August 15/07

Bible Reading of the day
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 18,1-5.10.12-14. At that time the disciples approached Jesus and said, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, "Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me. See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father. What is your opinion? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray? And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.

Celebrating a divine victory while teetering on the brink of defeat-By The Daily Star. August 14/07
Iran's disruptive hold over Afghanistan is rising.By Amin Tarzi. August 14/07

Latest News Reports From Miscellaneous Sources for August 14/07
Army Chopper drops flyers to Fatah al-Islam militants-Naharnet
Army Intensifies Air Raids on Fatah al-Islam-Naharnet

Sign 'got point across'.Pro-Hezbollah billboard down.Windsor Star 14.8.07
Hizbullah Poster Causes Ire in Canada-Naharnet
Suleiman Ready to Head Transitional Government If No New President ...Naharnet
Army Commander: Fatah al-Islam Not linked to Syria or Official Lebanese Circles-Naharnet
Fatah al-Islam Dormant Cell Arrested in Sidon-Naharnet
U.S. Designates Fatah al-Islam a 'Terrorist Group"-Naharnet
British MPs call into question UK's failure to halt war on Lebanon
Lebanese Army commander willing to head interim government if MPs fail to choose new president
Security forces crack Fatah al-Islam sleeper cell
A time for reflection, a call for action
Qabalan calls for consensus on presidency
Outgoing Egyptian envoy urges local 'breakthrough'
Japan donates $4.3 million to UNRWA
Argentinian diplomat to visit Lebanon  
Syrian group to protect worker's rights in Lebanon
Hizbullah billboard in Canada draws locals' ire  
Hizbullah finalizes preparations for celebrations of last year's 'divine victory'
'Rejecting immediate cease-fire harmed UK's reputation'
Collapsed parking-lot wall crushes adjacent cars
Solar car makes stop in Beirut on world tour


