LCCC ENGLISH DAILY NEWS BULLETIN
Bible Quotation For Today/If
you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he
will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever
John 14/15-20: "‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. ‘I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you."
Bible Quotation For Today/A
tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and
began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
Acts of the Apostles 02/01-21: "When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?
Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.’ All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean? ’But others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine. ’But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: ‘Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: "In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."
Latest analysis, editorials from miscellaneous sources published on May 23-24/15
Hezbollah shows off its tunnels, claims it is prepared for war with Israel/Roi Kais/Ynetnews/May 23/15
US and Hizballah coordinate spy drone flights over Qalamoun, share US combat intelligence/DEBKAfile/May 23/15
No more illusions about an ‘Occupied Lebanon’/Eyad Abu Shakra/Al Arabiya/May 23/15
ISIS is an unrivaled organization, so says Washington/Abdulrahman al-Rashed/Al Arabiya/May 23/15
Lebanese Related News published on May 23-24/15
Arsal Municipal Chief Fears Fate of Town, Warns of Dragging it into Battle
Hezbollah prepares for Liberation Day ceremony in Nabatieh
Everyone has role to play in 'existential' Syria battle: Nasrallah
Nasrallah: Hezbollah in worst state since 1982 onslaught by Israel
Hezbollah, Syrian army take new peak in Qalamoun
Hezbollah prepares for Liberation Day ceremony in Nabatieh
Hezbollah sees no end to Syria war
Derian wants Dar al-Fatwa to unite Muslims
Top U.N. official Says Europe Must Open Borders, Appeals for more Aid to Help Lebanon
Arsal Municipal Chief Fears Fate of Town, Warns of Dragging it into Battle
BoB CEO urges diaspora to invest in Lebanon
Arc of interference
Ibrahim Denies Reports on Nusra-Hostages Case
Police Arrest Palestinian National on Killing Charges
Al-Rahi Calls for Made-in-Lebanon President
Army Cracks Down on Syrians, Busts Drugs Depot
Berri on Electing a President: 'I See no Light on Horizon'
MP Alain Aoun Says FPM Seeking to End Presidential Vacuum: A Matter of Existence
Hariri Deplores Qatif Attack, Says It Serves Interests of 'Iran-backed Militias'
Miscellaneous Reports And News published on
Obama tells Israelis: America has your back
Saudi Arabia vows to hunt down mosque attackers
Report: Israel offered Saudi Arabia use of its Iron Dome technology
In Iraq, a united push to repel Islamic State
Islamic State raises flag over Syria's Palmyra
Top U.S. commander says ISIS actively recruiting in Afghanistan
Syrians try to build case in chlorine attacks
Syria’s Assad pays tribute to soldiers despite setbacks
ISIS continues relentless campaign of horror
Iraq forces attack ISIS east of Ramadi in new offensive
ISIS expands its 'state
Obama: I criticize Israel because I care
Egyptian soldier killed in Sinai attack claimed by ISIS affiliate
Obama: Everybody is a child of God
US to restock IDF stores with bunker busters
Nusra, ISIS use hostages to serve different ends
Fresh airstrikes and ground fighting in Yemen
Canada Condemns Bombing in Saudi Arabia
Dutch ok partial ban on Islamic veils
Opposition MK vows to 'make life hell' for Netanyahu government
Abbas: Israeli settlements block any peace deal
Erdogan brags about Turkish APC, even though it was jointly made with Israel'
Business leaders in Jordan say ISIS "barbarians at gate" threaten development
Report: Israel offered Saudi Arabia use of its Iron Dome technology
How Israel plans to evacuate Gaza border towns during next war with Hamas
Peres says 'clear majority of Israelis back two states,' urges immediate resumption of talks
Gaza unemployment world's highest as 60% of youth find themselves jobless
Humanitarian intervention in the Middle East and North Africa must change
How one woman could have been saved from 17 bullets
Turkey arrests 43 in new sweep against Erdogan foes
Nigeria Military Says 'Scores' of Islamists Killed, 20 Hostages Rescued
Netanyahu thanks Kerry for US blocking of anti-Israel nuclear resolution
Latest Jihad Watch News
Legitimizing Censorship: ‘Islamophobia Studies’ at Berkeley
Nigeria: Muslims set Sharia court ablaze over “insult” to Muhammad
Saudi Arabia: Islamic State claims bombing that killed 20 in Shia mosque
California: Two Muslims arrested for trying to join Islamic State
/ How do we receive the Holy Spirit?"
GotQuestions.org /Answer: The apostle Paul clearly taught that we receive the Holy Spirit the moment we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior. First Corinthians 12:13 declares, “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” Romans 8:9 tells us that if a person does not possess the Holy Spirit, he or she does not belong to Christ: “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” Ephesians 1:13-14 teaches us that the Holy Spirit is the seal of salvation for all those who believe: “Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory.”
These three passages make it clear that the Holy Spirit is received at the moment of salvation. Paul could not say that we all were baptized by one Spirit and all given one Spirit to drink if not all of the Corinthian believers possessed the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:9 is even stronger, stating that if a person does not have the Spirit, he does not belong to Christ. Therefore, the possession of the Spirit is an identifying factor of the possession of salvation. Further, the Holy Spirit could not be the “seal of salvation” (Ephesians 1:13-14) if He is not received at the moment of salvation. Many scriptures make it abundantly clear that our salvation is secured the moment we receive Christ as Savior.
