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Bible Quotation For
are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas, the rock
John 01/35-42.: "The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, ‘Look, here is the Lamb of God! ’ The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, ‘What are you looking for?’ They said to him, ‘Rabbi’ (which translated means Teacher), ‘where are you staying?’ He said to them, ‘Come and see.’ They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which is translated Anointed).He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas’ (which is translated Peter). the rock"
Bible Quotation For Today/Christ will be exalted now as always in my body, whether by life or by death.
Letter to the Philippians 01/12-20: "I want you to know, beloved, that what has happened to me has actually helped to spread the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to everyone else that my imprisonment is for Christ; and most of the brothers and sisters, having been made confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, dare to speak the word with greater boldness and without fear. Some proclaim Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from goodwill. These proclaim Christ out of love, knowing that I have been put here for the defence of the gospel; the others proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but intending to increase my suffering in my imprisonment. What does it matter? Just this, that Christ is proclaimed in every way, whether out of false motives or true; and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will result in my deliverance. It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be put to shame in any way, but that by my speaking with all boldness, Christ will be exalted now as always in my body, whether by life or by death."
Latest analysis, editorials from miscellaneous sources published on May 04-05/15
How Damascus can learn from the ‘Conquest of Kabul’/Jamal Khashoggi/Al Arabiya/May 04/15
Assad loses battles as US, Israel, Turkey, Jordan, Qatar and UAE arm Al Qaeda’s Syrian branches/DEBKAfile/May 04/15
Politicians of Lebanese descent flourish in Brazil/Diogo Bercito| The Daily Star/May 04/15
Tehran must work to prove its goodwill to the Arabs/David Ignatius| The Daily Star/May 04/15
Lebanese Related News published on May 04-05/15
Hezbollah assault on Qalamoun ruled out
Jumblatt delivers poignant testimony at STL
Nusra-led militants pound Hezbollah, Syria army posts near Lebanon border
Gunmen Retreat from Border Posts as Lebanese Army Refuses to Engage Qalamoun Battle
Syria killed my father: Jumblatt to STL
Saudi envoy to Lebanon concerned by ‘assassination plot’
Nasrallah backs Aoun on Army, police chiefs
Youth project revitalizes Sidon suburb
Wiam Wahhab vows to expose corrupt politicians
Berri to his Critics: I Don't Work for Anyone
Deal on Appointment of Roukoz between Mustaqbal, FPM Uncertain
AUB medical program ranked as best in region
Sidon hospital staff in prolonged strike over unpaid salaries
41 charged over Roumieh Prison mutiny
Army Arrests Suspected Terrorists in Several Areas
Army: 2 U.N. Soldiers Hit by Syria Fire on Israeli-held Golan
Another Resistance Brigades Member Killed at Ain el-Hilweh
Kataeb: Adding Saudi Ambassador Name to Assassinations List is Targeted against Bilateral Ties
Miscellaneous Reports And News published on May 04-05/15
Former IDF chief Gantz: Hezbollah turned living rooms into missile rooms
Shots fired at Texas exhibit with depictions of prophet Muhammad; 2 gunmen killed
Boko Haram releases 275 kidnapped women and children
Iran determined to end ‘manufactured’ nuclear crisis
Yemen’s ruling party backs Hadi, Popular Resistance enters Aden
French leader oversees Qatar jet deal, to attend Gulf summit
Saudi-led alliance mulls humanitarian truce in Yemen: Arabiya TV
Yemen FM: Aden troops were Gulf-trained locals
Limited’ Saudi-led force on ground in Yemen
Anbar deserves justice, help
Nusra to use anti-tank weapons in Qalamoun battle
Egypt sentences five to death for police killings
Palestinian shot after alleged Jerusalem stabbing attempt
Hamas security HQ in Gaza bombed after threat
Nine-year-old Palestinian boy's detention in Israel raised at U.N
Two U.N. men hit by Syria fire on Israeli-held Golan
Lieberman: Yisrael Beytenu won't join new government
Israel admits 'mistakes' in regard to Ethiopian community
Israeli veterans describe lax Gaza war rules
US envoy calls on Turkey to safeguard freedoms
FIFA to study Israel-Palestinians dispute on election day
Five foreigners beheaded in Saudi Arabia
Police Kill Two Gunmen at U.S. Mohammed Cartoon Event
Nasrallah to Deliver Speech on Tuesday
Jihad Watch Latest News
U.S. probes possible international terrorism link with Texas jihad shootings
Jihad gunmen at AFDI/JW Texas free speech event had more ammo in car
Here we go: McClatchy suggests limits on free speech after Texas jihad shooting
Video: Robert Spencer at the AFDI/JW Muhammad Cartoon Contest
Video: Geert Wilders at the AFDI/JW Muhammad Cartoon Contest
Video: Pamela Geller at the AFDI/JW Muhammad Cartoon Contest
Video: Geller vs. Camerota: Free speech warrior bests advocate of Sharia submission
Texas shooter: “When will the kuffar understand and stop insulting the prophet?”
Texas jihad gunman ID’d, was previously subject of terror investigation
Robert Spencer warned U-Wisconsin students about Islamic State attacks days before Texas shooting
Jumblatt delivers poignant testimony
Elise Knutsen/The Daily Star/May. 05, 2015
BEIRUT: Angry and disheartened, Rafik Hariri appeared at Walid Jumblatt’s house in Clemenceau on Aug. 26, 2004, following a brief and decidedly acrimonious meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus.
Assad had insisted that Hariri support a constitutional amendment to extend the presidency of Emile Lahoud, a close ally of Damascus.
“He [Hariri] was very sad and angry,” the Progressive Socialist Party leader told the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. Both Jumblatt and Hariri were vehemently opposed to the constitutional amendment.
“I asked him [Hariri] despite his will, to approve the extension ... I could sense the imminent danger.”
“I remembered my father when I was talking to Rafik Hariri. I wanted to save Rafik Hariri in order to spare him such a physical confrontation.”
In his first day of testimony at the STL, Jumblatt shared the fears he had for his close friend and ally Hariri, his feelings about the regime that allegedly assassinated his father Kamal Jumblatt, and the “liquidation” of the Syrian agents he believes were connected to the blast that killed Hariri and 21 others in February 2005.
The Druze leader spent a significant amount of time detailing the meeting he had with Hariri following the prime minister’s fateful trip to Damascus in August.