Sign 'got point across'.Pro-Hezbollah billboard down
Trevor Wilhelm, Windsor Star
Published: Tuesday, August 14, 2007
The controversial billboard depicting Hezbollah's leader has disappeared, but one of the men responsible for the sign says it's not because they're backing down from fierce public backlash. "Whatever we believe, we'll speak about it anytime," said Hussein Dabaja. "We will speak about human rights, about the truth, about Nasrallah. We're going to do it and nobody can stop us. "We'll talk about it anywhere, any place we have a chance."
The sign, erected Friday at Wyandotte Street and Marion Avenue, was quietly replaced Monday morning with an advertisement for a car dealership.
The controversial billboard immediately drew fire from the Windsor Jewish Community Centre, the Lebanese Christian political group Kataeb and others.
Among other Lebanese leaders, it prominently depicted Hassan Nasrallah, the head of the political and military group representing Shia Muslims. Hezbollah, considered a terrorist organization by the Canadian government, was created in 1982 primarily to resist the Israeli occupation of Lebanon that lasted two decades.
The billboard Dabaja said organizers took up a collection from community members to pay for the billboard, and many of them were willing to pay more to keep it up.
He said the company that owns the sign, CBS Outdoors, removed the billboard because the Lebanese community members only paid to have it up over the weekend. "We paid for the weekend and it's done," said Dabaja. "We have our message, and our message got the point across."
CBS Outdoor didn't return phone calls on Monday.
Dabaja said the billboard was meant to honour friends and family in Lebanon who died fighting against Israel, and promote peace.
He said the point of the message will be driven home today, when Nasrallah makes a speech in Beirut honouring Hezbollah's "victory" against the Israeli occupation.
Harvey Kessler, executive director of the Windsor Jewish Community Centre, said the sign was "the opposite of peace" and a message from terrorists.
"Hezbollah does not stand for peace," he said. "I don't think the billboard represents Lebanese and Arab communities. . . I'm pleased it is down. Hopefully, it leads to a discussion about the kind of community we want to live in. Also in the Lebanese and Arab communities, they need to talk about these issues as well, and the kind of community, the kind of Canada we live in. I hope it will generate a lot of discussion and some positive outcome."
Dabaja said he doesn't understand why Kessler and others are so upset. He has no quarrel with Jewish people, he said.
"I am Canadian, he is Canadian," he said. "The Jewish are not the enemy. When Hezbollah fights the Israeli army, they fight the Israeli occupation to Lebanon. We are not fighting them because they are Jewish."
Dabaja said he had considered putting pictures of coffins and the bodies of Lebanese people killed in the fighting on the billboard, but instead chose a more peaceful picture. "I chose something to show some respect," he said.
Elias Bejjani of the Lebanese Canadian Co-ordinating Council, a collection of non-profit groups focused on educating people about Lebanese issues, said there was more to it than that.
"It was a challenge," he said from Toronto. "They were testing the seriousness of the Canadian government to its anti-terrorist act. It was more than somebody putting up a billboard. It is symbolic. As Canadians we can not be neutral. There is no neutrality when it comes to terrorism."
Alan Halberstadt, city councillor for Ward 3 where the sign went up, said it was "hard to say" what he thought of the billboard's meaning and whether it should be there.
"Certainly, the Canadian government has indicated they define Hezbollah as a terrorist organization," said Halberstadt.
That would certainly lend a lot of weight to not displaying that sort of thing." He did say it's probably better that the sign is gone.
"Perhaps it is a good thing it is down, because it caused such a discord in Windsor," said Halberstadt. "We don't need that kind of discord." or 519-255-5777 ext. 642
What readers had to say at
Tracy: "This was clearly the right thing to do. I would expect the same for any group or individual that promotes peace through the use of violence."
Hassan: "You can remove it from the street, but, we will carry it in our hearts. Hassan Nasrallah is our pride ... We love peace, we want our land back, we don't use our force against innocents."
Mike: "This poster has no place in Canada! This is an example of sectarian politics that has absolutely no business in Windsor or any other Canadian city. It belongs in the Mideast, and that is where it should be left."
Rabih: "Shame on you Canada. Is this what you call democracy?"
The Windsor Star 2007

Suleiman Ready to Head Transitional Government If No New President is Elected

Army Commander General Michel Suleiman is willing to head a transitional government if parliament failed to elect a new head of state before President Emile Lahoud's term in office runs out in November, provided all sides accept his nomination.
Former Defense Minister Albert Mansour, who proposed the idea of heading a transitional government personally to Suleiman, told The Daily Star that the army chief agreed to lead such a cabinet in the event a new president is not agreed upon.
"Such a government would be in keeping with established practice, which is for a president to hand over power to a Maronite prime minister. It happened twice before," Mansour said.
He said being appointed prime minister of a transitional government would allow Suleiman to bypass constitutional requirements that prevent grade-one civil servants like Suleiman from being elected to the presidency while still in their post or within two years of their resignation.
A visit by Suleiman to Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir last week took on a great significance.
Suleiman on Monday stressed that "I will stay in my post as commander of the army until a new president is elected and a new government is formed."
"Is it possible to leave command of this ship while it is facing such high waves?" Suleiman asked. He expressed hope that Lebanese leaders would return to applying the "spirit and text" of the Taif Accord. Suleiman also hoped that the leaders would make "reciprocal concessions." Beirut, 14 Aug 07, 07:36

