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Bible Quotation For Today/Importance Of Praying For Others
James 5/13-20/: "Is any among you suffering? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing praises. Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the assembly, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will heal him who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your offenses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The insistent prayer of a righteous person is powerfully effective. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and it didn’t rain on the earth for three years and six months. He prayed again, and the sky gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit. Brothers, if any among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins."
Latest analysis, editorials from miscellaneous sources published on January
Israel should threaten Lebanon, not Hezbollah/Giora Eiland/Ynetnews/January 30/15
Comparative analysis: “Taateer mutawasel” (Continuous Misery)/Walid Phares/January 30/15
A War Like No Other: Israel vs. Hezbollah in 2015/Jeffrey White/Washington Institute/January 30/15
Hezbollah to sustain calculated retaliation against Israel/Nicholas Blanford/The Daily Star/January 30/15
Obama refuses to adapt in the Mideast/Michael Young/The Daily Star/January 30/15
Spoiler alert ahead of Iran’s nuclear deal/Majid Rafizadeh/Al Arabiya/ January 30/15
Dear Syrians... A letter from one refugee to another/Ramzy Baroud /Al Arabiya/January 30/15
Lebanese Related News published on January 30-31/15
Israel military scours Kfar Ghajar border village for Hizballah spies on a school rooftop
Spain, Israel agree to joint probe on peacekeeper's death in Lebanon
Nasrallah: Hezbollah does not fear war with Israel
Lebanon lodges complaint over Israel's deadly border shelling
Snowfall traps 50 vehicles on mountain road
Hezbollah to sustain calculated retaliation again
Gunmen stick up Beirut pub, restaurant
Expired Food Seized at Factory in Bekaa, Spoiled Fish in Beirut Warehouse
Teen Briefly Abducted from Arsal
Report: Government Mulling to Ask for Anti-IS Coalition Support
Boroujerdi Says Iran Keen on Lebanon's Stability, Baabda Deadlock is Local Issue
Casino du Liban Crisis Escalates, Employees Vow Not to Budge an Inch
Yazigi Says Election of President Safeguards Security, Stability
Jumblat Says Abiding by Dissociation Policy Difficult amid Circumstances
Revelers, Employees of Pub and Restaurant Robbed at Gunpoint
Miscellaneous Reports And News published on
Canada gives spy agency new anti-terror powers
ISIS's Egypt wing claims deadly attacks
ISIS silent as deadline passes with no swap
Air strikes alone not enough to defeat Islamic State: NATO chief
Next round of Syria talks in Moscow in a month: delegate
Netanyahu: Issues over US speech solvable, a nuclear Iran much more difficult to solve
Liberman: Israel's policy toward Hezbollah spurring terror from Lebanon, Syria
Lieberman blasts Netanyahu over Lebanon response
Iran deal at heart of Nisman's death mystery
Nusra Front put Israeli recruit in cave
Syria: Battle between Al-Qaeda and Western-backed group spreads
Syrian gov’t says ready to host talks with opposition in Damascus
Islamic State's Egypt wing claims credit for terror attacks that killed 27
New Greek PM Tsipras in Italy, France next week: office
Al-Nusra Launches Assault on Western-Backed Syria Rebels
Salman, The Saudi King shakes up his Cabinet
Saudi Blogger Badawi Becomes Free Speech Icon
Saudi Postpones Flogging of Blogger for Third Week
Two U.S. Citizens Shot at in Saudi, One Wounded
Report: Ex-Gaza Strongman Granted Serbian Citizenship
Jehad Watch Site Latest Posts
Canadian Muslim group funnelled $300,000 to Hamas-linked charity.
Raymond Ibrahim: Sisi Revisits ‘Egypt’s Identity Crisis’.
Islam — not Saudi king — “snubbed” Obama.
Brooklyn imam: “Let us admit…that we, the Muslims, are time bombs…The majority of us Muslims hate the Christians”.
Muslim Brotherhood calls for “long, uncompromising jihad” days after meeting with State Department officials.
Muslim cab driver from Virginia added to FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists List.
Video: Robert Spencer on Sun TV on the advance of Islam’s blasphemy laws in France, Belgium, Egypt — and Facebook.
Pakistan: Islamic State-linked jihadis murder 60 with bomb in Shi’ite mosque.
UC-Berkeley prof in WaPo: Islamic terrorism stems not from Qur’an, but from Muslim frustration at fact that “Christians won big”.
Gitmo detainee swapped for Bergdahl returns to jihad
Importance of Praying For Others
Each and every righteous person who fears Almighty God, and adamantly honors the ultimate Day of Judgment, no matter poor or rich, sick or healthy, strong or weak, black or white, all and all the time needs to seriously focus on what the bible tells us in regards to the Judgment Day accountability, as well as on our praying obligations, not only for ourselves, but also for others.
Definitely each person is accountable for his actions, but praying for those who are in need for spiritual riches are very helpful and blessed by God.
Our Holy father is always ready with open arms to forgive our sins and write off our transgressions, no matter what they are, big or small provided that our repentance is genuine.
It is vital to recognize that every one of us is accountable for his actions be righteous or evil.
Children are not accountable for their parents’ actions and vise versa.
This reality and plain truth is stated clearly to us in Ezekiel.
In hard as well as in good times, let all stay modest, loving caring and pray for each other. God has instructed us to do so in Saint James letter as shown below
Importance Of Praying
Is any among you suffering? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing praises. Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the assembly, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will heal him who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your offenses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The insistent prayer of a righteous person is powerfully effective. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and it didn’t rain on the earth for three years and six months. He prayed again, and the sky gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit. Brothers, if any among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death, and will cover a multitude of
God Is Always Willing To Forgive
The soul who sins, he shall die: the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be on him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be on him. But if the wicked turn from all his sins that he has committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. None of his transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him: in his righteousness that he has done he shall live.
analysis: “Taateer mutawasel” (Continuous Misery)
The Islamic State and Nusra wants to take you back to the 7th century AD, Hezbollah is offering to take you back to the 13th century AD. Surely Hezb is more advanced than Daesh and the Takfiris, for they do not slaughter in public but finish the job fast with car bombs.
However the mainstream Lebanese politicians are definitely a better choice than both Jihadists, the Salaf people and the Wilaya people. Lebanon’s Sicilian-like politicians will take you to the 18th century, where clans rule.
There is a whole solar system in Lebanon with planets circling in different centuries. Most decent people in that country live practically in the 1920s, with little electricity and clean water; the rich lives in cutting edge infrastructure anywhere they want, but Lebanon is the only place where they can impress the poorer Lebanese; the middle class is hoping for their kids to join the 21st century, if not in Lebanon surely overseas.
While some Lebanese have reached the zenith of sciences and arts around the Planet, Hezbollah continues to threaten anyone who doesn’t worship the Shebaa farms as the center of the Universe, and the bearded Takfiris are showing pieces of their bloody Caliphate on the summits of Ersal…”Taateer mutawasil” -continuous misery- (Sarcasm added for social media purpose only)
Israel military scours Kfar Ghajar border village for Hizballah spies on a
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 29, 2015
The divided Alawite village of Kafr Ghajar, which stands athwart the Israeli-Syrian-Lebanese border triangle, was exhaustively searched by Israeli special forces Thursday, Jan 29, debkafile’s exclusive military sources report. The searchers were looking for evidence of spotters suspected of transmitting to Hizballah at its Mt. Dov (Shabaa Farms) outpost the day before, a description of the IDF command convoy vehicles to be targeted. Hizballah was therefore able to identity the convoy and attack it, killing two Israeli soldiers and injuring seven.
The IDF searchers by land and air focused on the roofs of village schools. From there, it is now believed, surveillance devices and spotters were perched and regularly passed information to the Hizballah position just four km to the northeast. That is how the Hizballah attackers are assumed to have singled out the IDF command convoy of civilian pickup trucks from the traffic that normally uses the road running below their Mt. Dov outpost. The deviation from course of one of the six Kornet anti-tank rockets Hizballah launched against the convoy aroused suspicion. The deviant rocket struck a Kafr Ghajar school building which went up in flames. There is no chance that the rocket went astray because the Kornet system is laser-guided. IDF military analysts suggest that Hizballah bombed the school to divert attention from the presence of its collaborators in the village and the spies it had posted on the school roof. The rubble of the burnt school is being carefully sifted through for the surveillance equipment which the rocket aimed to destroy. Investigators find Hizballah’s use of rooftop spies in Kfar Ghajar as the only explanation for its precision in targeting two ordinary white pickups on an Israeli road from a distance of 5 km, which is at the far end of the Kornet’s effective range. The IDF is also probing the use made by the servicemen in the convoy of civilian cell phone networks, which are known to be wide open to Iranian and Russian eavesdropping from across the border in Syria and Lebanon. The servicemen are also being questioned about the use they made of the safe, ciphered military “Mountain Rose” communications network during their trip in the targeted convoy, and whether they used any of the popular mobile phones, on which Hizballah actively snoops.
