; it will help you make up for your
sins. When you are in trouble, the Lord will remember your kindness and
will help you; your sins will melt away like frost in warm sunshine.
Those who abandon their parents or give them cause for anger may as well
be cursing the Lord; they are already under the Lord's curse.
A New Jihadist Massacre Targets Paris
Elias Bejjani/January 07/15
A new barbaric, savage and so called Jihadist massacre targeted today
civilians and security forces in Paris-France. Sadly numerous civilians,
security men and journalist were among the innocent victim; 12 dead and
many injured. This new bloody crime compromises all the elements of
cruelty, rooted education of hatred and evilness. The jihadist derailed
ideology that is the entire motive behind this recent bloody massacre
once again proves that it is completely void of all that is humanity and
respect for human beings. We strongly believe that all sorts of rhetoric
condemnation are useless, meaningless and irrelevant. Sadly world-wide
states, rulers and politicians are not yet facing the so called jihadist
terrorism effectively because they are not speaking the right language
that these criminals comprehend and understand. Unless the language of
force and deterrence is put in action the Jihadist terrorism is going to
remain a dire threat for the whole world. We genuinely pray for the
quick recovery of all the injured, the eternal rest of the victims and
conciliation for the bereaved families of the deceased
Latest analysis, editorials from miscellaneous sources published on January
Should Palestinian funds have been frozen/Nechama Duek and Yifat
The strategic failure of Operation Protective Edge/Alex
The Brotherhood’s Golden Opportunity/Hamad Al-Majid /Asharq Al
On the German protests against Islam/Abdulrahman
al-Rashed /Al Arabiya/January 07/15
UCLA's Embarrassment: Prof. Abou El Fadl/Daniel
Lebanese Related News published on January 07-08/15
Snow In Lebanon Hits Areas 400 Meters Above Sea Level, Schools to Close for
a 2nd Day
Geagea Says Dialogue with Aoun Serious, Difficult: Hizbullah Engaged Lebanon
Hizbullah Supports Dialogue between Rivals, Says Talks with Mustaqbal
Lebanon Condemns Assault on Charlie Hebdo, Considering it 'Attack on Islam'
Lebanon presidential election postponed to Jan. 28
Mustaqbal Welcomes Dialogue 'Among All Parties', Backs Refugee Measures
Three dead as winter storm batters Lebanon
Geagea, Aoun to stick to presidential race: LF official
Armenian church head decries Christian persecution in the Middle East
Violent storm disrupts Beirut flights, schools ordered shut
Machnouk urges patience over Naameh dump delays
'Zina' causes storm over condition of Jbeil harbor
Beirut flights get Cyprus detour, courtesy of 'Zina'
Storm causes hypothermia among refugee children
Mamma ‘Mia!’ Lebanon porn star shocks Mideast
Lebanon's fuel prices keep dropping
Damage, power outages due to storm: EDL
Berri: Second Hizbullah-Mustaqbal Dialogue Session 'More than Positive'
Mustaqbal Welcomes Dialogue 'Among All Parties', Backs Refugee Measures
Miscellaneous Reports And News published on January 07-08/15
World Leaders, Media Groups Condemn 'Barbaric' Paris Attack
Arab League, Al-Azhar, Qatar Condemn Paris Attack
Young mother let terrorists into Charlie Hebdo building after threat against
Islamist gunmen feared hunting more targets after massacring 12 people at
At least 12 dead in Paris after attack on satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo
Charb among those killed in Paris attack
Iran nuclear talks with six powers to resume Jan. 18 in Geneva
PM pledges to liberate Iraq as ISIS launch major Anbar assault
suicide bomber attacks Istanbul tourist hub, kills policeman
Hamas denies Israeli claim that Qatar expelled group leader
EU criticizes Israel on Palestinian tax freeze
Egypt police officer killed in Cairo bomb blast
Boko Haram leader threatens Cameroon
Report: Saudis behind attack along Iraq border
UN chief says Palestinians to join ICC in April
France warns Palestinians over UN bid
Hamas leader will remain in Doha, suspend activities: group official
Suicide bomber kills at least 30 at Yemen police enrollment
German govt websites, including Merkel's page, attacked: spokesman
Phone footage captures death of Cairo bomb squad officer
Syria rebel training could start in early spring
Banned Marxist group claims Istanbul suicide attack
Iran Condemns French Weekly Attack but Criticizes Cartoons
Netanyahu Urges Unity to Fight 'Scourge' of Radical Islam
Jihad Watch Site Latest Posts
MSNBC: “We have to respect Islam”
One Charlie Hebdo jihad murderer dead, two in custody
CNN, NBC won’t show Charlie Hebdo Muhammad cartoons
MSNBC: Falwell suing Hustler same as Charlie Hebdo jihad massacre
CNN policy: Charlie Hebdo Muhammad cartoons forbidden, “Piss Christ” okay
Howard Dean on the Charlie Hebdo murderers: “I stopped calling these people
Muslim terrorists. They’re about as Muslim as I am.”
New York Times: “What What We Don’t Know: The reason Charlie Hebdo was
Charlie Hebdo jihad mass murderers identified; two of the three were born in
Financial Times calls for Sharia self-censorship: “Some common sense would
be useful at publications such as Charlie Hebdo”
Variety: “Charlie Hebdo carnage will likely fuel the racism and anti-Islam
sentiment which has been on the rise in France”
Telegraph: “Charlie Hebdo attacks: Anti-Islam parties are now on the march
Hamas-linked terror org CAIR condemns Charlie Hebdo jihad murders, claims to
support free speech
Witness: Charlie Hebdo jihad murderers said, “We are al-Qaeda, Yemen” and
screamed “Allah is with us”
Video: Jihad murderers screamed “Allahu akbar” as they murdered Charlie
New York Daily News pixelates Muhammad cartoon in story about Charlie Hebdo
Video: Islamic jihad massacre at Charlie Hebdo in Paris
UK’s Telegraph headline on Charlie Hebdo jihad massacre story: “France faces
rising tide of Islamophobia”
With Charlie Hebdo jihad murderers still at large, car bomb goes off at
synagogue in Paris
After Charlie Hebdo jihad massacre, it is time to stand for free speech
We have avenged Muhammad”: Muslims murder 12 at French satirical mag
Leaders, Media Groups Condemn 'Barbaric' Paris Attack
Naharnet/U.S. President Barack Obama led global condemnation of the shooting
at a French magazine on Wednesday which left 12 people dead, with world
leaders and media groups branding it an act of terror and an attack on free
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and Queen Elizabeth II also offered their
sympathy, after masked men armed with Kalashnikov automatic rifles opened
fire at the offices of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris.
French President Francois Hollande condemned as a "terrorist attack" the
massacre at the publication, which has been in confrontation for years with
Islamists who accused it of attacking their religion.
The Committee to Protect Journalists said the shooting was a "brazen assault
on free expression in the heart of Europe", while Reporters Without Borders
called it a "black day."
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this terrorist attack and
the people of France at this difficult time," Obama said.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry later addressed the people of France in
French, saying: "All Americans stand by your side."
United Nations chief Ban said: "It was a horrendous, unjustifiable and
cold-blooded crime. It was also a direct assault on a cornerstone of
democracy, on the media and on freedom of expression."
He added: "This horrific attack is meant to divide. We must not fall into
British Prime Minister David Cameron condemned the shooting as "sickening"
and "barbaric", while German Chancellor Angela Merkel called it
"despicable", sentiments reflected across European capitals.
In a rare statement on international events, Queen Elizabeth also offered
her "sincere condolences" to the families of those killed and to the
survivors of the attack.
In Canada, where young radical Muslims staged two attacks that left two
soldiers dead, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he was "horrified."The
gunmen were heard to shout "we have avenged the prophet" and "Allahu akbar"
("God is greatest"), according to French police. Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam's
most prestigious center of learning, called the attack "criminal" and said
"Islam denounces any violence," while the Arab League also condemned the
The foreign ministry of Qatar, which is accused of backing radical Islamic
groups, added: "Such acts that target unarmed civilians contradict all
principles and moral and human values."
