LCCC ENGLISH DAILY NEWS
Bible Reading of the day
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 1,18-24. Now
this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was
betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child
through the holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet
unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his
intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and
said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your
home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in
her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his
people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said
through the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a
son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means "God is with us." When Joseph
awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into
Releases. Reports &
Elliot Abrams's Victories in
Mostafa Zein.Dar Al-Hayat- December 23/07
Latest News Reports From Miscellaneous Sources for December 23/07
Syria could face sanctions for obstructing Lebanon vote-Ya Libnan
Hizbullah: We Will Not Relinquish Rights-Naharnet
Limbo Lebanon Completes One Month Without President-Naharnet
March 14 Going Ahead with Suleiman Election amidst Opposition Challenge-Naharnet
Aoun Reiterates Willingness to Meet Hariri in Paris-Naharnet
Olmert rules out truce with Hamas-BBC News
Syrian MP hints Damascus
could strike Dimona reactor if attacked-Ha'aretz
low as leader talks fail-Guardian Unlimited
Russia seeks to play key role in Israeli-Syrian talks-Jerusalem
Geagea accuses Syria of trying to
control Lebanon-Ya Libnan
Sfeir: The Lebanese destroyed their
democratic system-Ya Libnan
Geagea accuses Syria of trying to control Lebanon
Saturday, 22 December
Beirut - Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea said Syria wants to control "all of
Lebanon" and stressed that the majority has other options if the disruption of
the election of General Michel Suleiman president of the republic continues.
Geagea, in remarks during an LBC's Naharkum Saeed talk show interview , said:
"We will not accept continued void (in the presidential office) and if Army
Commander Gen. Michel Suleiman withdrew we will push towards an election of a
new president by MPs because we are bound by article 74 of the constitution."
Geagea stressed that the stand of March 14 alliance and that of U.S. President
George Bush are "not identical. We want to elect Suleiman as a consensus
president while Bush's address referred to other options, in the event that
Suleiman as an option falls through ."Bush had called for the election of a new
head of state for Lebanon by simple majority, an option that the March 14
alliance is not considering at this stage in an effort to avoid a violent
confrontation with the Hezbollah-led opposition. When asked about General Aoun,
Geagea said “ Aoun is in a cage and is not free to express himself . He is not
independent ... His ideas for settling the Lebanon crises match exactly the same
ideas expressed by Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem. He added Aoun’s basket
of terms and conditions is exactly the same as Moallem’s and accused the
opposition of acting on orders from Syria Geagea urged the Free Patriotic
Movement leader to "set aside all differences and let's sit and talk ... with
the aim of putting an end to the ongoing crisis."When asked about Nabih Berri ,
Geagea said the Parliament Speaker is "cleaver in verbally marketing various
ideas , but not as smart in delivering bottom line results “Syria was forced out
of Lebanon in 2005 following the assassination of former Lebanon's prime minster
Rafik Hariri after 29 years of military occupation. The Lebanese parliament
majority has been accusing Syria of trying to return to Lebanon through the back
door via Hezbollah and its other allies.
Syria could face sanctions for obstructing Lebanon vote
Sunday, 23 December, 2007
Beirut / Washington - The United States urged the UN Security Council to study
the imposition of sanctions on Syria for obstructing the holding of presidential
elections in Lebanon. Zalmay Khalilzad, the United States Permanent
Representative to the United Nations told the Council at the special monthly
meeting devoted for reviewing the situation in the Midle east " I believe that
the Council is ready to study further additional measures to punish those who
are blocking the election of the President election in Lebanon and to change
their attitudes." His comment is a clear message to the United Nations "to
impose international sanctions against Syria." This American position came about
shortly after the head of the Lebanese Parliament Nabih Berri decided to
postpone yesterday’s meeting for electing the president of the Lebanese republic
until December 29. This is the tenth postponement so far. Khalilzad said in his
speech to the Security Council: "I would like to emphasize the concern to the
United States for the inability of the Lebanese to exercise their democratic
right to elect the President, and we urge the Lebanese opposition who is
obstructing the election , and those who support them from outside Lebanon,
Syria in particular, to stop their demands for the preconditions , since these
are unconstitutional. "
Khalilzad added: "We urge the Lebanese to elect a new president quickly, and in
conformity with the Lebanese constitution and without pressure from outside
parties”He continued by saying "I wish to point out here - that in any event -
and until such a time when a new president is elected , the United States will
continue to have full confidence in the Lebanese government's legitimacy and in
its management of state affairs and will fully support it and support the
Lebanese armed forces to continue to provide security." In response to a
question by Kuwait News Agency , Khalilzad said “ the phrase ‘additional
measures’ means everything including sanctions and many other penalties “ but he
did not reveal any details , what these will be This is the new American stance
following the statement of President George Bush on Thursday, in which he said
that his patience has "run out a long time ago" with Syrian President Bashar
al-Assad , for hosting in Damascus the Hamas movement and for supporting
Hezbollah in Lebanon and for destabilizing Lebanon “and warned Syria of the
consequences of interference in the Lebanese affairs.