Boroujerdi Says Iran Keen on Lebanon's Stability, Baabda Deadlock is Local Issue
Naharnet /Chairman of Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Alaeddin Boroujerdi said on Friday that Tehran was keen on Lebanon's stability and stressed it was up to the Lebanese rival factions to resolve the presidential impasse. “The latest political developments in the region help consolidate stability in Lebanon,” said Boroujerdi following talks with Prime Minister Tammam Salam at the Grand Serail. “The more ties were consolidated among countries in the region, the more there will be stability,” he said. Boroujerdi also told reporters that Iran's policy is based on building the best of relations with the region's countries, including Saudi Arabia. “The Iranian FM recently visited Saudi Arabia to represent Tehran in the funeral of Saudi King Abdullah,” he said. He made similar remarks following talks with Speaker Nabih Berri in Ain el-Tineh. Ahead of his meeting with Salam, the Iranian official met with Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil at Bustros Palace. “Tehran gives particular importance to all that leads to the consolidation of security and stability not just in Lebanon but in the entire region,” he said. Boroujerdi hoped that his visit to Beirut would lead to the improvement of bilateral ties in all fields. Asked whether he discussed with Bassil the presidential deadlock, the lawmaker said: “This is a Lebanese issue but we hope for a quick solution.”Baabda Palace has been vacant since President Michel Suleiman's six-year term ended in May. Boroujerdi was also asked about Israeli accusations that Tehran stood behind Hizbullah's deadly attack on an Israeli military convoy on Wednesday. “Hizbullah is a major component of the political society in Lebanon and has MPs and ministers in the Lebanese government,” he said. “Like the rest of our ties with all of the Lebanese society's factions, we have close and strong relations with Hizbullah,” the Iranian official added. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday blamed Iran for the deadly flare-up along the Lebanese border, which was the deadliest escalation on the disputed frontier since the 2006 war between Hizbullah and Israel. The violence erupted Wednesday when Hizbullah fired anti-tank missiles at an Israeli military convoy, killing two soldiers and wounding seven. The Jewish State responded with shelling. A Spanish peacekeeper with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon was killed in the exchange.
complaint over Israel's deadly border shelling
Jan. 30, 2015/The Daily Star BEIRUT: Lebanon Friday lodged a complaint with the U.N. Security Council against Israel over its recent border shelling in which a Spanish peacekeeper was killed, the state-run National News Agency said. The NNA said Lebanon’s Ambassador to the U.N. Nawaf Salam, filed the complaint through the Security Council’s president, requesting the international community to condemn Israel with “the strongest words” for the shelling of south Lebanon, sparked by a Hezbollah border ambush Wednesday. The complaint said the Israeli shelling “constituted a blatant violation of (Lebanon’s) sovereignty, the United Nations’ charter and Security Council decision, notably Resolution 1701,” the NNA said. In the complaint, Lebanon also asked the Security Council to conduct an investigation into “Israel’s targeting” of the U.N. peacekeeping force, which caused the death of a Spanish soldier. In Wednesday’s attack, Hezbollah killed at least two Israeli soldiers and wounded seven others when it fired a salvo of anti-tank missiles at an Israeli military convoy in the occupied Shebaa Farms in southern Lebanon. The attack came in retaliation to an Israeli airstrike 10 days earlier on a Hezbollah convoy in Syria's Golan Heights which killed six of the group's fighters and an Iranian commander. Spain on Thursday blamed Israel for firing the shells that killed its UNIFIL peacekeeper in southern Lebanon .
Nasrallah to Israel: 'Don't try us
Hashem Osseiran/The Daily Star/Jan. 30, 2015
BEIRUT: Hezbollah is ready to respond to Israel at any time and in any place, party chief Hasan Nasrallah underlined in a fiery speech Friday, two days after its troops ambushed an Israeli military convoy, killing two soldiers. “Don't try us again,” Nasrallah warned in a televised speech during a Hezbollah ceremony commemorating the deaths of six party fighters and an Iranian commander killed in a Jan. 18 Israeli airstrike on the Golan Heights town of Qunaitra. “We don't want war but we don't fear it,” he declared. “The resistance in Lebanon is not concerned with rules of engagement. It is our legitimate and legal right to fight aggression, wherever and whenever it may occur."
Addressing the Israeli people, Nasrallah said: “If the Israeli thinks that the resistance fears war, I tell them today in the commemoration of the Qunaitra martyrs and after the Shebaa revenge attack, that we don't fear war and we are not reluctant to engage in it if it is imposed on us.”Automatic weapons could be heard blazing in parts of Beirut before and after the roughly 90-minute speech, during which Nasrallah revealed that the Wednesday ambush against an Israeli military convoy was planned to resemble Israel’s attack on a Hezbollah convoy 10 days earlier. “They killed us in broad daylight, we killed them in broad daylight... They hit two of our vehicles, we hit two of their vehicles," he noted.
“As for the casualties, we’ll have to wait and see,” he added. Six Hezbollah members and an Iranian commander were killed in the Israeli strike. Israel has acknowledged that at least two of its soldiers were killed in Hezbollah’s retaliation, but many speculate the casualty toll to be higher. The main difference between the two attacks was that Israel did not immediately acknowledge that its soldiers were targeted, while Hezbollah announced Israel’s attack in Qunaitra moments after the strike, he said.
Nasrallah said that threats by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against the individuals who carried out the attack in the Shebaa Farms indicates that he is evading military confrontation and is seeking to track them down to assassinate them. But if any of Hezbollah’s cadre or youth are killed, Hezbollah will respond at any place and during any time it sees fit, he added. Israelis have discovered over the past few days that their political and military leaders are amateurs, Nasrallah added, pointing to Israel’s upcoming elections. The “foolishness” of this leadership has risked great dangers for Israel, he added.
He began his speech by noting that the attack on the Hezbollah convoy revealed the unity between Beirut, Damascus and Tehran. Nasrallah said that the martyrs of the attack reflect a “fusion of Lebanese-Iranian blood on Syrian territory, and reflects the unity of the cause and the unity of the fate of these countries.” “When blood unites Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Iran, then we will move towards an era of victory,” he added.
The death of Revolutionary Guard Brig. Gen. Mohammad Ali Allahdadi and Hezbollah field commander Mohammad Issa shows how ommanders are present on the ground along with the fighters, he added. And the death of Jihad Mughniyeh, son of late-Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh, shows how entire families have given themselves to the resistance, he added. Nasrallah extended his condolences to the families of the victims and blessed the fallen fighters for their martyrdom. The party leader also expressed his respect to the eight Lebanese soldiers killed during fierce clashes with militants near Ras Baalbek last week, likening the jihadi threat to the Israeli one.
He was referring to the day-long battle between the Lebanese Army and ISIS sparked after the jihadis attacked a military post in the area of Tallet al-Hamra. The assembly hall that hosted the commemoration ceremony was packed with supporters waving Hezbollah flags and frequently interrupting the speech with cheers and applause. The wall behind the podium was decorated with pictures of the six party fighters and Iranian general killed in the Israeli raid. Nasrallah described the Israeli raid, saying helicopters in broad daylight targeted two vehicles, carrying seven people, all of whom were killed during the attack.
The motive behind the attack was clear, Nasrallah said. Israel had “planned, calculated and took a premeditated decision to assassinate” the men, he added, denying claims that they were planning an attack on Israel. Nasrallah also denounced the Arab League for its lack of support to Palestine during periods of conflict, saying it has benefited Israel more than the Palestinians. The 22-member league “is not absent,” Nasrallah contended, “but does not exist at all.” The 50-day Israeli assault on Gaza during July and August proves that, he added, pointing to the failure of Arab states to react to the assault which killed around 2,200 Palestinians, including more than 400 children.
Nasrallah: Hezbollah does not fear war with Israel
Roi Kais/Ynetnews/Published: 01.30.15, / Israel News
In first speech since Hezbollah killed two IDF soldiers in retribution for what it calls 'Israeli assassination' of its fighters and Iranian general, Hezbollah leader says proud of 'martyrs', admits Iran supporting operations in Syria.
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah responded Friday for the first time since his group killed two Israeli soldiers in response to an end of January attack in Syria attributed to Israel which saw a number of the group's fighters killed alongside an Iranian general. "Our biggest victory is that Israel feared Hezbollah's response," he said in a televised address Friday after a salvo of Hezbollah guided missiles killed Major Yochai Kalangel and Staff-Sgt. Dor Nini as they rode in unarmored vehicles along the Israeli-Lebanese border on Wednesday. Israel then launched an artillery and air barrage, and a Spanish peacekeeper was killed.
"If Israel thinks the resistance is detered and is scared of a conflict, I tell you now after the attack in Qunetra, we are not afraid of war. We will not think twice about confronting the enemy and we will do so if he forces us. “We dont want war but we dont fear it,” he said, “the resistance in Lebanon is not concerned with rules of engagement. It is our legitimate and legal right to fight aggression, wherever and whenever it may occur."According to him, the Israeli attack in Qunetra – a Syrian city straddling its war-torn border with Lebanon – shows the “fusion of Lebanese-Iranian blood on Syrian territory, and reflects the unity of the cause and the unity of the fate of these countries," Nassrallah said, admitting Iran was supporting his terror groups operations in Syria.
When blood unites Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Iran, then we will move towards an era of victory, Nasrallah added. "It is possible Israel thought Hezbollah would contain this event and will not admit it was hit – but (our activities in Syria) are not something we hide. We are proud of it and our shahids… and I think this was Israel's first surprise, that Hezbollah admitted the event." Israel has not officially taken responsibility for the attack.
Hezbollah is fighting alongside forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad against rebels trying to oust him. The Syrian rebels fighting Hezbollah in the Golan area are predominantly affiliated with the Al Nusra Front – the Syrian offshoot of al Qaeda – which Nasrallah claimed Israel supports. Nasrallah praised those killed in alleged Israeli attack as 'martyrs' and fired back at Israel for "supporting" Syrian rebels in the area. "There are thousands of (Syrian al Qaeda) militia forces along the Golan border, they have tanks, arms, rockets, fortifications and more. "Netanyahu and Ya'alon are not concerned by their presence, because they support them, they supply them with air coverage and open the border for their wounded. Israel is not concerned by them, but is of two civilian cars which did not have any arms on them," the Hezbollah chief asked rhetorically, referencing the January 18st attack that killed several Hezbollah members, including a senior operative, along with an Iranian general.
