LCCC ENGLISH DAILY
Latest analysis, editorials from miscellaneous sources published on January
Terror, Backwardness and Intersecting Interests/Eyad Abu Shakra/Asharq Al AQwsat/January 10/15
We need a new anti-terror strategy/Tariq Alhomayed /Asharq Al Awsat/January 10/15
Kouachi brother die in suicidal attack on French siege force. Four hostages dead in Jewish Paris mini-market/DEBKAfile/January 10/15
Who's to Blame in Iraq? Part II: The Sunni Side/Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi/Foreign Policy/January 10/15
A world in the shadows of terrorism/Hisham Melhem/Al Arabiya/January 10/15
Lebanese Related News published on January 10-11/15
North Lebanon suicide attack kills nine
Condemnations of Tripoli attack pour in
GCC Describes Nasrallah’s Stances as ‘Interference’ in Bahrain’s Affairs
FPM and LF discuss impending dialogue
Lebanon grand mufti: We have a responsibility to denounce extremism
Judiciary issues new arrest warrant against Eid
Ministers at Loggerheads on Waste despite Mashnouq's Optimisim on Deal Next Week
Young Man Dies of Wounds after being Shot in Faraya Personal Dispute
Report: Syria Could Resort to Reciprocity over New Lebanon Entry Rules
Report: Delivery of French Weapons under Saudi Grant Not Before March
Kuwaiti FM in Beirut on Monday
Report: Assad Building Hizbullah-Guarded Nuclear Plant 2 Kms from Lebanon
Miscellaneous Reports And News published on
France hunts suspect, prepares for mass anti-terrorism rally
More than 200,000 rally in France after Islamist attacks
Female accomplice of Islamists in Paris attacks left France: source
U.S.-led airstrikes focus on Kobani, Syria: U.S. military
Kosher supermarket attack victims to be laid to rest in Israel
IS Kills 26 in Surprise Attack on Iraqi Kurdish Forces
Netanyahu to French Jews After Attacks: 'Israel is Your Home'
Intelligence shows Assad ‘building nuclear plant’
Family of detained Iraqi MP renew claims of torture
Libya’s factions agree to new talks in Geneva
Riyadh renews efforts to calm Yemen crisis: presidential adviser
Arar border attack carried out by Saudi ISIS members: sources
Egypt: Parliamentary elections to begin on March 21
Report: intelligence points to Assad’s secret nuke program
Gaza bank hit by explosion
Media: Avalanche kills one, traps four in northeastern Turkey
Police defuse bomb found in Istanbul shopping mall
Kuwait jails ex-minister over article criticizing government
Girl suicide bomber kills 19 in Nigeria
Hamas condemns Charlie Hebdo attack
Kerry meets Oman sultan in Germany
Two headless bodies found in Egypt's Sinai
Jihad Watch Site Latest Posts
Raymond Ibrahim: The Significance of Sisi’s Speech
Jyllands-Posten, famous for Muhammad cartoons, won’t print Charlie Hebdo drawings
Psychiatrist: Paris jihadis aren’t psychopaths, they’re Islamic fundamentalists
Brunei bans Christmas, raided restaurants that put up decorations
Nigeria: Jihadis murder 19 with bomb strapped to 10-year-old girl
Egypt: More Christian girls continue to be abducted, complete indifference from local authorities
If someone offends the prophet then there is no problem, we can kill him”
Charlie Hebdo jihad mentor’s wife lives on welfare in UK
Describes Nasrallah’s Stances as ‘Interference’ in Bahrain’s Affairs
Naharnet/The Gulf Cooperation Council on Saturday criticized the latest stances of Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah about Bahrain, accusing him of “inciting violence and discord.”“He went beyond interfering in Bahrain's affairs in an attempt to destabilize the security and stability,” the GCC charged. GCC chief Abdul Latif al-Zayani said in a statement that Nasrallah’s remarks contained “incitement to violence in order to create sectarian rift and discord among the citizens of the kingdom.” Zayani stated that "Nasrallah in his last stances went beyond interfering in the Kingdom of Bahrain’s affairs to stage a desperate attempt at destabilizing civil peace and threatening the kingdom’s security and stability.”On Friday, Nasrallah noted that top Bahraini dissident Sheikh Ali Salman, who was jailed recently by authorities, “has never called for toppling the regime and he did not incite to violence.”“The authorities in Bahrain will realize that they are acting in a foolish way. They can imprison most of the Bahraini people but that will only stop the protests on the streets and they will not be able to stop the protests in prisons,” said Nasrallah.“The reason behind the peaceful approach is not the inability to send weapons or fighters to Bahrain, but rather the fact that the clerics, political leaders and people in Bahrain are preventing that and seeking a peaceful solution,” Hizbullah’s leader added.
Lebanon grand mufti: We have a responsibility to denounce extremism
The Daily Star/Jan. 10, 2015/BEIRUT: Grand Mufti Abdul-Latif Derian Friday called on Lebanon's Muslims and especially Beirut’s people to loudly denounce extremism and stick to their history of tolerance and diversity. “The responsibility of all of us is to raise the voice against extremism. Against violence and terrorism. Against the confiscation of truth and righteousness, and the violation of rights and dignities,” Derian said addressing a crowd of representatives from the Beirut Families Association. “Our responsibility is to raise our voice against abhorrent sectarianism ... and obnoxious racism.” Derian denounced the fundamentalists claiming rule over the people, saying they were far from true Islam both in actions and in mentality. Later in the day, the Higher Islamic Council headed by Derian met and issued a statement condemning the “criminal attack” on the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. “Whatever the motives were, this attack is condemned because it is an assault on the lives of human beings, no matter who these people are,” the statement said. “It is also an attack on the Islamic communities in France and Europe that interact in a civilized manner with all of the other European social groups.”
Condemnations of n. Lebanon attack pour in
The Daily Star/Jan. 10, 2015/BEIRUT: Hezbollah joined the Future Movement and others in condemning the suicide attack Saturday evening on a café in the Tripoli neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen which claimed the lives of nine people and wounded more than 30.
Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri strongly condemned the terrorist “crime” saying it aims at causing confusion, fueling discord and destabilizing Tripoli, after the success of the Lebanese Army and security forces in stopping the cycle of violence in the northern city, confronting terrorist organizations, and reinforcing security. Saturday’s explosion is the first serious breach to a security plan implemented in 2014 that ended years of clashes in Tripoli between the mostly Alawite neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen and the mostly Sunni Bab al-Tabbaneh.
