March 07/15

Bible Quotation For Today/ I desire mercy and not sacrifice
Matthew 12/,01-14/:"At that time Jesus went through the cornfields on the sabbath; his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. When the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, ‘Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the sabbath.’ He said to them, ‘Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him or his companions to eat, but only for the priests. Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath the priests in the temple break the sabbath and yet are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. But if you had known what this means, "I desire mercy and not sacrifice", you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.’He left that place and entered their synagogue; a man was there with a withered hand, and they asked him, ‘Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath? ’ so that they might accuse him. He said to them, ‘Suppose one of you has only one sheep and it falls into a pit on the sabbath; will you not lay hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a human being than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the sabbath.’ Then he said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out, and it was restored, as sound as the other. But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him."

Bible Quotation For Today/In the last days distressing times will come
Second Letter to Timothy 03/01-09/: "You must understand this, that in the last days distressing times will come. For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, brutes, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the outward form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid them! For among them are those who make their way into households and captivate silly women, overwhelmed by their sins and swayed by all kinds of desires, who are always being instructed and can never arrive at a knowledge of the truth. As Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these people, of corrupt mind and counterfeit faith, also oppose the truth. But they will not make much progress, because, as in the case of those two men, their folly will become plain to everyone."

Latest analysis, editorials from miscellaneous sources published on March 06-07/15
Iran’s Suspect Deal in the Making/Amir Taheri /Asharq Al Awsat/March 06/15
Tikrit igniting sectarian war in Iraq/Abdulrahman al-Rashed/Al Arabiya/March 06/15
What Obama Can Learn about Radical Islam from New Saudi King/Irfan Al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz/The Weekly Standard/March 06/15
Je suis Charlie, pas Bachar/Par Marwan Hamadé/March 06/15
Iran’s nuclear sunset: A strategically fatal deal/Majid Rafizadeh/Al Arabiya/March 06/15

Lebanese Related News published on March 06-07/15
Syrian Terrorist who Guarded Arsal Captives Referred to Judiciary
Geagea Compares Relation with Aoun to 'Love Story', Says Nasrallah 'Harming Shiites, Lebanese'
Elect a president, U.S. envoy tells Lebanese
Bassil inks 12 deals on Latin America tour
Saudi-Lebanese operation foils drug-smuggling bid
UCC to meet Berri over wage hike bill
Politics behind Sidon hospital resignations
Transgender: a misunderstood state
Hezbollah official meets Jumblatt over article row
Veteran journalist tackles media bias, lies
Army confirms arrest of key ISIS commander
Hermel-Baalbek launches anti-smoking initiative
Constitutional Council will not face vacuum: head
Al-Akhbar blames cost as it closes English site
Bahia Hariri hopes for undisrupted exams
Growth driven by lending: ABL chief
Security Forces Thwart Attempt to Smuggle 150,000 Captagon Pills to Saudi Arabia
Health Ministry Reinstates Contract with Hôtel-Dieu Hospital
Decomposed Corpse of Fatah Member Discovered near Ain el-Hilweh
Assailants Open Fire on Sheikh Abbas Zgheib's Vehicle
Casino loyale
Australia jails Lebanese man over child bride

Miscellaneous Reports And News published on March 06-07/15
U.N. threatens force if chlorine used in Syria
ISIS militants bulldoze ancient Nimrud city

The Treasures of Nimrud in Pictures
Azhar slams ISIS for bulldozing Nimrud
UNESCO condemns ISIS destruction of ancient Iraq city as ‘war crime’
Unconfirmed Reports of the Release of All Assyrians Held By ISIS
Iraq troops enter strategic town on Tikrit edge
Iraqi Forces Expel IS from Key Town al-Baghdadi
Rustom Ghazaleh leaves hospital after ‘beating’
ISIS cut man’s hand off for stealing: report
Syria women face higher risks, pay higher price
Five hurt as car rams into Jerusalem pedestrians
African Union endorses plan for anti-Boko Haram force
No change in Jordan Muslim Brotherhood status: PM
Saudi-US talks “fruitful and constructive”: Saudi FM
Release of Iranian diplomat sign of Tehran’s “blatant” involvement in Yemen: official

Jihad Watch Site Latest Reports
Jerusalem: Muslim injures 7, including 6 soldiers, in vehicular jihad attack
Video: Canadian jihad murderer explains why he is killing for Allah
LA Times: Hamas-linked CAIR’s Nihad Awad one of “the new civil rights leaders”
Turkish PM urges US Muslims to unite against “Islamophobia”
Breaking Bad in the UK: Muslim chemistry teacher jailed for plot to join the Islamic State
Ohio Muslim says he would have shot Obama, attacked Israeli embassy
Saudi Arabia: Indian man arrested for “liking” blasphemous content on social media
UK: Muslim “human rights” activist refuses to condemn death by stoning
Miami: Muslima rams police car at airport, falsely claims to have bomb
UK video: “You’re a Jew, not a Muslim…Jew, Jew, Jew run!”
Robert Spencer in FrontPage: The “Islamophobia” Scam Returns

Rustom Ghazaleh leaves hospital after ‘beating’
The Daily Star/Hussein Dakroub/The Daily Star/Mar. 07, 2015
The Daily Star
BEIRUT: A high-ranking Syrian intelligence official has left a Damascus hospital after receiving treatment for injuries suffered in a beating ordered by a colleague over a dispute involving Iranian influence in Syria, political sources told The Daily Star.
Sources familiar with the issue said that Lt. Gen. Rustom Ghazaleh, who heads the powerful political intelligence branch, was discharged from the Shami Hospital in the Syrian capital Thursday.
His hospitalization, they said, took place after he received a severe beating by a security detail acting at the orders of Lt. Gen. Rafik Shehadeh, the head of military intelligence.
Ghazaleh received a telephone call from Shehadeh, ordering him to report to his office. When Ghazaleh arrived for the meeting he was beaten severely by Shehadeh’s bodyguards, who later dumped him at the entrance of the hospital, they said.
Also, several physicians close to Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun traveled to Damascus early in the week to assist in Ghazaleh’s treatment, the sources said. The team was made up of a cardiologist, a neurologist and an emergency treatment specialist.
The incident resulted from the regime’s growing anger at Ghazaleh over a simmering dispute believed to involve the role of non-Syrian forces such as Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah in directing the war effort.
The sources said that Ghazaleh had refused to hand over his villa in his native village of Qarfa in Deraa to military personnel from Iran and Hezbollah involved in battling rebel groups in the south.
The villa was detonated in mid-December, according to a video posted to YouTube. A shadowy pro-regime group calling itself the National Resistance Movement claimed to have deliberately destroyed the residence so that it would not fall into the hands of rebel militias that were close to overrunning the village.
Some observers read the incident as an open challenge to the regime and its allies.
However, several pro-regime sources said they had spoken to Ghazaleh while he was in the hospital and were told he had broken his shoulder in a combat-related incident in his home province of Deraa in southern Syria.
They said a mortar bomb exploded next to a vehicle he was riding in while involved in military operations in Deraa, causing it to overturn.
The Syrian army and allied paramilitary groups launched an offensive in January in southern Syria, seeking to exert control over a strategic triangle of territory that stretches across three provinces – Deraa, Qunaitra and Rural Damascus.
Iranian personnel, along with Shiite paramilitaries from Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan, are also taking part in the offensive.
Ghazaleh served from 2002 to 2005 as the top Syrian intelligence official responsible for Lebanon when Damascus exercised control over its neighbor.