Israel said it had received a message from UNIFIL, the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon, that Hezbollah was not interested in further escalation Thursday. In Beirut, a Lebanese source briefed on the situation told Reuters that Israel informed Hezbollah via UNIFIL "that it will make do with what happened yesterday and it does not want the battle to expand".
Asked on Israel's Army Radio whether Hezbollah had sought to de-escalate, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said: "There are lines of coordination between us and Lebanon via UNIFIL and such a message was indeed received from Lebanon."Israel has not formally acknowledged carrying out the air strike, but Yaalon said it had set back Hezbollah and Iranian efforts to "open a new front" against Israel from the Syrian Golan Heights. UNIFIL officials did not confirm or deny passing messages between Israel and Hezbollah. UNIFIL says it has no contacts with Hezbollah but its head of mission was in close contact with Israel and the Lebanese government throughout the day. The channel of communication "is still open now and it is always open in order to ask the parties to exercise maximum restraint", spokesman Andrea Tenenti said.Reuters contributed to this repo
Nasrallah confirms Hezbollah, Iran bolstering presence along Golan border
By JPOST.COM STAFF, REUTERS/01/30/2015/
Hezbollah on Friday confirmed Israeli suspicions that it was establishing a greater military presence near the Syrian-Israeli frontier on the Golan Heights. The Shi'ite group's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, gave a televised address in Lebanon in which he extolled the "fusion of Lebanese-Iranian blood on Syrian territory." The speech commemorated the deaths of six Hezbollah fighters and an Iranian general killed by an Israeli air strike in Syria on Jan. 18. The Iranian-backed Hezbollah retaliated on Wednesday with a rocket attack that killed two Israeli soldiers on the frontier with Lebanon. Nasrallah's remarks reaffirmed the Hezbollah-Iranian effort to solidify another front in the struggle against its nemesis, Israel. The Hezbollah secretary-general's remarks were reported by the Beirut-based English language newspaper The Daily Star.
The Israel-Lebanon frontier, where two Israeli soldiers and a Spanish peacekeeper were killed in an exchange of fire between Hezbollah and Israel, appeared quiet on Friday. The Israeli soldiers were killed when Hezbollah fired five missiles at a convoy of Israeli military vehicles. The attack appeared to be in retaliation for a January 18 Israeli air strike in southern Syria that killed several Hezbollah members and an Iranian general. The peacekeeper in southern Lebanon was killed as Israel responded with air strikes and artillery fire, a UN spokesman and Spanish officials said.
Nasrallah said that the Hezbollah attack on Mt. Dov was a tit-for-tat response to the attack on the convoy earlier this month. “They killed us in broad daylight, we kill them in broad daylight,” he said. "They hit two of our vehicles, we hit two of their vehicles." The Hezbollah chief lambasted what he called the Israeli leadership's "foolishness" for putting their country at risk with the attack on the Hezbollah-Iranian convoy. Israel had “planned, calculated and took a premeditated decision to assassinate” the Hezbollah and Iranian officers, though he denied Israeli claims that those targeted, among them Jihad Mughniyeh, were planning an attack on Israel.
The leader of Hezbollah said his group did not want war with Israel but was ready for one and had the right to respond to Israeli "aggression" in any time and place. "We do not want a war but we are not afraid of it and we must distinguish between the two and the Israelis must also understand this very well," he said. He said the group had been ready for all possibilities ahead of the retaliatory attack, one of the most serious clashes since the two sides fought a war in 2006. They have appeared to back away from further escalation since the incident. Addressing a hall full of supporters via video link, Nasrallah said his group no longer had rules of engagement in the conflict with Israel and would hold it responsible for the assassination of any Hezbollah leaders or fighters.
"We have the right to respond in any place and at any time and in the way we see as appropriate," Nasrallah said in the speech, which was broadcast live on Arabic news channels and greeted by heavy celebratory gunfire in Beirut. Attendees included visiting Iranian official Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of the Iranian parliament's national security and foreign policy committee. He was shown with tears in his eyes as Nasrallah spoke about the men killed in the Jan. 18 Israeli helicopter attack in the Syrian Golan Heights.
Nasrallah called the attack "an assassination crime". The Iranian general killed, Mohammad Allahdadi, had been a senior figure in Tehran's military effort to support the Syrian government in its battle against insurgents trying to topple President Bashar Assad. One of the top figures in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Qassem Soleimani, visited the grave of Jihad Mughniyeh this month, a Lebanese source said. A picture of Soleimani, head of the Quds Force, praying at Mughniyeh's grave was broadcast by Lebanese television channel Al-Mayadeen. Soleimani had become a father-figure to Jihad Mughniyeh after his father's death, the source said. Soleimani also met Nasrallah during his short visit to Beirut.
Spain, Israel agree to joint probe on peacekeeper's death in Lebanon
Agence France Presse MADRID: Spain and Israel have agreed to carry out a joint investigation on the death of a Spanish U.N. peacekeeper who was killed in Lebanon during Israeli shelling near the border, Madrid said on Friday. The soldier was killed on Wednesday when the Israeli military shelled border areas following a Hezbollah attack that left at least two Israeli soldiers dead, Spanish authorities said. The attack was launched in retaliation for an Israeli airstrike on a Hezbollah convoy in Syria's Golan Heights that killed six Hezbollah members and an Iranian commander. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu telephoned his Spanish counterpart Mariano Rajoy "to express his condolences and sadness at the death in Lebanon of Corporal Francisco Javier Soria Toledo," Rajoy's office said in a statement. "Both leaders agreed to carry out a joint Israeli-Spanish investigation to clarify what happened and to collaborate with the investigation being carried out by the United Nations." The 36-year-old corporal was part of the 10,000-strong United Nations peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon, UNIFIL, which includes 600 Spanish soldiers. Spain's ambassador to the U.N., Roman Oyarzun, told reporters on Wednesday that Soria had been killed by Israeli fire. Israel responded with air and ground attacks on southern Lebanon after a Hezbollah missile attack killed two Israeli soldiers.
Netanyahu: Issues over US speech solvable, a nuclear Iran much more difficult to solve
By HERB KEINON/J.Post/01/30/2015/Amid the controversy regarding his planned speech to the US Congress, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated Friday during a visit to soldiers wounded in Wednesday’s attack that Israel is adamantly opposed to the agreement the world powers are negotiating with Iran. “It is possible to solve procedural problems related to my appearance in the United States,” he said, “but if Iran obtains nuclear arms that is something that will be a lot more difficult to solve, and that is what we are opposed to and are focusing on.”Netanyahu is expected to use his speech to the Joint Session of the US Congress scheduled for March 3 to argue against the agreement, and for stronger sanctions – a position placing him at odds with US President Barack Obama. “We are in a continuous struggle with Iran which is opening new fronts against us, which is engaged in terrorism in the Middle East and throughout the world,” Netanyahu said. “This is the same Iran that the world powers are now working toward an agreement that would leave in its hands the ability to develop a nuclear bomb. That is an agreement we are opposed to.” Netanyahu said Israel is continuously coming under attacks organized by Iran. “Iran is trying to uproot us from here, but they will not succeed,” he said. “We put down roots here , and will continue to do so, and will continue to make the country flower and create new life.”
Israel's policy toward Hezbollah spurring terror from Lebanon, Syria
By JPOST.COM STAFF/01/30/2015/
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman paid a visit to the Golan Heights on Friday, where he met with mayors from the area and heads of regional councils. Speaking to reporters near the Syrian border, the Yisrael Beytenu leader said Israel's policy of containment – designed "to achieve quiet in the short run" – will harm the nation's security and deterrence in the long term. Both Hamas in Gaza and terrorist organizations operating out of Sinai are closely following events in the north and gauging the Jewish state's response to Wednesday's missile attack launched by Hezbollah, Liberman said. Liberman warned that Israel's policies will ultimately "encourage and spur Hezbollah to execute more terrorist attacks from Lebanon and Syria." He also said the Lebanese-based Shi'ite group "is working to turn the Syrian side of the Golan Heights into an outpost in order to carry out attacks against Israel."Hezbollah, Liberman said, was working to turn the reality in the region to that which prevails in southern Lebanon.
A War Like No Other: Israel vs. Hezbollah in 2015
Jeffrey White/Washington Institute
January 29, 2015
Current expectations that the two sides can manage escalation may not hold true, and a new war would be more intense and destructive than in 2006.
On January 27, Hezbollah killed two Israeli soldiers in retaliation for the January 18 airstrike against its operatives in Syria, raising the potential for serious conflict to its highest level since the 2006 war. Although both sides are signaling that they are not interested in further escalation at the moment, future exchanges could rapidly devolve into all-out fighting. Furthermore, it is unclear whether Iran -- which lost a prominent general in last week's Israeli strike -- views Hezbollah's response as adequate, and it may yet prod the group toward further action.
WHAT HAS CHANGED SINCE 2006?
Over the past few years, Israel and Hezbollah have both worked to improve their capabilities for the kind of war they expect to fight. And Syria's civil war has changed the strategic landscape greatly.
For its part, Hezbollah has massively expanded the size and range of its rocket and missile inventory. In 2006, it went to war with some 13,000 short- and medium-range rockets, allowing it to strike targets throughout northern Israel. Today it could have over 100,000 rockets and missiles, including a number of long-range systems as well as systems with improved accuracy, allowing it to strike throughout Israel and with increased precision.