Recurring violence in Tripoli took on an increasingly sectarian nature with the beginning of the civil war in Syria. Jabal Mohsen is affiliated with President Bashar Assad, while Bab al-Tabbaneh’s residents largely support the Syrian uprising.
“This heinous terrorist crime requires concerted efforts from all Lebanese, who should strongly support the Lebanese Army and the security forces in taking the required measures to preserve security, arrest the perpetrators and all those behind them and bring them to justice,” Hariri said. Hezbollah, for its part, condemned the “horrific crime” that targeted Jabal Mohsen, saying “Takfiri” groups were the source of all evil. “Takfiri ideology targets all of us indiscriminately,” a statement by the party said. Hezbollah noted that the attack on the café denoted that “takfiri” groups were “bothered” by the ongoing dialogue between the various components of the Lebanese political scene, namely the party’s talks with the Future Movement. “Takfiri terrorists are irritated by the commitment of the Lebanese to national stances and social cohesion, in to the atmosphere of entente and dialogue going on at the domestic level,” Hezbollah said. The party called on all Lebanese groups to “alienate” terrorist groups that constitute a threat to Lebanon and its Muslim community.
Hezbollah called on the Lebanese to throw their weight behind the Lebanese Army and security agencies, saying all means should be employed to eradicate terrorism. Prime Minister Tammam Salam also called on the Lebanese to support the Army and security forces against terrorism. He said the attack constituted a new challenge to security forces that had restored peace and stability in Tripoli. “We tell those sick minds that this crime will not terrorize the Lebanese or the Tripolitans and will not weaken the state’s determination to fight terrorism and terrorists,” Salam said. “Our Army and security forces are on high alert and will continue implementing the security plan and will track down all those looking to harm Lebanon and the Lebanese.”Salam called on the residents of Tripoli from all confessions and sects to support security forces and thwart attempts to sow strife among them. Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt for his part said the terrorist threat was looming over Lebanon, adding that the Lebanese Army was fully capable of safeguarding the country.
Jumblatt called on the residents of Tripoli to “stand united” against terrorism.
North Lebanon suicide attack kills nine
The Daily Star/an. 10, 2015 |
TRIPOLI, Lebanon: A suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowded cafe in the neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen in the northern city of Tripoli Saturday evening killing nine people and wounding more than 30, a security source told The Daily Star. Another suicide bomber blew himself up outside the coffee shop, according to unconfirmed reports. The Nusra Front claimed responsibility for the "twin blasts" that targeted the Omran cafe in the majority Alawite neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen. "A suicide operation targeted a cafe [belonging to] the Alawite Arab Democratic Party," the Nusra Front said on its social media pages, in reference to Jabal Mohsen's dominant group the ADP. A Nusra commander named the authors of the attack as Taha Kayal and Bilal Ibrahim. Both are Lebanese and received their training in the Syrian region of Qalamoun on the border with Lebanon, the commander told Turkey's news agency. The state-run National News Agency said Kayal and Ibrahim hailed from the impoverished Tripoli neighborhood of Mankoubine. A Lebanese Army statement said the suicide bomber attacked the cafe at around 7:30 p.m. and that military police would investigate the bombing. Security forces cordoned off the area and started investigations. North Lebanon Governor Ramzi Nohra imposed a curfew until 7 a.m. Sunday in Jabal Mohsen and surrounding areas. ADP sources spoke about two suicide bombers involved in the attack. One of the kamikazes succeeded in entering the cafe but the second one couldn't and blew himself up outside, the sources said. Eyewitnesses reported seeing pools of blood and human remains outside the cafe following the blasts. Saturday’s explosion is the first serious breach to a security plan implemented in 2014 that ended years of clashes in Tripoli between the mostly Alawite neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen and the mostly Sunni Bab al-Tabbaneh.
Recurring violence in Tripoli took on an increasingly sectarian nature with the beginning of the civil war in Syria. The ADP is an ally of President Bashar Assad, while Bab al-Tabbaneh’s residents largely support the Syrian uprising.
The suicide bombing came hours after Lebanon’s judiciary issued a new arrest warrant against the the leader of the ADP after he did not show up for a hearing Saturday. The judiciary had withdrawn the previous arrest warrant, issued in February 2014 against former MP Ali Eid, last week, after he had fled to Syria and remained on the run with his son Rifaat since last June. Eid has been charged with aiding a suspect in a twin bombing that targeted the Al-Taqwa and Al-Salam mosques in Tripoli, killing 47 people and wounded dozens of others.
Eid and his son fled to Syria when the Lebanese Army imposed a security plan in Tripoli. The Saturday blast is also the first of its kind targeting a civilian neighborhood in Lebanon in nearly a year. A series of car bombs and suicide attacks had targeted areas seen as sympathetic to Hezbollah from mid-2013 to early 2014 which were claimed by jihadi groups fighting in Syria, including ISIS and the Nusra Front. But the situation had largely been contained after a massive security sweep busted a number of militant cells in the country.
at Loggerheads on Waste despite Mashnouq's Optimisim on Deal Next Week
Naharnet/Environment Minister Mohammed al-Mashnouq stressed on Saturday that the cabinet would reach a decision on the waste management file by January 17, the deadline for closing the Naameh landfill and the date when the contract with the company, which collects dumps in Beirut and Mount Lebanon, expires. Al-Mashnouq told Ad-Diyar daily published on Saturday that the decision would not be reached over the weekend but definitely at the start of next week. The minister hinted, however, that the Naameh dump may remain open for some months despite the objection of Progressive Socialist Party chief MP Walid Jumblat. Following his remarks, a cabinet session was set for Monday to deal with the issue. Jumblat reiterated to Ad-Diyar on Saturday that the road to the landfill that lies in the Shouf district south of Beirut will be closed on January 17. But he expressed readiness to be more lenient if the proposed bill of al-Mashnouq is approved by the cabinet without amendments.