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said his country condemned all
forms of "terror", but said terrorism and increasing Islamophobia in Europe
were "interconnected.""We must fight against increasing racism, xenophobia
and Islamophobia in Europe which threaten all our values. We must also fight
against any form of terrorism," he said. Salman Rushdie, the British-Indian
writer who was forced into hiding after Iran issued a death sentence on him
for allegedly insulting Islam, hailed Charlie Hebdo's style.
"I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire,
which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty
and stupidity," he said.
"'Respect for religion has become a code phrase meaning 'fear of religion'.
Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire, and, yes, our
fearless disrespect." Media rights groups also condemned the attack. "The
scale of the violence is appalling," said Robert Mahoney, deputy director of
the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists. "Journalists must now
stand together to send the message that such murderous attempts to silence
us will not stand." Christophe Deloire, secretary general of Reporters
Without Borders, said: "A newsroom attack with machine guns is a type of
violence we witness in Iraq, Somalia or Pakistan. "This terrorist attack
marks a black day in the history of France." Stephan Oberreit, director of
Amnesty International France, added: "It is an atrocity that sought to kill
journalists, suppress freedom of expression and sow fear."Security was
reportedly stepped up Wednesday at the Danish newspaper that provoked angry
and sometimes deadly protests worldwide by publishing a series of cartoons
of the Prophet Mohammed in 2005. Charlie Hebdo had reprinted the cartoons in
2006. "Completely defenseless and innocent people became the victims of what
appears to be an attack on free speech," said Denmark's Prime Minister Helle
"The French society, like ours, is open, democratic and based on a free and
critical press. Those are values that are deeply rooted in all of us, and
which we shall protect."Agence France Presse
Snow In Lebanon Hits Areas 400 Meters
Above Sea Level, Schools to Close for a 2nd Day
Storm Zina brought snow to areas that are located only 400 meters above sea
level, as it continued to batter Lebanon for a second day on Wednesday.
The ferocity of the storm prompted Education Minister Elias Bou Saab to order
the closure of all public, private and vocational schools on Thursday. The
minister urged all institutions to abide by the decision.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Wael Abou Faour ordered the closure of nurseries on
Thursday after they were also closed on Wednesday.
Snow started falling on towns near the Lebanese coast in the afternoon, reaching
areas located 350-400 meters above sea level, such as Mazboud, al-Mghayriyeh,
Ketermaya, Barja and Joun, as a wave of cold and frost engulfed the region.
Snow also covered most towns in the southern region of Marjeyoun starting 600
meters above sea level. Thickness reached around 10 centimeters in Jdeidet
Marjeyoun but the road remained passable.
In Mount Lebanon, the storm cut off most of the mountainous roads in the Chouf
region, with snow reaching areas 800 meters above sea level.
All activity ground to a halt in the northern region of Bsharri, amid a closure
of schools, institutions and shops and a power outage that had started on
The nearby region of Zgharta meanwhile witnessed heavy hail, violent winds and
The rain caused a rise in the water level of River Rashiin, whose color turned
into dark brown due to flashfloods and mud.
Also in the north, overflowing water from the stream of the Azqi town invaded
olive and citrus groves in the Dinniyeh region.
At the governmental level, Prime Minister Tammam Salam presided over an
extraordinary meeting for the so-called National Committee for Confronting
Disasters and Crises.
The premier gave directions to the committee and all ministries and
administrations to “mobilize all their departments and call in employees to
their work locations, or the nearest center they can reach, to maintain normal
operations, especially at vital facilities.”
Salam also stressed the need to “take care of the Syrian refugee encampments and
provide them with the necessary help to confront the storm's damage and
repercussions.”The storm battered coastal towns as major roads leading to the
mountains were covered with layers of snow, leaving some vehicles stranded.
As temperatures began to drop, people flooded supermarkets, stocking up on food.
Weather forecasts said that the storm would last until Thursday and temperatures
would plunge to a new low over the weekend. Several roads were closed by the
Internal Security Forces on Wednesday as others remained open for SUVs and cars
equipped with snow chains. The state-run National News Agency reported that snow
covered for the first time As Safira area in Dinniyeh as hail fall continued
until Wednesday morning.
All schools closed across the country, at the instructions of Minister Bou Saab.
The Civil Defense advised citizens not to take mountainous roads except in cases
The director general of the Civil Defense Department, Brig. Gen. Raymond Khattar,
said that several cars were pulled in the north, Mount Lebanon and the south,
warning of choking cases due to home heating. Red Cross Operations Director
George Kettaneh revealed that several rescue operations were carried out across
Public Works Ministry bulldozers also worked on reopening roads covered with
Wind and rain caused delays at Beirut's airport Tuesday night and the country's
ports had been closed as winds of up to 110 km/hr caused waves more than 5
Media reports said that around 30 sheep were killed Wednesday when a
thunderstorm hit a farm in Zgharta.
A Syrian man and a six-year-old boy died in the cold in the southern region of
Shebaa. "We have transported the bodies of two Syrians, a man and a six-year-old
boy, who were found dead in Ain al-Joz in the mountains of Shebaa," a Red Cross
source told Agence France Presse. State-run National News Agency reported a
third person had died in the mountains apparently of exposure, but there was no
immediate confirmation as a Red Cross source said heavy snow was hampering
search operations. A security source said the dead were Syrian refugees and had
been crossing the mountainous border between Syria and Lebanon in the early
hours of Wednesday morning.
The cold weather also caused the death of 15,000 chickens in two farms owned by
Walid Qassem in the town of Amar al-Beykat, NNA reported.
Lebanon presidential election postponed to Jan. 28
Jan. 07, 2015/The Daily Star/BEIRUT: Speaker Nabih Berri Wednesday postponed
Lebanon's presidential election to Jan. 28 after legislators failed for a 17th
time to elect a new head of state amid lack of consensus. The scene at
Parliament was the same as the previous 16 attempts, with a lack of quorum
prompting Berri to postpone the vote. Only 47 lawmakers from Berri’s
parliamentary bloc and the Future Movement-led March 14 coalition showed up for
Wednesday’s session. MPs from the Hezbollah-led March 8 have boycotted the
election sessions due to lack of consensus on a presidential candidate. Quorum
was met during the first legislative session to elect a president in April, but
no candidate received enough votes to win. Seven months after the end of former
President Michel Sleiman's term, Lebanon's parliamentary blocs have repeatedly
failed to elect a new head of state. Meanwhile, the Council of Maronite Bishops
renewed concerns over the future of Lebanon amid the ongoing presidential
vacuum. “Lebanon’s future is not promising if the country continues to be a
hostage to regional axes and internal [axes] arising there from and the ongoing
disruption of the presidential election,” the bishops said in a statement at the
end of their monthly meeting Wednesday. They urged MPs to carry out their
constitutional duties over the presidential election. “The longer the
[presidential] void, the more Lebanon is exposed both internally and
externally,” the bishops warned. In turn, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea
held lawmakers boycotting the voting session responsible for the paralysis in
the country. “Authority remains incomplete without a head of state,” Geagea said
at a news conference from his headquarters in Maarab, north of Beirut.
“The easiest solution would be for MPs to go to Parliament and elect a
president,” he said. “This would be a Lebanon-made solution.”
Geagea Says Dialogue with Aoun
Serious, Difficult: Hizbullah Engaged Lebanon in Turmoil
Naharnet /Lebanese Forces chief confirmed on Wednesday that talks with the Free
Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun are serious, pointing that Hizbullah's
involvement in the war raging in the neighboring country Syria has engaged
Lebanon in turmoil.
“Dialogue between us and the FPM is very serious but the matter is not that
easy. We have been at loggerheads for 30 years and it was not for simple or
ridiculous reasons,” said Geagea in a press conference at Maarab following a
postponed parliamentary session to elect a president. “We were at conflict for
fundamental reasons related to the nation and the priorities, but we have no
personal enmity,” added Geagea. Preparations are underway for a meeting between
Aoun and Geagea to resolve points of contention between the old time rivalries.