Hezbollah is also believed to have made other improvements in its capabilities, including air defense and coastal defense, with systems acquired from or through Syria. It has very likely deepened and improved its antiarmor capabilities with additional antitank weapons. And it has improved its defensive layout in southern Lebanon, deeply embedding its offensive and defensive forces in various towns. In addition, the group claims to have developed a capability to undertake offensive ground operations into Israel. According to the director of production for Israeli military intelligence, Hezbollah forces may well penetrate the border and fight within northern Israel in the event of another war.
Hezbollah's strategic situation has also changed following its commitment of significant forces to Syria, with an estimated 5,000 personnel serving there at any one time. On the one hand, this situation may dilute Hezbollah's interest in serious conflict with Israel, since it limits the number of forces the group could bring to bear. On the other hand, Hezbollah does not appear to have committed the kinds of forces (rocket/missile and antitank) that would be most useful against Israel, and it has gained operational experience in Syria that could make it more effective in a ground war. Moreover, the group could attempt to exploit its new situation by operating through Syrian territory on Israel's Golan front.
The Israel Defense forces have improved their capabilities dramatically since 2006 as well, including enhanced intelligence and strike firepower (air and artillery) that increase their ability to locate and hit targets. They have also enhanced their ground maneuver capabilities by deploying more advanced and capable tanks and armored personnel carriers (the Merkava IV and Namer, respectively) and equipping key armored units with the Trophy self-protection system, which can intercept antitank munitions. Since 2006, IDF ground training has emphasized operations against Hezbollah, though it is unclear how much of this has been done for reserve units.
Israel's ability to defend against Hezbollah's short-to-medium-range rocket threat has also been enhanced through deployment of the Iron Dome system, which did not exist in 2006. And its civil defense system has been upgraded and tested in recent conflicts with Hamas.
In addition to the unique tensions and triggers inherent in the Israel-Hezbollah situation, there are general military advantages to moving up the escalation ladder faster than one's opponent. Doing so allows one to seize the initiative, dictate a conflict's pace and scope, and execute one's plans with fewer restrictions. There is definitely an advantage to being "first with the most." Other factors that could lead to full-scale escalation include the snowballing of violence as each side ups its commitment, an incident that causes unexpected casualties, or domestic pressure to achieve victory.
Against these must be set certain brakes on escalation. For one, neither side can fully ignore its strategic situation, and neither seems eager to risk the extensive casualties and damage that all-out conflict could bring. Hezbollah's Syrian commitment makes it less capable of sustained conflict with Israel, and pressure from allies could steer both parties away from escalation. Whether or not these brakes would be enough to prevent war remains to be seen.
In the event of another large-scale fight, Hezbollah could conduct major offensive and defensive operations. Offensively, the centerpiece of its strategy could be a rocket and missile offensive throughout the depth of Israel. According to Israeli intelligence estimates, Hezbollah would likely attempt to sustain fire of around a thousand rockets and missiles per day, dwarfing the approximate daily rate of 118 achieved in 2006. Perhaps more important, Hezbollah now has missiles with the range and accuracy to strike large strategic targets such as airfields, headquarters, and economically important sites.
An operation of this nature could overwhelm Israel's antirocket systems. The weight of the attack would fall on northern and to a lesser extent central Israel, but Hezbollah can now reach targets in the south as well.
The group could also attempt to penetrate Israel via Lebanon or Syria. As mentioned above, Hezbollah has threatened to do so in a future conflict, Israeli intelligence has acknowledged the threat, and the group's operations in Syria have probably given it a better capability to do so. In addition, last year's Gaza war highlighted the threat of offensive cross-border tunneling. While conditions on the Lebanon border are not as suitable for that tactic, Israel is concerned about it and actively searches for tunnels there.
Defensively, Hezbollah would attempt to limit the effectiveness of expected Israeli air operations by dispersing its forces into civilian areas and/or underground, and by using whatever antiaircraft weapons it has, perhaps including new or improved types of surface-to-air missiles. It would also try to blunt any Israeli ground advance into southern Lebanon by relying on its fortified localities there and using antitank and indirect fire systems.
On the other side, Israel could carry out two major offensive operations:
An air operation against Hezbollah's rocket/missile forces and infrastructure throughout Lebanon.
A large-scale, deep ground operation in which multiple divisions attack the group's ground and rocket/missile forces in southern Lebanon.
The inability of airpower alone to negate the enhanced rocket/missile threat would likely make ground operations of some sort necessary.
Defensively, Israel would attempt to use active (Iron Dome and Patriot batteries) and passive (civil defense) measures to reduce the effects of Hezbollah's rocket/missile offensive while waiting for IDF offensive operations to diminish the threat. This would likely mean destroying launch forces throughout Lebanon and seizing launch areas in southern Lebanon. Israel would also have to be prepared to fight on its own soil in the event of a successful penetration.
A general conflict could be expected to produce significant military and civilian casualties on both sides. Fighting on the ground in southern Lebanon and perhaps northern Israel would likely produce the most military casualties. And if civilians were present amid ground operations -- a likelihood in southern Lebanon -- they would suffer significant casualties in those areas. Civilian casualties should also be expected in areas where air and rocket/missile strikes are conducted, especially when defense measures are inadequate.
Damage to civil infrastructure can be expected in both Israel and Lebanon. If Hezbollah can sustain high rates of fire on Israel, some weapons will get through and some targets will be struck, whether through sheer numbers or greater accuracy. And since Hezbollah operates from within civilian areas, Israeli strikes would cause some damage there even when precautions and precision tactics are employed. Lebanese infrastructure such as bridges, roads, and communications facilities would also be targeted because of their military utility.
Such a war would likely cause widespread social and economic disruption in Israel and Lebanon. Hamas was able to achieve this in southern Israel last year, and attacks further north showed the potential for countrywide disruption under sustained rocket fire. Similarly, the 2006 war demonstrated that Israeli air operations could reach deep into Lebanon with significant economic and social impact. A new war would likely bring more widespread air attacks with even broader effects.
POLITICAL AND STRATEGIC DIMENSIONS
Accepting that Hezbollah, like Hamas, cannot be destroyed by military action alone, Israel would likely focus on achieving limited but clear strategic objectives in a new war, such as substantially reducing the group's military capabilities and damaging enough infrastructure to sully its reputation as defender of Lebanon, perhaps increasing public antagonism toward it in the process.
Of course, critics within and outside Israel would protest these objectives for various reasons. And an extended conflict with significant casualties could increase pressure to expand the mission. A major conflict with Hezbollah could also complicate Israel's relations with the United States. If Israel initiates large-scale operations, Obama administration sources might call for restraint, perhaps even painting the action as an effort to collapse the Iranian nuclear negotiations.
A major conflict would also have important implications for the Syria war. Fighting could spread into Syria along the Golan frontier and bring Assad regime forces under Israeli fire. Hezbollah could also be forced to withdraw troops from Syria in order to meet an Israeli offensive in southern Lebanon, weakening the critical support it has provided to Damascus. And if the group suffers major military losses to Israel, its long-term ability to lend such support could be compromised.
Current expectations that Israel and Hezbollah can manage escalation may or may not hold true; similar assessments were made before all of the recent Gaza conflicts (2009, 2012, 2014), and Hezbollah's drastic miscalculation sparked the 2006 war. If a new conflict does in fact break out, Israel and Lebanon are in for a very difficult time. War in 2015 would probably be significantly more intense and destructive than in 2006, and all of Israel would likely be targeted, not just the north. Such a conflict would bring significant pressure to achieve a clear success, further driving the parties to sustain the fighting and raise it to higher levels of violence.
**Jeffrey White is a defense fellow at The Washington Institute and a former senior defense intelligence officer.
should threaten Lebanon, not Hezbollah
Published: 01.30.15/Israel Opinion
Op-ed: Deterrence is only effective as long as the other side understands that a war will lead to the destruction of Lebanon and will not inflict damage only on the Shiite organization.
While I write this column, it is still unclear how the incident which began Wednesday afternoon on Mount Dov will develop, but from the nature of the operation, I can cautiously estimate that Hezbollah is not interested in a full escalation.
And it's not because it doesn’t have an impressive military ability. Despite its serious losses in Syria, the organization's rocket arsenal – which is its main weapon – has not been affected at all. Moreover, compared to 2006, it has only grown stronger: It has more missiles, they have a longer range, and their destruction ability and accuracy level are higher.
So why isn't Hezbollah interested in an escalation? It's not interested mainly because this is not seen as legitimate in Lebanon. While there is full legitimization in Lebanon for an attack against Israel – from Syria or from Lebanon – there is no legitimization for an act which will lead to heavy destruction in the country.
In other words, the deterrence vis-à-vis Hezbollah is only effective as long as the other side understands that a war will lead to the destruction of Lebanon and will not inflict damage only on Hezbollah.
Israel's major mistake in the Second Lebanon War was the decision to fight Hezbollah alone and leave the Lebanese government, the Lebanese army and the country's infrastructures out of the game. The result was a battle which lasted 33 days and claimed a heavy price and damage from the Israeli side. But this strategic mistake was not even mentioned in the report released by the Winograd Commission, which investigated that war.
What if we wage the third Lebanon war according to that same perception? The result will likely be even worse than the result in 2006. To make things clear: Israel cannot defeat Hezbollah without paying an unbearable price in casualties and damage.
On the fundamental level, a state cannot defeat an efficient guerilla organization if the three following conditions exist: The enemy is on the other side of the border; the organization enjoys the full protection of a state; and the protecting state is immune to any response.
The conclusion, therefore, is clear: If the fire from Lebanon continues and we decide that this calls for a broad Israeli response – it should be a declared war against Lebanon.