“We could study the issue on condition that the plan announced by Minister Mohammed al-Mashnouq is approved without changes,” said Jumblat. The cabinet failed on Thursday to give the green light to the bill after the Kataeb ministers objected to several aspects of the plan to treat solid waste. The plan divides Lebanon into five blocs and requests the Council of Development and Reconstruction to launch tenders to sign contracts with companies to collect and treat solid waste in several areas. The Kataeb party said on Friday the plan gives the companies too much power to decide the location of landfills. Its representatives in the cabinet are seeking to give the government the upper hand in that regard. But the party's statement angered Prime Minister Tammam Salam, who according to al-Liwaa daily, canceled a meeting that was scheduled to take place between him and Kataeb MP Sami Gemayel on Saturday. Kataeb Minister Alain Hakim also ruled out in remarks published in the newspaper a meeting between Gemayel and the party's representatives in the cabinet with Salam.
“The Kataeb stance on the choice of landfills hasn't changed,” he stressed. Hakim sad the party fears that if the companies were allowed to decide the location of the landfills in each of the areas mentioned in the plan, then the firms would come under the influence of powerful politicians in the respective regions. The controversy on the issue has compelled several officials to mediate to resolve the problem by January 17 when the contract with Sukleen, which is the company responsible for collecting dumps, expires.
According to a previous government decision, the authorities should also close by that date the Naameh landfill. Failure to do so, threatens to drown Beirut and Mount Lebanon streets with trash. Telecommunications Minister Butros Harb, who is one of the mediators, lamented that an agreement reached by the cabinet to have consensus on controversial issues in the absence of a president has paralyzed the cabinet. “It is not permissible for the decision to be suspended because of the opinion of a single party,” he said.
LF discuss impending dialogue
The Daily Star/Jan. 10, 2015 |
BEIRUT: Reform and Change bloc MP Ibrahim Kanaan visited the residence of Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea in Maarab as part of talks paving the way for an impending meeting between the latter and his rival Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun, the National News Agency reported. Kanaan described the meeting as "positive," adding to Al-Manar TV that discussions have moved to examining "working papers" that will eventually constitute the roadmap of the imminent talks between the two Maronite leaders.
"The Aoun-Geagea meeting is governed by the political circumstances but we are working for it to be a fruitful one that will have a positive impact on the Christian community," he told the Hezbollah-owned TV channel. The two hour meeting in Maarab lasted for two hours and was attended by Geagea’s political advisor Melhem Riachi, the state-run NNA added without elaboration. Kanaan of Aoun’s parliamentary bloc and Riachi have joined forces to schedule a meeting between Geagea and Aoun - both of whom are vying for the presidency- in a bid to end the presidential impasse, now in its eighth month. Geagea is the March 14 coalition's candidate for president, while the rival March 8 bloc is supporting Aoun's candidacy. Neither of them is thought to be able to garner a majority in Parliament, though a boycott by Aoun and his allies in Hezbollah have blocked all presidential elections sessions except the first. Kanaan said the stalemate over the presidential election governes the Aoun-Geagea dialogue, as solving it was a prerequisite to resolving other thorny files.
"Our dialogue paves the way for wider and all-inclusive dialogue on the national level," he added
Kouachi brother die in
suicidal attack on French siege force. Four hostages dead in Jewish Paris
DEBKAfile Special Report January 9, 2015
Four hostages whom Islamist gunman held Friday, Jan. 9 at a Jewish grocery store in Paris were reported dead by French police, shortly after they mounted a rescue operation that killed the gunman, Amedy Coulibaly, who earlier shot dead a policewoman. Other captives were set free. Minutes before, Said and Cherif Kouachi died in a shooting attack on the police siege force at a factory near Dammartin-en-Goelle, 40 km northeast of Paris. They were holed up there threatening to “die as martyrs” with their hostage.
Coulibaly and his partner Hayat Boumedienne had threatened to kill their hostages in Paris if the Kouachi brothers were not freed. Boumedienne, a female terrorist, is reported to have managed to get away. This is not confirmed.
And so the Islamist terror crisis kicked off in France by the murder of 12 people at the Charlie Hebdo magazine Wednesday reached a bloody conclusion - for now.
debkafile reported earlier Friday:
The two Charlie Hebdo terrorists were Friday, Jan. 9 holed up in a printing plant outside Dammartin-en-Goele northeast of Paris, with one or more hostages after a shootout with police. They were surrounded by hundreds of police backed by helicopters overhead. Negotiations for the release of hostages were met with the Islamist gunmen’s willingness to “die as martyrs” rather than surrender.
This was the first time Said and Cherif Kouachi were located nearly three days after they massacred 12 people at the magazine in Paris, despite a manhunt by 88,000 police officers, soldiers, security and intelligence personnel. .
The French authorities must admit to failure on two counts: Nabbing the two Islamic terrorists on the run and averting a string of terrorist attacks in Paris, in which three police officers paid with their lives - although the brothers, at least, were long known to French and Western anti-terror services as terror threats.
debkafile’s counterterrorism experts account for this apparent blindness by those agencies’ over-reliance on technology and double agents, instead of planting ears to the ground on the spot in the terrorists’ natural habitats.
Consequently, Western governments, including Washington, have become inured to admitting after major terrorist attacks in the last three years that the perpetrators’ identities and intentions were actually known in advance to their intelligence and anti-terror agencies. And even, in a few cases, double agents had been recruited and planted inside international Islamic terrorist organizations, including Al Qaeda.
Even so, when it came to the point, these known jihadis were never deterred from carrying out major terrorist crimes. This was demonstrated in a number of atrocities:
On April 15, 2013, the brothers Tamerlan Tsarnayev, 26, and Dzokhar Tsarnaev, 19, tried to blow up the Boston Marathon.
On May 22, in the same year, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowalo performed an Islamist rite on the streets of London by decapitating the British serviceman Lee Rigby.
A year earlier, on March 2012, Mohammed Merah was responsible for two attacks: He murdered two French commandos in Montauban for France’s participation in the Afghan war, then slew the teacher and pupils of a Jewish school in Toulouse
On May 24, 2014, Mehdi Nemmouche, 29, from the North of France, was able to attack the Jewish Museum in Brussels and kill the Israeli couple, Miriam and Emanuel Riva, as well as a Frenchwoman and Belgian citizen. This was despite the fact that French intelligence had been keeping an eye on Nemmouche because of his association with groups of Islamists who fought in the Syrian war in 2013.