This discussion is controversial because the ministries of the Holy Spirit are often confused. The receiving/indwelling of the Spirit occurs at the moment of salvation. The filling of the Spirit is an ongoing process in the Christian life. While we hold that the baptism of the Spirit also occurs at the moment of salvation, some Christians do not. This sometimes results in the baptism of the Spirit being confused with “receiving the Spirit” as an act subsequent to salvation.
In conclusion, how do we receive the Holy Spirit? We receive the Holy Spirit by simply receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior (John 3:5-16). When do we receive the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit becomes our permanent possession the moment we believe.
Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi
Calls for Made-in-Lebanon President
Naharnet/Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi called on politicians Saturday to descend from their thrones and engage in settlements to end the presidential crisis as they are failing a community, a history and a nation.“Lebanon is passing through delicate circumstances and undergoing decay amid the lingering presidential vacuum,” al-Rahi said during a tour in the northern region of Batroun.“A decapitated body means death,” al-Rahi said, describing the presidential stalemate. He called on politicians to assume their responsibilities and elect a new head of state, saying: “You need to have the courage and free will, and posses a sense of responsibility to find a solution for the crisis.”“We want a made-in-Lebanon president, who is consensual and wise,” al-Rahi considered. Vacuum striking the presidential post since May last year is having a tough impact on the cabinet and the parliament as the state is threatened with further crises over ongoing rows between the rival parties.The parliament has failed 23 times to meet the two-thirds quorum required to hold an electoral session.
US and Hizballah coordinate spy drone flights over Qalamoun, share US combat intelligence
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 23, 2015,
Another strange pair of bedfellows has turned up in one of the most critical Middle East battlefields: the United States is helping Hizballah, Iran’s Lebanese surrogate, in the battle for control of the strategic Qalamoun Mountains. debkafile’s intelligence sources disclose that a US special operations unit, stationed at the Hamat air base on the coast of northern Lebanon, is directing unarmed Aerosonde MK 4.7 reconnaissance drone intelligence-gathering flights over the Qalamoun Mt arena, 100 km to the west.
Washington set up the base originally in line with an assurance to Beirut of military assistance for the next three years to counter any threatened invasion by extremist elements.
However, it turns out that the data the US drones pass to Lebanese army general staff in Beirut goes straight to Hizballah headquarters - and on to the Iranian officers in Syria running Bashar Assad’s war effort.
The Aerosonde MK 4.7 can stay aloft for 10 to 12 hours at a stretch at an altitude of 4.5 km. It functions day or night, equipped with an advanced laser pointer capability. It is capable of carrying ordnance but US sources say they the aircraft in Lebanon are unarmed.
Since Hizballah is also operating Ababil-3 surveillance drones of its own over Qalamoun, coordination had become necessary between the American team and the Shiite group. The consequence is that for the first time, the US military is working directly with an internationally-designated terrorist organization – a development with earthshaking ramifications for Israel’s security. This partnership has in fact become a game-changer for the worse in terms of Israel’s security ties with the US and has caused an upheaval in its military and intelligence disposition in the region, in at least six respects:
1. To counter US-Hizballah intelligence collaboration, Israel is obliged to reshuffle the entire intelligence mechanism it maintains to protect its northern borders with Lebanon and Syria.
2. Israel finds itself forced to monitor the progress of the US special unit’s interface with Hizballah, its avowed enemy.
3. Israel can no longer trust American intelligence coming in from Lebanon because it is likely tainted by Hizballah sources.
4. Hizballah is gaining firsthand insights into the operating methods of US special operations forces, which Israel’s methods strongly resemble and must therefore revamp.
5. The Hizballah terrorist group is winning much needed prestige and enhanced status in the region from its collaboration with the US.
6. Hizballah’s Ababil drones are in fact operated by the hostile Iranian Revolutionary Guards, which leaves Israel with no option but to overhaul from top to bottom the intelligence-gathering systems employed by its surveillance drones to track Iranian movements in the region.
At the Washington Adas Israel synagogue Friday, May 22, President Barack Obama wearing a kipah "forcefully" objected to suggestions that policy differences between his administration and the Israeli government signaled his lack of support for the longtime US ally.
This raises a question: How do Obama's repeated commitments to Israel’s security square with close US military and intelligence cooperation with an organization whose vow to destroy Israel is backed by 100,000 missiles – all pointed south?
Terrorist Nasrallah threatens Shiites opposing his Iranian Schemes & admits Hezbollah in worst state since 1982 onslaught by Israel
Hezbollah in worst state since 1982 onslaught by Israel
By JPOST.COM STAFF/05/23/2015/Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said Hezbollah is in a dire state - its worst since the onslaught of the 1982 First Lebanon War - and is on the brink of mobilizing its troops for reinforcement in a battle for survival, the Arab-language daily as-Safir reported Saturday. Nasrallah said his party is in the midst of fighting an existential battle against ISIS and other extremist groups in Syria and on Lebanon's border. Also challenging Hezbollah's regime are Sunni Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, which Nasrallah said have joined forces against Lebanon's Shi'ite group. He compared Hezbollah's current dire state to its state in 1982, following Israel's occupation of southern Lebanon. "Then, just like today, we were faced with an existential crisis," he said. "We defeated the Zionists and we will defeat the extremist groups fighting us now." The Hezbollah leader said that now is the time for mobilization. He called on everyone "who enjoys a reputation of integrity" to contribute. Sheik Naim Qassem, deputy leader of the Shi'ite group, said the Middle East is at risk of partition and that he sees no end to the war in Syria, where it is fighting alongside President Bashar Assad against insurgents supported by his regional enemies. "Solutions for Syria are suspended. There is no political solution in the foreseeable period, and it is left to attrition, to the battlefield, and to wait for other developments in the region, particularly Iraq," he said. Reuters contributed to this report.