Fortunately, no one wants to see Lebanon destroyed – neither Syria nor Iran nor Saudi Arabia, the United States and France, which have invested a lot in the country's infrastructure. As the fear of destruction in Lebanon becomes more reliable, it will achieve real deterrence and prevent an all-out conflict. If the conflict does begin in any event, the threat to destroy Lebanon will lead to a ceasefire within three days, rather than 33 days.
The claim that it's not the Lebanese government fault and that it cannot force Hezbollah to do anything is wrong and irrelevant. The relevant thing is that a threat to Lebanon can create real deterrence, because even Hezbollah, as a political organization, is concerned about causing heavy damage to its country.
Some will say that this strategy is impossible because "the world won't allow it," but that is a shallow statement. The world's countries, and definitely the US, will allow such an operation given two conditions.
The first condition is that we simply tell them that we have no ability to defeat Hezbollah, and if they think it's possible they should tell us how. From my experience from conversations with senior military officials and important American politicians, far-reaching support can be obtained when things are presented seriously and professionally.
The second condition is that the professional explanation of why this is the recommended way should be presented in advance, not during the fighting.
In fact, we had eight and a half years to make this case. It's a shame that even in these past few hours we are still issuing threats to Hezbollah instead of relaying messages to the right address – the Lebanese government.
Major-General (res.) Giora Eiland is a former head of Israel's National Security Council.
Nasrallah: Hezbollah does not fear war
Roi Kais/Ynetnews/Published: 01.30.15, / Israel News
In first speech since Hezbollah killed two IDF soldiers in retribution for what it calls 'Israeli assassination' of its fighters and Iranian general, Hezbollah leader says proud of 'martyrs', admits Iran supporting operations in Syria.
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah responded Friday for the first time since his group killed two Israeli soldiers in response to an end of January attack in Syria attributed to Israel which saw a number of the group's fighters killed alongside an Iranian general.
"Our biggest victory is that Israel feared Hezbollah's response," he said in a televised address Friday after a salvo of Hezbollah guided missiles killed Major Yochai Kalangel and Staff-Sgt. Dor Nini as they rode in unarmored vehicles along the Israeli-Lebanese border on Wednesday. Israel then launched an artillery and air barrage, and a Spanish peacekeeper was killed.
"If Israel thinks the resistance is detered and is scared of a conflict, I tell you now after the attack in Qunetra, we are not afraid of war. We will not think twice about confronting the enemy and we will do so if he forces us.
“We dont want war but we dont fear it,” he said, “the resistance in Lebanon is not concerned with rules of engagement. It is our legitimate and legal right to fight aggression, wherever and whenever it may occur."
According to him, the Israeli attack in Qunetra – a Syrian city straddling its war-torn border with Lebanon – shows the “fusion of Lebanese-Iranian blood on Syrian territory, and reflects the unity of the cause and the unity of the fate of these countries," Nassrallah said, admitting Iran was supporting his terror groups operations in Syria.
When blood unites Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Iran, then we will move towards an era of victory, Nasrallah added.
"It is possible Israel thought Hezbollah would contain this event and will not admit it was hit – but (our activities in Syria) are not something we hide. We are proud of it and our shahids… and I think this was Israel's first surprise, that Hezbollah admitted the event." Israel has not officially taken responsibility for the attack.
Hezbollah is fighting alongside forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad against rebels trying to oust him. The Syrian rebels fighting Hezbollah in the Golan area are predominantly affiliated with the Al Nusra Front – the Syrian offshoot of al Qaeda – which Nasrallah claimed Israel supports.
Nasrallah praised those killed in alleged Israeli attack as 'martyrs' and fired back at Israel for "supporting" Syrian rebels in the area.
"There are thousands of (Syrian al Qaeda) militia forces along the Golan border, they have tanks, arms, rockets, fortifications and more.
"Netanyahu and Ya'alon are not concerned by their presence, because they support them, they supply them with air coverage and open the border for their wounded. Israel is not concerned by them, but is of two civilian cars which did not have any arms on them," the Hezbollah chief asked rhetorically, referencing the January 18st attack that killed several Hezbollah members, including a senior operative, along with an Iranian general.
Israel said it had received a message from UNIFIL, the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon, that Hezbollah was not interested in further escalation Thursday.
In Beirut, a Lebanese source briefed on the situation told Reuters that Israel informed Hezbollah via UNIFIL "that it will make do with what happened yesterday and it does not want the battle to expand".
Asked on Israel's Army Radio whether Hezbollah had sought to de-escalate, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said: "There are lines of coordination between us and Lebanon via UNIFIL and such a message was indeed received from Lebanon."
Israel has not formally acknowledged carrying out the air strike, but Yaalon said it had set back Hezbollah and Iranian efforts to "open a new front" against Israel from the Syrian Golan Heights.
UNIFIL officials did not confirm or deny passing messages between Israel and Hezbollah.
UNIFIL says it has no contacts with Hezbollah but its head of mission was in close contact with Israel and the Lebanese government throughout the day. The channel of communication "is still open now and it is always open in order to ask the parties to exercise maximum restraint", spokesman Andrea Tenenti said. Reuters contributed to this repo
Islamic State's Egypt wing claims credit for terror attacks
that killed 27
By REUTERS/J.Post/01/30/2015 03:12
Islamic State's Egypt wing claimed responsibility for a series of attacks that killed at least 27 on Thursday in some of the worst anti-state violence in months, after commemorations around the anniversary of the 2011 uprising turned deadly this week.
Egypt's government faces an Islamist insurgency based in Sinai and growing discontent with what critics perceive as heavy handed security tactics.
A series of tweets from the Sinai Province's Twitter account claimed responsibility for each of the four attacks that took place in North Sinai and Suez provinces within hours of one another on Thursday night.
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, Egypt's most active militant group, changed its name to Sinai Province last year after swearing allegiance to Islamic State, the hardline Sunni militant group that has seized swathes of Iraq and Syria, drawing US-led airstrikes.
Thursday's first attack was a bombing targeting a military headquarters, base and hotel in the capital of North Sinai province that killed 25 and wounded at least 58, including nine civilians, security and medical sources said.
The flagship government newspaper, al-Ahram, said its office in the city of Al-Arish, which is situated opposite the military buildings, had been "completely destroyed," although it was not clear if it had been a target.
Later, suspected militants killed an army major and wounded six others at a checkpoint in Rafah, followed by a roadside bomb in Suez city that killed a police officer, and an assault on a checkpoint south of Al-Arish that wounded four soldiers, security sources said.
Sinai-based militants have killed hundreds of security officers since President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was removed from power following mass protests against his rule.
The military said in a statement on its Facebook page that the attacks were the result of a successful campaign to pressure the militants.
The US State Department condemned the attack, saying in a statement: "The United States remains steadfast in its support of the Egyptian government's efforts to combat the threat of terrorism in Egypt as part of our continuing commitment to the strategic partnership between our two countries."
Tensions have risen across Egypt in the past week with protests, some of them violent, marking four years since the uprising that ousted veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak from power.
Earlier on Thursday, a group of women protested in Cairo over the death of activist Shaimaa Sabbagh and around 25 others said to have been killed by security forces at rallies commemorating the 2011 uprising.
Sabbagh, 32, died on Saturday as riot police were breaking up a small, peaceful demonstration. Friends said she had been shot, and images of her bleeding body rippled out across social media, sparking outrage and condemnation.
"The Interior Ministry are thugs!" chanted around 100 women protesters at the site of Sabbagh's death. Some held up signs with the word "murderer" scrawled over the face of Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim.
The protesters were defying a law that severely restricts protests. "People are here at incredible risk to themselves. But it's a way of standing against the fear they have instilled," said activist Yasmin el-Rifae.
Ibrahim has said an investigation into Sabbagh's death will lead to prosecution if any member of the security forces is found responsible.
One of the organizers of Thursday's demonstration said they had asked only women to attend because they feared infiltration by plainclothes male agents.
Across the street from the protesters, beside police officers, men stood making lewd gestures and yelling profanities. Others chanted in favor of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Criticism is growing of the security tactics Sisi has used since Morsi was ousted.
A crackdown that began with the deaths of hundreds of Brotherhood supporters and the imprisonment of thousands more has expanded to include liberals and other activists.
Some of those now opposed to the government initially supported the protests that led to Morsi's removal and Sisi's rise to power, as people who knew Sabbagh said she had.
ISIS's Egypt wing claims deadly attacks
Reuters/Jan. 30, 2015
ISMAILIA, Egypt: ISIS's Egypt wing claimed a series of attacks that killed at least 27 security personnel on Thursday in some of the worst anti-government violence in months, after commemorations around the anniversary of the 2011 uprising turned deadly in the past week.
Egypt's government faces an Islamist insurgency based in Sinai and growing discontent with what critics perceive as heavy-handed security tactics. A series of tweets from the Sinai Province's Twitter account claimed responsibility for each of the four attacks that took place in North Sinai and Suez provinces within hours of one another on Thursday night. Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, Egypt's most active militant group, changed its name to Sinai Province last year after swearing allegiance to ISIS, the hardline Sunni militant group that has seized swathes of Iraq and Syria, drawing U.S.-led airstrikes. Thursday's first attack was a bombing targeting a military headquarters, base and hotel in the capital of North Sinai province that killed 25 and wounded at least 58, including nine civilians, security and medical sources said.