Aoun Reiterates Willingness to Meet Hariri in Paris
Free Patriotic Movement leader Gen. Michel Aoun has reiterated his willingness
to meet with Al-Moustaqbal leader Saad Hariri in Paris.
Aoun, however, told his Orange TV that he was surprised at what he said was
France's "expansion in the invitation to cover more than half of the dialogue
Aoun believed that the majority's approach towards amending the constitution
through Cabinet will "completely burn up the settlement and burry all
Beirut, 23 Dec 07, 09:25
Lebanon's new low as leader talks fail
West keeps up the pressure after a tenth abortive attempt by political rivals to
pick a President
Mitchell Prothero and Peter Beaumont in Beirut
Sunday December 23, 2007
Lebanon's political crisis deepened this weekend after the failure for the 10th
time by rival parties to agree on a way to elect a President. Some say the
latest postponement meant that the opportunity to find a replacement for Emile
Lahoud, who stood down on 23 November, had been lost forever.
Despite mounting international pressure from France and the US for Lebanese
parties to elect the army chief of staff, Michel Suleiman, as a consensus
President, the Speaker of the Lebanese parliament, Nabih Berri, on Friday again
postponed the planned election until 29 December, amid claims by Christian
opposition leader Michel Aoun that negotiations had completely broken down.
'There is no agreement,' said Aoun, who has been representing the Hizbollah-led
opposition in the negotiations. 'All lines of dialogue are broken.'
The present difficulties in a Lebanon still recovering from last year's war with
Israel have worrying echoes of its civil war when the country descended in
sectarian and factional bloodshed. Today the pro-Western majority is backed by
the West, most vocally the US and France, while the opposition, led by the
Shia-Hizbollah movement, enjoys the support of Syria and Iran.
Under Lebanon's sectarian political settlement, the position of President
traditionally goes to a Maronite Christian politician. The lack of a President
is the first such hiatus in Lebanon since the end of the 1975-1990 civil war.
Aoun's comments came as Hizbollah reacted furiously to demands by George Bush
that Lebanon's anti-Syrian parliamentarians should push through their own choice
for President if agreement cannot be reached. Bush also warned Syria against
interfering in the election. Syria denies doing so.
The increasing sense of pessimism over the political impasse was reflected in
the comments of the Christian Maronite Patriarch, Nasrallah Butros Sfeir, in his
Christmas address. 'The presidency is lost and we have not been able to elect a
head of state for the first time in the history of the republic. [And]
parliament has been crippled for more than a year,' he said.
Although the appointment of Suleiman had been agreed in principle, his election
has been blocked by the inability of the different factions to decide on a
series of key issues, including who should lead the government and the
allocation of seats in the cabinet - in particular whether the opposition should
have sufficient seats to wield a veto. The opposition includes figures with
close ties to Damascus, while the present government is backed by the West.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has also been involved in attempting to mediate
a settlement. In a telephone call to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad he urged
that yesterday's deadline for electing a President should be respected.
The latest postponement has put paid to optimism on all sides following the
agreement to appoint Suleiman as President. A neutral choice respected by both
sides, Suleiman would need the Lebanese constitution amended to allow him to
transfer from the head of the military to the presidency.
Hizbollah and the opposition have been demanding at least 11 ministries to
exercise a veto to prevent any disarming of Hizbollah's military wing at the
request of America and Israel. Bush recently dispatched diplomat David Welch to
Beirut to meet pro-American leaders, a move pounced on by Hizbollah officials as
proof that the government is collaborating with its enemies.
'No, Bush, your orders cannot be implemented in Lebanon and your tutelage is
rejected,' Hizbollah's number two, Naim Kassem, said late on Friday.
The situation has been exacerbated by the attitude of MP Saad Hariri - son of
the former Prime Minister, Rafik Harriri, who was widely considered to have been
slain by Syrian agents in early 2005 - who has been leading the ruling
coalition. He has surprised even some of his own supporters with his
belligerence towards compromise, a position some of his allies believe stems
from the US and French government positions. 'Bush and the French seem intent on
keeping Hizbollah out of the government, they are telling us not to compromise,'
one political veteran and supporter of Hariri confided anonymously. 'Saad still
wants revenge for his father and appears all too willing to indulge this
Yesterday Hariri attacked Syria for its continued interference in Lebanon's
internal affairs. 'The Syrian regime has gone too far in its efforts to
destabilise Lebanon and to divide it, using what it calls "allies and friends".