LF chief lamented how Lebanon has been living without a president for more that
7 months now and said “seven months and half have passed and Lebanon is still
without a president... the nation is politically paralyzed... some ministers are
making efforts but that will lead to no avail without a president.” “Boycotting
sessions to elect a president is unacceptable,” he expressed. Lebanon has been
living in a presidential vacuum since May when the term of Michel Suleiman's
ended. Conflict between the rival March 8 and March 14 alliances have prevented
an agreement on a head of state. On the efforts to hold meetings between the two
parties, Geagea said “We want to vent the tension prevailing at this stage and
to normalize relations between the Lebanese Forces and the Free Patriotic
“We are trying to narrow the distance between the two parties. Yesterday we
exchanged messages in a bid to normalize relations, put off tension and drop
lawsuits, which all seriously serve the meeting,” he said adding that he has no
problem on where the meeting will be held. Geagea agreed on Aoun's latest
statement saying “I agree with Aoun when he said that he wants the republic
first and then the presidency. What Aoun said is very genuine and we agree.”
On the involvement of Hizbullah in the war in Syria, Geagea said: “the presence
of Hizbullah in Syria and its involvement in the battle has engaged Lebanon in
turmoil.”“We cannot tolerate the burden of Syrian refugees and I support the
government’s measures to control their influx.”Hizbullah sent fighters to Syria
to back President Assad's forces against rebels trying to remove him from power.
The armed intervention in Syria earned the group the enmity of Syria's
predominantly Sunni rebels. Assad is a member of the Alawite sect, an offshoot
of Shiite Islam.However, Hizbullah's involvement in Syria had drawn the ire of
many in Lebanon.
Three dead as winter storm batters
The Daily Star/Jan. 07, 2015
BEIRUT/TRIPOLI/SIDON: A snow storm sweeping the Levant region cut off roads
across Lebanon Wednesday, including the international Beirut-Damascus highway,
isolating large areas in the north and east of the country and leaving three
In east Lebanon, two Syrians, including an 8-year-old boy, died in the storm in
the outskirts of Shebaa in Mount Hermon on the Syrian border, security sources
told the Daily Star.
The sources said the boy, identified as Majid Badawi, and an adult named Ammar
Kamal, were among a group of four people who had crossed from the village of
Beit Jinn on the Syrian side of Mount Hermon and were on their way to Shebaa
when they were caught by the storm. The group had apparently lost their way and
ended up near a Lebanese Army checkpoint in the hills overlooking Shebaa, the
sources said, adding that the boy’s father, Kheir Badawi, was among the two
The National News Agency later reported that a third member of the group had
also died, without identifying them.
The NNA said heavy snow blocked the vital highway at Dahr al-Baidar, cutting off
the Bekaa Valley from the rest of the country, as the stormed intensified
The Lebanese Red Cross said it had carried out 231 transport and rescue
operations related to the storm since 6 p.m. Tuesday, including car accidents,
evacuation of snowed-in motorists and hospital transportation of dialysis
patients and pregnant women who were cut off by snow in the Bekaa Valley and
north Lebanon. “We have placed 600 volunteers, more than 100 ambulances and 15
special rescue teams on standby in the various red cross centers across the
country,” Red Cross Secretary-General Georges Kettaneh told the Daily Star.
Volunteers evacuated several people stuck inside their cars in the area of Kfar
Debian in Mount Lebanon, including one person who suffered a fatal heart attack
behind the wheel, Kettaneh said.
“We are using four-wheel-drive ambulances to access the people, but our cars are
not able to reach certain areas that are heavily snowed in,” he said, adding
that the Red Cross was coordinating with the Army and municipalities to open
Hail fell Wednesday in Beirut where the temperature dropped to less than 6
degrees, a rare occurrence in the capital.
The storm caused extensive damage to fruit crops, in particular banana and
citrus, across regions in the north and the south.
Most mountain roads in the northern province of Akkar and some roads in the
highlands of Dinnieh were blocked by snow and were only passable for vehicles
equipped with metal chains, the NNA said.
Waves of up to 3 meters high off the coast of Lebanon’s southern-most port city
carried little stones and pebbles onto the streets. The storm also broke several
shop windows in Tyre.
Rough winds and heavy rains shuttered ports and briefly halted air traffic at
Beirut, as the country braced for what is expected to be several more days of
heavy winter weather.
Flights at Beirut’s airport resumed after being briefly suspended Tuesday night
due to a powerful storm sweeping through Lebanon, a source at the airport said.
The source told The Daily Star operations gradually returned to normal at Rafik
Hariri International Airport after storm warnings delayed the arrival of five
flights between 6-8 p.m.
The violent storm with strong winds and heavy hail and rainfall, which is
expected to last until Sunday, prompted Education Minister Elias Bou Saab to
order the closure of schools across the country Wednesday.
Storm causes hypothermia among Syrian
The Daily Star/Jan. 07, 2015
BEIRUT: A snow storm that tossed heavy rain and hail on Lebanon’s coast and snow
on the mountains and the Bekaa Valley added to the misery of Syrian refugees
clustered inside tents in hundreds of gatherings across the country. At least
four Syrian refugee children in a tented settlement in Bar Elias in the Bekaa
were rushed to hospital for hypothermia Wednesday, a source at the camp told The
Daily Star. Snow caused several tents to collapse, as refugees tried to keep
warm inside their unheated shelters by burning lumber and waste paper. “People
are setting fire to anything they could find, including clothes, to keep warm.
It is a most tragic situation,” the source said. Several refugee families had
their tents blown down by strong winds that battered Lebanon overnight and had
to seek shelter with other refugees. In Arsal, on Lebanon’s eastern border with
Syria, the municipality equipped halls inside mosques in anticipation of a
possible evacuation of refugees from their camps, sources said. “Some refugees
were treated for severe bruises they suffered when tents collapsed under the
weight of snow,” a medical source in Arsal told The Daily Star. Lebanon is
hosting more than 1.2 million Syrian refugees who had fled the raging conflict
at home, now in its fourth year. The majority live in make-shift camps in
extremely harsh conditions without proper sanitation or heating. The snow storm
sweeping the Middle East since Tuesday evening has disrupted life in Jordan and
Turkey, which also play host for large Syrian refugee communities living in
camps on their borders with Syria.
Violent storm disrupts Beirut flights, schools ordered shut
The Daily Star/Jan. 06, 2015
BEIRUT/TRIPOLI/SIDON: A powerful storm with violent winds and heavy hail and
rainfall ripped through Lebanon Tuesday, halting air traffic at Beirut airport
and prompting the government to order the closure of schools across the country.
Trees were ripped from their roots and billboards torn off posts in different
parts of the country, as storm "Zina" batters coastal towns and buries mountain
roads under layers of snow.
Flights were delayed as wind speeds and rain intensified in the evening. Planes
took advantage of brief periods of calm to take off and land, but as the storm
picked up flights were halted again. Disruptions are expected to continue
throughout the night.
Education Minister Elias Bou Saab ordered all public and private schools and
institutes across the country closed because of the storm.
Winds also led to halting maritime traffic in its southern ports of Sidon and
Tyre. The winds from the incoming storm which destroyed orchards, caused
property damage and knocked out power and Internet in parts of the country.
Fishermen at the Saint Simon area of Jnah, south of Beirut, were able to pull
fellow citizen Rabih Kaderi after he drifted away on high seas for nearly two
High waves slammed into Jbeil's waterfront, drowning the seaside promenade and
forcing the closure of restaurants around midday.
The mayor of Jbeil Ziad Hawat warned that the town's historic harbor was at
"We repeatedly appealed to the Directorate General of Antiquities to ask the
Ministry of Public Works to kick off renovation works at the old port but to no
avail," he wrote on Twitter.