The flagship government newspaper, al-Ahram, said its office in the city of Al-Arish, which is situated opposite the military buildings, had been "completely destroyed," although it was not clear if it had been a target. Later, suspected militants killed an army major and wounded six others at a checkpoint in Rafah, followed by a roadside bomb in Suez city that killed a police officer, and an assault on a checkpoint south of Al-Arish that wounded four soldiers, security sources said. After Sinai Province's claim of responsibility, security sources said a suspected militant had been killed while attempting to plant a bomb at a power transformer in Port Said. Sinai-based militants have killed hundreds of security officers since President Mohammad Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was removed from power following mass protests against his rule. The military said in a statement on its Facebook page that the attacks were the result of a successful campaign to pressure the militants. The U.S. State Department condemned the attack, saying in a statement: "The United States remains steadfast in its support of the Egyptian government's efforts to combat the threat of terrorism in Egypt as part of our continuing commitment to the strategic partnership between our two countries."
The violence and civil unrest comes as Egypt is trying to burnish its image in the run-up to an investor's summit in mid-March, to be followed by parliamentary elections. The attacks in Al-Arish and Rafah continue a pattern of unrest in the remote but strategic Sinai Peninsula, which borders the Gaza Strip, Israel and Egypt's Suez Canal. But the less common attempts in Port Said and Suez, at opposite ends of the Canal, bring the insurgency nearer to a key source of hard currency for the cash-strapped state.
Income from the canal has not been hurt by the turmoil following the 2011 uprising to the same extent as foreign investment and tourism, and a planned second canal is meant to boost the waterway's value to Egypt. However, Egypt's attempts to attract investors for mega-projects, such as the second canal, that the government says are key to securing a nascent recovery could stall if instability increases. The last major attacks in Egypt were on Oct. 24, when militants killed at least 33 members of the security forces. That operation was also claimed by Sinai Province. That prompted the government to declare a state of emergency in parts of Sinai, allow civilians to be tried in military courts, close the border with Gaza, and begin building a kilometer-wide buffer zone abutting the Palestinian enclave.
Tensions have risen across Egypt in the past week with protests, some of them violent, marking four years since the uprising that ousted veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak from power. Earlier on Thursday, a group of women protested in Cairo over the death of activist Shaimaa Sabbagh and around 25 others said to have been killed by security forces at rallies commemorating the 2011 uprising. Sabbagh, 32, died on Saturday as riot police were breaking up a small, peaceful demonstration. Friends said she had been shot, and images of her bleeding body rippled out across social media, sparking outrage and condemnation. "The Interior Ministry are thugs!" chanted about 100 female protesters at the site of Sabbagh's death. Some held up signs with the word "murderer" scrawled over the face of Interior Minister Mohammad Ibrahim. The protesters were defying a law that severely restricts protests. "People are here at incredible risk to themselves. But it's a way of standing against the fear they have instilled," said activist Yasmin el-Rifae. Ibrahim has said an investigation into Sabbagh's death will lead to prosecution if any member of the security forces is found responsible. One of the organizers of Thursday's demonstration said they had asked only women to attend because they feared infiltration by plainclothes male agents. Across the street from the protesters, beside police officers, men stood making lewd gestures and yelling profanities. Others chanted in favour of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Criticism is growing of the security tactics Sisi has used since Morsi was ousted. A crackdown that began with the deaths of hundreds of Brotherhood supporters and the imprisonment of thousands more has expanded to include liberals and other activists.Some of those now opposed to the government initially supported the protests that led to Morsi's removal and Sisi's rise to power, as people who knew Sabbagh said she had.
Canada gives spy agency new anti-terror powers
Agence France Presse/Jan. 30, 2015
OTTAWA: Canada's spy agency will be granted new powers Friday to thwart terror plots in a security overhaul precipitated by twin jihadist attacks three months ago. The October 20 and 22 attacks in Quebec province and in the capital Ottawa, targeting soldiers and Parliament, revealed gaps in Canadian defenses against terrorism. In the aftermath of the terror attacks -- the first ever on Canadian soil -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper pledged to beef up security, recently giving hints of the changes to come in speeches and public appearances. The new legislation will contain measures "designed to help authorities stop planned attacks, get threats off our streets, criminalize the promotion of terrorism and prevent terrorists from traveling and recruiting others," he said last week.
The Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS), Canada's spy service, is widely expected to be granted additional powers to track and detain suspected jihadis, including preventing them from travelling abroad for terror purposes.
The bill would also reportedly criminalize the advocacy or promotion of terrorism. Until now, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has been responsible for investigating and acting on terror threats. CSIS was created in the early 1980s after an inquiry into RCMP illegal activities and rights abuses recommended a separation of policing and intelligence gathering. Today, CSIS hands-off cases to the RCMP to investigate and make arrests. The government is expected to argue that Canada must act more quickly to thwart threats to national security. "We are not under any illusion of the evolving multiple threats that we face," Harper said Thursday. "It's difficult to predict them all, but we must continually evolve and improve our tools to do everything we can in what are obviously dangerous situations for the Canadian public, situations that we are seeing more and more frequently all over the world."
Hezbollah to sustain calculated retaliation against Israel
Nicholas Blanford/The Daily Star/Jan. 30, 2015
BEIRUT: The most serious escalation between Hezbollah and Israel since the end of the 2006 war appears to have tailed off into an uneasy calm, leaving both sides mulling the lessons of the past 11 days.
After intense speculation as to the manner of Hezbollah’s retaliation for the Jan. 18 airstrike near Qunaitra on the Golan that killed an Iranian general and six party personnel, including Jihad Mughniyeh, and Mohammad Issa, a senior field commander, Hezbollah opted for a “Shebaa Farms-plus” operation to exact revenge and attempt to restore its deterrence.
Hezbollah fired six Russian Kornet anti-tank missiles at a convoy of five Israeli military vehicles that was following the border road at the foot of the Shebaa Farms hills around 2.5 kilometers east of Ghajar, the village bisected by the Blue Line.
Two of the missiles struck their targets – two soft-skinned pickup trucks – one missile apparently went astray and hit a house in Ghajar and the other three presumably missed.
The attack carried more heft than the routine pre-2006 Shebaa Farms operations consisting of mortar shelling of Israeli outposts or a roadside bomb attack against a patrol. In the grim balance sheet of score-settling, it was important for Hezbollah to inflict fatalities among the Israeli troops in revenge for the victims of the Qunaitra airstrike.
The toll of two dead Israeli soldiers and seven wounded should ensure that Hezbollah does not feel compelled to stage another attack to fulfill its reprisal.
The last time that Hezbollah employed anti-tank missiles to ambush an Israeli army convoy in the Shebaa Farms was in April 2001, before the Israelis built new supply roads hidden from the line-of-sight wire-guided Sagger systems then used by Hezbollah.
Therefore, the choice of the ambush site carried some significance. Unlike the Shebaa Farms with its steep wooded valleys, the target of the ambush was located on the flat plain at the foot of the occupied mountainside, a good environment for Hezbollah’s Kornet missiles which have a range of about 5 km.
Furthermore, attacks in the heart of the Shebaa Farms (such as the Oct. 7 roadside bomb ambush near the Israeli Rwaisat al-Alam outpost) cannot be seen from the Lebanese side of the Blue Line. But Wednesday’s missile ambush was in full view of anyone east of Khiam.
Hezbollah is a master of propaganda and psychological warfare and the photographs and video footage of burning vehicles and wounded Israeli soldiers being treated on the roadside, which were splashed across the media of Lebanon, Israel and beyond, were almost as important for Hezbollah as the casualties they inflicted in the attack itself.
In the game of deterrence and one-upmanship played by Hezbollah and Israel, perception is often more important than the reality. And the perception from Wednesday’s action was that Hezbollah was undaunted by Israeli threats, picked up Israel’s gauntlet and flung it back.
The Israeli retaliation was limited to a relatively heavy bombardment of around 130 artillery and mortar rounds against areas facing the Shebaa Farms, one of which killed a Spanish UNIFIL peacekeeper.
Such a response is in keeping with past reactions to Hezbollah’s Shebaa Farms operations. That Israel did not escalate its response to, say, attacking Hezbollah targets in the Bekaa Valley suggests that it surmised there was little to gain from escalating the situation further.
Israel’s decision of forbearance may well have been aided by the signals sent by Hezbollah to diplomats and apparently the UNIFIL commander that it was uninterested in further fighting.
There are, perhaps, two pressing questions that arise from this 10-day drama. The first is that, given the outcome, why did Israel carry out the assassination of the Hezbollah cadres in the Golan in the first place?
The rationales that have leaked from Israel (which officially has not claimed responsibility) remain contradictory or unconvincing. The main stated reason was that Mughniyeh and his companions were preparing the infrastructure to mount resistance operations into the Israeli-occupied side of the Golan.
It is clear from a series of actual and attempted attacks in the Golan almost a year ago in response to an Israeli airstrike near Janta in the Bekaa that the strategic plateau has become a locus of deniable operations for Hezbollah, a safer option of signaling displeasure toward Israel than doing so from Lebanese soil.
Furthermore, Hezbollah perhaps has a motive for needling the Israelis from time to time in the Golan to “punish” Israel for its alleged covert cooperation with some Syrian rebel forces in the area.
Syrian rebels have seized ground in recent months in the Deraa and Qunaitra provinces. That reason alone is why it makes little sense for Hezbollah to be planning a whole new resistance campaign at a time when it and the Syrian army are struggling to prevent further territorial losses.
Even if the Israeli claims are true, killing Mughniyeh and the others offers no guarantee that Hezbollah would halt its resistance plans for the Golan. But it did guarantee that Hezbollah would exact revenge for the airstrike which is what happened Wednesday, and two Israeli soldiers are dead and the party’s deterrence has been restored – for now.
The second question is whether this episode will mark an end to the general calm that has existed along the Blue Line (and the Golan for that matter) since 2006 or whether it will in fact reinforce it.