has role to play in 'existential' Syria battle: Nasrallah
The Daily Star/May. 23, 2015
BEIRUT: Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah has called for a popular mobilization among his party’s supporters to help solidify a win in the “existential battle” in Syria. “The resistance is fighting an existential battle par excellence,” Nasrallah said Friday in a private speech addressed to his party’s wounded fighters, according to As-Safir newspaper. “Had we not fought in Aleppo, Homs and Damascus, we would have fought in Baalbek, Hermel, al-Ghazieh, Sidon, Tyre, Nabatieh and other Lebanese villages, towns and cities.” The Hezbollah chief said the group had no choice but to seek the defeat of the "takfiri" groups in the region, or else face slaughter, shame, rape and enslavement. “Even if half of us are martyred in this war for the other half to live in dignity, glory and honor... this would be the best choice,” he said. “Half of us will not be martyred, God willing, but the situation requires great sacrifice because the attack is huge.” He said Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar have resolved their internal conflicts and joined forces in the battle against Hezbollah.
“If we were to be determined and responsible enough, we will beat them and victory will be our ally,” he said. He attacked pro-Western Shiite politicians, referring to them as “the Shiites of the U.S. Embassy,” and called them “traitors, collaborators and idiots,” according to the report. “It is the time for mobilization, and everyone can contribute, even with his voice,” he said. “Everyone who enjoys a reputation of integrity should contribute to this mobilization. The religious scholars should speak, whoever has lost a martyr should speak... even you, my wounded brothers, you have healthy tongues, so speak.”He said his party might soon be announcing “general popular mobilization,” revealing that there will be no geographical limitations for its military actions in the future. “I said before that we would be wherever we should be [in Syria], and we would not allow this plan to expand, but we were unfortunately answered by doubt, incitement and accusations of treason,” he said. “I say that we might fight everywhere. We will not remain silent with anyone anymore, and we have strong cards that we haven’t yet used. “If we keep working with this momentum, like we did in Qalamoun..., the divine promise of victory is certainly guaranteed.”Hezbollah and the Syrian Army have achieved a large number of field victories in the Qalamoun over the last two and a half weeks, taking more than 310 square kilometers out of the 780 square kilometers of land that had previously been controlled by jihadis.
prepares for Liberation Day ceremony in Nabatieh
Mohammed Zaatari| The Daily Star/ May. 23, 2015
NABATIEH, Lebanon: Hezbollah members Saturday put the finishing touches on a south Lebanon ceremony center where the party will celebrate the 15th anniversary of the end to Israeli occupation. The ceremony's attendees are expected to be in the thousands by the time Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah begins his televised speech, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. A 122mm Grad rocket launcher was erected on a stage at the center, located at Ashoura Square in the southern city of Nabatieh. The city may have been symbolically chosen to host the ceremony, since it was there in 1983 that Israeli forces tried to force their way through crowds marking the Ashoura holiday in an event that helped galvanize Shiite resistance to Israel. Large boards with pictures of Nasrallah, Iran’s late supreme leader Rouhoullah Khoumeini and his successor Ali Khamenei, and several others were erected at the scene. In the background, a large photo shows Israeli settlements with the expression, “Galilee, a promise that will not be broken,” written in Arabic and Hebrew.
Dozens of other pictures showing the popular celebrations after the liberation in 2000 were also raised. “Where we should be, we will be,” was written on one of the banners, quoting recent remarks by Nasrallah. Officers from the Spanish unit of the UNIFIL peacekeeping forces were also present at the square, where Lebanese Army officers introduced them to Hezbollah festival organizers. Israeli troops left most of south Lebanon on May 25, 2000, after 18 years of continuous occupation. But Israel still occupies a portion of the Shebaa Farms in the southeast.
Hezbollah, Syrian army take new peak in Qalamoun
The Daily Star/ May. 23, 2015/BEIRUT: Hezbollah and Syrian army troops captured another peak in the Qalamoun hills Saturday, as they advance toward the few remaining jihadi strongholds in the border region. Hezbollah's Al-Manar reported that the allied forces took over Tallit Sadr al-Bustan, 2 kilometers north of Tallit Moussa, which was captured last week. They took full control over the hill and killed an unidentified number of jihadis, most of whom escaped, the report said. Control over the new peak allows them to observe what remains of jihadi-held territories on the outskirts of the Syrian village of Flita. The hill also overlooks the outskirts of Jarajeer, and a part of the outskirts of Lebanon's Arsal. The advancements come nearly three weeks after Hezbollah and the Syrian army launched the offensive against jihadi groups operating in Qalamoun. They have achieved a large number of field victories, taking more than 310 square kilometers out of the 780 square kilometers of land that had previously been controlled by jihadis. Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front is the most prominent jihadi faction operating in Qalamoun, while ISIS is present in some areas too. Tensions between the jihadi rivals have also risen dramatically since the Qalamoun offensive, with the Nusra Front vowing last week to "eradicate" ISIS from the area after a series of provocations.