Pictures circulated on social media showed the port completely overrun by high
Fruits that had been blown off their tree branches littered orchards across the
north as well as in Sidon and Tyre, while at least one large Christmas tree
displayed in the northern city of Tripoli was toppled.
"Zina" is expected to continue until Sunday, also knocked down utility poles,
causing power and Internet outages in some parts of the north.
High winds, reaching up to 90 km/hour, have toppled billboards and damaged cars.
Greenhouses were also torn apart by the storm.
The winds also uprooted a tree in Beirut's neighborhood of Tayyouneh blocking a
large chunk of the road. A Palm tree was also uprooted in Sidon.
“This is not the worst storm ever,” a source at the Department of Meteorology at
Beirut airport said. “Lebanon has seen ... worse than that.”
The Traffic Management Center said Civil Defense workers managed to haul off a
tree that had blocked a street in the Beirut district of Hamra.
Many mountain roads were still blocked by snow, including Sannine-Zahle, Ayoun
Siman-Hadath Baalbek and Mnaitra-Hadath Baalbek.
The vital Dahr al-Baidar road linking Beirut to Zahle was also closed due to
snowfall, the Internal Security Forces said.
The Kefraya-Barouk road was passable for jeeps and vehicles equipped with metal
Heavy rains are expected Tuesday night and tempatures will continue to drop as
“Zina” intensifies. The storm is being brought over by a low-pressure weather
system from the North Pole via Eastern Europe, according to Michel Frem, head of
the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute. Frem, who said the cold weather
would continue until Sunday, warned of flooding and strong winds through
Wednesday, especially in Beirut and the south.
On Thursday, Friday and Saturday temperatures will drop as low as minus 10
degrees in the Bekaa Valley, Frem added.
Hizbullah Supports Dialogue between
Rivals, Says Talks with Mustaqbal Fruitful
Naharnet/Head of Hizbullah's Political Bureau Sayyed Ibrahim Amin
Sayyed stressed on Wednesday that the party supports all kinds of dialogue
between the rival parties, expressing belief that talks with al-Mustaqbal
Movement could lead to solid results.
“Hizbullah's dialogue with al-Mustaqbal indicated that the two sides have
serious intentions to reach fruitful results,” Sayyed told reporters after a
visit to the Armenian Orthodox Bishopric. Hizbullah and al-Mustaqbal movement
agreed on Monday during their second dialogue session to support efforts to
“continue the implementation of the security plan across all Lebanese regions,”
revealing that they have made “progress” to defuse the Sunni-Shiite tensions.
The dialogue is being held under the auspices of Speaker Nabih Berri at his
residence in Ain el-Tineh. Dialogue had kicked off on December 23 between the
two parties and the first session was aimed at devising a “roadmap” and a
“mechanism” for the next sessions. Sayyed pointed out that Hizbullah supports
all kinds of dialogue between the political arch-foes, which is the only way to
resolve the crises gripping Lebanon. Preparations are also underway for a
meeting between Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun and Lebanese
Forces chief Samir Geagea to resolve points of contention between the old time
rivalries. Asked about the presidential elections stalemate, the Hizbullah
official noted that the head of state is capable of playing an effective role in
facing the challenges that are threatening Lebanon and all its components.
Paris media attack kills 4 cartoonists including chief
editor: judicial source
Agence France Presse/Paris: Some of the best-known cartoonists in France were
among the 12 killed when gunmen stormed the office of satirical newspaper
Charlie Hebdo in Paris Wednesday, a judicial source said.
Editor-in-chief Stephane Charbonnier, known as Charb, and the cartoonists known
as Cabu, Tignous and Wolinski were killed in the attack on the paper, which
gained notoriety for repeatedly publishing caricatures of the prophet Mohammed.
Islamist gunmen feared hunting more
targets after massacring 12 people at Paris magazine
DEBKAfile Special Report January 7, 2015,
The heavily armed gunmen who murdered 12 people including police officers at the
satirical Charlie Hebdo magazine in central Paris Wednesday, Jan. 7, got clear
away and are feared by French and other European security agencies to be seeking
out more targets. They are on the loose with AK-47 assault guns, a supply of
ammo, and possibly a grenade launcher. Another 10 people were injured, 5
France has raised its terror alert to its highest level as it launches a massive
manhunt for three killers. Its European neighbors have also taken precautions.
This act of terror raised a whole new set of concerns. The gunmen conducted
themselves in the calm, deliberate manner of trained professional soldiers,
rather than crazed suicidal jihadis. Their combat experience was evident,
whether from fighting in the Islamic State’s battles in Iraq and Syria or other
Three years ago, Charlie Hebdo ran cartoons lampooning the Prophet Muhammad and
in the current New Year, poked fun at ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
French security authorities infer that the terrorists, dressed in black and
masked, were gunning for predetermined targets from the fact that they carried
lists and asked for their targets by name when they passed through the corridors
of the magazine building. They then shot the journalists on their list with
According to one unconfirmed report, the Charlie Hebdo editor and lead
cartoonist were among the victims.
President Francois Hollande, who arrived on the scene within minutes, commented
that “40 people were saved.” They were evidently saved because they did not
appear on the gunmen’s death list.
debkafile’s counter-terror sources note that this attack was the first instance
in the war of terror, that Islamists murdered Western journalists for their
views on religion in the heart of a West European capital.
Shouting "Allahu Akhbar!" and “We have avenged the Prophet’s honor!” theyleft
the building and sped past a police force in the street, shooting accurately at
the windscreens of their vehicles. They then jumped into a black getaway car
which stood waiting with open doors. A short while later, they stole another
vehicle and switched cars.
The president called an emergency cabinet meeting shortly after the attack. Our
sources note that although French security and intelligence services have
maintained a high terror alert for the past month after a series of incidents
against Jewish targets, they failed to predict or forestall one of the most
spectacular Islamic attacks seen in Europe in recent years.
At least 12 dead in Paris after attack on satirical
newspaper, Charlie Hebdo
Reuters/Jan. 07, 2015
PARIS: Hooded gunmen stormed the Paris offices of a weekly satirical magazine
renowned for lampooning radical Islam, killing at least 12 people, including two
police officers in the worst militant attack on French soil in recent decades.
One of the men was captured on video shouting "Allah!" as four shots rang out.
Two assailants are then seen calmly leaving the scene and remain at large.
Charlie Hebdo (Charlie Weekly) is renowned for courting controversy with
satirical attacks on political and religious leaders and has published numerous
cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammad. The last tweet on its account mocked
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, which has taken control of large
swathes of Iraq and Syria.
"This is a terrorist attack, there is no doubt about it," President Francois
Hollande told reporters after rushing to the scene of the attack. His government
raised France's security level to the highest level and scheduled an emergency
The gunmen fled toward the eastern Paris suburbs after holding up a car, police
"There is possibility of other attacks and other sites are being secured,"
Police union official Rocco Contento said.
Sirens could be heard across Paris as Prime Minister Manuel Valls said security
would be ramped up at transport hubs, religious sites, media offices and
The White House said U.S. security officials were in contact with their French
"If the perpetrators are still at large, we're going to track them down, and
we're going to work with the French to do that," a White House spokesman told
Another 20 people were injured in the attack, including four or five critically.
Police union official Contento described the scene inside the offices as
"About a half an hour ago two black-hooded men entered the building with
Kalashnikovs (rifles)," witness Benoit Bringer told TV station iTELE. "A few
minutes later we heard lots of shots."
In a video shot by journalist Martin Boudot from a rooftop near the magazine's
offices, a man can be heard screaming "Allah," followed the sound of three or
"They're coming out. There are two of them," says a new voice on the video as
two men appear in the frame, then raise their arms in a shooting posture.
France last year reinforced its anti-terrorism laws and is already on alert
after calls from Islamist militants to attack its citizens and interests in
reprisal for French military strikes on Islamist strongholds in the Middle East
The attack, as yet unclaimed, comes amid what a number of commentators have
identified as rising xenophobia in Europe, with thousands of protesters in
several German cities rallying earlier this week against Muslim immigration.