Friday, Jan. 9, the Kouachi brothers were found on the US no-fly list of Americans and foreigners who are barred from flying to the States because of specific security concerns. They were therefore familiar names to counterterrorist agencies when, two days earlier, they murdered 12 people at the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in Paris, including the editor and top French cartoonists and two police officers.
Both had known records.
Cherif had spent time in a French prison in the early 20s for terrorist activities in connection with the recruitment of fighters in the Iraq War, while Said spent time in Yemen four years ago training with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
Their bloody outrage in the heart of Paris did not fit the “lone wolf” or “lunatic” epithet attached to recent terror attacks in France, along with the argument that such actions are impossible to predict or thwart. This argument was heard after a string of attacks on a synagogue, a Jewish-owned printing plant and the mowing down of Christmas shoppers by a vehicle.
There was no question that this was a targeted multiple assassination that called for detailed planning and reconnaissance, as well as knowledge of the location of the editorial board room and the timetable of board meetings attended by the targeted journalists.
In terms of logistics, the perpetrators would have had to get hold of Kalachnikov assault rifles, ammunition belts, bullet-proof vests, gloves, balaclavas and masks, as well as a vehicle for arrival and getaway from the scene of the slaughter.
All these arrangements point to a complex, well-oiled support network, with experience in combat, terror, logistics, intelligence and communications.operations.
Nonetheless, neither the French DGSE (external security) nor the DGSI (internal security) got wind of the murderous conspiracy afoot against the satirical magazine, which was famous for its irreverent cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad as well as holy figures of other religions.
Their signal intelligence (SIGINT) should have at least picked up the chatter which usually precedes terrorist activity. However, this omen too may have escaped them because of incorrect or unfocused “tuning” to suspect communications sites.
French intelligence runs a network called Frenchelon (the counterpart of the US Echelon), which enjoys free rein and huge budgets and is capable of intercepting any voice, linear, cellular or computerized communications transmitted worldwide. This system operates aggressively from French embassies and other institutions in foreign countries, including Israel. Its overriding task is to forestall terrorist activity on French soil and abroad, and it works in partnership with the US FBI and the British MI6 and MI5.
The warning by MI5 domestic security chief, Andrew Parker, the day after the Charlie Hebdo massacre of a growing threat of “mass casualty attacks” was indeed timely. He said “intelligence pointed to the existence of specific plots.” But the UK official also admitted that although three terrorist plots had been foiled in recent months, “it was almost inevitable that one would eventually succeed.”
And therein lies the rub.
The failure of the mighty, many-branched Frenchelon to spot Said and Cherif Kouachi’s plans for the magazine massacre and locate them after the attack when they were on the loose were the symptomatic result of Western over-dependence on technical intelligence and waiver of human intelligence inside the Muslim communities of Paris, Europe and the United States. Anti-terror agencies are therefore short of real-time, tactical information on terror plots afoot - or even the states of mind current in those communities. Both are essential for pinning down violence before it erupts.
In consequence, the two terrorists, instead of being located by the army chasing them, broke cover first and staged the Dammartin-en-Goele hostage-stunt northeast of Paris. They said they are ready to die as martyrs rather than surrendering, so that they can go down in a cloud of Islamist glory.
Who's to Blame in Iraq? Part II: The
by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi/Foreign Policy
January 10, 2015
Originally published under the title, "Iraqi impasses (2): Sunni side up."
The previous post discussed problems on the Shi'a side that hinder a more general Sunni-Shi'a 'reconciliation' in Iraq. Specifically, there is a general reluctance on the Shi'a political spectrum to address basic Sunni grievances on issues such as de-Ba'athification, and the phenomenon of Shi'a militiafication of the security forces has only further sidelined meaningful discussion of reforms to outreach to Sunnis.
However, it does not follow that Iraq's impasse is solely the fault of the country's Shi'a. Any analysis must also address the issue of Sunni rejectionism: that is, an absolute unwillingness to accept the post-Saddam order, with aspirations for 'revolution' (thawra) in the overthrow of the central government. Such rejectionism is embodied in the fact that none of the main Sunni insurgent brands accepts the notion of working within the system. Rather, believing Sunni Arabs to be at least a plurality if not a majority of Iraq's population (an erroneous belief), they all currently aim for 'revolution' with fantastical notions of the conquest of Baghdad.
None of the main Sunni insurgent brands accepts the notion of working within the system.
Indeed, rejectionism has even more currency than during the height of the U.S. occupation as a perceived failure of the political process for Sunnis has given credence to the narrative of groups that have rejected the idea of working within the system all along, such as the Ba'athist-Sufi Jaysh Rijal al-Tariqa al-Naqshbandia (JRTN), widely considered the second most powerful insurgent group after the Islamic State (IS).
Yet, this rejectionism has also helped facilitate the rise of IS, which initially worked with other Sunni insurgent groups in bringing about the downfall of the major cities of Fallujah, Mosul and Tikrit but has since come to dominate these places at the expense of the likes of JRTN. In one case, that of rival jihadi group Jamaat Ansar al-Islam, the group has been absorbed into IS through pledges of allegiance while the remainder has disbanded and quit the field.
Despite such developments, the prevalence of rejectionism means that the wider insurgency generally remains in denial that the IS phenomenon constitutes a problem, such that there even tends to be avoidance of mentioning IS by name, with no honest condemnation of the worst of IS' excesses including the targeting of minorities like the Yezidis and Christians as well as destruction of shrines and heritage sites. The JRTN goes so far as to blame the government for these actions. Such denial and lack of attachment to reality can only amount to complicity in IS' crimes.
With belief in the inevitability of 'revolution' and fighting IS not viewed as a priority, the Sunni insurgent groups with their rejectionism and support bases prove a huge obstacle to forming a coherent local Sunni force within Iraq to push back IS. Indeed, they all denounce current premier Hayder Abadi's National Guard plans and similar hopes to incorporate more Sunnis into the security forces as nefarious schemes aimed at destroying the 'revolution' and/or provoking an internal Sunni civil war to facilitate Iranian domination. Meanwhile, the coalition airstrikes targeting IS are presented as being part of a wider international war against Sunnis and Islam.