Security chief Major General Abbas Ibrahim Denies Reports on Nusra-Hostages Case
Naharnet /General Security chief Major General Abbas Ibrahim denied Saturday information regarding the case of servicemen abducted by the al-Qaida-affiliate al-Nusra Front. “Reports concerning the case are false,” Ibrahim said in a statement issued by his press office.The statement remarked that Ibrahim is “personally in charge for negotiations with al-Nusra via the Qatari-appointed mediator.”Earlier on Saturday, al-Mustaqbal newspaper reported that the release of captives taken hostage by al-Nusra Front reached zero hour as the Lebanese state is carrying out the necessary measures to conduct a prisoners swap deal with the group.Judicial sources told the daily that the state is “preparing the files of several inmates” who will be released in exchange for the abducted servicemen.
The daily said that 16 prisoners will be freed from Lebanese jails in one batch as the Qatari negotiator arrived in Beirut on Thursday to put the final touches on the deal. Concerned sources expressed optimism that the captive men would return to their families by next week. Al-Nusra Front has in its captivity 16 soldiers and policemen, while nine remain held by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The soldiers and policemen were abducted by gunmen in the wake of clashes in the northeastern border town of Arsal.
A few of them have since been released and four were executed. IS jihadists also took hostages with them when they overran Arsal but the negotiations with the group have stalled over their crippling demands.
Report: Israel offered Saudi Arabia
use of its Iron Dome technology
By MAARIV ONLINE, REUTERS/05/23/2015
Soldiers stand near the Iron Dome missile defense system outside Tel Aviv.. (photo credit:MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Arabic-language newspaper Rai al-Youm reported on Saturday that Israel has offered Saudi Arabia to use its Iron Dome anti-rocket technology.
The offer was made to the Kingdom to defend its border with Yemen that has come under numerous rocket attacks.
According to the report, the offer was made last week during meetings in Amman between the Saudis and the US ambassador to Jordan. A spokesman for the Jordanian government said that he was not aware of a meeting between the Saudis and the Israelis in Amman, the news outlet reported. Saudi Arabia reportedly rejected the offer, according to the London based newspaper.
On Thursday and Friday cross border rocket attacks launched from inside Yemen killed two people in southern Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia's state news agency SPA reported on Friday.
SPA quoted a Civil Defense official in the southwestern province of Jizan as saying that a child was killed and three other children were wounded on Friday in the al-Tawal region.
A rocket attack on Thursday killed one citizen and wounded two others in al Hosn village, the agency reported earlier.
On Friday, Saudi-led coalition warplanes pounded Houthi-held military outposts on the hills overlooking the Yemeni capital Sanaa, as the eight-week military offensive aimed at ousting the rebels intensified over the weekend.
The airstrikes came as two Shi'ite mosques, one in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia and the other in Sanaa, were targeted by explosive devices and suicide bombers during Friday prayers.
Coalition fighter jets also targeted the presidential compound in the capital on Friday, where the Shi'ite rebels seized control in September.
The Saudi-led coalition of Sunni Arab nations intervened in Yemen's civil war on March 26 with an all out air assault to force the Iran-allied Houthis to retreat from territories they have seized since last year, and restore the power of exiled Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Friday's violence followed overnight airstrikes that targeted Houthi controlled military outposts of the notorious Republican Guard troops in the capital.
At least four missiles hit one of the Guard's training camps in Sanaa late Thursday (May 21) night.
The latest spike in violence comes ahead of UN sponsored Yemen peace talks to be held in Geneva on May 28.
shows off its tunnels, claims it is prepared for war with Israel
Published: 05.23.15/Israel News
As the militant Lebanese organization is mired in Syria's war, it invites a reporter to its fortifications and upgraded tunnels, emphasizing that the border with Israel is still the central frontline.
A rare glimpse into Hezbollah's underground tunnels was provided on Friday by Lebanese publication As-Safir, which is associated with the militant organization.
The report praised Hezbollah's activities and painted it as a strong army ready for battle. While it is difficult to verify the claims in the article, it contained a rare discussion of the tunnels by Hezbollah members.
The reporter wrote that in order to meet Hezbollah fighters near the Israeli border in southern Lebanon, he travelled from the city of Tyre and was required to stop at a house known to locals as a Hezbollah headquarters, where he changed into a military uniform to blend in to his surroundings and to confound Israeli drones.
The report described Hezbollah's observations unit on the border, claiming it has been upgraded and is waiting for battle.
The tunnels were discussed several times, but not as an offensive tactic to infiltrate Israel, like the ones used by Hamas during Operation Protective Edge – a greatly concerning prospect for residents in the north. Instead, the tunnels were described as a means to launch rockets from Lebanese territory.
The report claimed that Hezbollah has upgraded its tunnels and that they are located at sensitive spots near the border. "It is true that the enemy discovered the ramifications of the tunnel technology in the Second Lebanon War, but the tactic has developed since then," said the newspaper.
"The type of concrete has changed, the ventilation system is different, and the methods for customizing weapons and food have changed. Electricity is provided to tunnels 24 hours a day with the use of generators set up underground."
The problem of food inside the tunnels has been substantially improved, according to Hezbollah, which said that a logistical unit replaces the supplies every five months. "The air inside the tunnel is no different from that outside," wrote the reporter. "There are devices to neutralize humidity in order to prevent the iron from rusting and there are fans and emergency exists. Those who built the tunnels did not forget any detail…
"The war has not yet arrived, but it could arrive one of these days. Therefore building of new fortifications and tunnels continues around the clock, and instead of tens of thousands of rockets ready for launch there are now hundreds of thousands."
According to the report, digging is done without particularly advanced equipment in order to avoid drawing attention.