France's five-million-strong Muslim population is Europe's largest.
"I am extremely angry. These are criminals, barbarians. They have sold their
soul to hell. This is not freedom. This is not Islam and I hope the French will
come out united at the end of this," said Hassen Chalghoumi, imam of the Drancy
mosque in Paris's Seine-Saint-Denis northern suburb.
Dozens of police and emergency services were at the site as police secured a
wide perimeter around the shooting site, where a Reuters reporter saw a car
riddled with bullet holes.
Late last year, a man shouting "Allahu Akbar" ("God is greatest") injured 13 by
ramming a vehicle into a crowd in the eastern city of Dijon. French officials
say several attacks were prevented in recent weeks and Valls has said France had
"never before faced such a high threat linked to terrorism."
A firebomb attack gutted the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo in November 2011
after it put an image of the Prophet Mohammad on its cover in what it described
as a Shariah edition.
While there was no immediate claim for the shooting, one supporter of ISIS
suggested in a tweet the image of Mohammed was the reason for the attack.
The last major attack in Paris was in the mid-1990s when the Algerian Armed
Islamic Group (GIA) carried out a spate of attacks, including the bombing of a
commuter train in 1995 which killed eight people and injured 150.
Armenian church head decries Christian persecution in the Middle East
Jan. 06, 2015 /The Daily Star
BEIRUT: Armenian Catholicos of Cilicia Aram I Keshishian deplored Tuesday the
targeting of Christians by the region's extremist groups and called for Lebanon
to elect a new a president to safeguard the country from rampant violence.
“We welcome unrelenting efforts by officials to preserve Lebanon’s unity, and we
reaffirm our faith in the role of the Lebanese Army in defending the nation,
despite the enormous and painful sacrifices,” Keshishian told worshippers
attending mass on Armenian Christmas.
“We also welcome the wise policy of Lebanese politicians in keeping Lebanon at a
distance from regional upheavals,” Keshishian said, underscoring, however, the
urgent and primary necessity of electing a president.
“Regardless of the obstacles and difficulties, it is just not permissible not to
have a president in Lebanon,” Keshishian added.
The prelate also deplored the colossal dangers facing Christians, including
Armenians, in the Middle East, especially in Iraq and Syria.
“Despite the huge difficulties and atrocities confronting them, Christians are
determined to stay in this Orient, and to remain faithful to their duties and
attached to their rights,” Keshishian said in reference to the persecution of
Christians at the hands of jihadi militants from ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
Geagea, Aoun to stick to presidential race: LF official
The Daily Star/Jan. 07, 2015 /BEIRUT: Lebanon’s rival Christian
leaders – Samir Geagea and Michel Aoun – will not quit the presidential race
despite an anticipated dialogue between the two sides, Lebanese Forces spokesman
Melhem Riachi said Wednesday. “The Lebanese Forces did not ask Aoun to give up
his run for the presidential election just as Geagea will not withdraw his
candidacy,” Riachi told a local television channel. Riachi said three-way
meetings taking place at Aoun’s residence in Rabieh between himself, Aoun and
FPM MP Ibrahim Kanaan would “culminate with a first round of talks” between
Geagea and Aoun. However, Riachi did not give an exact date for the dialogue.
Kanaan said last week that Aoun and Geagea had agreed on the agenda for the
anticipated talks which aim to achieve Christian rapprochement to end the
presidential election impasse. “Agreement has been achieved over the main issues
of the agenda, and some fine-tuning is being done on certain details,” Kanaan
said. “The most important thing is to regularize inter-Christian relations in
order to have a common Christian vision regarding key issues including the
[political] system and [state] institutions,” he said, stressing that the
entente should encompass other Christian parties.
Should Palestinian funds have been frozen?
Nechama Duek and Yifat Erlich/Ynetnews
Published: 01.06.15, / Israel Opinion
DEBATE: Yifat Erlich argues Israel could not afford to remain apathetic in face
of Abbas' appeal to ICC; Nechama Duek warns against punitive measure, as
desperation is fertile ground for terror.
Yifat Erlich: Indifference isn’t an option
Freezing the funds of the Palestinian Authority is a necessary step. When one
side decides to take unilateral action, the other side cannot remain
indifferent. Israel must make it clear to the Palestinians and the world at
large that an appeal to the International Criminal Court in The Hague is an
ineffective move that won't pay off.
In recent years, the PA has tried every trick in the book to avoid sitting down,
God forbid, at the negotiating table. These tricks culminated last week in the
futile attempt, by means of the UN, to impose the establishment of a Palestinian
state on Israel. Instead of acting in the best interests of the Palestinian
people and trying to resolve the conflict via talks and without preconditions,
the PA is waging a war – a propaganda war against Israel.
Israel, for its part, chose to act correctly when it responded with a unilateral
move of its own, with the objective of paralyzing the PA and making it clear to
its leaders that appeals to international entities mean an end to the
negotiations with Israel. The immediate casualties of the freeze are the PA
employees, and the security personnel among them, of course. Ostensibly, Israel
could be affected by the paralysis of the PA's security mechanisms, but Mahmoud
Abbas knows all too well that his regime will be the one to suffer most and
struggle to neutralize the next Hamas takeover.
In my view, however, the freezing of the funds is only a first step, and isn't
enough. The move's principal drawback is the fact that it is temporary and
reversible. The funds haven't been appropriated, they've only been frozen. In
other words, in a day or two, two months at the most, Israel will transfer all
these funds to the PA.
In contrast, the PA's appeal to the ICC in The Hague is an irreversible move –
and an irreversible move must be answered in kind. A prime minister with guts,
therefore, should have announced the immediate annexation of Area C in Judea and
Samaria. If the Palestinians want to prevent any chance of negotiations, then
Israel, too, should establish new facts on the ground.
Nechama Duek: Despair breeds terror
This is not the first time Israel has unilaterally decided to freeze the funds
owed to the Palestinian Authority. In the past, Israel was forced to cough up.
The funds in question are tax revenues and Israel serves only as a pipeline for
their transfer to the PA.
What does it say about us as a people when we employ the same methods that were
used against Jews in the Diaspora? Back then, they went for our pockets and said
it was the only language the Jews understood. Have we lowered ourselves to that
Despite being repeatedly shown that financial oppression of the PA is
ineffective, Israel is repeating the same pattern of behavior – as if we haven't
really learned a thing, as if we haven't forgotten anything. Failure to transfer
the funds to the PA creates a growing resentment towards Israel. The PA cannot
pay the wages of its people and employees, and this immediately translates into
anger against Israel and increasing despair on the other side. And as we all
know, desperate times lead to desperate measures – and yes, to terror attacks
And for what exactly is Israel punishing the PA? For making a unilateral appeal
to the UN and asking to be recognized as a state. In all honesty, if the
situation were reversed, wouldn't Israel do all it could to achieve independence
and win recognition from the nations of the world? After all, that is precisely
what Israel did 67 years ago.
I can already hear the cries of outrage for the fact that I am comparing us to
them. Scream and shout if you will, but remember, too, that the negotiations
have been going nowhere for more than 20 years already. By now, we could have
had two states prospering side by side, without being in control of millions of
people who don't want us there.
Yes, I know, they are to blame as well. But instead of looking to point fingers
and holding back funds, our leadership should take the initiative and lead the
way towards resolving the conflict and not merely manage it.
What does the Bible say about self-hatred?
Anyone who is without Christ and without hope or who adopts the world’s
values may come to view life as futile and hate living (Ecclesiastes 2:17-18).