Since the end of the 2006 war, there have only been six incidents of violence between Hezbollah and Israel across the Blue Line: the shooting of an Israeli colonel in Adaisseh in August 2010, the ambush against Israeli troops that crossed the border near Labboune in August 2013, Israel’s airstrike against a Hezbollah facility in Janta in February last year and three attacks against Israeli forces in the Shebaa Farms area, including Wednesday’s operation.
Significantly, four of those incidents have occurred within the past 12 months. Additionally, they do not include several small-scale anti-Israeli attacks from the Golan since December 2013, some of which were likely the work of Hezbollah or its allies.
Despite the uptick in recent months of hostilities between Hezbollah and Israel, the events of the past 10 days left both sides staring into the abyss of all-out war, one which they have been preparing for since 2006 but which neither currently seeks.
Still, despite that sobering view from the brink, further occasional anonymous anti-Israel attacks in the Golan are likely. And Wednesday’s events – as well as those of the past year – demonstrate that Hezbollah will continue to retaliate to any overt Israeli action, albeit in a carefully calibrated manner to avoid broader hostilities.
Obama refuses to adapt in the Mideast
Michael Young/The Daily Star/Jan. 29, 2015
These days whenever criticism is leveled at the Obama administration’s Middle East policy, one finds sympathetic voices in the United States defending President Barack Obama. The gist of their argument is that this approach merely downplays the responsibility of regional states for the chaos in the Arab world.Perhaps, but in the past six years the region has been through monumental transformations, at a time when the United States has irresponsibly disengaged from the region. Washington’s policies have been ill-adapted to dynamics in the affected countries. Worse, the administration has done little to adjust as its policy failures have multiplied. Most perniciously, it has misinterpreted its options in order to avoid taking action.
David Ignatius discusses the latest manifestation of this shortcoming with regard to Yemen in an article on this page today. However, the combination of American lethargy, the absence of foresight and imagination, and the refusal to think through the implications of America’s inaction has applied to most of its relationships in the region since 2011.
While it’s true that the Arab world would probably have gone through the tumult of recent years whatever the United States had done, the Obama administration could not have picked a worse time to extricate itself. In many respects this only ensured that the situation would become even more dangerous.
The reason is that the United States is not like other states. Its power and regional influence means that it has the ability to push countries in certain directions, in favor of a desirable agenda. President Barack Obama could not have done much against China and Russia at the United Nations Security Council perhaps, but he could have taken the lead in coordinating the responses of President Bashar Assad’s foes in such a way as to strengthen America’s hand, reinforce the Syrian regime’s adversaries, and ensure that extremists would not hijack the Syrian uprising.
Early on Obama denied himself a range of options in Syria. He dismissed the war there as “somebody else’s civil war,” at a time when the conflict was already having dramatic regional repercussions. Obama affirmed repeatedly that the United States was not prepared to deploy troops to Syria – a misleading response to a nonexistent request, since few actually suggested that American forces be dispatched to Syria to overthrow Assad.
As for the deployment of U.S. military power in Syria, it is the president himself who first threatened it if Assad used chemical weapons against his own population. Yet when the Syrian regime did precisely that in 2013, Obama accepted Russian mediation to avoid reacting, only discrediting himself in the process.
As for more creative uses of American military power, such as establishing no-fly zones over areas of Syria to protect Syrian civilians fleeing Assad’s butchery, Obama never seriously considered them. This only further destabilized the region as millions of refugees are today living in neighboring Arab countries, with no prospect that they will soon return home.
At present, the Obama administration has shifted yet again, implicitly supporting a continuation of the Assad regime, and even Iranian influence in Syria. This was made fairly clear in Obama’s October letter to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in which the president affirmed parallel U.S.-Iranian interests in fighting ISIS, and reassured him that Assad’s forces would not be targeted by coalition airstrikes.
Beyond that, Obama and his advisers never properly anticipated the likely fallout of the Syrian conflict, and its implications for Western security. The president made American successes against Al-Qaeda a cornerstone of his re-election in 2012. But beyond his search for domestic political benefit, Obama refused to look at the issue with greater depth, to see if there were incipient terrorist threats in Syria and elsewhere in the region.
Syria was only the most evident of the administration’s abysmal responses to the evolving situation in the Middle East. But the president can also regret his mismanagement of relations with other countries, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Each was a prominent U.S. ally, but today all of them mistrust the United States, whatever the appearances, and Obama has done almost nothing to improve the situation.
Doubtless these countries themselves are partly to blame for misunderstanding American priorities. However, issues such as Syria’s war, Western normalization with Iran, and the viability of Islamist governments have immediate, even existential, importance for them, affecting their regional sway and domestic stability. Obama has not been personally engaged in addressing regional fears on all these issues, let alone defining a consistent U.S. policy toward them. He has navigated through a labyrinth of conflicting regional interests, but the American president has not reassured his allies or sought a way to resolve the contradictions.
Can we expect change in Obama’s remaining two years in office? The president is not backed by majorities in the House and Senate, which can only handicap his foreign relations. But it is also true that his withdrawal from the Middle East has not been unpopular among many in Congress or the public. Indeed, Obama’s catastrophic negligence of the region is a consequence of the fact that there has been no price to pay for this at home.
Nor is there any indication that the White House feels a need to act very differently today. But only a blind man or a fool would argue that the U.S. pays no price for the disintegration of the region. Obama intervened against ISIS on the assumption that something had to be done. The problem is that the president refuses to apply this logic in Syria, Libya and Yemen.
The region has suffered, as has American credibility, while the framework of American power in the region has been overhauled. But such transformations must usually be conducted carefully. Obama has done so recklessly, amateurishly, creating a vacuum that has only exacerbated the traumas afflicting the region. Michael Young is opinion editor of THE DAILY STAR. He tweets @BeirutCalling.
Spoiler alert ahead of Iran’s nuclear
Friday, 30 January 2015
Majid Rafizadeh/Al Arabiya
The United States and Iran are making partial diplomatic headway as they resumed nuclear negotiations on January 18 in Geneva. Although the six world powers (known as the P5+1: the U.S., France, the UK, China, Russia, and Germany) play a role in either advancing or scuttling the nuclear talks, nevertheless, the two crucial players in this political game are America and Iran.
As the nuclear talks have resumed, the war of rhetoric between hardline Iranian lawmakers and the U.S. Senate (primarily the Republicans) has ratcheted up over the 18-month-long international negotiations. The Iranian parliament sent a message to the U.S. Senate stating that it will retaliate in case any new sanctions are imposed on Iran.
By closely examining Iran’s decade-long nuclear file, one can extrapolate that Iran’s nuclear history and the ongoing negotiations is multifaceted and complex. The agreement to seal a final nuclear deal cannot be one–dimensional, or operate on one level between President Obama and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.
“Both Republican and hardline members of Iran’s parliament would likely desire to see the failure and collapse of the nuclear talks”
In fact, the final nuclear deal will require several different accords on various spectrums. The first agreement needs to occur between Obama and Javad Zarif. The second agreement needs to happen between Rowhani’s administration and the Iranian parliament, particularly the principalists as well as hardline lawmakers.
d accord will need to be struck between the Obama administration and the Senate, primarily with the Republicans. The last dimension of the accord is required between the Rowhani administration and the senior cadre of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as well as Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
This multi-layered character of a potential nuclear deal highlights the complexity of Iran’s nuclear file and any accord that might lead to a comprehensive and final deal between the U.S. and Iran.
Odd bedfellows: Republicans and hardline lawmakers
President Obama has frequently given a bold message, including most recently in his State of the Union speech, that any legislation that introduces new economic or political sanctions on the Islamic Republic will undermine the last steps of the nuclear negotiations to reach a comprehensive deal. The president could utilize his veto power in this respect.
Nevertheless, some members of the U.S. Senate including Republicans and Democrats are charting a specific way to develop legislation, a sanction bill on Iran, which can override the veto power of the President Obama. This will require the Republicans to convince 67 senators to sign the bill. Currently, Republicans hold 54 of the 100 seats in the Senate.
Although Republicans and Iranian hardliners appear to be odd bedfellows, the reasons behind the escalating pressure from both Iranian hardliners and Republicans are different, multilayered and complicated.
From the perspective of some Republicans, President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry should not be the only actors defining the destiny of the international negotiations. Instead, members of the Congress should play a crucial role in international negotiations.
On the other hand, some others might point out that the 18-month-long international negotiations between America and Iran, have become a convenient platform for Iran to buy time, stabilize its economy, and continue enriching uranium and building more nuclear reactors.
The argument goes that Iran will be in a much more empowered position economically, geopolitically and strategically. This will empower Tehran to be less willing to compromise on the negotiating table.
Yet, others believe that President Obama has been lenient towards the Islamic Republic. No concrete and constructive outcome has resulted from the international negotiations.
Republicans and Iran’s hardline lawmakers: Allies?
When one analyzes the actions of Republicans and Iranian hardliners, one might reach the conclusion that they are rivals when it comes to the nuclear negotiations.
Nevertheless, when their objectives are examined, they are more allies than rivals. Both Republican and hardline members of Iran’s parliament would likely desire to see the failure and collapse of the nuclear talks.
Some members of the Iranian Parliament are working on a resolution that would empower Iran economically, so that Tehran would not be a weak player in the nuclear negotiations. In addition, the Iranian Parliament is charting some legislative bills which would necessitate the Iranian government to utilize centrifuges in order to enrich uranium more effectively. According to Mohammad Hassan Asfari, a member of parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee, the bill will allow Iran’s atomic energy to resume enriching uranium to 60 percent, which is a short technical step away from acquiring bomb-grade materials.