Hezbollah fighters with whom the reporter spoke said that the group's fighting in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen is a continuation of its campaign against Israel. "Its fingerprints are obvious everywhere, and if it's not her (Israel) – then they are her allies' fingerprints," said one.
"Thus the organization's only option is to fight them wherever they are. The southern front will remain the main frontline, and to protect it we must also protect our rear.
"Anyone who thinks the organization's presence in Syria comes at the expense of our presence here in the heart of the south is mistaken. Israel is well aware of this, and if it weren't, it would not hesitate to take advantage of the opportunity."
The article also reported seeing a structure containing a 120mm artillery gun that appeared to be aimed towards a specific Israeli target.
According to the newspaper, all forward outposts are connected to a wired network that is a source of pride for the organization. "The operative only has to bring the rocket from the adjoining warehouse, and then load and launch it – and hide in the tunnel leading from the house," said the report.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah on Saturday warned that fighting in Syria could lead the militant organization to declare full mobilization of its members. "We have bargaining chips that we have yet to use in the struggle," he said.
"This is the time for everyone to mobilize, everyone who can participate," he added. "The danger facing us is an existential one that is similar to that in 1982." If the organization had not fought in Syria, said Nasrallah, it would have found itself fighting inside Lebanese territory.
/Arsal municipal chief Ali al-Hujair
Fears Fate of Town, Warns of Dragging it into Battle
Naharnet /23.05.15/Arsal municipal chief Ali al-Hujairi expressed concern Saturday over attempts by Hizbullah and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to drag the northeastern border town into battle. “They are trying to pull Arsal into a dark tunnel of blood and fire,” Hujairi said in comments published in the Kuwaiti al-Anbaa newspaper. He hailed the Lebanese army for preventing the mercenaries from meddling with the town's security and stability. The municipal chief accused a number of Hizbullah affiliates of “placing the explosive-rigged car in Arsal,” revealing that the army is aware of their names and political ties. Explosive experts dismantled Thursday a car rigged with 35 kilograms of explosives in the town. Hujairi hailed Prime Minister Tammam Salam, Army Commander General Jean Qahwaji and Mustaqbal Movement chief Saad Hariri, stressing they assured him that “tampering with the security and fate of the town will not be allowed.” The official called on Hizbullah to aver a crisis in Arsal and the region as the repercussions of its fall will impact everyone, stressing that the town supports the army and its decisions. Hizbullah backed by Syrian forces controlled strategic areas in Qalamoun that abuts Lebanon's eastern border as fighting rages in the region. Hizbullah cites that fear of militants (from the Islamic State group and al-Qaida-affiliate al-Nusra Front) sweeping through Shiite and Christian villages in diverse Lebanon as one of the main reasons for their involvement in Syria. Some observers however fear the Qalamoun offensive could prompt Islamist militants to launch attacks in Shiite areas of Lebanon itself, including Beirut's southern suburbs. The IS and Nusra Front have infiltrated Lebanon in the past, and last August briefly overran Arsal, taking with them several soldiers and policemen hostage. Four of whom have been executed. However, a source close to the March 8 alliance stressed that Hizbullah “will not open Arsal Battle but will not remain mum over the state's failure to control border towns and their outskirts.” The source, who refused to reveal his name, said that militants are entering Arsal at all times to buy diesel, food, arms and recruit gunmen. “Most of the booby-trapped cars that entered Lebanon passed through Arsal and armed men are using some Syrian refugees encampments to assault the army and Lebanon.”
Canada Condemns Bombing in Saudi
May 23, 2015 - Ottawa, Ontario - Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement condemning the suicide bombing at a Shi’ite mosque in Saudi Arabia:
"I was deeply disturbed by today’s terrorist attack against a Shi’ite place of worship in Saudi Arabia’s eastern province of Qatif, which claimed the lives of at least 21 people and left more than 90 injured.
"On behalf of all Canadians, I offer my condolences to the families and friends of those killed in this attack and wish a speedy recovery to the injured.
"Canada strongly condemns all acts of terrorism. To attack a congregation assembling for peaceful worship is a shocking and cowardly act and an attack on religious freedom. All communities have the right to practise their beliefs in peace and security, free from violent attack or persecution. We support all efforts by the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to pursue and prosecute the perpetrators of this heinous act. "The so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria [ISIS] has claimed responsibility for the attack, which underscores the grave terrorist threat posed by ISIS. We will continue to stand beside Saudi Arabia and other coalition partners to end ISIS’s campaign of violence and brutality. Canada supports and encourages Saudi Arabia’s efforts to combat terrorism in the region. We value the support and cooperation we have with Saudi Arabia in addressing the many challenges and threats facing the Middle East."
In Iraq, a united push to repel
Reuters/Ynetnews/Published: 05.23.15/Israel News
Shiite militias and Iraqi troops launch counter-offensive in hopes of retaking Ramadi after jihadist group makes stunning gains in Anbar province, causing tens of thousands to flee.
A convoy of Shiite Muslim militia and Iraqi army forces set out from a base near Ramadi on Saturday to advance on areas held by Islamic State, a Shiite spokesman said, launching a counter-offensive to reverse stunning gains by the jihadi insurgents.
The fall of Ramadi, the Anbar provincial capital, to Islamic State on May 17 could be a shattering blow to Baghdad's weak central government. The Sunni Muslim jihadis now control most of Anbar and could threaten the western approaches to Baghdad, or even surge south into Iraq's Shiite heartland.