Thus, a secular worldview may result in self-hatred. Presumably, we who have
obeyed the gospel and love the Lord do not hate life; we are not without hope in
the world (1 Corinthians 15:19; Colossians 1:5; Psalm 16:8-11). Even though we
are sojourners and look for a better place, we hate evil (Psalm 97:10; Proverbs
8:13; Amos 5:15; Romans 12:9), not ourselves (even though we sometimes produce
evil). Because Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us by faith, we are
righteous and should be glad; we should exult before God and be jubilant with
joy (Psalm 68:3)! Self-hatred is the cry of a tormented soul, not the new song
of one whom God has saved with His strong arm and for whom He has done marvelous
things (Psalm 98:1). Yet, sadly, even redeemed saints can feel depressed and
bereft of joy (see Psalm 51:8-12). Why is this? Certainly a repenting saint
should have a broken spirit and contrite heart; but a saint should shun
self-hatred as an inordinate earthly passion (Colossians 3:5) of the flesh (1
According to Scripture, anyone who continually practices iniquity injures
himself and shows that (in a practical sense) he despises or hates his own life
(Proverbs 29:24; 8:36; 15:32). Saints do not continually practice iniquity or
keep sinning in this way (1 John 5:18; 3:8). Although self-hatred is not godly,
Christians may experience something like it when they harbor un-confessed sin
and feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit. However, both unbelievers (those who
have not confessed they are lost in sin and have trusted in Christ as their Lord
and savior) and believers may fall victim to feelings of self-hatred, to the
degree that they submit to the world’s values regarding beauty, success, and
similar “markers of value.”
A person may come to hate himself for being old or physically ‘unattractive’
(however attractiveness may be defined). Some may arrive at self-hatred because
they consider themselves losers who lack “needed” talents or resources
(intelligence, personal connections, money, and influence). Anyone who actually
thinks they must live up the idealized standards of beauty, success, and power
that are portrayed in the mass media, and fails to do so, may arrive at the
unreasonable conclusion that he or she is not worthy of love and begin to sink
into self-hatred. Just as God warns us not to hate our neighbors, we must not
make unreasonable demands upon ourselves and end up sinning against God by
hating ourselves (Leviticus 19:17).
If you hate yourself because you do not “measure up” according to worldly
standards, realize that in doing so you are showing hatred or anger toward God
who made you as you are and placed you in your current circumstances. If you
hurt yourself in an act of self-hatred, is this not truly an act of vengeance
against God? Just as we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, we are to love
ourselves and so show thanks and honor to the sovereign God who made us and
placed us in our circumstances, no matter what these might be.
Having a healthy sense of self does not mean denying that one is a sinner.
Scripture records instances when human beings, having seen the King, the Lord of
hosts, are immediately overwhelmed by a consciousness of their utter sinfulness;
witness the feelings of the prophet Isaiah: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am
a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for
my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:5). Was Isaiah guilty
of self-hatred? Isaiah is overwhelmed by a sense of his depravity when standing
before a holy God. Our awareness of God’s holiness makes us feel appropriately
wretched. But this sense of clarity regarding who we are and how we compare with
an utterly holy God does not need to result in self-destructive hatred of
ourselves. Rather, it is point us towards receiving the salvation and
forgiveness that God offers us.
God our savior and Lord will ultimately deliver us from this body of death
(Romans 7:23-24). As a result, we must forget the past and press ahead to what
lies ahead – toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ
Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14; Luke 9:62; Hebrews 6:1). We must not get distracted,
while running the race, or be discouraged by inordinate emotions or become
warped and twisted by the corrupt values of the world around us. Instead of
living on the basis of our emotional states or trying to live up to worldly
ideals, we must continually live by the word of God and seek to please Him.
We cannot trust our feelings in matters of love and hate, for our sentiments in
these things are unreliable. Sorrow that leads to repentance is a good thing,
but self-hatred is counter-productive. Just as an athlete must exercise
self-control in all things, the saint must not let fleshly self-hatred or its
opposite (pride) control him (1 Corinthians 9:24-25). Fleshly self-hatred is
worldly, leading to death; but godly sorrow leads to repentance (2 Corinthians
7:10). Repentance occurs when we turn away from our sin and towards God (Isaiah
55:6). As unworthy as we are of God’s grace toward us, we must believe His word,
when He tells us that He forgives our confessed and forsaken sins; indeed, He
utterly forgets them (Psalm 103:9 and Isaiah 43:25)!
When you are feeling down, examine yourself to see if you are harboring
un-confessed sin, and pray that the Lord would grant you true repentance. “Let
the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return
to the Lord, that He may have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will
abundantly pardon (Isaiah 55:7). Notice the last phrase: He “will abundantly
pardon.” You are forgiven! Therefore, rejoice and be glad!
We must not allow ourselves or our fellows in Christ to be overwhelmed by
excessive sorrow (2 Corinthians 2:7). We must quickly forgive ourselves and
restore other repentant sinners. Having repented, we must trust God, who is
faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness
(1 John 1:9). We must hate sin, but not hate ourselves, for we are the temple of
the Holy Spirit. To continue in a state of self-hatred after we have received
the grace God offers us does not honor God and demonstrates a failure to
understand the nature and value of the salvation Jesus purchased for us with His
blood (1 Peter 1:18-19).
Iran nuclear talks with six powers to resume Jan. 18 in Geneva
By REUTERS \ 01/07/2015
DUBAI- The next round of nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers will
begin on January 18 in Geneva, Tehran's chief negotiator was quoted by the
official news agency IRNA on Tuesday as saying. Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas
Araghchi said the talks would be held at the deputy foreign ministerial level
and that the Iranian negotiating team would hold bilateral discussions with the
US and Russian delegations on Jan. 15. Earlier on Tuesday Iranian Foreign
Minister Javad Zarif briefed parliament, which is dominated by hardliners, in
order to defend his progress during the nuclear talks. Despite tough questions
by the hardliners opposed to talks, the majority of lawmakers backed the
negotiating team's approach to date.
"Today nobody questions the (uranium) enrichment itself in Iran. The discussion
now is on the amount of enrichment," Zarif told parliament, according to state
media. The United States, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China reached a
preliminary agreement with Iran in November 2013 for it to suspend its most
sensitive nuclear activity. Western countries in turn eased some economic
sanctions imposed during the more-than-decade-long nuclear dispute.Iran says it
is enriching uranium to generate energy solely for civilian purposes. The West
suspects Tehran may be trying to develop a nuclear weapon capability.
The two sides failed for a second time last month to meet a self-imposed
deadline for ending the stand-off. Talks over the nuclear program have been
extended twice since beginning in 2013, and now face two deadlines: one for a
political agreement by March and a second for a comprehensive accord by June.
Intent on influencing the process – and angered by a lack of visibility into it
– new leadership in the Senate banking and foreign relations committees are
already drafting legislation that will trigger new sanctions should Iran be
found in violation of a preliminary agreement, or should talks break down.
An interim agreement reached last fall between world powers and Iran, formally
known as the Joint Plan of Action, prohibits the enforcement of new
“nuclear-related” sanctions during the negotiations process. Republicans say
their new bill would not implement any new measures, but instead prepares for
their immediate implementation should they become necessary. In the past, senior
Iranian officials have said the US would be in violation of the JPOA if such a
law were to pass.
Furthermore, any deal reached in Vienna over the program is now guaranteed to
trigger Senate hearings under the supervision of Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tennessee)
of the Foreign Relations Committee. Corker drafted legislation last year that,
if passed, would have required an up or down vote in Congress approving of any
deal with Iran. Such a vote would not have legal binding. A deal with Iran over
its nuclear program will not be classified as a treaty, which is the only form
of foreign policy agreement requiring congressional approval.
International agreements are otherwise at the discretion of the executive.
Ultimately, Congress will have to vote to lift sanctions on Iran as part of any
comprehensive deal ending concerns with its nuclear work. Republicans in
Congress are so far unimpressed by what they have seen from the negotiating
table, and are unlikely to change should a deal be reached. Iranian officials
expressed optimism last month that the third round of talks might be the charm.
**Michael Wilner contributed to this report.
The strategic failure of Operation Protective Edge
Alex Fishman/Ynetnews/Published: 01.06.15 / Israel Opinion
Analysis: As the Egyptians are physically disengaging from Gaza, Israel is
becoming increasingly involved in the Strip and is close to returning to the
pre-disengagement days. Operation Protective Edge sent Israel back to Gaza – big
time. In the coming days, when the army summarizes the operation's lessons, it
won't be able to ignore this outstanding strategic achievement that the IDF and
political echelon served the state's citizens with as a gift for 2015. The
Egyptians are moving away from Gaza, while Israel is reconnecting to the Strip
in an embrace which will lead us very soon back to the pre-disengagement days.