Geagea Compares Relation with Aoun to 'Love Story', Says Nasrallah 'Harming Shiites, Lebanese'
Naharnet /Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea announced Friday that the ongoing dialogue with the Free Patriotic Movement will eventually lead to “joint political steps,” noting that Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah is harming Shiites and all Lebanese through his group's intervention in Syria.“Popular bases in Lebanon interact with their leaders and they will see how the LF-FPM dialogue will be translated into joint political steps,” said Geagea in an interview on al-Jadeed FM radio.
Asked about his relation with Aoun, Geagea answered humorously: “Every 'love story' starts with a glance and a smile before evolving into a 'date' and we're still in the 'glance-smile phase.'” LF media officer Melhem Riachi and MP Ibrahim Kanaan of the FPM have recently started a series of meetings away from the media spotlight at the behest of both Geagea and Aoun. The talks are being held amid a protracting presidential vacuum that started with the end of Michel Suleiman's term on May 25, 2014.
The two parties have announced that they are preparing a so-called declaration of intent paper. “30 years of accumulations are delaying things,” Geagea added. Asked about Hizbullah, the LF leader said “a lot of issues that Sayyed Hassan is speaking of contradict with our view of Lebanon.”“I cannot accept Hizbullah's intervention in Syria and we're at odds today because of essential differences,” added Geagea.Addressing Nasrallah, he went on to say: “You are harming Shiites in Lebanon and harming all Lebanese through your actions.”
“All Lebanese parties must not interfere in the regional schemes so that no one practices hegemony over Lebanon,” Geagea underlined.In response to a question about al-Mustaqbal movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri, Geagea stressed that “he is free and will remain free.”

Elect president on your own, U.S. envoy tells Lebanese
Hussein Dakroub/The Daily Star/Mar. 07, 2015
Hussein Dakroub/The Daily Star
BEIRUT: The United States Friday prodded rival Lebanese leaders to elect a president without counting on foreign deals to help them choose a new head of state and accused Hezbollah of harming Lebanon’s stability over its role in Syria.
The remarks by U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon David Hale were the latest foreign appeal to Lebanese political factions to act to elect a president as the deadlock, now in its 10th month, has paralyzed Parliament legislation and is threatening to cripple the government’s work.
Meanwhile, the Lebanese Army confirmed it had arrested a key ISIS commander in the military’s latest crackdown on Islamist militants threatening to destabilize Lebanon.
Hale cautioned that rivalry between the March 8 and March 14 camps over the election of a successor to former President Michel Sleiman has thrown the government’s work into paralysis.
“Disputes over the election of a president have brought the normal functioning of government to a standstill,” Hale said in a statement after meeting Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk. “Yet, this is a time when all elements of the state should be working in unison to address these and other problems, in accordance with the Constitution and the National Pact.”
“There is no reason for delay and it is time to put Lebanon’s stability ahead of partisan politics. There should be no expectation of foreign deals to choose a president. Instead of looking outside Lebanon for answers, we urge Lebanon’s leaders to respect their own Constitution and elect their own president, on their own,” Hale added.
However, Hale’s remarks sharply contrast with previous statements made by Machnouk, Speaker Nabih Berri and other Lebanese politicians who have argued that a rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which back opposing sides in Lebanon, was essential to facilitate the election of a president.
Hale’s comments came two days after Berri called for a new Parliament session on March 11 to elect a president. Parliament last month failed for the 19th time since April to elect a president over a lack of quorum, plunging the country in a prolonged vacuum in the country’s top post.
Hale said a prime topic during his meeting with Machnouk was the minister’s upcoming visit to Washington.
“We very much welcome his visit and look forward to senior level discussions on how we can further deepen security cooperation between our two countries,” he said.
Hale promised continued U.S. military support for the Lebanese Army in its ongoing battle against terrorism, warning Lebanon still faced serious security threats from Syria-based jihadis.
“Lebanon is facing serious challenges and threats, and we need to be sober about them. The spillover of terrorism and extremism from Syria is not over,” Hale said in the statement released by the U.S. Embassy.
He accused Hezbollah of harming Lebanon’s stability over its role in Syria and of violating the government’s disassociation policy toward the conflict.
“The harm to Lebanese stability caused by Hezbollah’s violation of the policy of dissociation continues,” Hale said. “Hezbollah’s readiness to violate international norms and U.N. Security Council resolutions was made self-evident in January.”
He was referring to a Hezbollah attack on an Israeli military convoy in the Israeli-occupied Shebaa Farms on Jan. 28 that killed two soldiers in response to an Israeli airstrike on a Hezbollah convoy in the Syrian town of Qunaitra in the Golan Heights on Jan. 18 that killed six party members and an Iranian commander. “Hezbollah continues to make life and death decisions for all of Lebanon, yet consults no one, is accountable to no Lebanese, and answers to foreign powers,” Hale said, clearly referring to Iran, Hezbollah’s benefactor.
The U.S. ambassador praised the role of the Lebanese Army and security forces in defending Lebanon against the threat of terrorism.
“As you face these security challenges arising from Syria, it is important to look at Lebanon’s sources of strength. First, the Army and security services have the will and commitment to defend Lebanon, and are doing so with courage,” he said.
“Second, the Lebanese nation is united behind the effort to counter violent extremism. Third, you are not alone. You can count on continuous and meaningful support from the United States and others to ensure that the Army has the means to fight.”
“Fourth, our common values distinguish us from these barbaric extremists. Our values are stronger than the false appeal from the extremists, and therefore we will prevail,” Hale said.
“And finally, the international community may have differences elsewhere in the region, but it is united in its desire to help Lebanon insulate itself from these external threats and conflicts.”
Meanwhile, a Syrian suspect who was being treated at a Bekaa Valley hospital for wounds sustained in recent clashes with the Lebanese Army in the northeastern town of Ras Baalbek has emerged as a key ISIS commander, according to a military statement Friday.
The statement said Hasan Ghorli, nicknamed Abu Hareth al-Ansari, “is one of the most dangerous detained terrorists.” Ghorli was arrested March 2 for his role in the August battle against the Lebanese Army on the outskirts of the northeastern border town of Arsal and the Feb. 23 attack on an Army post in Tallet al-Hamra on the outskirts of Ras Baalbek, which left him wounded after soldiers repelled the militants. The Army said Ghorli confessed he belonged to ISIS and that he had headed an armed group that pledged allegiance to ISIS in July 2014 and made a decision to attack military positions following the arrest of ISIS commander Imad Jomaa, whose detention triggered the bloody clashes in Arsal in August. During interrogation, Ghorli also admitted that he would take the place of other guards protecting the kidnapped Lebanese servicemen and moving them from one place to another. He also said he witnessed the murder of Lebanese Corp. Ali al-Ali and revealed the identity of the ISIS militant who beheaded soldiers Ali al-Sayyed and Abbas Medlej, according to the statement.
A senior military official said Ghorli, who was arrested by Army Intelligence, had been referred to a military court for further interrogation. “Ghorli has made important confessions which we cannot disclose now because they will help the Army in its battle against terrorism,” the official told The Daily Star.