Not all Sunni groups have avoided speaking frankly about problems with IS, but the results of localized open clashes have never gone in their favour, pointing to the weakness of a lack of a united Sunni front against IS. A case-in-point is the Salafi group Jaysh al-Mujahideen, which openly condemned IS in a lengthy tract issued in January 2014. The group clashed with IS in the locality of al-Karma in Anbar province in August 2014, but was forced to withdraw from the main town. Despite this major loss, nothing points to Jaysh al-Mujahideen members and/or leaders being open to the idea of working with the government against IS.
In sum, Iraq's current round of major instability may not be as bloody as the dark days of the 2006 civil war, but with so many obstacles on both sides hindering a major accord between Sunni and Shi'a in Iraq, this phase of conflict is set to be a protracted war over many years to come
**Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi is a Shillman-Ginsburg Fellow at the Middle East Forum.
Terror, Backwardness and Intersecting
Eyad Abu Shakra/Asharq Al AQwsat
Sunday, 11 Jan, 2015
I have to admit that I have never liked the word “terrorism,” particularly when it is used by the US in the context that we are accustomed to seeing it used at present. However, the Paris attack targeting Charlie Hebdo cannot be described by any other word or label.
During the last days of the Cold War, the labelling of individuals or groups as “terrorist” was frequently both subjective and inconsistent. Former US President Ronald Reagan and his “neocon” disciples never labelled US-supported armed groups such as Nicaragua’s Contras, Mozambique’s RENAMO or Afghanistan’s Mujahedeen as “terrorists”—they were usually described as “freedom fighters”. However, Washington had no qualms about accusing organizations like the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) of being “terrorist”.
After the Cold War, which ended with a resounding victory for the West, the West began to prepare itself for the next post-Communist “enemy”; and soon enough Islam was nominated as the prime candidate.
In the meantime, Cold War alliances and allegiances also fell in the Muslim world as the Khomeini-led Iranian Revolution and the Afghan Mujahedeen phenomenon injected an unprecedented dynamism into the notion of “political Islam.” The shockwaves of this have spread out far and wide, from Indonesia to Senegal.
The early signs of this dynamism could be seen in Iran’s indulgent strategy of “exporting the (Shi’ite) revolution” through establishing affiliate Shi’ite parties and militias, such as the Al-Da’wa Party in Iraq, Amal (i.e. Lebanese Resistance Regiments) and later Hezbollah in Lebanon, and similar organizations elsewhere. In reaction to this, the decision taken by former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to confront Iran’s sectarian strategy created a groundswell of sympathy among the Sunni masses. This convinced Saddam—a Sunni Ba’athist—that he was the legitimate heir to the Nasserist Pan-Arab legacy, as well as the protector of the region’s Sunnis against the threat of the Iranian “Zoroastrian” enemy.
The irony here, however, was that the only Arab regime to side with Khomeini’s Iran was the only other fellow Arab Ba’athist regime of Syria. The truth behind this bizarre situation did not take long to emerge. What had originally been a secular Arab Socialist Ba’ath (i.e. Renaissance) movement was now developing into two fratricidal blocs: the first, a Sunni, tribal party in Iraq whose core leadership hailed from the town of Tikrit; and the second, an Iran-backed Alawi Shi’ite clan-based party in Syria whose core leadership came from the town of Qardaha.
Under the lengthy dictatorships of these pseudo-secular Ba’athist groups, Islamist organizations became the loudest dissenting voices and, later on, the strongest political and subsequently armed opposition.
In Iraq, the Iran-backed Shi’ite parties and militias could only win their fight against Saddam Hussein thanks to the US-led invasion of 2003 which brought down Saddam and culminated in the country being handed over to pro-Iran Shi’ite parties. On the other hand, in Syria, Sunni Islamists became so powerful that the regime felt it had to destroy them. Indeed, the Assad regime attempted to liquidate them in early 1982 through the infamous massacre of Hama. But this attempt, along with dissatisfaction with the government’s corruption and Iranian connections, turned many parts of Syria into “incubators” for Islamists of all hues.
The political positions adopted by the West, particularly the US, have so far treated the Iraqi and Syrian cases differently: Washington did not hesitate to hand the reins in Iraq to Iran’s Shi’ite followers and later rushed to help their beleaguered government against the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). But as for Syria, the Barack Obama administration has badly let down the Syrian people’s uprising against the Assad dictatorship and is now implicitly and virtually throwing Syria into the laps of Russia and Iran. This policy is based on Obama’s expressed belief that Shi’ite extremists are more malleable and rational than their Sunni counterparts.
Today, what we are witnessing is a war being fought by the US against Sunni extremist “takfirists” with total disregard of Iran’s advances into the Arab Middle East. A situation like this can only increase—albeit, indirectly—Sunni sympathy with these extremists, bearing in mind that this is taking place in a highly frustrated and anxious environment where the people are threatened with being uprooted and forced diaspora. We have already seen how allowing the Syrian tragedy to continue unchecked and unresolved has attracted extremist fighters to Syria from all over the world, including the US and Europe. However, what has happened in France under the pretext of “defending Islam” does not follow the same Middle Eastern scenario, especially regarding its Shi’ite angle. The reason being that there is a specific “North African Case” with its own special dimension in Western Europe, and particularly in France as the major former colonial power in North and West Africa.
It is true that the War in Afghanistan, and the emergence of Al-Qaeda and other Sunni Muslim “jihadist” and extremists groups in North Africa, contributed to this situation. But there are also several local, regional, colonial and economic factors that have had their own momentum.
Cultural alienation, stemming from an identity crisis, has for some time plagued France’s Muslim youth—most of whom are third generation immigrants. Unlike their parents, this generation was born and bred in Europe and thus are “European” and in this particular case “French”. This generation has not, for various reasons, adapted and acclimatized with its adoptive surroundings and claims it is not enjoying the full rights of citizenship it is entitled to. In this sense, it is not very different from how some third generation immigrants from the Indian subcontinent feel about their treatment in the United Kingdom or those of Turkish descent in Germany.
The 1991 riots in the poor Parisian suburbs served notice about the brewing “alienation” of this community, aggravated by the rhetoric and policies of the extreme right-wing National Front, in the same way the early 1989 anti-Salman Rushdie protests in the UK revealed a cultural gap unbridgeable by simplistic measures. Then, in 2001 came the September 11 attacks in the US which served to alert these aggrieved, socially marginalized, and religiously and culturally alienated youth to the fact that they still have a say, and can show their rejection, even through suicidal terror. The same message became clearer after the 7/7 attacks in London in 2005, carried out by British born and bred Asian Muslims.