Ramadi's loss is the most serious setback for Iraqi forces in almost a year and has cast doubt on the effectiveness of the US strategy of air strikes to help Baghdad roll back Islamic State, which holds a third each of Iraq and adjacent Syria.
Anbar provincial council member Azzal Obaid said hundreds of Shiite fighters, who had arrived at the Habbaniya air base last week after Islamic State took Ramadi, deployed into Khalidiya on Saturday and were approaching Siddiqiya and Madiq, towns in contested territory near Ramadi.
Disadvantaged by poor morale and cohesion among his security forces, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, a Shiite, sent Shiite paramilitary groups to try to retake Ramadi despite the risk of inflaming tensions with Anbar's aggrieved, predominantly Sunni population.
Jaffar Husseini, spokesman for the Shiite paramilitary group Kataib Hezbollah, said it had deployed more than 2,000 reinforcements which had managed to secure Khalidiya and the road connecting it to Habbaniya.
"Today will witness the launch of some tactical operations that pave the way to the eventual liberation of Ramadi," he told Reuters by telephone.
At the same time, Islamic State units have been advancing towards Fallujah to try to absorb more territory between it and Ramadi that would bring them closer to Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, around 80 km (50 miles) to the east. A pro-government Sunni tribal leader in the area said on Friday that Islamic State forces were around 5 km (3 miles) from Khalidiya.
Islamic State has controlled Fallujah for more than a year.
A UN spokesman said on Friday that some 55,000 people have fled Ramadi since it was stormed by Islamic State earlier this month, with most taking refuge in other parts of Anbar, a vast desert province that borders on Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
No more illusions about an ‘Occupied
Eyad Abu Shakra/Al Arabiya
Saturday, 23 May 2015
If the sentence passed by Lebanon’s Military Court against former Lebanese MP and cabinet minister Michel Samaha is to stand, he will be set free within just seven months. This is all he will serve of the official four and a half year “prison sentence” that was initially issued against him.
For those interested, “one year imprisonment” in Lebanon means nine, not 12 months, and Samaha (who has already been in custody for a couple of years) admitted, in live testimony, that he brought explosives into Lebanon with the specific aim of targeting rallies and iftar celebrations and murdering prominent Muslim and Christian politicians and religious leaders, not to mention any innocent individual who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Samaha also admitted, again live on camera, that he collaborated with General Ali Mamlouk, one of Syria’s top security chiefs, in this murder conspiracy.
Furthermore, the evidence showed that the Samaha-Mamlouk conspiracy aimed at inciting sectarian strife and bloodshed in Lebanon. This would have allowed the well-known Iranian-backed Syrian–Lebanese security apparatus to reclaim control of Lebanon after President Bashar al-Assad was forced to withdraw Syrian troops from the country in 2005 in the aftermath of the assassination of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri, and the popular uprising the crime provoked.
The Military Court’s “too lenient” sentence has understandably shocked many Lebanese who are aware that Samaha’s crime was much more sinister than merely “transporting explosives.” There is the issue of attempted mass murder and the incitement of devastating sectarian strife with untold repercussions. There is also a travesty of justice, bearing in mind that many people have been held in Lebanon’s infamous Roumieh prison for years without being accused of any specific crime.
Hezbollah’s occupation of Lebanon does not differ much from the occupation of Syria by the militias of Bashar al-Assad
However, without over-elaborating on technical legal matters, it has to be said that Samaha would not have been able to partake in this conspiracy—alone or in collaboration with Gen. Mamlouk—were it not for the fact that Lebanon is truly an occupied country.
No understatement or polite allusion can change anything about the reality of this occupation. Indeed, while most Lebanese were pointing the finger of accusation at the Syrian regime after the Hariri assassination, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah was presenting gifts to senior Syrian officers at a mass rally in the heart of Beirut under banners proclaiming “Thank You, Syria.” The security and intelligence apparatus these officers represented controlled the lives of the Lebanese for three decades, and under the orders and directives of Iran, contributed to creating the de facto Hezbollah statelet, whose true size, role and allegiance were not clear at the time.
The symbolism of that Beirut rally on March 8, 2005, goes beyond words. Sure enough the “Thank You, Syria” rally stirred up a spontaneous massive popular response on March 14 which filled the same Beirut squares with flag-waving men, women and children who re-discovered themselves and stood up for their dignity. The March 14 mass rally provided the momentum that forced the Syrian regime’s troops out, and produced the eponymous independent, cross-sectarian, non-partisan March 14 Alliance.
Unfortunately, as would later become clear, the Tehran–Damascus axis had only lost a battle, not the war. In fact, it turned out that this was a minor “battle” that did not exceed the true nature of Hezbollah being brought out into the open after it had been well concealed by the shadow of the Syrian–Lebanese security apparatus. Hezbollah was openly handed the task it had previously been accorded in secret, after it had spent several years silently working, recruiting, building and expanding across Lebanon.
Following the withdrawal of Syrian troops, Hezbollah had no choice but to unmask and reveal its animosity to a sector of the Lebanese people, after this section of society had long believed its slogans of “resistance” (against Israel), and had not even been perturbed by its reservations regarding the Taif Accords.
Soon afterwards, the Tehran–Damascus axis, through its Christian functionaries, began its attempts to infiltrate the Christian bloc inside the March 14 Alliance with the intention of destroying its unity. It succeeded spectacularly with Michel Aoun, whose followers had always taken to heart his grand slogans of “sovereignty” and “independence,” as well as his feigned deep hatred of the Syrian regime and his assertions of being the “father” of the U.S. Congress’s Syria Accountability Act (2003) and U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559 (2004).