“We sat in the garden, it was a summer day and it was very warm. He [Hariri] looked upset, angry, sad. His demeanor was strange.”
“He said that Bashar Assad told him ‘Lahoud is me, and I am Lahoud. I want you to extend [the term of Lahoud] and if [French President Jacques] Chirac wants to get me out of Lebanon I will break Lebanon, I will destroy Lebanon. As for Walid Jumblatt, the same as he has a Druze community, I also have a Druze community.’”
Pundits, partisans and the STL prosecution have sought to show that this meeting between Hariri turn to page 10from page 1and Assad indicated a significant breakdown in relations between the two leaders. While five Hezbollah members have been charged with plotting Hariri’s assassination and the ensuing cover-up, the prosecution has moved toward suggesting Syrian involvement in the criminal conspiracy.
At the time of Hariri’s assassination, the regime in Damascus considered Lebanon “as one of the Syrian provinces or governorates.”
Jumblatt said he knew all too well how the Assad family dealt with perceived threats. “It is the Syrian regime that assassinated Kamal Jumblatt,” the Progressive Socialist Party chief told the The Hague-based court, referring to his father who was gunned down in 1977. Jumblatt said that he has judicial evidence that supports this conclusion.
Prior to his death, an investigative judge released a report detailing “the car that followed Kamal Jumblatt, how they stepped out of the car, how they killed him, how that car later left to the headquarters of the Syrian intelligence in Sin al-Fil,” Jumblatt told the court.
Still, between 1977 and 2000, Jumblatt described himself as “one of the central allies of the Syrian regime,” a relationship that was underpinned by a shared faith in Arab nationalism.
But Jumblatt said that after Bashar Assad assumed the presidency following the death of his father, Hafez Assad, Lebanon was submitted to a “stranglehold that controlled every aspect of administrative and political life.”
Assad has made no secret of his animosity toward Bashar Assad. In court Thursday he suggested that Assad himself had commanded Hariri’s assassination and has used murder to cover his tracks.
Commenting on unnatural deaths of former Syrian security officials who once held sway in Lebanon, Jumblatt posited that the agents had been “liquidated” by the Syrian regime.
“All those who ... were involved in the assassination of Prime Minister Hariri were eliminated,” he said, reciting a litany of names from Ghazi Kannan to Rustom Ghazaleh.
“The link between the accused and the commander must be eliminated,” he said. “In my opinion ... those [former intelligence agents] could have been key witnesses in the process of uncovering the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.”
Hezbollah assault on Qalamoun ruled
The Daily Star/May. 05, 2015
BEIRUT: Hezbollah and the Syrian army are unlikely to launch an all-out offensive against Islamist militants based in the Qalamoun region, but are determined to cut off all access ISIS and the Nusra Front might have to any towns in Lebanon or Syria, security sources said Monday. “Hezbollah, after an in-depth military assessment study, concluded that there was no need for a costly wide-scale offensive,” a security source told The Daily Star. “They have opted to contain the militants, cut off their supply routes by fire and keep them isolated in the highlands of the rugged mountains.” “Hezbollah’s main concern now is to prevent ISIS and the Nusra Front from entering any Lebanese town or village along the eastern frontier with Syria,” the source said. He added that Hezbollah and the Syrian army would also try to prevent ISIS and the Nusra Front from expanding their presence further into Syrian territory.
The source dispelled fears of what Lebanese politicians and media have dubbed a looming “decisive battle” in Syria’s Qalamoun region, despite what appeared to be a pre-emptive attack launched by Islamist militants on Hezbollah and Syrian army positions in the western mountain range at dawn Monday, according to security sources in the Bekaa Valley. The sources said the fierce clashes that erupted caused a number of dead and wounded on both sides. A security source said the Nusra Front, Syria’s Al-Qaeda affiliate, and allied Islamist factions deployed thousands of fighters who took up positions overlooking Hezbollah and Syrian army outposts in the towns of Wadi Barada, Al-Kfeir, Zabadani, Serghaya and Hreira near the Lebanese border.
The militants pounded the towns with rockets, surface-to-surface missiles and mortar bombs, the source said, adding that the casualty toll was high, without being able to provide a figure. Another source said he could confirm at least one Hezbollah fighter from Baalbek was killed in the attacks. Militants also launched an attack on the Qalamoun town of Al-Juba, strategically located near the highway linking Damascus to Homs, according to another security source.
The militants seized at least two Hezbollah tanks and destroyed others during clashes outside the town. The fighters also seized several positions around Al-Juba, including two strategic hilltop positions, the source added. A Qalamoun source said that some fighters withdrew from the Syrian towns and headed west toward Lebanon, while fierce clashes between Hezbollah and the militants persisted in some areas. Syrian areas that lie in proximity to the outskirts of the Lebanese border town of Brital also saw fierce fighting between Hezbollah and Islamist militants. Clashes began after Nusra Front militants and members of the Islamic Brigade attacked Hezbollah positions on the outskirts of the Lebanese border enclave of Tfail, the Qalamoun town of Jreijeer and the village of Assal al-Ward, which is located near Arsal. Hezbollah officials could not be reached for comment on the Qalamoun clashes. But Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV reported that the Syrian army and its allies foiled an attack carried out by militant groups on the outskirts of Jibba and Assal al-Ward in Qalamoun.
Security sources cited by the TV said that a number of Islamist militants were killed or wounded, and their vehicles were destroyed as they attempted to attack Syrian army posts on the outskirts of the towns. A source close to the Nusra Front confirmed the Qalamoun fighting. “This is the zero hour and the battle in the region has begun,” the source told AFP.,A Syrian source on the ground also described the clashes in the area. “The Syrian army and its allies blocked an attack by armed groups on army positions near the border with Lebanon,” the source told AFP. He said a number of opposition fighters were killed and wounded when pro-government forces ambushed them and destroyed their equipment.
Last year, government forces backed by Hezbollah managed to expel rebels from most of Qalamoun, which lies north of Damascus and runs along the Lebanese border. But opposition fighters remain entrenched in the mountainous area along the border with Lebanon, and have launched attacks from there. Monday’s surprise attack came after Islamist militants tactically withdrew from strategic areas in the western Qalamoun mountain range, allowing for the advance of Hezbollah and Syrian army forces, a source told The Daily Star.