Casino loyale
The Daily Star/Mar. 07, 2015/Lebanon’s Labor Minister Sejaan Azzi took to the airwaves Friday to declare that all has been forgiven on the Casino du Liban front. Nearly 200 Casino workers had protested against being fired – for failing to report to work over many years. The government’s solution? Out of the total number of employees who were dismissed, more than half will receive severance packages – lucrative ones, some approaching $200,000. Meanwhile, two smaller groups will either keep their jobs or take medical exams to determine if they should continue to receive their paychecks. The casino is one of Lebanon’s many caves, the kind frequented by Ali Baba and the 40 thieves. Practically anyone in the country is able to talk at length about the corruption that has plagued the casino, although it’s just one of many such pockets of corruption throughout the state bureaucracy and institutions supervised or owned by the government. The casino saga is particularly galling because there is a distinct lack of action or urgency when it comes to a whole host of long-standing problems that affect the daily lives and interests of tens of thousands of people. MPs and politicians have spent years forming committees and holding meetings to discuss topics such as producing a new rent law, or a new salary scale for teachers and public servants. These politicians say the government doesn’t have enough money to solve these issues, but apparently it has enough money to reward certain cronies – even though these “employees” should be prosecuted and forced to return what they received for doing nothing except adding to the country’s many problems.

The Treasures of Nimrud in Pictures
(AINA) -- The Royal Tombs of Nimrud were first discovered in April of 1989 by an expedition of the Iraqi Department of Antiquities and Heritage. The Tomb was located in the North-West Palace of the Ancient city of Kalkhu (modern city of Nimrud). The city of Kalkhu was a capital of the Assyrian Empire for over 150 years until King Sargon moved the capital to Dur-Sharukin (modern Khorshabad) in 717 B.C. The city is located 4 miles south-west of the Christian monastery of Mar Behnam. The first dig of this ancient site was conducted by a British mission over 150 years ago, which uncovered many reliefs. Many Ancient Assyrian Tombs have been found in the past, however the goods had all been plundered and stolen. Two remaining tombs exist; one in Berlin and one in its original location in the city of Ashur. The sarcophagus in the tomb chamber contained hundreds of items including jewelry, vessels, ornaments, seals and other goods. The items displayed Syrian and Phoenician iconography in addition to central Assyrian Art. The treasures Belonged to:
•Yaba, Queen of Tiglathpileser III, king of Assyria 744-727
•Banitu, Queen of Shalmanasser V, king of Assyria 726-722
•Atalia, Queen of Sargon II, king of Assyria 721-705
ISIS destroyed the city of Nimrud yesterday. It is located just south of Mosul, Iraq.

Unconfirmed Reports of the Release of All Assyrians Held By ISIS
2015-03-06 /Joseph and Sargon Sarkis -- two of the Assyrians captured by ISIS.(AINA) -- Sources in Hasaka are reporting that ISIS has released all the Assyrians it had captured when it attacked Assyrian villages on the Khabur River on February 23. But AINA could not verify these reports. If the hostages have been released, they are still in ISIS held territory and have not yet reached Hasaka, the most likely destination.
ISIS captured between 262 and 373 Assyrians in its initial attacks on the 35 Assyrian villages on the river.
See attacks on Assyrians in Syria.
ISIS released 19 of the 21 Assyrians captured from the Village of Tel Goran on March 1, and the remaining 2 on March 3. In an interview with AINA, one of the Assyrians released by ISIS said they were told they could not return to their villages, if they did they would be killed (AINA 2015-03-05).
On February 23 ISIS attacked the Assyrian villages of Tel Goran, Tel Hurmiz, Tel Tamar, Tel Baloaa Tel Shamiran, Tel Riman, Tel Nasra, Tel Khareta, Tel Jazira, Tel Fweidat, Qaber Shamiyeh and Abu Tena.
Nine Assyrian fighters died defending their villages in the initial attacks and there are reports that ISIS has executed at least 12 Assyrian fighters who were captured, two of them women.
The majority of the Assyrians were captured from Tel Shamiran, Tel Hurmiz, Tel Goran and Tel Jazira.

Syrian Terrorist who Guarded Arsal Captives Referred to Judiciary
Naharnet/The army intelligence referred to the judiciary on Friday a Syrian who has guarded the servicemen taken hostage by the Islamic State terrorist group and participated in the battles against the military.
The army said in a communique that Hussein Ghurelli was arrested on Monday for participating in the attacks on army posts on the outskirts of the northeastern border town of Arsal in August last year.
It did not give details on his arrest. But the state-run National News Agency said on Thursday that Ghurelli was apprehended while undergoing treatment at a hospital in the eastern Bekaa Valley.
The suspect has also taken part in the assault on army positions in the area of Tallet al-Hamra of Ras Baalbek on February 23 during which he was injured, said the communique.
Ghurelli admitted to investigators that he had been tasked by terrorist organizations to monitor military convoys and that he had participated in all the battles against the army as part of an armed group that had pledged allegiance to the IS in July 2014, it said.
According to the communique, Ghurelli also admitted to guarding the soldiers and policemen who were taken captive by jihadists from the IS and al-Nusra Front in Arsal during the August battles.
The suspect said that he transported the captives held by the IS from one area to the other and that he witnessed the execution of one of the hostages, Ali al-Ali.
The IS and al-Nusra Front have executed four of them. They want to exchange the captives with Islamist prisoners in Lebanon and Syria.
The communique added that Ghurelli revealed the identity of the jihadists who executed soldiers Ali al-Sayyed and Abbas Medlej.

Police swoop on trio over Canada mall ‘threat,'”
Ottawa (AFP) – Police arrested two men and a woman in a raid Tuesday over a “potential threat” to a mall near Canada’s port city of Halifax, home to the navy’s Atlantic fleet. It comes after security officials last month warned shoppers in Canada, the United States and Britain to be on guard after an Al-Qaeda-linked militant group posted a video calling for attacks on Western malls. Halifax Police Constable Pierre Bourdages said a “heavy police presence” was dispatched to the Mic Mac Mall in the Halifax suburb of Dartmouth and the mall was closed for the day, although investigators said the threat had not been confirmed. Officers raided a small bungalow in connection with the threat, but a suspect was absent and “no dangerous substances” or firearms were found, Bourdages told AFP.
A short time later, an apartment in another part of Halifax was raided and three people — two men and a woman — were taken into custody. Police said they “have been actively investigating the matter to determine the validity of the threat and to this point no threat has been confirmed.” The Shebab militant group last month specifically threatened the Mall of America in the US state of Minnesota, Canada’s massive West Edmonton Mall, London’s famous Oxford Street and two malls in France….