The point that must be forcefully made is that France’s “terrorists” do not represent Islam—whether as a religion, an identity or a culture. It must be stressed too that it is not in the interests of Islam and Muslims to fight against the world community and reject its cultures, and by equal measure it is not in the interest of the world community to push Muslims further towards frustration and despair that can only result in alienation and hatred.
What has been happening in France is exceptionally dangerous; but all concerned must, and very quickly, prevent those seeking a “clash of civilizations” from achieving their vicious aims through actions that have nothing to do with any civilization whatsoever.
We need a new anti-terror strategy
Tariq Alhomayed /Asharq Al Awsat
Saturday, 10 Jan, 2015
The Paris attack on Charlie Hebdo and the subsequent events in France serve as an unfortunate reminder that the threat of terrorism is a real and present danger, and that nobody is safe from it.
Today, it is difficult to completely secure capitals or major cities, and this is something that can be seen in all the major terrorist attacks that have struck urban centers over the years. What is even more dangerous is that terrorists are now seeking the softest targets in order to maximize the death toll as much as possible. Targets now are chosen based on their propaganda value in order to secure the highest level of media coverage. The latest attacks, for example, have granted Al-Qaeda media coverage that the victims of Assad’s terrorism in Syria can only dream about.
What happened in France confirms, once again, that there must be a real resolution to this phenomenon of terrorism—not just a temporary solution, with the world going about its business as it was before. What happened in France this week recalls the deadly Mumbai attacks of 2008, particularly with regards to the prolonged pursuit of the terrorist attackers. What we need to do now, in the aftermath of this terrible attack, is review the way that terrorism is dealt with internationally, and put forward an entirely new comprehensive strategy to deal with it. This strategy should be based on dealing with the hotbeds of conflict that are feeding this terrorism phenomenon, whether we are talking about Iraq or Syria, Yemen or Lebanon, or Somalia.
When we look at what happened in France, we can easily recall other terrorists attacks that have taken place around the world in quick succession: the Saudi-Iraqi border attack carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) earlier this week; the suffering of the Syrian people at the hands of the Assad regime; the Parliament Hill shootings in Ottawa last year. Terrorism is a global phenomenon.
Today, we must target the conflict zones that incubate this deadly phenomenon, as well as enact new laws to deal with incitement to hatred and violence. If restricting the financing of terrorism is vital; no less vital is the confronting of all those who justify terrorism and the ideology that goes with it. This comes at a time when social media has, unfortunately, become an important stage where this kind of hate-filled extremist ideology is being spewed and promoted. The issue here is not just prevention but deterrence—freedom of opinion is different from inciting and justifying hatred and terrorism.
The major problems facing the world today is that terrorism, like any phenomenon, is developing and mutating. Therefore, confronting this requires quick reactions and thinking outside the box. So the issue now must go beyond monitoring and targeting terrorist financing; we must confront the foundations of this terrible phenomenon. Every state must be responsible for what is happening in their region, but within the framework of a new global effort to deal with this threat.
The international community must work together to deal with these hotbeds of conflict, and confront the countries that are facilitating this dangerous situation, particularly Syria and Iran. There must be a decisive international stand against terrorism, particularly as, if the signs are to be believed following the events in France, things will get worse before they get better
A world in the shadows of terrorism
Hisham Melhem/Al Arabiya
Saturday, 10 January 2015
The terror attack on Charlie Hebdo, the worst on French soil in 50 years and the clashes it spawned, showed in bold relief how vulnerable are open democratic states to the diabolical machinations of a handful of trained killers. Paris, the political and cultural heart of France, a country of 66 million people, and a major world power with a nuclear arsenal, was neutralized for two days by four terrorists, according to preliminary reports.
Never have a few people, disrupted the lives of so many, with such low cost. In recent years, until the shocking rise of ISIS last summer, the literature on terrorism was dominated by the relatively new strain of terror threat cyber-attacks. Huge financial and significant human resources have been allocated to defend against this kind of terrorism that could cripple a modern economy, and to develop offensive cyber capabilities, particularly after major American corporations and key national security structures like the Pentagon have been subjected to successful hacking attacks. But conventional terror attacks, as we have seen recently in Canada, Australia and now France are as deadly and as crippling as ever.
Asymmetrical warfare is as old as the age of ancient empires. The ‘barbarians’, (the name given by the Romans to those less developed than them and who fought them and laid siege to Roman cities) and particularly the fierce Germanic tribes waged this kind of war against the center of gravity of the Roman empire, usually using unconventional, hence asymmetrical tools to gradually degrade and weaken the empire.
“Never have a few people, disrupted the lives of so many”
Until the mid-twentieth century, empires, then powerful Nation-states dealt harshly with the varieties of ‘barbarians’ they encountered on the battle fields, whether they were trying to breach the ramparts of the civilized cities, or when they were in their own habitats. The empires and the powerful states that dominated the West (and the world) since the fall of Constantinople in 1453 had a high threshold of pain in the pursuit of their political, strategic and economic interests. Any review of the costs of wars and conflicts from the Napoleonic wars to the Second World War reveals the astonishing pain States were willing to exact on their own societies and peoples to finance even unnecessary wars. These attitudes to casualties and to the human/material costs of conflicts in general began to change, because of the rising cost of warfare, and critical public opinions and free media and the need for democratic governments to convince parliaments that their national security policies are prudent.
Terrorism in a globalized world
Until the 19th century, the impact of terrorism was limited; after all what can you do with a dagger even if you are willing to die. The cult of the ‘assassins’ (from the Arabic Hashshashin, but properly they were known as Nizari Ismailis, an offshoot of the Shiite sect) in medieval Syria and Persia, led by charismatic men in their mountainous redoubts, Rashid ad-Din Sinan, also known as the Old Man of the Mountain at Masyaf, Syria and Hassan-i-Sabbah at Alamut, Persia dispatched young Fedayeen armed with a dagger to assassinate publicly. They were so brazen in Syria that they tried twice unsuccessfully to assassinate the famed Kurdish leader Saladin (Salah al-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub), arguably the most important Muslim leader in the war against the Crusades.