Instead of withdrawing into Syrian territory, fighters positioned themselves in surrounding areas from which they waged their bombardment. But another security source said that militants did not withdraw intentionally, but surrendered their positions to Hezbollah. The source said Hezbollah did not advance on the positions, fearing a trap. A number of militants surrendered to Hezbollah during the withdrawal, the source added.
The attack comes one day after the Nusra Front announced that it was training its fighters on the use of anti-tank weapons in in Qalamoun, ahead of an anticipated battle with Hezbollah and the Syrian army.
Meanwhile, the Lebanese Army said Monday it arrested 12 people wanted over attacks on soldiers and possession of illegal weapons, in addition to a man suspected of links to a terror group. The Army said in a statement 10 people were apprehended in the southern suburb of Burj al-Barajneh and the northeastern suburb of Fanar. The Army seized light weapons and drugs in their possession. In the southern suburb of Sabra, the Army arrested Safi Sobhi Droubi, who has multiple warrants out for him over throwing hand grenades, shooting incidents and robberies. Up north, in the Tripoli neighborhood of Qibbeh, Ibrahim Sayyed Abdallah was arrested for allegedly opening fire on a Lebanese Army outpost in Beddawi that left one soldier dead.
The Army also arrested Mohammad Omar Saadeddine in Arsal on suspicion of belonging to a terrorist organization, and seized a handgun and ammunition in his possession. Separately, Military Prosecutor Saqr Saqr Monday charged 41 inmates with mutiny following last month’s riot at Roumieh Prison that badly wounded 19 guards. A judicial source told The Daily Star that all 41 were charged with rioting, sabotage, setting mattresses ablaze, kidnapping and assault. Three of them were also charged with instigating the mutiny, the source added.He said Saqr referred them to Investigative Judge Riad Abu Ghayda. Islamist inmates at Roumieh’s Block D held 12 policemen and two medics hostage at Roumieh Prison during a brief mutiny last month. Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk released CCTV footage of the riots last week that showed prisoners attacking a guard, stealing his cell keys, and releasing more inmates who wreaked havoc in the prison.
Saudi envoy to Lebanon concerned by ‘assassination plot’
By Staff writer | Al Arabiya News/Monday, 4 May 2015
Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awad Asiri has expressed concern after the alleged arrests of two suspects connected with a plot to assassinate him. “My safety and the safety of Saudi mission are the responsibility of the Lebanese security forces,” Asiri told Al Arabiya News Channel sister channel Al-Hadath, speaking from Riyadh. He said the Lebanese authorities had not given him details of the attempt, which allegedly also targeted the Saudi embassy staff in Beirut. Speaking from Riyadh to Beirut-based newspaper Al Liwa, Asiri also said he will request “clarification from Lebanese authorities regarding information” revealing the assassination plot against him. The Saudi envoy added that he was seeking “a confirmation or denial” of the report.Asiri left Lebanon in mid-2013 after a series of security incidents, including suicide attacks, linked to the crisis in neighboring Syria. In response the deteriorating situation in Lebanon, Gulf states including Saudi Arabia issued a series of travel notices advising their citizens to avoid Lebanon. In May 2014, he had returned to Lebanon to resume his responsibilities.
Shots fired at Texas exhibit with
depictions of prophet Muhammad; 2 gunmen killed
By JPOST.COM STAFF/05/04/2015
Shots were fired outside an art exhibit in Garland Texas, near Dallas, displaying depictions of the prophet Muhammad, a local CBS news affiliate reported Monday. The shooting was reported shortly before 7 p.m. local time at the Curtis Culwell Center, a special-events venue where the "First Annual Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest" was being hosted by anti-Islam activist Pamela Geller. A security guard at the exhibit was shot in the leg and suffered non-life-threatening injuries. He is now in stable condition. Police reported that the two gunmen were shot dead at the scene. There was no immediate word from police or other authorities about the identity or background of the two suspects. After the first shots were fired, the event was immediately placed on lock-down and all those attending the event were evacuated from the scene by bus. Stores at a shopping center on the same property as the exhibit were also evacuated. “I heard officers talking of possible explosions in backpacks and the car," Geller told CBS. “There was talk of a grenade at the nearby Wal-Mart,” she added. Police sapping robots were in the process of surrounding a car left on the exhibit property that police suspect may contain explosives, according to Fox News. Western art depicting the Prophet has sometimes angered Muslims and provoked threats from radicals. In January, Islamist gunmen attacked the Paris offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in revenge for its cartoons of the Prophet, killing 12 people. The Dallas Morning News reported that critics of the art exhibit, sponsored by a group called the American Freedom Defense Initiative, had condemned the event as an attack on Islam, but that organizers had said they were merely exercising their right of free expression.
Reuters contributed to this report.
Nusra-led militants pound Hezbollah,
Syria army posts near Lebanon border
The Daily Star/May. 04, 2015/ARSAL, Lebanon: Islamist militants launched brazen surprise attacks on Hezbollah and Syrian army positions in the western Qalamoun mountain range along Lebanon's border at dawn Monday, leaving a number of fighters dead and wounded, security sources said. A security source said that the Nusra Front and allied Islamist factions deployed thousands of fighters who fanned out in areas near the Lebanese border. The fighters took up positions overlooking Hezbollah and Syrian army outposts in the towns of Wadi Barada, Al-Kfeir, Zabadani, Serghaya and Hreira. The militants pounded the towns with rockets, surface-to-surface missiles and mortar shells, one source said, adding that the casualty toll was high, but could not provide a figure.
Another source said he could confirm at least one Hezbollah fighter from Baalbek was killed in the attacks. A Qalamoun source said that some fighters withdrew from the Syrian towns and headed west toward Lebanon, while fierce clashes between Hezbollah and the militants are still ongoing in some areas. Areas in Syria that lie in proximity to the outskirts of the Lebanese border town of Brital also saw fierce clashes between Hezbollah and Islamist militants.
Clashes began after Nusra Front militants and members of the Islamic Brigade attacked Hezbollah positions on the outskirts of the Lebanese border enclave of Tfeil, the Qalamoun town of Jreijeer and the village of Asal al-Ward, which is located near the northeastern Lebanese town of Arsal. Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV reported that the Syrian army and its allies foiled an attack carried out by the militant groups on the outskirts of Jibba and Assal al-Ward in Qalamoun. Security sources cited by the channel said that a number of Islamist militants were killed or wounded, and their vehicles were destroyed as they attempted to attack Syrian army posts on the outskirts of the towns. A Syrian rebel group that goes by the name “Cling to the Rope of God Gathering” wrote on its Facebook page Monday that it was taking part in the battle. It said that Hezbollah suffered heavy losses and a number of positions on the outskirts of villages in western Qalamoun had been destroyed.