“Terror arrives in Canada – but whose?
Catherine Chapman 4 March 2015/Open Democracy
New anti-terror legislation will, according to its proponents, show terrorists that Canada will “never be intimidated.” But many Canadians themselves are more than a little intimidated by Bill C-51.
Victor Biro via demotix. All rights reserved
On October 22, 2014 32-year-old Michael Zehaf-Bibeau killed Corporal Nathan Crillio at the Canadian National War Memorial with a .30-30 calibre Winchester riffle, a firearm typically suited to hunting deer. Driving the short distance to Parliament Hill, he then entered Centre Block, to be killed minutes later, leaving much of the downtown core on lockdown.
Two days before in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, 25-year-old Martin Couture-Rouleau ran down two Canadian soldiers with his car, killing one, and Canada’s terror threat level was raised to medium.
Terror had arrived in Canada. And no one seemed prepared.
Bill C-51
Hours after the Ottawa shooting, Prime Minister Stephen Harper explained how Canada would “never be intimidated,” in a statement that permitted his Conservative Government to fast-track new anti-terror legislation, Bill C-51.
Over 100 academics have argued that there are major problems with the bill.
Bill-C51, which has passed its second reading before Parliament, seeks to reform laws already in place by making the promotion or intentional advocacy of terrorism illegal, removing such propaganda from the Internet and lowering the thresholds for terror arrests from acts that ‘will’ to those that ‘may’ be carried out. Information sharing by government arms - previously having led to injustices - also expands.
According to a critique released by law professors Craig Forcese and Kent Roach, “It is, quite simply, the broadest concept of security that we have ever seen codified into law in Canada.” Along with Forcese and Roach, over 100 academics have argued that there are major problems with the bill.
The critics
Much criticism, including from four former Prime Minsters, has focused on oversight methods- ones governing these bodies remaining minimal and unaltered for the increased power needed to deter “violent jihadism”, as told by Harper when first introducing the bill on January 30th 2015.
Civil liberty organizations have also expressed concerns.
“This bill clearly has major implications for freedom of speech,” said David Christopher of online rights activists, OpenMedia. “Given that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) has already been caught monitoring a wide range of peaceful groups and individuals, C-51 will have a stifling effect on free expression and democratic debate in Canada.”
OpenMedia has campaigned against the growing culture of secrecy and closed government initiatives brought on by the Harper government - ‘Stop Spying On Us’, a Bill C-51 canvass, now with over 21,500 supporters.
Attempts to pass obscure legislation allowing for security services to monitor online space have been repeatedly deemed too extensive and unconstitutional.
Laws like these are comparable to Bill C-51- expanded authority for CSIS with implications of abuse through the sweeping language used. Yet despite opposition - and Snowden documents confirming mass surveillance by Canada’s intelligence community - when introduced alongside military crisis or public tragedy, many regulations such as this have been passed.
“It’s basically our government using fear to sell what is really a dangerous bill and what doesn’t provide more security,” said Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) executive director Tom Henheffer. “But it’s hard to vote against an anti-terror bill. This follows a trend of what this government is doing. They are more willing to sacrifice our free expression rights and right to privacy for the illusion of security, which has shown to be ineffective.”
It’s hard to vote against an anti-terror bill.
Fear was there on 9/11, causing Canada to pass its Anti-terrorism Act months later. After the October 22 attack, fear is there again now.
In the House of Commons after the October shooting in Ottawa, Harper hugged Liberal Opposition Leader Justin Trudeau in a moment of solidarity - Trudeau is supporting the legislation, while opposition party the New Democrats (NDP) are not.
Similarly in 1970, Trudeau’s father and former Liberal Prime Minister Pierre Elliot, suspended civil liberties in order to curb the Front de Liberation du Quebec (FLQ)- a Quebec separatist group who had been regarded as a terror threat.
Here, with more power and no accountability for security agencies, violations to privacy and basic freedoms occurred. Reforms were put in place, and then forgotten until a subsequent intelligence transgression transpired.
Examples like these are far too familiar in Canada’s history. Bill C-51 comes with little memory of the past and relatively no regard for social and political factors differentiating Canada from its western allies- a pluralist society with its implementation of multiculturalism admired globally.
The threat at home
Speaking to the Canadian media two weeks before the October attacks, Lorne Dawson, co-director of the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society, said, “It’s not a matter of if Canada is going to experience a terrorist attack, it’s when.”
Much of Dawson’s research focuses on radicalization and Canada’s ‘foreign fighter problem’. Part of the response to the latter saw the arrest of Mohamed Hersi in July 2014 under the country’s 2013 Combating Terrorism law - making it illegal to leave Canada to engage in terrorist activity overseas. Hersi was the first Canadian charged under these measures.
A 2014 Public Safety report on ‘The Terrorist Threat to Canada’ cites more than 130 individuals with links to Canada suspected of supporting terrorism-related activities abroad.
At home, plots like the Toronto 18, Via Rail and Canada Day bomb scare, are “somewhat amateur in comparison to the 7/7 bombings in the UK”, according to Dawson. And while difficult to determine, “the segment radicalized is way smaller, probably even than Denmark.”
You can’t stop every single act of violence by driving it underground.
While some do not, Dawson believes that the Zehalf-Bibeau shooting was terrorism.
“It was a lone wolf terrorist attack infused by his own mental difficulties,” he said. “He secured a gun, bought the car, didn’t shoot the first cop he ran into, but it seems fairly clear that he chose a politically appropriate target. Then it’s an open question whether he meant to attack Parliament or whether he was just surprised that nobody gunned him down.”
Critics of Bill C-51 have said these new laws aren’t necessary and that the Canadian government has failed to demonstrate how current legislation is unable to reprimand acts of terror or how these new laws could prevent lone wolves like Zehalf-Bibeau.
“This version of glorification laws is sort of a lighter version than the kind existing in France,” said Carmen Cheung, Senior Counsel for the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA). But, “We can see from the French example that you can’t stop every single act of violence by driving it underground and it may make it more difficult to detect potential threats. Ideas aren’t dangerous.”
Despite ‘jihad terrorism’ being mentioned in Parliament, the breadth of Bill C-51 remains frightening.
What is terrorism?
“What is terrorism?” said Tyler Levitan from Independent Jewish Voices, human rights advocates. “The way the bill is framed is not only extremely disconcerting for Palestinian human rights activists, but for Canadians in support of the rights of the Tamil people, environmentalists and native groups.”
The way the bill is framed is extremely disconcerting for Palestinian human rights activists.
Bill C-51 also designates a new felony of those who interfere with ‘critical infrastructure’, something that worries organizations like Greenpeace, who have been called ‘violent extremists’ alongside Aboriginal groups opposing tar sands and pipelines.
When asked how Bill C-51 would distinguish between factors like these, Harper replied with, “whether they’re in a basement, or whether they’re in a mosque or somewhere else,” promoting terrorism would be a serious offence for anyone.
The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) took issue with that, Canada’s Muslim community having disproportionately felt the affects of 2001’s new security procedures.
“We are concerned as every other fellow citizen with securing the security of our country,” said Ihsaan Gardee, NCCM’s executive director. “But human rights and civil liberties should go hand and hand. Our view is that it’s important to do something effective and not something that’s for the sake of being seen to be doing something. Radicalization towards extremist violence needs a community that takes it seriously and all Canadians should be able to make their voices heard.”
Dawson is concerned as well. He believes that Bill C-51 could help reprimand real treats, but also wonders what negative effects new laws could bring.
“Not everyone who is radicalized commits a terrorist act,” he said. “It may have a chilling effect on general discourse and we want an open discussion to engage with those views in dialogue.”
Outcome unknown
Under Bill C-51 the possible polarization of society is unknown. Whether it will be illegal for a journalist to write something, a not-for-profit to give funding or land protestors to campaign, is also uncertain.
For decades, acts of terror have been a live issue in Canada, defined loosely by what the government determines is a threat to national security.
For decades, acts of terror have been a live issue in Canada.
Currently, the bill sits before committee where experts give testimony in a number scheduled meetings- the 4 meetings set originally, have now increased to 9.
Whether this extension of debate is due to public outcry, the Conservatives are still set to move quickly with passing the legislature- expected in its third reading by the end of the month.
But if Harper is right to say that war has been declared on all those who value “freedom, openness and tolerance,” it must now be added that holding a government to account is fast becoming the true measure