The marriage of political anarchy and the modern weapons of hand guns and grenades in the 19th century elevated terrorism into a higher ground. In that century Terrorism shook every European capital, from Madrid to Moscow. Many political figures were publicly assassinated. Terrorism was so ubiquitous, that it informed the works of the greatest novelists of the era, from Dostoyevsky and Turgenev in Russia, to Emile Zola in France and Charles Dickens in England. The impulses that animated the ‘assassins’ of the middle ages, and the anarchists of the 19th century as well as al-Qaeda foot soldiers maybe the same, but their means, and their worlds were radically different .The war waged by al-Qaeda against the U.S. although it involved a miniscule number of terrorists, but because of the tools they employed, using commercial airplanes as missiles, and the targets they destroyed, the damage was exponential and unique in the annals of terrorism. On 9/11, nineteen young Muslims shocked the world into the era of terrorism in a globalized world.
Altered modern states
The biggest asymmetry between the U.S. and al-Qaeda is in cost each party incurred on 9/11. Al-Qaeda spent less than a half a million dollars plotting the attacks to destroy the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and probably the congress. If one includes the cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Cost for the U.S. is a least $3.3 Trillion according to the New York Times, and the cost is rising. The attacks forced the U.S. to establish a huge security bureaucracy, and called it the Department of Homeland Security, which has intruded in unprecedented ways on the lives of ordinary Americans. This is a not so brave new world altered by the actions of a handful of people; some of them are still on the run in the mountains of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen. These are the new ‘assassins’, who can be found in their faraway readouts, just as next door, in New York or in Boston.
It is true that the U.S has so far preventing al-Qaeda and other terrorists groups from executing another successful major attack against the homeland, but terror in a variety of forms and levels remained with us. There were so many close calls, and everyone knows that the nature of the beasts means that even the best national security measures cannot be one hundred percent proof. The aggressive campaign against, al-Qaeda in Yemen, al-Shabab in Somalia, and in the last few months the war against ISIS in Syria and Iraq has kept the war overseas, with occasional visits to the homeland.
From the grave
The apparent connection between the perpetrators of the Paris attacks and Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born al-Qaeda leader killed by an American drone in 2011 is another astonishing proof of the resilience and the malignancy of the fanatical modern-day terror. Anwar al-Awlaki was a modern version of the old man of the mountain, in that he was charismatic, articulate terror guru who appealed in his perfect English to alienated, disgruntled Muslims in the West to join the cause against America. In fact al-Awlaki is responsible directly or indirectly for almost fifty attacks or attempted attacks against U.S. Targets. And apparently he is still haunting France and possibly the U.S. from his grave, three years after he was dispatched to the lowest levels in hell.
Anwar al-Awlaki has ‘inspired’ people like Nidal Hassan, the U.S. Army major who gunned down 13 fellow soldiers in Fort Hood in 2009. Major Hassan was allegedly a ‘pen pal’ with al-Awlaki chatting regularly on line. On Christmas day 2009, a young Nigerian student named Omar Farouk Abdulmuttalab tried to destroy an American earliner over the city of Detroit. Abdulmuttalab met al-Awlaki and listened to his preaching of Jihad against the U.S. in Yemen.
Threshold of pain
Although, most European societies have experienced repeated acts of terror, whether home grown or from abroad since the Second World War, their threshold of pain has been diminishing. Ten years ago al-Qaeda bombed the Madrid Metro killing 201 people. The objective was to force Spain to withdraw her small military contingent in Iraq. Al-Qaeda won, when a new government in Madrid ended Spain’s unpopular participation in the Iraqi war. In recent years, European countries have shown great reluctance to engage in military campaigns or missions even in the Balkans or in nearby African states with the exception of France and to a lesser extent England. Their threshold of pain in Afghanistan and Iraq was very thin. Europe could not stop the bleeding of Kosovo and Bosnia without the direct involvement of the United States.
But even the diminishing American ability to absorb the pain of human casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq, the two longest conflicts in the country’s history, is a testament that we are living in a new altered state, that what the country used to endure in the past is no longer acceptable today. The Obama administration is so concerned that it could suffer casualties in Iraq or Syria, that it has neutralized itself. The war on al-Qaeda and ISIS and against terror in a globalized world , has exposed modern day democracies – given their transparent political institution, and their people’s high standards of living- to new dangers that cannot be addressed effectively without demonstrating the willingness and readiness to suffer sacrifices and endure pain. This simple fact is fully understood by the modern day ‘assassins’ planning terror in their redoubts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Raqqa and Yemen. Those who have a higher threshold of pain will win and inherit the future.
Two headless bodies found in Egypt's Sinai
Agence France Presse/Jan. 10, 2015/CAIRO: Two headless bodies were found in a village in Egypt's restive North Sinai region on Saturday, police said, the latest in a series of beheadings allegedly carried out by jihadists. The bodies of two men, believed to be civilians in their 30s, were found near the town of Sheikh Zuweid. It was not immediately clear who had killed them. Egypt's deadliest jihadist organisation, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, has previously claimed several beheadings of men it said were working for the Egyptian army or Israel's Mossad spy agency. The Sinai-based group, which last year pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, has regularly released video footage showing the executions of alleged informants, often by beheading. Ansar Beit al-Maqdis (Partisans of Jerusalem) has targeted Egyptian security forces since the army ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. Militant attacks have killed scores of security personnel, with jihadist groups claiming they are retaliating for a government crackdown on Morsi supporters.
Egypt's military has launched a widespread offensive against jihadist groups in the Sinai Peninsula.
Kosher supermarket attack victims to
be laid to rest in Israel
Ynet reporters/Published: 01.11.15/ Israel News
Yoav Hattab had just returned home from a visit to Israel, Yohan Cohen saved a 3-year-old when he fought the terrorist, Philippe Braham always wanted to make aliyah and Francois-Michel Saada lived for his family's happiness; these are the four lives lost in the Friday attack.
The four hostages killed in the terror attack on a Paris kosher supermarket on Friday will be laid to rest on Tuesday in the Mount of Olives cemetery in Jerusalem, according to Robert Ejnes, the director of the CRIF, an umbrella organization of French Jewish communities, who is coordinating the transfer of the victims' bodies to Israel.