The group added that clashes are still ongoing amid artillery and aerial bombardment by the Syrian army and allied militias stationed in the Lebanese villages of Nahle and Brital. Monday’s surprise attack came after Islamist militants tactically withdrew from strategic areas in the western Qalamoun mountain range, allowing for the advance of Hezbollah and Syrian army forces, a source told The Daily Star. Instead of withdrawing into Syrian territory, fighters positioned themselves in surrounding areas from which they waged their bombardment Monday. But another security source said that militants did not withdraw intentionally, but surrendered their positions to Hezbollah. The source said Hezbollah did not advance on the positions, fearing a trap. A number of militants surrendered to Hezbollah during the withdrawal, the source added.
The attack comes one day after the Nusra Front announced that it was training its fighters to use anti-tank weapons in Syria’s Qalamoun mountain range, ahead of a an anticipated battle with Hezbollah and the Syrian army. A Nusra Front-affiliated Twitter page posted numerous pictures of military training operations reportedly in the Qalamoun region. One picture showed at least 12 fighters gathered around one anti-tank missle launcher. “Training the Mujahideen on the use of anti-tank warheads in Nusra Front’s training camps in the Qalamoun Mountains,” read the caption to the photo. Two other similar photos were posted showing fighters handling the warheads. Another picture showed a Nusra Front tank surrounded by several armed militants. “Mujahideen training on all types of weapons in training camps,” read the caption. “They are almost ready to free their villages.” Elements of ISIS, the Nusra Front and other Syrian rebel groups have been fighting each other and against forces allied to the Syrian government in the Qalamoun mountain range over the past two years. In October, Nusra fighters in Qalamoun launched a surprise attack on Hezbollah posts on the outskirts of the eastern Lebanese towns of Brital and Nahle, killing eight. The Lebanese Army has also clashed intermittently with Qalamoun-based rebels along Lebanon's eastern borde
Kataeb: Adding Saudi Ambassador Name
to Assassinations List is Targeted against Bilateral Ties
Naharnet/The Kataeb Party on Monday warned of possible assassinations plots against Lebanese leaders and foreign ambassadors, following media reports about alleged plots to assassinate top figures in the southern city of Sidon and Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awadh Asiri. “The party warns of the new assassination plots which are not only targeted against Lebanese leaders but also against prominent diplomatic figures,” Kataeb's political bureau said in a statement issued after its weekly meeting. “Adding the name of the Saudi ambassador to Lebanon to the list of the targeted figures is aimed at targeting the Lebanese-Saudi ties and the kingdom's support for Lebanon,” the party cautioned. It also called for pressing on with the investigations and interrogation of the alleged detainees in the case.
Al-Shiraa magazine had reported in its latest issue that Asiri had been the target of an assassination bid that was foiled by Lebanese security agencies. The magazine said a Syrian and a Palestinian were arrested in connection with the case.
Separately, al-Liwaa newspaper reported Monday that Lebanese authorities have allegedly received information about a plot to assassinate top officials in Sidon, including MP Bahia Hariri and Hizbullah-linked officials. Turning to the issue of the 2015 state budget, Kataeb stressed the importance of approving it in the council of ministers, describing it as an “essential element” in the work of state institutions. The party noted that “it is not beneficial” to link the state budget to the controversial issue of the new wage scale, which has been stalling in parliament for months now. As for the protracting presidential vacuum, Kataeb reiterated its call for ending the stalemate, warning of its repercussions on the work of government and parliament, the economy and pressing issues such as security appointments.
Boko Haram releases 275 kidnapped women and children
By REUTERS /05/04/2015 /YOLA, Nigeria - Hundreds of traumatized Nigerian women and children rescued from Boko Haram Islamists have been released into the care of authorities at a refugee camp in the eastern town of Yola, an army spokesman said. The 275 women and children, some of whom had bandaged heads and arms, arrived in the camp ran by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on Saturday night after days on the road traveling in pick-up trucks. Nearly 700 kidnap victims have been freed from Boko Haram's stronghold in the northeastern Sambisa Forest since Tuesday, with the latest group of 234 women and children liberated on Friday. "We don't have the facilities and resources to take care of these," army spokesman said. "The best organization in the country to take care of these people is NEMA." Initial indications are that none of more than 200 schoolgirls snatched from their school dormitories in Chibok town in April 2014 were among the three groups released this week. While Boko Haram has been kidnapping girls and women and turning them into cooks, sex slaves and human shields even before the attack on Chibok, it was that one incident that drew global attention to the six-year-old insurgency. It is not known how many people Boko Haram has abducted but Amnesty International estimates the insurgenst, who are intent on bringing western Africa under Islamist rule, has taken more than 2,000 women and girls captive since the start of 2014. Boko Haram is thought to have killed thousands of people but Nigerian troops alongside neighboring armies from Chad, Cameroon and Niger have won back swathes of territory from them in the last couple of months.
Lebanese Army Arrests Suspected
Terrorists in Several Areas
Naharnet/The Lebanese army announced on Monday the arrest of several suspected terrorists and fugitives in raids it carried out in several areas across Lebanon. A military communique said troops apprehended Safi Sobhi al-Daroubi who is wanted for tossing explosives and using arms in the area of Sabra in Beirut. Soldiers also arrested ten other suspects for the possession of light weapons and drugs in Bourj al-Barajneh that lies in Beirut's southern suburbs and the Metn town of Fanar. In the northern city of Tripoli's al-Qobbeh area, the army arrested Ibrahim Mohammed Mustafa al-Sayyed Abdullah, who is wanted for opening fire on a military post in Beddawi and for causing the death of two soldiers, said the communique. It said that Mohammed Omar Saadeddine was apprehended in the northeastern border town of Arsal on suspicion of belonging to a terrorist organization. Troops seized a weapon and ammunition from his possession, the communique added.