Iranian principalists and hardline lawmakers hold the opinion that the Rowhani administration is giving away too many compromises and undermining Iran’s right to enrich uranium. The same view of domestic distrust is being held between U.S. Republicans and President Obama. The Republicans fear that a final political agreement would leave Iran with a clear path to becoming a nuclear state.
If a final nuclear deal is not reached by March 24, the negotiations will face a much more uncertain fate and will likely enter a stalemate.
Dear Syrians... A letter from one
refugee to another
Friday, 30 January 2015
Ramzy Baroud /Al Arabiya
Whenever the word “refugee” is uttered, I think of my mother. When pro-Israeli state militias began their systematic onslaught against the Palestinian Arab population of historic Palestine in 1948, she, along with her family, ran away from the once peaceful village of Beit Daras.
Back then, Zarefah was six. Her father died in a refugee camp in a tent provided by the Quakers soon after he had been separated from his land. She collected scrap metal to survive.
My grandmother Mariam, would venture out to the “death zone” that bordered the separated and newly established state of Israel from Gaza’s refugee camps to collect figs and oranges. She faced death every day. Her children were all refugees, living in shatat – the Diaspora.
My mother lived to be 42. Her life was tremendously difficult. She married a refugee, my dad, and together they brought seven refugees into this world - my brothers, my sister and myself. One died as a toddler, for there was no medicine in the refugee camp’s clinic.
No matter where we are, in time and place, we carry our refugee ID cards, our undefinable nationalities, our precious status, our parents’ burden, our ancestors’ pain.
In fact, we have a name for it. It is called waja’ – “aching” - a character that unifies millions of Palestinian refugees all across the globe. With our refugee population now dominated by second, third or even fourth generation refugees, it seems that our waja’ is what we hold in common most. Our geographies may differ, our languages, our political allegiances, our cultures, but ultimately, we meet around the painful experiences that we have internalized throughout generations.
My mother used to say – “ihna yalfalastinieen damitna qaribeh” – “tears for us Palestinians are always close by.” But our readiness to shed tears is not a sign of weakness, far from it. It is because throughout the years we managed to internalize our own exile, and its many ramifications, along with the exiles of everyone else’s. The emotional burden is just too great.
We mask the unbearable aching somehow, but it is always close to the surface. If we hear a single melody by Marcel Khalifeh or Sheikh Imam, or a few verses by Mahmoud Darwish, the wound is as fresh as ever.
Most of us no longer live in tents, but we are reminded of our refugee status every single day, by the Israeli occupation, by the Gaza siege and the internally-displaced Palestinians in Israel, by the Iraq war and the displacement of the already displaced Palestinians there, by the despicable living conditions of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, and throughout the Middle East.
But for us, Syria has been our greatest waja’ in years. Aside from the fact that most of Syria’s half a million Palestinian refugees are on the run again, living the pain of displacement and loss for the second, third, or even fourth time. Nine million Syrian refugees are now duplicating the Palestinian tragedy, charting the early course of the Palestinian Nakba, the catastrophe of 1948.
Watching the destitution of the Syrian refugees is like rewinding the past, in all of its awful details. And watching Arab states clamor to aid the refugees with ample words and little action feels as if we are living Arab betrayal all over again.
I watched my grandparents die, followed by my parents and many of my peers. All of them died refugees, carrying the same status and the same lost hope of return. The most they ever received from the ‘international community’ was a few sacks of rice and cheap cooking oil. And of course, numerous tents.
With time our refugee status morphed from being a ‘problem’ to an integral part of our identities. Being a ‘refugee’ at this stage means insisting on the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees as enshrined in international law. That status is no longer just a mere reference to physical displacement but also to a political, even a national identity.
Political division may, at times, dominate Palestinian society, but we will always be united by the fact that we are refugees with a common cause: going home. While for the Palestinians of Yarmouk near Damascus, being a refugee is a matter of life and death – often by starvation – for the larger Palestinian collective, the meaning of the word has become more involved: it has been etched onto our skin forever.
But what can one say by way of advice to the relatively new refugees of Syria, considering that we are yet to liberate ourselves from a status that we never sought?
A few warnings
There can be only reminders and a few warnings:
First, may your displacement end soon. May you never live the waja’ of displacement to the extent that you embrace it as a part of your identity, and pass it on from one generation to another. May it be a kind of fleeting pain or passing nightmare, but never a pervasive everyday reality.
Second, you must be prepared for the worst. My grandparents left their new blankets in their village before they fled to the refugee camps because they feared they would have been ruined by the dust of the journey. Alas, the camps became home, and the blankets were confiscated as the rest of Palestine was. Please remain hopeful, but realistic.
Third, don’t believe the ‘international community’ when they make promises. They never deliver, and when they do, it is always for ulterior motives that might bring you more harm than good. In fact, the term itself is illusory, mostly used in reference to Western countries which have wronged you as they have us.
Fourth, don’t trust Arab regimes. They lie. They feel not your pain. They hear not your pleas, nor do they care. They have invested so much in destroying your countries, and so little in redeeming their sins. They speak of aid that rarely arrives and political initiatives that constitute mostly press releases. But they will take every opportunity to remind you of their virtues. In fact, your victimhood becomes a platform for their greatness. They thrive at your expense, thus will invest to further your misery.
Fifth, preserve your dignity. I know, it is never easy to maintain your pride when you sleep in a barren street covered in cardboard boxes. A mother would do whatever she can to help her children pass into safety. No matter, you must never allow the wolves awaiting you at every border to exploit your desperation. You must never allow the Emir, or his children or some rich businessman or sympathetic celebrity to use you as a photo-op. Do not ever kneel. Don’t ever kiss a hand. Don’t give anyone the satisfaction to exploit your pain.
Sixth, remain united. There is strength in unity when one is a refugee. Don’t allow political squabbles to distract you from the greater battle at hand: surviving until the day you return home, and you will.
Seventh, love Syria. Yours is an unparalleled civilization. Your history is rife with triumphs that were ultimately of your own making. Even if you must leave to distant lands, keep Syria in your hearts. This too shall pass, and Syria shall redeem its glory, once the brutes vanquish. Only the spirit of the people shall survive. It is not wishful thinking. It is history.
Dear Syrian refugee, it has been 66 years and counting since my people’s dispossession began. We are yet to return, but that is a battle for my children, and their children to fight. I hope yours ends soon. Until then, please remember the tent is just a tent, and the gusts of cold wind are but of a passing storm.
And until you return home to Syria, don’t let the refugee become who you are, as you are so much more.
Canadian Muslim group funnelled
$300,000 to Hamas-linked charity
January 30, 2015 10:48 am
By Robert Spencer
Muslim Association of CanadaIn Islam, zakat — the alms required of every Muslim — can and should be given to further the jihad. So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that there are so many jihad charities. “Canadian Muslim group funnelled $300K to Hamas-linked charity: Documents,” by Brian Daly, QMI Agency, January 28, 2015:
MONTREAL — One of the country’s largest Muslim organizations gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to a Hamas-linked charity, and vocally supported an Egyptian Islamist group, QMI Agency has learned.
The Muslim Association of Canada (MAC), based in the Toronto suburb of Mississauga, Ont., owns or operates at least 20 Islamic schools and 15 mosques in Ontario, Alberta and Quebec.
MAC’s website says the group is centred around “holistic educational and spiritual development” and “has no organizational link or affiliation with other organizations.”
However, QMI obtained an RCMP search warrant linking the group to IRFAN-Canada, a banned charity group and a listed terrorist organization also based in Mississauga.
The Mounties, citing Canada Revenue Agency disclosure, say: “The Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) provided $296,514 between 2001 and 2010″ to IRFAN-Canada.
The Conservative government declared IRFAN-Canada a terrorist group on April 29, 2014 — one day after the Mounties raided the charity.
The government said “between 2005 and 2009, IRFAN-Canada transferred approximately $14.6-million worth of resources to various organizations associated with Hamas.”
Hamas’s charter calls for the destruction of Israel.
IRFAN-Canada’s Ottawa-based lawyer, Yavar Hameed, had no comment on Tuesday. The group is fighting its terrorist designation in Federal Court.
The Mounties obtained their warrant as part of Project Sapphire, involving surveillance, wiretaps and undercover operatives in the Toronto and Montreal area. The warrant led to a raid on IRFAN’s Mississauga headquarters and a Montreal apartment on April 28, 2014. Investigators seized computer files, donation forms, and promotional videos that “demonize Israel.”
The RCMP wouldn’t say if its investigation is ongoing.
The Muslim Association of Canada bills itself as a “religious, educational, social, charitable and non-profit organization” whose “roots are deeply enshrined in the message of Prophet Mohammed.”
Obviously so. But QMI Agency follows that with a “however”:
However, the 113-page RCMP warrant shows the Mississauga group was under police surveillance for alleged terrorist financing as recently as last year. The warrant mentions an alleged transaction that took place at Al-Radwah Mosque, a MAC facility in north-end Montreal.
“(REDACTED) was observed on March 6, 2014, exiting the MAC location in Montreal carrying an 8 1/2 by 14-inch yellow envelope in his hand,” the warrant reads. “It is possible that (REDACTED) is still accepting donations on behalf of IRFAN from the MAC in Montreal.”
On the public stage, MAC has spoken out against violence, most recently in October when terrorists killed a soldier at Parliament Hill and another near Montreal.
At the time, MAC said it was “horrified by these acts of violence” and “stand(s) with all Canadians in condemning these attacks.”
The group has also condemned violence by Islamic State (ISIS), killing or driving out thousands in Iraq and Syria….