Je suis Charlie, pas Bachar 
Par Marwan Hamadé
2015 - 03
Au vu du ridicule étalage de leur science politique « infuse », je me suis dit qu’au lieu « d’être Charlie » comme ils l’ont prétendu depuis des semaines, un quarteron de députés français ne sont plus désormais que des « Bachar ».
Il est vrai que certains d’entre eux, affichaient déjà, il n’y a pas longtemps, leurs relations ambigües avec des poseurs de bombes qui croupissent aujourd’hui dans les prisons du Liban. D’autres se pavanaient dans les entourages des dernières délégations du régime syrien encore admises à Paris avant d’être mises au banc de la morale et de la justice internationales. D’aucuns aujourd’hui vont jusqu’à prétendre avoir obtenu la pitoyable libération « sous caution et sous contrôle judiciaire » d’un seul intellectuel syrien, Louay Hussein alors que plus de cent mille sont détenus ou portés disparus. L’un de ces représentants connu pour son allégeance chronique aux « services » et son goût prononcé pour d’autres « services » a poussé le toupet jusqu’à prétendre promouvoir les intérêts d’entreprises françaises ou – pis encore – de certains cercles galonnés au Liban.
Dans L’Orient Littéraire qui a peut être eu tort de solliciter ma plume cette semaine, je n’ai pas pu m’empêcher de consacrer cette chronique à faire la différence entre la faute politique et le péché mortel.
Et je me permets d’affirmer que je suis aussi outré de la goujaterie criminelle de quatre sénateurs et députés que par la criminelle entreprise des frères Kouachi et du sieur Koulibaly. Blanchir l’assassin de 200 000 Syriens peut paraître anodin à certaines personnalités des Yvelines ou de la Haute-Garonne. Surtout que de similaires apparitions, écharpe tricolore en bandoulière, avaient, il y a un quart de siècle, alimenté des fantasmes présidentiels dont le Liban ne s’est pas encore remis.
Aussi, mon cœur de franco-libanais bat à la même mesure pour d’innocents confrères journalistes à Paris que pour d’aussi innocents citoyens à Damas, Alep, Daraa ou Homs. Ce cri de révolte est aussi une expression de reconnaissance à MM. Hollande, Valls, Sarkozy, Fabius, Juppé et bien d’autres qui – comme ils l’avaient promis à l’unisson en ce 11 janvier superbe – n’ont pas fait eux l’amalgame.
J’espère que les associations d’amitié parlementaire libano-arabes sauront désormais distinguer entre les parlements et les associations de malfaiteurs et de faire la part des choses. À l’heure où la France est conspuée, son drapeau déchiré, son ambassade assaillie, son chef de mission insulté par ceux-là même qui à Beyrouth comme à Damas admirent « le boucher » et l’assistent dans sa sinistre tâche, ceux qui croient encore à l’image du Liban et aux valeurs de la France doivent faire front à l’infamie.

Who is Nimrod in the Bible?
Gen 10:6-14
That which is observable and improvable in these verses is the account here given of Nimrod, Gen_10:8-10. He is here represented as a great man in his day: He began to be a mighty one in the earth, that is, whereas those that went before him were content to stand upon the same level with their neighbours, and though every man bore rule in his own house yet no man pretended any further, Nimrod's aspiring mind could not rest here; he was resolved to tower above his neighbours, not only to be eminent among them, but to lord it over them. The same spirit that actuated the giants before the flood (who became mighty men, and men of renown, Gen_6:4), now revived in him, so soon was that tremendous judgment which the pride and tyranny of those mighty men brought upon the world forgotten. Note, There are some in whom ambition and affectation of dominion seem to be bred in the bone; such there have been and will be, notwithstanding the wrath of God often revealed from heaven against them. Nothing on this side hell will humble and break the proud spirits of some men, in this like Lucifer, Isa_14:14, Isa_14:15. Now,
I. Nimrod was a great hunter; with this he began, and for this became famous to a proverb. Every great hunter is, in remembrance of him, called a Nimrod.
1. Some think he did good with his hunting, served his country by ridding it of the wild beasts which infested it, and so insinuated himself into the affections of his neighbours, and got to be their prince. Those that exercise authority either are, or at least would be called, benefactors, Luk_22:25. 2. Others think that under pretence of hunting he gathered men under his command, in pursuit of another game he had to play, which was to make himself master of the country and to bring them into subjection. He was a mighty hunter, that is, he was a violent invader of his neighbours' rights and properties, and a persecutor of innocent men, carrying all before him, and endeavouring to make all his own by force and violence. He thought himself a mighty prince, but before the Lord (that is, in God's account) he was but a mighty hunter. Note, Great conquerors are but great hunters. Alexander and Caesar would not make such a figure in scripture-history as they do in common history; the former is represented in prophecy but as a he-goat pushing, Dan_8:5. Nimrod was a mighty hunter against the Lord, so the Septuagint; that is, (1.) He set up idolatry, as Jeroboam did, for the confirming of his usurped dominion. That he might set up a new government, he set up a new religion upon the ruin of the primitive constitution of both. Babel was the mother of harlots. Or, (2.) He carried on his oppression and violence in defiance of God himself, daring Heaven with his impieties, as if he and his huntsmen could out-brave the Almighty, and were a match for the Lord of hosts and all his armies. As if it were a small thing to weary men, he thinks to weary my God also, Isa_7:13.
II. Nimrod was a great ruler: The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Gen_10:10. Some way or other, by arts or arms, he got into power, either being chosen to it or forcing his way to it; and so laid the foundations of a monarchy, which was afterwards a head of gold, and the terror of the mighty, and bade fair to be universal. It does not appear that he had any right to rule by birth; but either his fitness for government recommended him, as some think, to an election, or by power and policy he advanced gradually, and perhaps insensibly, into the throne. See the antiquity of civil government, and particularly that form of it which lodges the sovereignty in a single person. If Nimrod and his neighbours began, other nations soon learned to incorporate under one head for their common safety and welfare, which, however it began, proved so great a blessing to the world that things were reckoned to go ill indeed when there was no king in Israel.
III. Nimrod was a great builder. Probably he was architect in the building of Babel, and there he began his kingdom; but, when his project to rule all the sons of Noah was baffled by the confusion of tongues, out of that land he went forth into Assyria (so the margin reads it, Gen_10:11) and built Nineveh, etc., that, having built these cities, he might command them and rule over them. Observe, in Nimrod, the nature of ambition. 1. It is boundless. Much would have more, and still cries, Give, give. 2. It is restless. Nimrod, when he had four cities under his command, could not be content till he had four more. 3. It is expensive. Nimrod will rather be at the charge of rearing cities than not have the honour of ruling them. The spirit of building is the common effect of a spirit of pride. 4. It is daring, and will stick at nothing. Nimrod's name signifies rebellion, which (if indeed he did abuse his power to the oppression of his neighbours) teaches us that tyrants to men are rebels to God, and their rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.
Source(s): Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible

Genesis 10:8-12; Genesis 3:15; Genesis 11
After the flood Noah and his family repopulated the earth. Because the deluge did not eradicate sin, man’s sinful nature ran wild once again. At the same time, territories were overrun with wild beasts, turning against the inhabitants of the land. The battle of man against beast was hot and fearful, but in the midst of it, Nimrod, son of Cush, appeared as the 'knight in shining armor'. A "mighty hunter," Nimrod delivered the people from the fear of beasts. Hungry for power, though, he also emancipated man from the LORD.
Until Nimrod, mankind was governed by the patriarchal system where the heads of families heard from God and guided their individual tribes. Nimrod, more accurately a "mighty hunter against the LORD," usurped patriarchal rule, and crowned himself the first human king in all of history. Now man ruled instead of God.
According to the Bible, he was the son of Cush (1 Ch. 1:10). His name was derived from the Hebrew verb mahadh meaning "rebel". The Babylonian Talmud states: "Why, then, was he called Nimrod? Because he stirred up the whole world to rebel against His [God's] sovereignty." He was the founder and King of the first empire to come into existence after the flood of Noah's day and he distinguished himself as a mighty hunter in opposition to God.