The four victims are Yoav Hattab, 21, Yohan Cohen, 20, Philippe Braham, 45, and Francois-Michel Saada, 64.
"You took a part of me, I have no words to describe my sadness. I am destroyed for all of my life. All of our futures plans, all we had promised, how am I going to do this without you?" With those heartbreaking words, Sharon Seb said goodbye to her boyfriend Yohan Cohen, 20. Yohan had been working at the kosher supermarket for the past year and was killed early on in the attack, after the supermarket's doors closed, his cousin Yonatan told Ynet.
"The police told the family the terrorist threatened to kill a three-year-old boy, and Yohan tried to stop it. He managed to grab the terrorist's weapon but before Yohan had a chance to shoot him, the terrorist put a bullet in his head and killed him on the spot," Yonatan said.
"My life was made for you, just for you. I'm speechless, I really cannot comprehend that I lost the love of my life. I can never recover," girlfriend Sharon Seb wrote on her Facebook page. "You were so healthy, pure, perfect. I do not want to come to terms with the fact I have lost you. I do not know how I'm going to continue living without you, I do not know how to stand, how to have the strength to survive without you by my side."
Seb said the two had been together for two years, and "had so many good years to share together. I do not understand, I still hope to
get a call in the morning telling me that it's a mistake. I pray with all my heart it's a mistake. I really cannot live without you, it's impossible. I lost the will to live without you, I do not want anything anymore, because all of my plans were with you, not with anyone else. I feel empty. Come back to me. I love you with all of my heart and all of my strength, and no one can separate me from you. We said, 'in life or in death,' and I will keep my promise. I would love to be near you, to join you."
She thanked those who offered her support, but said it "still will not change anything, it will not lift my spirits."
Yohan's cousin Yonatan told Ynet that Yohan, who celebrated his birthday in October, "studied economics and wanted to work in a bank."
Yohan's parents immigrated to France from North Africa in the 60s - his father from Algeria and his mother from Tunisia - and settled in Sarcelles, near Paris.
Yohan, a rap fan, left behind two brothers and a sister. He visited Israel many times in the past. It was only a month ago that his maternal grandfather, famous Jewish-Tunisian singer Doukha (Mordechai Haddad), was buried in Netanya.
Much like many others in France, Yohan posted #JeSuisCharlie on his Facebook page, to show his solidarity with the 12 victims of the first of the week's terror attacks in the French capital.
Another cousin, Sharon Cohen, also took to Facebook to express her grief, "I hardly had time to open my eyes and I realized that you were no longer here. I still do not want to believe it, and yet I have no choice. Yohan, you were an example of kindness and goodness, you were the pride of your family and all your friends! And yesterday your life was torn away from you without scruples.
"01/09/2015 will forever burn in our hearts and we will avenge all those whose lives were torn off by the barbarians, I promise you!
"Yoyo, We love you more than anything and we're all thinking about you."
Philippe Braham was a father of four, his brother-in-law Shai Ben-David told Ynet, one child was from his first marriage and three from his second marriage to Ben-David's sister, Valerie.
His first son with Valerie (he also has an older daughter) passed away three years ago. "This was an incomprehensible tragedy for my sister. She survived only thanks to his strength," Ben-David said.
Philippe was a computer engineer and recently worked as an insurance agent near the supermarket. He went shopping there before the Sabbath when the attack occurred.
An Observant Jew, Philippe attended the synagogue in Montrouge, a Parisian suburb. His brother is the rabbi of the synagogue in Pantin, another suburb of Paris.
"He was a man who always wore a kippah, a Zionist whose dream was to make aliyah and he never made it. Every time he used to tell me, 'God willing we'll come, we'll make aliyah soon.'
"He loved Israel. He buried his parents and son here. He was an observant man who never harmed anyone. He visited Israel many times, the last time was several months ago to bury his mother. God avenge his blood," he said.
"We want him to be buried in Israel. The prime minister called my sister an hour and a half ago and promised Philippe will receive a state funeral," Ben-David added.
Refael Braham, Philippe's 14-year-old son, was in Israel when he received the horrible news of his father's murder.
"He was very close to his father and took it really hard," said the head of the French aliyah project in the Netanya municipality. "He has been crying and refusing to believe he lost his father."
"Dad went to the supermarket to shop for Shabbat. When I was with him (in France), we'd go shopping together quite often. If I hadn't made aliyah to Israel, I might have gone with him this time as well and gotten hurt," Refael said.
"Our son was saved from the attack," Carol, Refael's mother and Philippe's ex-wife, said. "There's hatred of Jews there, everyone needs to make aliyah to Israel. All Jews need to reach the conclusion Israel is better and safer for them. I came to Israel with my son and we feel safest here, we feel at home."
On the decision to make aliyah, Carol said: "Refael visited Israel and wanted to stay, while I saw all of the mess in France - Muslims' protested against Jews on our street and in our building."
Carol and Refael came to Israel in September, and were hoping Philippe would follow them, but on Saturday evening they received the horrible news. "There's no end in sight to the violence and hatred against Jews in France, we don't know where it's leading and what else could happen. People abroad need to know they're in danger," Carol said.
A relative of Yoav Hattab said he had just returned to Paris from a visit to Israel as part of the "Taglit-Birthright" project on Wednesday.
Hattab left behind six brothers and was living in Paris alone, where he was studying.
is father, Rabbi Benjamin Hattab, is a school headmaster in Tunisia, and a prominent figure in the Jewish community there. The elder Hattab gave an interview to Ynet four years ago during the rioting in Tunis, talking about how the 2,000 Jews in the country were dealing with the tense situation.
During Operation Protective Edge, Yoav had an argument on Facebook with a Muslim youth. "When you have nothing left in life, you go and blow up, and try to take as many people with you. It's just revenge, and I would've done it as well," the Muslim youth, Muhammad, wrote to Yoav. "For me it's simple, Israel exists anyway so it's better to live in peace, there are no other options," Yoav replied, and posted the conversation on his Facebook page.
Francois-Michel Saada, who was born in Tunis, was a pension fund manager. He was a father of two, with both of his children living in Israel.
"He led his life for the happiness of his family. A husband and an exemplary father," one of his friends said.
**Roi Mendel, Omri Efraim, Tamar Nadav, Itamar Eichner, Rachel Cadars and AFP contributed to this report.