On the eve of the operation, Israel planned to weaken Hamas, but it now finds
itself reinforcing the Islamist organization economically and humanitarianly.
And it is not only reinforcing Hamas, it is also rattled by every sniper or
every rocket someone discharges there. Since the operation, Egypt has done
everything in its power to physically disengage from Gaza. It created a
500-meter buffer zone, which will turn into a kilometer in the future, and
sealed most of the tunnels. In addition, Gazans leaving for Egypt and seeking to
reach Europe illegally, through the sea, are met by the strict Egyptian navy and
sent back home. The Rafah crossing is opened only once or twice a month, for
several hours, and Egypt's alliance with Qatar will only exacerbate the Gazans'
situation. The Egyptians have shut off, and everything is being dumped on us:
From the international pressure to the frustration of every single resident in
Gaza. The Palestinian Authority, on the other hand, is putting spokes in the
wheels of Gaza's reconstruction. When it found out that Muhammad Dahlan's people
had given money to civilians in Gaza who were injured in the war, it took its
anger out on the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv. It seems that as far as the PA is
concerned, they should just die. And who are the idiots charged with the duty of
helping the Strip's residents and perpetuating the Hamas rule? We. The PA turns
to the United Nations, turns to the International Criminal Court in The Hague –
and we will deal with Gaza's destroyed infrastructures. Only recently, different
international bodies – including the US State Department – asked Israel to
consider building a gas pipe to Gaza in order to provide a stable solution to
the energy crisis.
The water pipes in Gaza carry salty water. Selling drinking water from tankers
is a profitable business in Gaza – there are several dozen domestic desalination
facilities there, alongside three small governmental facilities. But most of the
drinking water is supplied by Israel, which sends in 5 million cubes of water a
year, and that amount is expected to be doubled. The solution is a large
desalination facility, which has already been planned, but it will need huge
amounts of energy, which only Israel can supply. You'll be surprised – this is
also on the agenda. Israel is already supplying most of the electricity to the
Strip – 132 megawatt – including during the war. The Egyptians supply 32
megawatt, through a shaky line, from a power station which sometimes works and
Now there are talks about building a serious power station in the Strip, whose
energy supplier will be Israel. In other words, Israel will supply energy to an
entity which does not recognize its right to exist.
The distress over the destruction left behind by Operation Protective Edge has
created a 30% increase in the number of mass marches towards the fence and in
the number of people jumping over the fence in search of work in Israel.
In addition, Israel is singlehandedly bringing down the segregation policy it
dictated between the Strip and the West Bank: There are more agricultural
exports from Gaza to the West Bank, more movement for religious and humanitarian
reasons, more sports groups which are travelling to competitions in the West
Bank, etc. Trying to relieve pressure. Israel cannot claim a price from Hamas in
return for its increased dependency on Israel, because Israel does not recognize
Hamas. Israel cannot translate its deeper involvement in Gaza, into which it is
being dragged against its policy, into a security or political achievement, like
stopping the production of weapons in Gaza or a long-term commitment to
maintaining the calm. On the contrary, the demands from Israel in the
international arena are only growing.
So is there anyone else who sees Operation Protective Edge as a strategic
The Brotherhood’s Golden Opportunity
Hamad Al-Majid /Asharq Al Awsat
Wednesday, 7 Jan, 2015
Muslim Brotherhood members in Egypt are now facing prison or exile following a
disastrous period in power. However, in my view, this is a golden opportunity
for the group to make substantial reforms and revisions. It is illogical for
Muslim Brotherhood leaders to criticize Arab governments and the slow pace of
political change in the Arab world when they themselves do not practice change.
If you do not encourage change in the leadership of your own group, how can you
expect to see change in government leadership? Some Muslim Brotherhood members
tried to effect change within the group only to meet with rejection by the
Brotherhood’s old guard, forcing the younger generation to leave the Brotherhood
to establish their own political party in 1996, the Al-Wasat Party. In my view,
the Muslim Brotherhood’s difficult experience during its single year of rule and
the dramatic events that followed, including the Rabaa Al-Adawiya protests, as
well as their continuing efforts to undermine rule in Egypt is something that is
neither in the interests of the group nor the country.
Therefore, it is during the current stage that the Muslim Brotherhood needs to
consider implementing significant, not superficial, change and reform. We need
to see a complete review, and reform, of the Muslim Brotherhood, from its
foundations upwards. What has become clear from the Brotherhood’s year in power
is that the group’s understanding of politics, and particularly the issue of
bay’ah or pledging allegiance to its leader, has become a hindrance, not a help.
That is, Muslim Brotherhood members, including senior officials, pledging
allegiance to a non-elected figure creates a sense of aversion and apprehension
toward the group, not just for any prospective Brotherhood supporter among
Egypt’s left-wing or secular parties, but for the Egyptian general public
itself. This is despite the fact that Egypt’s general public, which does not
necessarily subscribe to any ideological or political belief, do not oppose
religion or religious conservatism, as anybody who has any knowledge of Egyptian
society surely knows.
It is not acceptable, or reasonable, for the Muslim Brotherhood to exist for
more than 80 years without experiencing any tremor of real change to accommodate
internal reform and development. Brotherhood scholars, leaders and intellectuals
have written about “renewing” Islam and Islamic discourse, and adopting a new
view of the relationship between religion and politics; however, we have not
seen any such deep change or reform within the group itself. We have not seen
any radical revisions regarding the divisive issues that beset the Brotherhood
and particularly the issue of the bay’ah and how this affects the group,
ideologically and politically. It does not take an expert to see how these
issues have had a negative effect on the Muslim Brotherhood’s political fate,
particularly after the group put forward a post-revolution presidential
candidate. For, despite the long arm of Muslim Brotherhood
influence—politically, socially and in the media—it failed to convince the
public that the elected president was ruling Egypt independently, away from the
influence of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Guidance Bureau. This lack of
independence—namely being a member of the Brotherhood but engaging in
politics—can be seen in the nomination, and subsequent presidency, of Mohamed
Mursi. For politicians such as this, politics and the Brotherhood are like
Siamese twins, and you need a team of surgeons to separate one from the other.
The Brotherhood must demonstrate that it is able to change, develop and reform,
otherwise anybody that it nominates—be that as president, minister or
governor—will be besieged by public doubt and distrust. The Brotherhood’s
political opponents also realized this, and so portrayed Mursi as a diligent
student of his teacher, the Muslim Brotherhood’s general guide, who was taking
all the real decisions. This portrayal was able to gain traction within Egyptian
society as a result of the Muslim Brotherhood’s view of the bay’ah, and not just
the picture painted by the media.
On the German protests against Islam
Wednesday, 7 January 2015
Abdulrahman al-Rashed /Al Arabiya
It’s not difficult to describe the situation in Germany; there are bad Muslims
and bad Germans. The 18,000 Germans who took to the streets of Dresden against
what they dubbed the “Islamization of Germany” include racists as well as angry
people who have been affected by the heinous and ugly political acts committed
by Muslims across the world. Among these Germans are those who blame others for
the difficult economic situation they find themselves in, considering the influx
of foreigners which has led to competition over jobs and benefits. Germany
itself is home to Muslim religious and political extremists who succeeded in
distorting the image of the other three million Muslims who live peacefully in
Germany. Muslim extremists in Germany are more dangerous and harmful to Muslims
than angry, racist and fascist Germans. Germany is a tolerant, secular and civil
state that has 2,500 mosques. Its regulations, courts and executive institutions
protect the Muslim community from racist groups. German Chancellor Angela Merkel
has condemned the anti-Islam protests as a detestable act. The justice minister
also led a protest against racists in the same square as the anti-Islam rally.