Army: 2 U.N. Soldiers Hit by Syria
Fire on Israeli-held Golan
Naharnet /Two U.N. peacekeepers were wounded on Monday when mortar rounds fired from Syria hit their base in the Israeli-held sector of the Golan Heights, an army spokesman said. "Mortar shells hit the Golan in Ein Zivan and in the Zivanit UNDOF base. Two U.N. peacekeeping soldiers were evacuated to Israel for medical care," Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner wrote on his official Twitter account. Israel public radio said the two were lightly wounded. The army said the fire was not deliberately aimed at the Israeli side of the plateau, but was stray fire from the ongoing conflict in Syria. Since the Syrian conflict erupted in 2011, the plateau has been tense, with a growing number of rockets and mortar rounds hitting the Israeli side, mostly stray, prompting the occasional armed response. Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP that fighting has been taking place since last week between rebel groups in an area close to the ceasefire line. "There is still infighting going on among rebel groups in Qahtaniya near the ceasefire line with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. They’re exchanging shellfire," he said. Israel seized 1,200 square kilometers (460 square miles) of the Golan Heights in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognized by the international community. Agence France Presse
Roumieh Prison Inmates Charged with
Rioting, Holding Soldiers Captive
Naharnet/The military prosecutor charged on Monday scores of Roumieh prison inmates for carrying out riots and kidnapping soldiers and assaulting them. Judge Saqr Saqr issued the charges against 41 prisoners over the riot that Islamists carried out in Roumieh's Block D last month. The charges include rioting, setting fire at the prison, kidnapping soldiers, assaulting them and torturing them. Saqr referred the suspects to the first military examining magistrate Riyad Abou Ghida. Also Monday, Islamist cleric Sheikh Khaled Hoblos and six other detainees were referred to Saqr in accordance to warrants issued against them. Hoblos was arrested during an Internal Security Forces Intelligence Branch operation in the northern city of Tripoli last month.
Another Resistance Brigades Member Killed at Ain el-Hilweh
Naharnet /A Palestinian man was on Monday the second member of the Hizbullah-affiliated Resistance Brigades to be murdered in a month at the southern Palestinian refugee camp of Ain el-Hilweh, the state-run National News Agency reported.
Mujahed Balous was critically injured on Sunday when gunmen cut off the electricity from his house and shot him when he went out to check the problem, NNA said. He was taken to hospital where he passed away overnight, it said. On April 5, Lebanese national Marwan Issa, another Resistance Brigades member, was found killed in the trunk of a car at Ain el-Hilweh. The camp is the largest in the country and is home to about 50,000 refugees who live in dire conditions. It is also known to harbor extremists and fugitives.
By long-standing convention, the Lebanese army does not enter the country's 12 refugee camps, leaving security inside to the Palestinians themselves
Nasrallah to Deliver Speech on Tuesday
Naharnet/Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah is expected to make a televised speech on Tuesday to tackle the latest local and regional developments. Nasrallah will deliver his speech around 8:30 pm. His word is expected to focus on the developments in Syria and Yemen, in addition to the local political crisis, in particular the presidential vacuum. Hizbullah has been recently directing a barrage of criticism at Saudi Arabia over its airstrike campaign targeting Yemen's Shiite Huthi rebels. The party's officials have warned Riyadh that it would be defeated and would pay a heavy price for its attacks. The party is also engaged in battles in Syria alongside the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad against gunmen. Media reports expect a fierce battle between the two sides in the Qalamoun in the upcoming days. Locally, Nasrallah met recently with his ally Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun. The two officials discussed the presidential vacuum and the terms of high-ranking security officials. The military posts in Lebanon are suffering as the result of the months-long presidential vacuum in light of the parliament's failure to elect a successor for Michel Suleiman whose tenure ended in May last year. The vacuum threatens the ISF as chief Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Basbous is set to retire in June and army commander Gen. Jean Qahwaji term, which expires at the end of September.
Tehran must work to prove its goodwill to the Arabs
David Ignatius| The Daily Star/May. 04, 2015
U.S. and Iranian officials have been insisting the last several years that they wanted to resolve the nuclear issue before discussing the sectarian wars that are raging across the Middle East. Not anymore. As the battles have escalated in recent months, so has talk about regional diplomacy. The interest in peace talks was voiced by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, whom I interviewed in New York Wednesday in a 90-minute public forum organized by the New America Foundation. His message, repeated several times, was that Iran wants dialogue with Saudi Arabia and other Arab powers to end the wars ravaging Yemen and Syria.
U.S. officials share Zarif’s desire for negotiations, which he first floated in a New York Times op-ed piece last week. But they want to see evidence that Iran is actually ready to curtail its support for Hezbollah in Lebanon, President Bashar Assad in Syria, Shiite militias in Iraq, and Houthi rebels in Yemen.
“We are interested,” a senior Obama administration official said Thursday. “We’ve spoken to Zarif about how ultimately [the Iranians will] have to be part of a regional solution. But Iran’s behavior has not been such as to inspire confidence that diplomatic discussions would work.” This official said it would be hard for the administration to convince Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other Arab nations to join Iran in a diplomatic process without evidence that Zarif is offering “anything but rhetoric.”
On the nuclear issue, Zarif was optimistic in the conversation that a final deal could be reached by the June 30 deadline. On details of the agreement, such as sanctions relief and inspection procedures, there seemed less difference between Iranian and U.S. positions than had appeared to be the case a month ago. “It’s not a perfect agreement ... but it’s the best we can get,” he said, echoing a line President Barack Obama has used.
It’s probably no coincidence that Iran’s new interest in regional diplomacy comes as its proxies have faced tougher opposition on the battlefields in Yemen and Syria. In effect, Iran’s Sunni adversaries, led by the Saudis and Emiratis, have decided to push back hard against Iranian-supported forces, by intervening militarily in Yemen and working with Turkey and Jordan to mobilize rebels in Syria. For the first time in many years, Iran seems be on its back foot in the regional proxy wars.
Rebel gains in northern Syria appear to reflect, in part, a Saudi-Turkish rapprochement that has pumped arms to Islamic fighters in a coalition known as the “Army of Conquest.” Saudi Arabia has supplied some factions with U.S anti-tank missiles, even though they fight alongside the Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda affiliate. Rebel groups in southern Syria are also making gains, and a Syrian opposition spokesman on Thursday boasted of a coming “multilayered collapse of regime front lines.”
The U.S. has been pursuing a two-handed strategy, engaging Iran diplomatically on the nuclear issue while it quietly supports Saudi, Emirati, Jordanian and Turkish military moves.