With Aoun joining the Hezbollah camp, the Tehran-Damascus axis gained the Christian cover it always needed to give it a false consensual façade. This has become even more important after questions began to emerge about Hezbollah’s involvement in the assassination of Hariri, as well as the subsequent assassinations targeting March 14 figures.
Now benefitting from its newly acquired Christian fig leaf, Hezbollah refused to cooperate with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (set up to investigate the Hariri assassination) and launched a vicious counter-attack against its political adversaries. True to form, Hezbollah began to behave like a state within a state. In the summer of 2006, and without the knowledge of its government, in which it was represented, Hezbollah attacked an Israeli detachment across the U.N. blue line with the aim of kidnapping Israeli soldiers. Israel responded to this with a massive war that caused great destruction to Lebanon’s infrastructure, damaging its economy and pushing many Lebanese to seek their livelihood abroad.
Hezbollah’s reaction to Israel’s massive military response was further agitation, occupying Beirut’s city center with the backing of its allies and demanding the resignation of the legitimate cabinet after it refused to give them one third of all cabinet posts. This, in effect, would enable Hezbollah and its allies to bring down any government if its ministers resigned en masse.
Political assassinations continued amid doubts about the role some security agencies were playing, particularly at the Beirut-Rafik Hariri International Airport. The government ultimately took the decision to dismantle Hezbollah’s private communication network and suspend the Beirut airport security chief, a Shi’ite with pro-Hezbollah leanings. Hezbollah responded on May 7, 2008, by sweeping through predominantly Sunni West Beirut and attacking the Druze strongholds in Mount Lebanon. It also continued to occupy central Beirut and block the election of a new president, until an agreement was finally reached thanks to Arab mediation in the Qatari capital Doha, and army chief Michel Suleiman was elected president.
Still, Hezbollah’s open warfare against the legitimate Lebanese state was not over yet. Under the excuse of dealing with what it described as “false witnesses” testifying at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Hezbollah and allied ministers resigned en masse, bringing down the “national unity” cabinet of Prime Minister Saad Hariri which has been formed after the Doha Agreement.
It is also worth mentioning here that Hezbollah alone, among all Lebanese parties and militias, was exempted from surrendering its arms to the state under the pretext that it was a “resistance” movement fighting continued Israeli occupation. Yet even after the Israeli withdrawal from south Lebanon in 2000, Hezbollah insisted that it should keep its arms since—as it claimed—the withdrawal was incomplete; Israel still occupied the Sheba farms and Kfar Shouba heights.
It also kept its arms, under the same claim of “resistance,” after the 2006 war even though the U.N. Security Council resolution 1701, which ended the Israeli war, stipulated that Hezbollah must have no armed presence south of the Litani River in order to negate any chance of military confrontation with Israel.
Despite this, and even after using its war machine against its fellow Lebanese in Beirut and Mount Lebanon, and later against the uprising of the Syrian people in opposition to Bashar al-Assad, Hezbollah continued to claim its arms were the arms of “resistance” against Israel.
As such it becomes obvious that Hezbollah’s occupation of Lebanon does not differ much from the occupation of Syria by the militias of Bashar al-Assad and Iranian general Qassim Soleimani.
In both the cases of Syria and Lebanon, it is impossible to have a proper legal system, achieve justice, compensate victims, or punish criminals under such circumstances.
ISIS is an unrivaled organization, so
Abdulrahman al-Rashed/Al Arabiya
Saturday, 23 May 2015
A senior U.S. official told the media how the Iraqi city of Ramadi fell in the hands of ISIS, adding that the world has never witnessed any organization comparable to ISIS. He said this terrorist group is alarming. He believes that it will be a long war that will be stretched out over the years.
Another U.S. official described how the organization’s fighters surprised Iraqi forces with a sweeping attack using 30 booby-trapped cars in the central area of the city, including ten cars loaded with a huge quantity of explosives, each of which was comparable to the Oklahoma City truck bomb of 1995. He added that ISIS has thousands of foreign fighters volunteering to carry out suicide bombings.
These confessions about the intensifying threats coincided with calls from a Congress to send the 10,000 American troops back to Iraq to fight ISIS, warning that the United States could witness another 9/11.
This fear does not only distress the West; ISIS represents a greatest danger for us Arabs. There is an army of an estimated 20,000 terrorists crawling forward and no one has been able to stop them for a year and a half, despite the magnitude of Iraqi resources, U.S. logistics and intelligence and Iranian support.
ISIS forces are approaching the borders of Saudi Arabia and Jordan; but we have never seen ISIS actively mobilizing against Iran
We are afraid of underestimating the organization’s influence, as many undervalued its predecessor al-Qaeda in the wake of attacks on New York and Washington, almost 14 years ago. They thought the terrorist group will only target the West, but were then shocked to discover that its real target was the Arab region. It has launched many terrorist military operations in Saudi cities for about six years; al-Qaeda’s cruel activities have even reached Morocco.
After identifying the new danger, there is a pressing need to identify the possible scenarios related to ISIS within the regional conflict. Both al-Qaeda and ISIS militants had gathered and crossed from Syria to Iraq. During the years of occupation, U.S. officials had insisted that al-Qaeda is a Sunni terrorist group backed by Gulf states. Many high-ranking figures have said so, such as former Minister of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The Americans had refused for years to believe the possibility that the Syrian regime and perhaps Tehran too, had been involved in supporting and running al-Qaeda. During their last years in Iraq, the U.S. discovered the truth; they knew that all foreign fighters come to Syria with the knowledge and order of the Syrian intelligence, and later move to Iraq. Thus, U.S. forces have carried out several military operations against Syria and that was enough to stop al- Qaeda’s activities from there. In all cases, it was too late; the U.S. had lost more than 3,000 people in Iraq and decided to withdraw, leaving the country in the hand of groups that are closer to Iran!