Babylon In The Bible
Babylon is still located in Iraq.Babylon (Syriac: ܒܵܐܒܸܠ or ܒܐܒܠ‎) (Arabic: بابل‎) was a city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers (55 mi) south of Baghdad. All that remains of the original ancient famed city of Babylon today is a mound, or tell, of broken mud-brick buildings and debris in the fertile Mesopotamian plain between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, in Iraq. Although it has been reconstructed, historical resources inform us that Babylon was at first a small town, that had sprung up by the beginning of the third millennium BC (the dawn of the dynasties). The town flourished and attained prominence and political repute with the rise of the First Babylonian Dynasty. It was the "holy city" of Babylonia by approximately 2300 BC, and the seat of the Neo-Babylonian Empire from 612 BC. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
The form Babylon is the Greek variant of Akkadian Babilu (bāb-ilû, meaning "Gateway of the god(s)", translating Sumerian Ka.dingir.ra). In the Hebrew Bible, the name appears as בבל (Babel), interpreted by Book of Genesis 11:9 to mean "confusion" (of languages), from the verb balbal, "to confuse".
The Tower of Babel (Hebrew: מגדל בבל‎ Migdal Bavel Arabic: برج بابل‎ Burj Babil), according to the Book of Genesis,[1] was an enormous tower built at the city of Babylon (Hebrew: Babel, Akkadian: Babilu), a cosmopolitan city typified by a confusion of languages,[2] also called the "beginning" of Nimrod's kingdom. According to the biblical account, a united humanity of the generations following the Great Flood, speaking a single language and migrating from the east, participated in the building. The people decided their city should have a tower so immense that it would have "its top in the heavens."[3]
However, the Tower of Babel was not built for the worship and praise of God, but was instead dedicated to the glory of man, to "make a name" for the builders: "Then they said, 'Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.'" (Genesis 11:4). The Book of Genesis then relates how God, displeased with the builders' intent, came down and confused their languages and scattered the people throughout the earth.
The Tower of Babel has often been associated with known structures, notably the Etemenanki, a ziggurat dedicated to Marduk by Nabopolassar (c. 610 BC). The Great Ziggurat of Babylon base was square (not round), 91m in height, but was finally demolished by Alexander the Great before his death in an attempt to rebuild it. A Sumerian story with some similar elements is preserved in Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta.
The story is found in genesis 11:1-9˄ (King James Version) as follows:
1 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. 2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. 3 And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. 4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. 5 And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children built. 6 And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do; and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. 7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. 8 So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. 9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.
The phrase "the Tower of Babel" does not actually appear in the Bible; it is always, "the city and its tower" (אֶת-הָעִיר וְאֶת-הַמִּגְדָּל) or just "the city" (הָעִיר).
The story explains the origin of nations, of their languages, and of Babylon (Babel). The story's theme of competition between the Lord and humans appears elsewhere in Genesis, in the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The story displays the Lord's contempt for human pride. The traditional Judaeo-Christian interpretation, as found for example in the writings of Flavius Josephus, explains the construction of the tower as a hubristic act of defiance against God ordered by the arrogant tyrant Nimrod.
Source(s): Bible, Dictionary

What Obama Can Learn about Radical Islam from New Saudi King
Irfan Al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz/The Weekly Standard
March 5, 2015
Originally published under the title, "New Saudi King Displays Candor on Radical Islam."
King Salman's attack on "Islamized terrorism" is less euphemistic than President Obama's war on "violent extremism."
Following the death of Saudi King Abdullah at the end of January, and the succession of his half-brother, now King Salman, 79, many observers of the desert monarchy have speculated on its future.
Almost immediately, King Salman has commenced an effort to clear the air regarding Islamist ideology and its association with terrorism. That's rather unlike President Obama. While he and some other Western leaders claim they are combating radical Islam, they habitually refuse to call it by its correct name. Instead, they employ euphemisms.
American Counter-'Extremism'
On February 18, Obama summoned a three-day conclave titled "Countering Violent Extremism." Such terminology suggests that the atrocities of the Islamic State or ISIS, al Qaeda, the Taliban and other South Asian jihadists, and Iranian operatives in various countries, are mere aspects of a general planetary wave of ethnic and political turmoil.
They are not. Radical Islamist terrorism reflects a feature of Islam that has erupted and then subsided repeatedly over the centuries of Muslim history. It has its own specific content and dynamics. But the merest recognition of this reality was absent from a fact sheet on the "White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism" issued by the presidential press office. In nearly 1,700 words of bureaucratic boilerplate, references to "Muslims," "Islam," "Wahhabism," "Taliban," or "Iran," did not appear even once.
Obama sees Islamist terror as a sociological conundrum, involving "underlying grievances and conflicts that feed extremism."
Instead, the fact sheet was replete with the suffocating esoterism of the Beltway vocabulary, referring to "drivers and indicators of radicalization," "stakeholders and practitioners," and "extremist messaging and narratives." Nothing that transpired at the "summit" indicated any better reasoning in the current administration. Indeed, according to a February 13 report entitled, grotesquely, "Obama Summit Targets American Extremism," on Voice of America News, the meeting was concentrated as much on social pathologies like urban gangs in our country as on Islamist fanaticism.
"Countering Violent Extremism" was provided with its own acronym – "CVE" – which will probably be forgotten quickly, just as the approach itself is likely to fail. Before September 11, 2001, Islamist terror was treated as a criminal problem. Now it is viewed by Western elites as a sociological conundrum, involving, as stated by Obama in his address to the United Nations in September 2014, "underlying grievances and conflicts that feed extremism."
While obstacles to Muslim integration in some Western countries, and youthful alienation, feed radical recruitment, little progress has been made, in 13 years since 9/11, to broaden Western comprehension of the more basic role of Islamist ideology. In this context, the responsibility of Iran for encouragement of the hideous bloodbath by the Syrian regime should not be overlooked.
Saudi Counter-Terrorism
The anti-terror strategy adopted by King Salman appears predicated on impressive clarity and frankness.
Saudi King Salman, by contrast, has put forward a very different attitude in remarks to a conference of Islamic scholars in Mecca in February, under the rubric of "Islam and Counter Terrorism." As reported by the Jidda-based Saudi Gazette, "the King said the entire world is threatened by the 'Islamized terrorism' which kills, destroys and commits all kinds of vices under the name of Islam." In addition, "he said the detestable crimes of terrorists were the root cause of the hostile campaigns against Islam and Muslims," according to the paper. King Salman added that many people fear Islam and "are skeptical of us and our religion."
Aside from Saudi Arabia, the Mecca conference drew participants from Lebanon, Sudan, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Senegal, India, France, Thailand, and other countries. The meeting was held by the Muslim World League (MWL), created in 1962 as a trans-national coalition of Wahhabi and other fundamentalist entities. MWL came under widespread suspicion in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. MWL currently has offices in 34 Muslim and non-Muslim lands, and operates 21 expansive mosques or "Islamic cultural centers" on six continents.
But MWL has not returned to the area of Washington, DC, where its office in Herndon, Virginia, was raided by U.S. authorities in 2002. Its past establishment of grandiose mosques and distribution of cash across the globe were, it seems, curtailed under King Abdullah, whose reign began in 2005. MWL has not, however, increased the sophistication of its image. Its website is poorly edited and confuses, currently, South Korea, where MWL operates a mosque and office, with North Korea.
Nevertheless, the anti-terror strategy adopted by King Salman since he assumed the throne appears predicated on an impressive clarity and frankness. The February Mecca conference declared in its English-language program,
These juveniles and fool dreamers… [w]ith their reckless actions and careless audacity to spill innocent people's blood… have horrified honest people and terrorized Muslims and others… they shout 'there is no god but Allah,' and 'Allah is great.' To these zealots, these are empty slogans without any substance… this distorted campaign has committed horrible sins under the cover of Islam... The time has come for scholars, preachers and people of conscience to warn people against this scourge, and disavow it.
In its final communiqué, the conference condemned "the ideological deviation ... based on irrational concepts that govern the Muslims' relationship with others. These include jihad." The summary document stated that terrorism "has tarnished the image of Islam throughout the world," with "an unfounded wave of accusing people of apostasy, depravity and [unacceptable theological] innovation… atrocities have been committed [based on] erroneous and unfounded interpretations… the stigma of terrorism [is] attached to [Muslims].
The conference observed that,
sectarian strife, and mounting animosity among Muslims, have drawn them into conflicts, and driven them into warring factions. Their communities and their countries are on the verge of crumbling into small factional and ethnic feuding entities; distracted away from working for the best interests of their nation and civilization by these conflicts. Muslim minorities have been denuded of their potential. A wedge of enmity has been driven between them and their fellow citizens and communities. The relationship soured among compatriots of one single country, and has spoiled any chance of rapprochement... Thus, Muslims faced isolation and marginalization in their own homelands.
The idiom of the Mecca conference represents a difference from past rhetoric by Muslim leaders aimed only at dissociating radical Islam from the religion as a whole, or blaming the West for the problems within the faith. Much more is required to make a new commitment to self-examination among Muslims real. But as his predecessor, King Abdullah, adopted small but meaningful internal reforms, King Salman has begun a significant, more ambitious process, and we may hope he has the courage and stamina to carry it through.
Irfan Al-Alawi is executive director of the London-based Islamic Heritage Research Foundation. Stephen Schwartz, a fellow at the Middle East Forum, is executive director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism in Washington, DC.