The American hope is that military pressure, in Syria and Yemen, will drive adversaries toward an eventual diplomatic process similar to what Zarif describes – but with U.S. allies holding a stronger position on the battlefield. The U.S. sees the next step as a renewed joint effort by Washington and Moscow to broker a Syrian peace dialogue, which would later expand to include Iran.
Zarif on Wednesday outlined an Iranian four-point peace plan for Yemen that calls for a cease-fire, humanitarian assistance, dialogue among Yemeni factions, and a new coalition government. In Syria, Zarif urged “national recognition” and a “national unity government,” though he repeated past Iranian arguments that Assad’s departure couldn’t be a precondition for such a transition.
“We require serious partners in Saudi Arabia to engage in serious discussion,” he said, noting this week’s elevation of younger Saudi officials to key leadership positions. He said his model for future regional security would be the multilateral process that helped stabilize Eastern Europe after the Cold War.
Zarif’s diplomatic outreach contrasts sharply with the continuing bombast from Iranian military leaders, such as Gen. Mohammad Ali Jaafari, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, who said Monday that “the House of Saud is on the edge of disintegration and collapse.”When pressed whether Iran would halt its support for proxy groups that destabilize the region, Zarif offered only a general statement that “the regional security mechanism should be based on ... noninterference in the internal affairs of other states.” To which Sunni powers such as Saudi Arabia might answer: Show me.
**David Ignatius is published twice weekly by THE DAILY STAR.
Politicians of Lebanese descent flourish in Brazil
Diogo Bercito| The Daily Star/May. 04, 2015 |
SAO PAULO: Mayor Fernando Haddad’s current post was previously filled by one Gilberto Kassab. Decades earlier, the same office was held twice by Paulo Maluf, who also served as provincial governor. The city’s history includes such political figures as Guilherme Afif and Gabriel Chalita. Although the names suggest otherwise, the political saga described above does not refer to a Lebanese city. Instead, it traces some of the families that helped shape the city and state of S?o Paulo, Brazil’s economic capital and one of the world’s most important urban areas. They are all part of an influential generation of immigrants born to Lebanese parents.
Among these first-generation Brazilians, the most powerful figure today is Vice President Michel Temer, 74, now in his second term as the No. 2 in President Dilma Rousseff’s administration.
His new mandate may be his most important to date: Temer was recently nominated “political articulator,” and will act as a mediator between the government and various parties. For that, Brazilian press has been treating him almost as a prime minister – a “super vice president.”
Brazil is ruled by a coalition between the Workers’ Party (PT), to which Rousseff belongs, and the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), led by Temer. While the PT is a leftist party, PMDB leans more to the center. Part of Temer’s strategic position comes from the fact that his party is a key piece in the future of the government – the PMDB is the largest party in Brazil in terms of the number of its supporters. Temer has years of experience in politics and boasts considerable rhetorical abilities.
As talk continues of the eventual impeachment of President Rousseff due to fallout from a corruption scandal, Temer could by law become leader of this South American country, described by its own national anthem as being “gigantic by its own nature.” If he ascends to the presidency, he would hold the top post in world’s seventh largest economy, leading a country of nearly 200 million. At present, the likelihood of Rousseff’s impeachment remains low, and would be difficult to legally justify. But the scenario is plausible, and haunts the pages of the national newspapers.
Brazilian media has quickly picked up on Temer’s new status, and news outlets including Folha de S?o Paulo and O Globo have stepped up their coverage of his international trips. In Lisbon and Madrid, where he has been for the past month, Temer was followed by reporters from the elevator to his official car each time he attended a meeting.
Foreign leaders have paid attention to his growing influence – Temer was greeted personally by Spain’s King Felipe. When introduced at a news conference organized by local agency Efe, the vice president was referred to as the leader of the most important party in Brazil. He dismissed the description as “exaggerated,” but it could be argued otherwise.
Temer was born in the countryside of S?o Paulo into a Catholic family that had immigrated to Brazil in the 1920s, when his family left Btaaboura, in Lebanon’s Koura. The vice president visited the region in 2011, meeting with former President Michel Sleiman, then-Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri. He also held meetings with Brazilian expatriates living in Lebanon.
The vice president is known by local journalists as a difficult politician to interview, due to his careful responses. Temer is considered a respected scholar of Constitutional Law and has held a number of positions in government since the 1980s. He is currently married to Marcela Temer, 31, who as a former deputy Miss S?o Paulo occasionally attracts more attention than her husband at official events. The couple had a son, Michel, in 2009.
Brazil’s ties to Lebanon go well beyond the Temer family.
The Latin American country is home to the world’s largest Lebanese community. Brazil has – according to some estimates – 7 million citizens with Lebanese ancestry, almost twice the population of Lebanon itself. It is no accident that Beirut is seen as a gateway for Brazilian efforts to establish closer diplomatic ties in the Middle East.
Such ties have existed for more than a century. A wave of Lebanese immigration began in the last decades of the 19th century, when immigrants saw new opportunities in Brazil during a period of severe crisis under Ottoman rule. The Lebanese arrived in a country on the verge of wide-scale industrialization, and found work in commerce. The activity is still linked to Lebanese in cities like S?o Paulo, where they were once known as “Turks” because of the passports they carried. Most Lebanese immigrants to Brazil were Christian, but many Muslims also made the voyage.
These immigrants and those that followed in subsequent decades – including Temer’s family – established the path for an influential generation to come. Current S?o Paulo mayor, Fernando Haddad, is the son of Khalil Haddad, who left his village of Ain Ata in the Bekaa Valley in 1947. His grandfather, Cury Habib Haddad, was known for having fought against the French occupation of Lebanon in the years following the World War I.
“After arriving in Brazil, these immigrants began working in commerce and invested in the education of their sons. At first, most of them studied medicine. Politics was a distant thing,” said Brazilian-Lebanese Roberto Khatlab, who lives in Beirut and studies the history of immigration. “But in the beginning of the 20th century, immigrants and their sons began paying attention to politics in the Middle East, as the region was looking for independence. Therefore, Lebanese descendants in the 1940s were studying law. That was a step before getting into politics.”
According to Khatlab, one of the pacesetters was Emilio Carlos Kyrillos, the son of a Lebanese immigrant, who was born in Brazil in 1917. After studying journalism and law, he became a Congressman in 1947, winning re-election several times afterward.
“From that moment, the Lebanese community had other candidates, and they went to different levels of politics. The National Congress now has around 8 percent of its congressman with Lebanese parentage.”