“The talk about the Islamization of Germany is nothing more than a silly
Arabs make up a small minority of Muslims in Germany. Moroccans, who rank fourth
after the Turks, Bosnians and Iranians, account for 80,000 persons. Those of
Lebanese origin rank sixth with just 50,000 immigrants.
The talk about the Islamization of Germany is nothing more than a silly
scarecrow. After all, Muslims are a small minority and it’s said that the number
of Germans who converted to Islam comes in at 100,000, which is a small number
considering the country’s population of 80 million. Most of those who converted
to Islam most likely did so following mixed marriages and not due to preaching.
Muslims have become tormented people following the damage to their image and the
image of their religion. This has occurred ever since the al-Qaeda organization
surfaced and also due to the massive propaganda of the Islamic State of Iraq and
Syria (ISIS) which made headlines with its violent practices such as the
beheadings of Western hostages.
Defending their image
The three million Muslims residing in Germany cannot do much to defend their
image because the Islamic region is rife with awful images and news which is
used by racists to incite against Islam and against peaceful Muslims who live in
the West and other countries. What is always worth a shot, by Germany’s Muslims
and other Germans, is directing their anger towards Muslim extremists, expelling
them from their communities and distancing them from their schools and children.
Fighting Muslim extremists in Germany is more important to Muslims than fighting
German racists whom the state will deal with and punish. Perhaps the state will
roll up its sleeves and also fight Muslim extremists as it’s not possible - and
not acceptable – that the war only be waged against racists while overlooking
extremist Muslims. Those extremist Muslims exploit the tolerant and civil
regulations in order to market a culture of hatred, incite against followers of
other religions and seek to control Muslim schools, mosques and charity and
This stance does not protect Germany from the alleged Islamization but it saves
Muslims from the rotten apples among them and from those who sabotaged their
communities, destroyed them or imposed their extremist ideology on their people.
Those who deserve freedom in civil societies are those individuals who respect
freedom and not those who exploit it to serve their own interests.
UCLA's Embarrassment: Prof. Abou El Fadl
January 7, 2015
The once-promising career of UCLA law professor Khaled Medhat Abou El Fadl has
faded over the past decade. Gone are the pleasures of glowing attention of the
media, the invitations to join important government bodies and to offer expert
testimony at high-profile trials.
It's not clear that this downward spiral resulted solely from my 2004 article
demonstrating him to be a "stealth Islamist," but that exposé, read more than
30,000 times, surely diminished his stature. In it, I showed how, despite Abou
El Fadl's once-vaunted reputation as a moderate Muslim, he
wants Muslims to live by Islamic law (the Shari'a), the law that among other
things endorses slavery, execution for apostasy, and the repression of women,
and which treats non-Muslims as second-class citizens. "Shariah and Islam are
inseparable," he has written, "and one cannot be without the other." In a
revealing passage, he confesses that his "primary loyalty, after God, is to the
This public airing of his true ambitions undercut his pretense of moderation.
Thus discredited, Abou El Fadl has, unsurprisingly, been itching to get back at
me. He launched a trial balloon in 2010 but displayed his venom more fully in a
recent book, Reasoning with God, in which he retaliates by attempting to portray
me as "an anti-Muslim propagandist" who "will proudly post on his website
narratives or people who allegedly discovered that Islam is a false religion or
any piece of writing that questions the authenticity of the Qur'an or anything
Islamic, like the very existence of Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam."
Trouble is, UCLA's Omar and Azmeralda Alfi Distinguished Professor of Law and
chair of its Islamic Studies Program, whose name I shall abbreviate as KAEF, has
wandered from fact into fiction. In the spirit of amicable academic hygiene, I
offer some corrections.
The above passage contains two problems. First, my website contains an archive
only of my own writings, so I do not "proudly post" anyone else's. Yes,
DanielPipes.org does host 140,000 comments from readers, but these run the gamut
from praising ISIS to despising Islam. For KAEF to hone in on a sliver of this
spectrum only serves to undermine his credibility.
Second, I wrote an article in 2000, "Who Was the Prophet Muhammad?" in which I
surveyed revisionist works that raised questions about the historical accuracy
of events of the usual chronology of early Islam. KAEF responded savagely then,
and shows that 15 years later, he still remains outraged by that little article.
He implies that I should follow Islamist pieties and not show interest – much
less approval – of scholarship that might shed doubt on sacred myths. What kind
of "professor" is this?
He then charges that I approve only of self-hating Muslims:
While propagandists such as this pretend to encourage Muslims to reform and
progress, in practice they impugn the motives of any Muslim reformer who sees
any merit in the Islamic tradition whatsoever. … the only Muslims these
Islamophobes seem to like are self-hating Muslims who are ashamed of everything
related to their religion.
Hardly: what KAEF calls "self-hating Muslims" are anti-Islamists battling to
bring their faith back from the hell-holes of extremism, whether the barbarism
of Boko Haram or the subtler villainy of a KAEF. I admire and support the work
of pious Muslims, such as Zuhdi Jasser and Raquel Saraswati, who devote much
their lives to fighting Islamism.
Next: when others and I call someone like KAEF an Islamist, he charges we use it
as "a cover for expressing an anti-Muslim prejudice." But Muslims also use the
term Islamist or one of its synonyms to characterize the likes of the Taliban,
Al-Shabaab, Khamene'i, and Erdoğan. Would KAEF maintain that the tens of
millions of Muslims demonstrating on the streets of Egypt against the Morsi
government were not "expressing an anti-Muslim prejudice"?
KAEF then gets personal, accusing me of labeling "as Islamist any Muslim who
threatens Pipes's own sense of superiority toward Muslims or who threatens his
sense of political and social priorities." This business of my "sense of
superiority toward Muslims" is a calumny fabricated to insult me. I challenge
KAEF to produce evidence for this scurrilous claim. As for Islamists, I do not
feel superior to them; I respect them as a worthy enemy and am at war with them.
KAEF closes with a final attack: "although perhaps not as extreme as Pipes,
there are substantial numbers of writers who attempt to understand the world of
Islam through a binary vision that ascribes to Islam everything that is
inferior." No, dear KAEF: I am not "extreme" or even anti-Islam but solely
anti-a-certain-kind-of-Islam - the kind I call Islamism - the kind to which you
subscribe. You epitomize of the first clause of my refrain that "radical Islam
is the problem, moderate Islam is the solution."
Abou El Fadl and I disagree on one of the great issues of our time; what a pity
that his scholarly deficiency and intellectual dishonesty preclude a
**Mr. Pipes (DanielPipes.org, @DanielPipes) is president of the Middle East
Forum. © 2015 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.
Young mother let terrorists into Charlie Hebdo building
after threat against daughter
By Michael Walsh | Yahoo News /Masked terrorists entered the
office building in Paris where they murdered 12 people Wednesday by threatening
a young mother and her daughter, she said. Corinne Rey, a cartoonist for the
weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, says she was forced to enter the security code
after returning from picking up her child at daycare, according to a local
report. “I just went to get my daughter from daycare. As I got to the front door
of the building, two masked, armed gunmen brutally threatened us,” she told
L'Humanité. “They wanted to enter, go up. I typed the code.”Rey, who goes by
“Coco,” said she hid under a desk while the gunmen shot and killed a dozen
staffers inside the office. While crouched down on the ground, she saw the men
kill fellow cartoonists Georges Wolinski and Jean Cabut, the French paper
reported. "They shot Wolinski and Cabut," she said. "It lasted five minutes.”
The terrorists, claiming to be with al-Qaida, spoke fluent, unaccented French,
according to Rey. The Charlie Hebdo newspaper regularly satirizes religious and
political figures. Terrorists have threatened the publication’s staff with
violence numerous times for its depictions of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad.
Its offices were firebombed in 2011 after an issue featured a caricature of the
prophet on its cover, the Associated Press reported. Undeterred, Charlie Hebdo
published another illustration of Muhammad a year later and a cartoon titled
“Still No Attacks in France” featuring a jihadist this week.