Tikrit igniting sectarian war in Iraq
Friday, 6 March 2015
Abdulrahman al-Rashed/Al Arabiya
Fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Iraq is inevitable because there is only one conclusion: you chase them or they chase you. There is no border demarcation, and no one recognizes the authority of the other. Iraqi forces are taking the lead in the city of Tikrit, one of the two most important Iraqi cities seized by ISIS.
They are also progressing in most of Saladin province and will most probably free it from terrorist groups, but just for a short period, because there are Iranian forces and sectarian militias fighting alongside the Iraqi army. Photos and information arising from there depict sectarian crimes.
The liberation of Tikrit and every inch of Iraqi territory is a national duty that expresses the integrity of the state’s authority. The city and its suburbs will remain within the boundaries of the Iraqi state.
The war has become sectarian and ethnic, with militias backed by Iranian forces intimidating the inhabitants of the besieged regions
However, if the aim is simply to control Tikrit and expel ISIS, with sectarian infighting and political alliances, it will be a temporary victory, and ISIS will return to the city with local support. The war has become sectarian and ethnic, with militias backed by Iranian forces intimidating the inhabitants of the besieged regions.
Most of the military activities on the ground are aided by the West. The United States provides precious intelligence information, observing the movements of terrorists and monitoring the status of the territories under their control.
It looks like a Shiite-Sunni war that has nothing to do with the state or the liberation of lands from ISIS. Will Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi, who is supreme commander of the armed forces, be able to stop the sectarian war after the liberation of these areas? Unfortunately Sunnis are angry with him, though they were happy with his election because he promised to work on reconciliation. They now believe that he is weak.
Resemblance to Syria
They fear that the situation will get out of control. They will face the same fate as Syria, where clashes have turned into wars between Alawites and Sunnis, despite the denial of the regime in Damascus. It is now obvious, especially with the involvement of Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. What is happening in Tikrit and Saladin province is similar to what is happening in Syria, with practically the same identities.
The Americans have to understand the nature of the fighting. They found themselves dragged back to Iraq because of ISIS provocations through heinous crimes and the threat to the Iraqi government during the last days of former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s term. His administration administration sustained defeats, which enabled extremists to seize important sites and threaten the capital.
Although the Americans played an active role in the resignation of Maliki, and later acknowledged that his policies were behind the current disasters, they are now fighting in a trench similar to his camp, helping sectarian groups.
They might be able to free all Iraqi territory and eradicate ISIS and other rebels, but this war will be followed by a sectarian one similar to Syria’s. How will the United States benefit from supporting the Iraqi army without a political process that makes everyone a winner?
Western role
The Americans should realize that they have become part of the region’s repugnant sectarianism, fighting alongside Alawites in Syria and Shiites in Iraq, while negotiating with Shiite Iran on the nuclear issue. All three scenarios are against Sunnis, or at least this is how it seems. The Americans have put themselves in an unprecedented, terrible trap.
We hoped, and are still hoping, that the United States will participate in isolating Assad, the Syrian regime and its sectarianism, and support the moderate opposition that includes all religions and ethnic groups. We hoped that Washington would refrain from supporting the government in Baghdad unless it agreed to become representative of all Iraqis.
Widening the sectarian wars in the region will not serve the West. Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Al-Nusra, Hezbollah, Asaib Ahl al-Haq and others are nothing but the outcome of such blind fighting. The West should help promote moderate civilian institutions against religious hardliners, not support the latter to achieve victories in wars against temporary opponents.

Iran’s nuclear sunset: A strategically fatal deal
Friday, 6 March 2015
Majid Rafizadeh/Al Arabiya
The marathon nuclear negotiations are approaching a “historic” stage of potentially entering into a strategically-catastrophic agreement, as the six world powers (known as the P5+1; the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, and China) and Iran are shaping the final nuclear deal with reports of adding a “sunset” clause.
The additional clauses of the final nuclear deal fundamentally move away from what the major key player, the United States, originally demanded at the beginning of the talks.
While the Obama administration attempts to add to its Middle Eastern achievements and project a picture that nuclear talks are progressing, the Iranian nuclear team has managed to obtain an unprecedented level of compromises from the White House, removing crucial restrictions against Iran’s nuclear program, ensuring the lifting of sanctions as well as the ultimate legal right and international legitimacy to become a nuclear threshold state.
The sunset position will ensure that Iran will be a nuclear state after the 10 year period, assuming that Tehran will not covertly violate the rules during the agreement
More fundamentally, the objectives of halting Iran’s nuclear program permanently have altered into limiting Iran’s nuclear ambitions for a period of time while removing the sanctions, and ultimately rewarding Tehran with this sunset period.
The sunset clause: The end to non-proliferation
The primary objective of the nuclear talks was to halt Iran’s nuclear program permanently, hence eliminating the possibility of a nuclear arms race in the region, and removing the strategic threat that a nuclear armed Iran might pose in the region through it regional hegemonic ambitions, shifting the balance of power and creating new alliances.
Nevertheless, the Obama administration compromised on the original demand, and accepted a deal which will limit Tehran’s nuclear program for approximately 20 years. However, the Iranian nuclear team was capable of obtaining more compromises. As the Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif told the Council on Foreign Relations, “Let’s establish a mechanism for a number of years. Not 10, not 15 — but I’m willing to live with less.” The U.S. began showing signs to accept the period of 15, 10, or even less years.
More fundamentally, the “sunset” notion will be the most crucial victory that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Rowhani administration have scored in the agreement. The sunset period will allow the Islamic Republic to resume enriching uranium at a level they desire, spin as many advanced centrifuges as they want, make its reactors fully operational, build new heavy water reactors, produce as much fuels as it desires for its reactors, and maintain higher uranium enrichment capability with no restriction after the period of the agreement. In fact, Khamenei needs such an agreement which would allow Iran to enrich uranium, lift the sanctions, and empower Iran simultaneously. After the agreement Iran will be rewarded with an unrestricted industrialized, high level enrichment nuclear program. In the world of geopolitics, 10 or 15 year agreements are considered very brief.
In other words, the sunset position will ensure that Iran will be a nuclear state after the 10 year period, assuming that Tehran will not covertly violate the rules during the agreement.
For example, although U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pointed out that the Islamic Republic is living up to its commitment with respects to fulfilling the clauses of the Joint Plan of Actions, according to IAEA, Iran still denies providing full access to information and its nuclear sites. Last week, the IAEA reported its concern, stating that the agency “remains concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military-related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.” The IAEA added that it cannot conclude that Iran’s nuclear activities are peaceful and that there are no “undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran.”
Moreover, one of the conditions of the interim deal stated that Iran should convert any enriched uranium it produces from hexafluoride into oxide after January 20, 2014. Iran has not complied with this provision although the deadline has already passed.
Khamenei’s major victory
What will the Islamic Republic receive if the sunset clause is applied? All the crucial economic sanctions against Iran will be lifted. Iran will join the international community, increasing oil sales and trade. After the final nuclear deal, even some violations of the nuclear deal during the agreement will not halt the European Union, China, and Russia from stepping back in trade with Iran. Ayatollah Khamenei and the ruling clerics will ensure their hold on power and eliminate the economic danger which was causing potential revolutionary unrest. In addition, after the agreement, Iran will be more industrialized, resume its nuclear activities at full speed to become a nuclear threshold state, and can pursue its nuclear ambitions without any limitations. Technologically speaking, after Iran becomes a nuclear threshold state, it is a matter of weeks to covert the materials into weapons grade material. In addition, there is no limitation on Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile program.
The Obama administration is extremely eager to strike a “historic” nuclear deal to add to its Middle Eastern achievements even though the deal might be strategically fatal. The White House might also believe that Iran will change in the period of 10-15 years becoming more moderate and ultimately a responsible nuclear state.
The argument that Iran’s political system will change dramatically and fundamentally within 10 years is totally unrealistic. The institution of the Iranian state is not only centered on geopolitical, strategic, and economic landscapes, but also on ideological tenets. Even a change in the presidential office, empowerments of the moderates versus the hardliners, and appointment of a new supreme leader are not going to fundamentally alter Iran’s political system and change the ruling cleric’s regional hegemonic ambitions.
In fact, a final nuclear deal with a sunset clause is not “final” but a temporary deal thoroughly rewarding Iran, ensuring nuclear arm race in the region, and further destabilizing the region.