In Brazil, Lebanese traditions were quickly adopted by locals, becoming so well-integrated that today a Brazilian might consider kibbeh nayyeh, tabbouleh and labneh as native dishes.
A gigantic fast food chain named Habib’s has made a fortune in the country with its cheap delivery of sfiha – though a Lebanese visitor might shout “ya aibishum” (Shame!) to see that they sometimes have pepperoni on top.
Assad loses battles as US, Israel,
Turkey, Jordan, Qatar and UAE arm Al Qaeda’s Syrian branches
DEBKAfile Special Report May 4, 2015
For the first time in the nearly five-year Syrian war, opposition forces, such as the Army of Conquest and the Free Syrian Army, are receiving substantial quantities of heavy weapons from the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, debkafile’s military sources report. The balance of strength in the Syrian war has accordingly shifted in favor of rebel forces which are are winning victories against Bashar Assad’s army. In the last two weeks, the rebels have captured Jisr al-Shughour, in the northern Idlib province, able to move into new positions directly opposite Assad’s Alawite stronghold of Latakia and the Homs plain. Rebels have also gained ground in southern Syria in the Quneitra region opposite the Israeli Golan.
Our intelligence sources report that the opposition is now armed as never before with such heavy weapons as T-55, T-62, and T-72 tanks, BMP infantry fighting vehicles, rocket launchers, mortars, and vehicle-mounted heavy antiaircraft machine guns (12.7, 14.5, and 23 mm). They now command at least four types of antitank weapons, including RPG-7s, RPG-22s, M79s, and an extra-large supply of thousands of TOW missiles. All the hardware has come with night-vision attachments.
Had the Syrian opposition forces been equipped on this scale at an earlier stage, the Syrian conflict might have ended some time ago with Assad’s defeat and the saving of some quarter-of-a-million lives.
Each of the powers putting out now has reasons of its own for doing so.
The United States for instance, is determined to prevent the Syrian ruler and his allies, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Hizballah and Afghan and Pakistani Shiite militias, from wnning the war.
Israel needs to distance the Iranian Guards and Hizballah from its borders with Syria.
Saudi Arabia seeks Assad’s overthrow.
However, on the way to these objectives, the rebels’ champions have come up against a disturbing by-product of their support: The lion’s share of the weaponry lavished on the opposition is being funneled to rebel groups associated or identified with Al Qaeda.
debkafile lists those recipients:
1. The Al Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s Syrian wing, is the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant’s main rival for Syrian domination. Nusra is the strongest and most professional of all the opposition militias fighting the Assad regime. Having laid hands on a profusion of advanced weapons, Nusra has established a training facility in the Qalamoun Mts. athwart the Syrian and Lebanese border, to perfect its fighters’ skills in their use, especialy the TOW anti-tank missiles.
2. Ahrar al-Sham, whose main champion is Qatar, is more radical than Nusra and maintains limited operational ties with ISIS.
3. The Coastal Division, whose area of operation is Latakia, is formally a branch of the Free Syrian Army, but in practice takes its orders from the Nusra Front.
4. The Sukur Al Ahab Brigades, which operates mainly in the Qalamoun mountains, is likewise subservient to Nusra.
5. The Southern Front coalition, which is present in southern Syria near the Israeli border, is also under Nusra command. This group of assorted militias led the battle last month for Quneitra against the Jaish al-Jihad (the Army of Jihad) which pledged allegiance to ISIS.
It is not lost on any of the foreign governments arming the Syrian opposition that they are in fact boosting radical Islamist organizations, some of which are close to al Qaeda. But it is not openly admitted. US officials prefer to depict the recipients of those weapons as “moderate” rebels. Israel sources admit that their military assistance reaches the hands of Al Nusra, but claims it is a local group, which operates independently of Al Qaeda.
It is hard to see much good coming out of the Syrian policy pursued these days by the US, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf emirates and Turkey: If the opposition militias they are arming are victorious, either Al Qaeda-associates will end up swallowing broad regions of Syria; or else they will overthrow the Assad regime, and rule in its stead in Damascus. Syria would then be the first Arab country to fall into Al Qaeda’s hands.
How Damascus can learn from the
‘Conquest of Kabul’
Monday, 4 May 2015
Jamal Khashoggi/Al Arabiya
On February 15, 1989, the commander of the Soviet Forces Boris Gromov was the last Soviet soldier to leave Afghanistan, crossing on foot the Friendship Bridge that connected Afghanistan to then-Soviet Uzbekistan. This followed an invasion and bloody war that lasted a decade and ended with the Soviets’ defeat, marking huge changes in his country and the whole region.
Victory was celebrated all over Afghanistan. It seemed like their fight was brought to fruition and that it was only a matter of time before the communist government of Kabul falls, after being left severely wounded by the Russians in the middle of a hostile and rebelling environment. Celebrations extended to the Afghan allies in Riyadh and Islamabad. A few days separated us from entering Kabul and celebrating our victory over this great country that had always threatened us.
The Mujahidin leaders gathered in Rawalpindi surrounded by hundreds of Afghans, from judges and politicians to field commanders, to merchants and immigrants in the biggest “loya jirga” seen in the history of Afghanistan, all of them dreaming of building a new Afghanistan founded on Islam and freedom. On that day, I was one of dozens of journalists drawn to this cinematic scene extracted from the famous “Lawrence of Arabia,” especially the shots of Arabs gathering in a vast hall in Damascus: when Awda Abu Tayeh (played by Anthony Quinn) quarreled with Al Sherrif (Omar Al Sherrif) while everyone was transformed simultaneously into uncontrollable chatterboxes.
Afghans were doing the same thing. After two days, it seemed impossible to reach an agreement on forming an interim government that will be handed power from Kabul’s government. Even the Saudi and Pakistani intelligence and the Muslim Brotherhood leaders with great influence who flocked to celebrate the great victory failed to reconcile different views between the Afghan people or at least reach an agreement mechanism and bring to an end the majestic chaos prevailing in that great hall.
On the third day, Mawlawi Jalal Al Din Haqani entered the hall. He was one of the prominent Mujahidin leaders back then who joined the Taliban later and is wanted today by the Americans. He closed the hall’s doors with chains and his men stood there preventing representatives from leaving. The crowd finally calmed down and listened to the man who they respected or hated, but in either way feared.