Army Commander: Fatah al-Islam Not linked to Syria or Official Lebanese Circles

Naharnet: Lebanese Army Commander Gen. Michel Suleiman on Monday denied charges that Fatah al-Islam terrorists are linked to Syria or to factions represented in the Lebanese government. Fatah al-Islam, Suleiman said, "is not sponsored by Syrian intelligence, nor it is backed by Lebanese government circles. It is a branch for al-Qaida which had been planning to use Lebanon and Palestinian camps as safe haven to launch its operations in Lebanon and abroad."
Some Lebanese government officials had alleged the Fatah al-Islam group holed up in the Nahr al-Bared camp was created by Syria.
Other government opponents, however, have accused pro-government groups of supporting the fundamentalist Sunni group, allegedly to counter the Shiite Hizbullah group's influence in Lebanon. He said efforts exerted by the Lebanese Army "to avoid inflicting many civilian casualties slowed down the advance" in the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp.
However, "much has been done and little remains to be achieved," Suleiman was quoted by the state-run National News Agency as saying.
He estimated that "about 70 (Fatah al-Islam) fighters remain in the camp along with about 100 women and children who refuse to leave despite repeated calls by the army." Suleiman rejected describing Fatah al-Islam as a gang.
"Those fighting us at Nahr al-Bared are highly-trained fighters, equipped with sophisticated weapons and highly experienced in booby trapping and explosives."
Suleiman expressed regret over the failure to materialize promises to provide the army with badly needed equipment while fighting terrorists in the north.
"We need a lot of weapons and ammunition, conventional and modern, but we have received only a lot of promises and some ammunition, but no equipment. As if they are telling us: Die first and back up would arrive later. That is why we are looking for sources to acquire weapons."
He stressed that "I will stay in my post as commander of the army until a new president is elected and a new government is formed."
"Is it possible to leave command of this ship while it is facing such high waves?" Suleiman asked. Beirut, 13 Aug 07, 20:11

Celebrating a divine victory while teetering on the brink of defeat

By The Daily Star
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Today, on August 14, the Lebanese mark the anniversary a truly remarkable event: for the first time in history, the Israeli military faced an Arab enemy and did not defeat it. Instead of achieving their stated objectives during the war against Lebanon last year, the Israelis got their noses bloodied and were forced to accept a politically negotiated settlement of the conflict. Israel's defeat can be attributed in part to the fact that up until the last minute before a UN-brokered cessation of hostilities went into effect, a small but dedicated and effective force continued to wage an unwavering campaign of resistance against the invaders.
But Hizbullah's victory is also one that can be claimed by all Lebanese, not just the foot soldiers who fought Israeli forces. Indeed, victory would not have been possible had the resistance not gained the confidence and support of the Lebanese people over a period of years preceding the war. Broad popular support for the resistance was garnered in large part thanks to Israel's decades-long pattern of criminality in Lebanon. And in the face of Israel's dose of aggression last summer, the Lebanese stood united. But the tragedy is that the divine victory that resulted from this rare show of unity is not one which is celebrated by all Lebanese. Hizbullah's successes in the battleground have not translated into triumph in the political field, and likewise, the government's diplomatic successes during the war have been forgotten as a result of its mismanagement of the post-war situation. The Lebanese, who stood together in the face of Israeli brutality last year, are now battling each other in a dangerous political rivalry that has on several occasions threatened to degenerate into sectarian conflict.
The reason for this state of affairs is that on August 14, 2006, as soon as the war ended, the Lebanese reverted to the same old patterns that are mapped out in a sectarian system that inherently pits them against one another. This system, which relegates people of certain faiths to a status of second-class citizenry, fails to provide adequate channels for legitimate political discourse and has therefore long outlived its usefulness. But as we have seen over the past few weeks, the quest for a civil state and a new political process to replace the sectarian system has not gained much traction among Lebanon's ruling elite. Rather, the Lebanese are still being forced by their leaders to swallow the deadly bitter poison of sectarianism.
The question now, a year after Israel's defeat on the battlefield, is whether we Lebanese can overcome our own sectarian system and lay the foundations for a nation that allows the country's diversity and richness in talent to flourish. If we do not, we will surely ensure our own demise and will have thus acted as accomplices in a delayed Israeli victory.