Towards the South, not the East
Today, all indictors imply that ISIS indirectly serves both the Syrian and Iranian regimes. If it weren’t for ISIS, the world would not have turned against the Syrian revolution and correspondingly, the al-Assad regime would not have become an indispensable option to counter terrorist groups. If it weren’t for ISIS, we would not have witnessed the growing military influence of Iran in Iraq. ISIS is carrying out attacks in Saudi Arabia, while Houthi militias launch attacks against the Saudis. The outpouring of inciting sectarian messages on Sunni and Shiite social media networks shall not mislead us; many of them are sent by Iranians, or other groups affiliated to Iran in the region. These groups want to create strife in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. It is true that ISIS is fighting in Iraq and Syria, but its leaders’ ideology and threats on YouTube are directed at countries such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. This is not a spontaneous sectarian conflict; it is rather a regional political conflict that uses sectarian strife for mobilization. When a terrorist group carries out a bombing in a Shiite mosque in Saudi Arabia, we have to understand the attack through the context of the regional conflict, not through the historical ties between the two communities!
ISIS forces are approaching the borders of Saudi Arabia and Jordan; but we have never seen ISIS actively mobilizing against Iran. Thousands of foreign fighters gathered in Syria and attacked southern Sunni areas. They have then crossed the borders towards Iraqi Sunni provinces and seized Mosul, Fallujah, and now Ramadi. They are killing and displacing thousands of people there. They have been continuously crawling in a straight line for a year and a half now, towards the South - not the East.
Obama tells Israelis: America has your
By The Associated Press | Washington
Saturday, 23 May 2015
President Barack Obama said Friday he “forcefully” objects to suggestions that policy differences between his administration and the Israeli government signal his lack of support for the longtime U.S. ally.
Speaking at one of Washington’s most prominent synagogues, Obama said the U.S. and Israel should not be expected to paper over differences on Israel’s settlement building or the frozen peace process with the Palestinians.
“That’s not a true measure of friendship,” Obama told about 1,200 people, including members of Congress, gathered at Congregation Adas Israel. “The people of Israel must always know America has its back.”
The president’s remarks come during a period of deep tension in an already prickly relationship with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, particularly over Obama’s bid to strike a nuclear deal with Iran. Netanyahu views Iran’s disputed nuclear program as an existential threat to Israel and has lobbied vigorously against such a deal, including by addressing a joint meeting of Congress earlier this year. Obama defended the framework deal that negotiators are seeking to finalize by the end of June, saying it would make Israel and the entire region safer. Still, he said given the high stakes, he welcomes scrutiny of the negotiations. “This deal will have my name on it,” he said. Obama on Friday signed bipartisan legislation that gives Congress the right to review any final nuclear deal with Iran before the president can waive congressional sanctions. Obama had initially resisted any legislation that could undo the nuclear deal. The president and Netanyahu also clashed during the recent Israeli elections over the prime minister’s comments on the peace process. Netanyahu said in the lead-up to the election that he no longer backed a two-state solution, though he reversed himself after his party’s victory. Obama also addressed what he called a “deeply disturbing rise” in anti-Semitism around the world. He said the world knows from history that this is “not some passing fad” and should not be ignored. Obama’s appearance coincided with Solidarity Shabbat, devoted to showing unity by political leaders in Europe and North America against anti-Semitism. Before leaving, Obama visited with a group of pre-school toddlers in a room downstairs with their teachers, entering the small room clapping and stepping to the tune of their Jewish song. “This looks like a pretty well-behaved group, generally before nap time anyway,” he said.
Saudi Arabia vows to hunt down mosque attackers
By Staff writer | Al Arabiya News/Saturday, 23 May 2015
The Saudi interior ministry vowed on Friday to arrest the masterminds behind a “cowardly” mosque attack that left 21 people dead in eastern Saudi Arabia.
“The terrorist attack confirms that deviant groups are seeking to create chaos [in the Kingdom],” spokesman for the Saudi Ministry of Interior Maj. Gen. Mansour Al Turki told Al Arabiya News Channel, mentioning similar previous incidents including a shooting in the Eastern Province district of al-Ahsa last year.
In November, three masked gunmen attacked a group of residents in al-Dalwah village in al-Ahsa, killing five people and injuring nine others.
“What is important now is that we stop the masterminds behind this cowardly act and arrest them,” Al Turki added.
During the interview, Al Turki also said that security forces were able to foil a terror plot after arresting a cell made up of 65 people.
On Friday, a suicide bomber blew himself up during prayers at a mosque in the village of al-Qadeeh in eastern Saudi Arabia, killing at least 21 and wounding 81 others.
Injured worshippers were transferred to the Qatif Central Hospital and Aramco Hospital for treatment, according to health officials
Loyalists of the extremist the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack - the second against Shiites in the kingdom in six months.
In a statement distributed on Twitter feeds linked to ISIS group loyalists, a group purporting to be the “ISIS branch in Saudi Arabia” issued the claim.
It could not be independently verified whether the group actually has operational links to ISIS, which is based in Syria and Iraq.