Iran’s Suspect Deal in the Making
Amir Taheri /Asharq Al Awsat
Friday, 6 Mar, 2015
By all indications both the Islamic Republic’s “Supreme Guide” Ali Khamenei and US President Barack Obama appear determined to reach some sort of agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue. The deadline they seem to have fixed is March 31, which coincides with the end of Iranian New Year holidays.
Earlier this week, in an interview with Reuters, Obama hinted at the broad outlines of the putative accord.
Under it, Iran’s nuclear program will be frozen at more or less the present level which, speaking quickly so that he would say it without being caught out, Obama said would keep Iran a year away from building its first bomb if it ever decided to do so.
In exchange, Iran would agree to remain in that position, known as “threshold,” for 10 years, a “sunset” clause that could be reviewed after five years.
In other words, after a minimum of five and a maximum of 10 years Iran would be free to cross the “threshold” from the current one year to months or even weeks, going high-gear producing a nuclear arsenal. In other words, Obama has decided to resign himself to the possibility of a nuclear-armed Islamic Republic.
As a reward for accepting the five to 10 years’ probation, Iran would benefit from a gradual reduction and eventual lifting of some sanctions imposed since the 1990s. (A range of sanctions imposed prior to that date and linked to other “mischiefs” allegedly committed by Iran would not be affected by any accord on the nuclear issue.)
Provided it actually happens, such an accord would amount to an admission by Iran that it has committed “crimes” in the form of violating the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), and thus must endure international probation for up to a decade.
The accord would also give the P5+1 group, of which the US is the most active member, what is known in diplomatic language as a droit-de-regard (right of supervision) on major aspects of Iranian industrial and economic policies.
The whole P5+1 show has quite a few disturbing aspects.
To start with, the P5+1 is an informal ad hoc body whose legitimacy remains murky at best.
We don’t know who or what it represents as a group.
It is not mandated by the United Nations; for that we should have had a Security Council resolution spelling out its composition, rules of conduct, and mission statement. The fact that talks have ignored six Security Council resolutions on the very subject of Iran’s nuclear program shows that the P5+1 is not acting on behalf of the UN.
The group does not represent any economic or military alliance, for example the European Union and/or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), either. It doesn’t even represent an informal but generally recognized grouping such as the G-8—if only because Russia, which remains a member of the P5+1, has been expelled from the G-8.
To sum up: the P5+1 has no legal existence, no mandate, no mission statement, and thus no authority to conclude any accord with Iran which is a properly constituted nation state, a member of the UN and thus enjoys full sovereignty and legitimacy.
Then we face the question of who is going to sign any accord and on whose behalf?
On the Iranian side the answer is clear: any properly mandated official of the Islamic Republic could sign.
But, what about the other side?
Would all P5+1 countries sign and, if yes, at what level?
Even then, what would the European Union’s Foreign Affairs tsarina Federica Mogherini do? Theoretically, she is supposed to be the P5+1’s interface with the Islamic Republic.
Another question concerns the status of whatever is eventually signed. Would it be just a desiderata list, as was the case with the so-called Geneva Accord, later devalued into just a press statement?
Or are we aiming at a Memorandum of Understanding which, in diplomatic lore, is a rough copy for a proper treaty?
Or, perhaps, the aim is to arrive at an international treaty in due form?
In that case, whatever is initialed at the end of the current talks would have to be submitted to proper legislative procedure in Iran, in all P5+1 countries, and in all 28 member states of the European Union.
I doubt that the Islamic Majlis, Iran’s ersatz parliament, would approve a text that puts the nation under foreign tutelage for up to 10 years, despite its being made up of regime loyalists.
Iranians of all ideological shades are allergic to foreign intervention in their domestic affairs. And the painful memories of 1919, when Britain and Russia tried to put Iran under their joint tutelage are still burning many Iranian hearts.
Even Khomeinists, who as pan-Islamists reject nationalism as deviation from “the Only True Faith,” might not find it easy to accept an accord under which Iran would need the signature of foreign powers to spend its own money, and that for up to 10 years.
On the other side, the US Congress as well as the French and British parliaments are also unlikely to rubber-stamp a text that would leave Iran only a year from making a bomb.
All international treaties include a mechanism for arbitration without which it would be impossible to gauge compliance.
So who or what is going to be the arbitration authority and the guarantor of compliance of whatever text is concocted by US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Khomeinist counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif?
If we go by the five to 10 year clause it is clear that neither Kerry nor Zarif are likely to be in a position of power when those fatidic sunsets descend.
Even then, we would not be at the end of the story.
Someone would still have to submit a draft resolution to the UN Security Council demanding the cancellation of all previous resolutions under which Iran has been subjected to international sanctions for decades.
President Hassan Rouhani and his so-called “New York Group” of aides would be doing Iran and even their own Khomeinist camp a big disservice by submitting to the diktats of an informal group acting as judge, jury and executioner.
Iran would do better to hold direct and transparent talks on an equal legal footing with the US, nation to nation, and with the UN as a member state, and with any other country with which there is a contention, on all issues of dispute.
The mullahs are known for devious tactics of taqiyah (obfuscation), kitman (dissimulation), and istitar (pulling a curtain) when they want to surrender without losing face. However, such tactics are not worthy of a proper nation state, especially a proud one such as Iran.