U.S. Designates Fatah al-Islam a "Terrorist Group"

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has designated Fateh al-Islam, a "terrorist" group, the State Department said Monday.
"As part of ongoing U.S. efforts against terrorism," Rice designated Fatah al-Islam as a "specially designated global terrorist group" under U.S. law, the department said in a statement. Rice took the action, which cuts off the group from the U.S. financial system, in consultation with the U.S. Attorney General and the Treasury Secretary, the statement said. Fatah al-Islam, an offshoot of the Syria-backed secular Palestinian terrorist group Fatah al-Intifada, initiated recent hostilities in the Naher al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp near Tripoli with an "unprovoked attack" on Lebanese security forces in May, according to the statement.
The group had used civilian refugees as "human shields" during the fighting, it said. More than 130 Lebanese soldiers and civilians have died in the conflict at Naher al-Bared. "This terrorist group threatens the safety and security of the Lebanese people and the region," the State Department said.
atah al-Islam has been led by Shaker al-Absi, a well-known Palestinian-Jordanian militant who was sentenced to death in absentia in Jordan for his involvement in the 2002 murder of a U.S. diplomat. "The United States calls on governments across the world to take action to isolate these terrorist organizations, to choke off their sources of financial support, and to prevent their members' movement across international borders," the statement said.
It added that the United States supported the Lebanese government and its security forces in their efforts to promote stability and rule of law throughout the country.(AFP-Naharnet) Beirut, 13 Aug 07, 18:30

Army Chopper drops flyers to Fatah al-Islam militants

The Lebanese Army Command on Tuesday told Fatah al-Islam terrorists that they are committing suicide by refusing to surrender to its troops in the northern refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared. An army helicopter dropped flyers to Fatah al-Islam terrorists entrenched in a tiny enclave on the camp's southern edge urging them to surrender and allow their dependents to leave the war zone. "Your case of fighting the Lebanese Army is not just. You are fighting in vain the army of Lebanon and the will of the Lebanese people. Maintaining the fight increases the pain endured by the Lebanese and Palestinian peoples," the army command said in the statement.
"Allow the women and children to determine their own destiny because holding them (against their will) is a crime. Achieving justice is the shortest way leading to ending the present situation," the statement added. It told Fatah al-Islam militants that "losing time and rejecting the army's repeated calls on you to surrender and face a just trial is a decision to commit suicide, for which you are held responsible."

Army Intensifies Air Raids on Fatah al-Islam
Lebanese Army helicopter gun ships on Tuesday bombed Fatah al-Islam terrorists entrenched in the northern Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared.
A correspondent for Agence France Presse watched four helicopters each dropping bombs twice on the tiny sector in the camp's southern edge where the Islamists have been holding out for more than 12 weeks. As the air attacks were underway, terrorists and troops exchanged automatic fire and artillery shells.
Army commander General Michel Suleiman estimates that only 70 Fatah al-Islam fighters are left in the camp, dug in to subterranean shelters that the military is trying to break through. He also said some 100 dependents remain with the terrorists.
The general claims the group is linked to Al-Qaida and had been planning attacks both in Lebanon and abroad when the army moved in.
Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, built in 1948 when thousands fled the newly-created Jewish state, have been fortified over the years to make them able to withstand Israeli air raids. But a Lebanese army spokesman told AFP: "These (helicopter) bombardments are very effective. Several bunkers have been partly destroyed, but the soldiers have to shift the debris and disarm explosives before they can enter them."
Most of the 30,000 refugees for whom the camp was home fled at the start of the fighting which began on May 20 and which has killed more than 200 people, including 136 soldiers. It is not known how many Islamists have died.
On Monday, the United States, which accuses Syria of trying to destabilize Lebanon and regain influence there, designated Fatah al-Islam a "terrorist" group. Damascus has denied any links with the group. The U.S. statement said that Fatah al-Islam, an offshoot of the Syria-backed secular Palestinian militant group Fatah al-Intifada, initiated hostilities in Nahr al-Bared camp with an "unprovoked attack" on Lebanese security forces.(Naharnet-AFP)
Beirut, 14 Aug 07, 15:59