He distributed to them his plan and asked from the leaders of the seven Sunnite parties and the two Shiite parties to choose 60 representatives from each party. The latters would be the influential elite who will choose by a vote the members of the interim government. That was the Afghans version of democracy. That day, the names of the president, the vice-president and government members were announced before sunset.
Saudi Arabia and Pakistan recognized the interim government that held its first session in a farm near Jalalabad. After a few weeks, a military operation was launched to liberate the city but failed and the Soviet government in Kabul did not fall. Then Saddam Hussein took over Kuwait and Saudi Arabia along with the rest of the world got preoccupied by this great challenge and all of them forgot about Afghanistan.
After two years, everyone was surprised that Kabul was about to fall in the hands of Ahmad Shah Massoud, the Panjshiri leader. The regional actors didn’t have time to resolve the situation. This led to Afghanistan entering the midst of a persisting and devastating civil war and is still paying along with the international community the price until now.
The regime is falling apart and victory has its own momentum that should be invested in producing other victories
Lessons learned from this story is that important events happen regardless of any external factor. Everyone knows that Saudi Arabia is preoccupied with achieving victory in Yemen and is committed to provide it with peace and not only take the Houthis and Saleh out of Sanaa. This needs several months and Turks - more particularly the ruling party - is seeking to win the crucial legislative elections taking place next month which will allow him to amend the constitution and make the regime presidential. However, the Syrian rebels will not wait for them. They have become unprecedentedly united.
The regime is falling apart and victory has its own momentum that should be invested in producing other victories. With the regime falling apart comes moral collapse and cleavages, an opportunity that must be exploited. The cascading events in Syria cannot wait for a meeting to be held in Riyadh – the opposition claiming they received an invitation – or for a new round of negotiations with the U.N. envoy De Mistura to display untested ideas. The decision is now in the hands of the fighters who meet under an apricot tree in Idlib countryside holding Syria’s map and understand that only few kilometers separate them from Homs and Hama fighters. They communicate with their brothers in the South, in Daraa and the suburbs of Damascus; they analyze their choices and draw their plans. They know that Riyadh and Ankara won’t request their patience. These two countries would rather choose to be untroubled amid the international and regional crisis with Iran and Russia, and intervene later on as champions and blessed ones.
However, similarly to the events that took place in Afghanistan on April 1992, the “Conquest of Kabul,” as named back then by the Mujahidin, didn’t end the Afghan crisis but opened a new pricier and much more painful chapter. The same applies on “Damascus Conquest”. If, as from this day, no concrete action is undertaken by the Turkey-Saudi side in order to organize the repercussions of Bashar’s fall, history will repeat itself and an even worse fate than that of Afghanistan awaits Syria. Neglecting the latter was possible given Afghanistan’s distance. But Syria is among us.
Three dangerous challenges will be faced by the Syrian revolution after Bashar. The first and most dangerous one is: “the rebels’ unity” and preventing a certain conflict between them, not only because of the political differences between Islamic and secular references but also between cities, quarters and organizations. Syria’s problem is its need for a “De Gaulle” that will unite all the rebels. The core of the problem is that each one of them is a “De Gaulle” and the greatest gift Riyadh can offer them is a decision-making mechanism (similar to what Mawlawi Haqani achieved in Rawalpindi) that would pave the way for a constituent assembly leading to elections, a president and a constitution. It is a very difficult mission due to the variety of the rebels’ inclinations however the rules and means used in shaping the “conquest army” is encouraging and can be built upon.
The second challenge requires preventing Iran from implementing “Plan B”, that is, a confessional state in the seaside, a foothold that contradicts with the main objectives of the "Operation Decisive Storm" launched in Yemen which has an even broader mission. This plan engenders a division unworthy of the beating heart of Arabism and the home of the Arab unity dream, Syria. It is also a project seeking to divide the region on confessional and ethnic basis. Accepting this situation in Syria makes it a serious precedent that will spread everywhere.
It is not just an Iranian Alawite project but a virulent idea that will be endorsed by unpredicted parties in Israel and some European capitals. The last point illustrates the gravity of this project and the importance of an early counteract.
The last challenge is ISIS, the parasite that feeds on the rebellion’s victories. It lost its force thanks to the victories of the rebels, the moderate forces and the positive spirit injected by “Operation Decisive Storm” among the Muslim youth eager for change but remains a latent threat due to its concealed intentions and suspicious relationships.
Following the “Damascus conquest,” I wonder if only someone could raise the slogan “those who believe in Allah and the Last Day, let him only pray for ISIS’s defeat.” This group will only be defeated by fighters motivated by faith who experienced their evil. These fighters will confront them with the truth and the sword at the same time. ISIS will be infiltrated and disunited then will retreat after being defeated.
All those opportunities came combined, as if predestined. Seize them.
Former IDF chief Gantz: Hezbollah
turned living rooms into missile rooms
By YONAH JEREMY BOB/J.post/05/04/2015
Speaking on Monday at Shurat Hadin’s conference on “Towards a New Law of War,” just retired IDF chief-of-staff Benny Gantz said that, “Hezbollah has turned villages into missile villages and living rooms into missile rooms.”
Gantz was summarizing the challenges of asymmetrical warfare being highlighted at the conference including terrorist groups’ abuse of the law of armed conflict such as using human shields or stationing weaponry in civilian homes,
Shurat Hadin’s Director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner said that the purpose of the conference was to try to help empower the IDF and other Western militaries to be able to fight more effectively against such terror groups by updating the law of armed conflict.
Gantz echoed some of those themes, saying he was making an unusual appearance as a civilian “about a very important issue being promoted here for all human kind, human rights and society.”
The former IDF chief stated, “war has changed. The civilian population became both the target of the terrorists and their human shield at the same time.”
Describing the difficulty of fighting terrorists who fight among civilians, Gantz said, “I sat with drone operators to distinguish between combatants and civilians,” noting it was often very difficult to tell the difference since Hamas also does not wear uniforms.
Gantz said the laws of war were “made to limit bad guys. But guess what - today the bad guys don't care, so they are only limiting the good guys from fighting them.”
Despite the complexity of fighting adversaries who abuse the laws of war, he said that, “we do investigate ourselves on Gaza and Lebanon,” noting “the IDF checked 500 incidents during the summer Gaza War” with some incidents going to “military court.”
Gantz added, “We don't do it for the world, we do it for us.”