I find this shameful that some Lebanese allow themselves to be manipulated by
such a regime which is known for terrorism, crime and corruption,' he said.
Syrian MP hints Damascus could strike Dimona reactor if attacked
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent, and Haaretz Service
A Syrian member of parliament thought to be familiar with the thinking of
President Bashar al-Assad is quoted in the London-based pan-Arab daily newspaper
Al-Quds al-Arabi on Saturday as saying that Syria could strike Israel's nuclear
reactor in Dimona as retaliation for any future violations of Syrian
In an interview with the paper, Mohammad Habash noted that Dimona is well within
range of Syrian missiles, and that Damascus does not rule out the possibility of
additional Israeli attacks against it. As such, Habash added that Syria has no
interest in escalating tensions between the two countries, and that diplomatic
efforts are underway to renew contacts with Jerusalem over a possible peace
deal. Habash said that no such contacts are currently being held.
An attempt to exchange messages between Israel and Syria in recent months
has failed. European diplomatic sources said that the reason for the impasse was
the inability to reach an agreed-upon agenda for talks between the two
countries. But in off-the-record conversations, several sources close to Prime
Minister Ehud Olmert say that "the Syrian track still has higher chances of
success when compared to the Palestinian track."
In the past few months, Israel approached Assad via a number of friendly states,
in an effort to evaluate the possibility of renewing direct contact. The main
interlocutor in these exchanges has been Turkey, but Israel also made use of the
good services of Germany, which still holds an open line of communications with
Damascus. Following a series of exchanges, the view in Israel is that the
seriousness of Syrian intentions is still questionable.
European diplomats updated on some of the exchanges noted that "the bottom line
was a negative one."
They pointed out that there was no agreement on an agenda for talks between the
two sides, assuming such talks would actually take place.
"The Syrians wanted the talks to revolve only on the Golan [Heights]," the
European diplomats said. "But Israel wanted to first talk about other issues
that trouble it, such as [Syria's] ties with Iran and the support for Hezbollah
and Hamas, and Syria did not agree." Olmert may be interested in furthering the
Annapolis process, but increasingly, senior officials feel that the Syrian track
must be given a chance to move forward. "It is a lot simpler and it is possible
to achieve an agreement in a short time," one of Olmert's confidants said. "The
only problem is that the Syrians are not sending positive signals."
Another source close to Olmert was more optimistic. "The fact that they [Syria]
came to Annapolis and canceled the conference of terrorist groups in Damascus
were positive and encouraging signals." A statement from the Prime Minister's
Office said that Olmert "is carrying out an evaluation of the Syrian track and
that is still ongoing." The U.S., however, is strongly opposed to any goodwill
gesture toward Damascus.
President George W. Bush told a White House press conference yesterday that his
patience with Syrian President Bashar Assad had run out long ago.
"Syria needs to stay out of Lebanon," Bush said when asked whether he would be
willing to talk to Assad about stabilizing Lebanon, which is caught up in a
political crisis over the election of a new president. "My patience ran out on
President Assad a long time ago," Bush said.
"The reason why is because he houses Hamas, he facilitates Hezbollah, suiciders
go from his country into Iraq and he destabilizes Lebanon," the president said.
Earlier this week, during a foreign ministers' meeting at the Paris conference
of donor nations for the Palestinian Authority, U.S. Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice attacked Syria for what she said was a missed opportunity at
"Annapolis was a chance we gave Syria and its test were the [presidential]
elections in Lebanon. So far, the Syrians have failed completely."
European diplomatic sources said that "Syria is undermining any chance for an
accord [in Lebanon] and is pushing Hezbollah and the rest of its allies in
Lebanon to raise the bar on their demands." The same sources said that Assad is
interested in giving the impression, whatever the cost may be, "that without him
nothing will move in Lebanon," and therefore the assessment is that the crisis
there will continue.
Elliot Abrams's Victories in Lebanon
Al-Hayat - 22/12/07//
Before his visit to the Middle East at the beginning of next month, President
George Bush reassured the Lebanese about the exhaustion of his patience with
President Bashar al-Assad. He no longer wanted to hear his name. There is no
possibility for any dialogue between Washington and Damascus. His administration
is united in this approach. It is not possible to say that in his administration
there are hawks who take orders from his vice-president Cheney, and doves who
incline toward Minister Rice. He sent to Beirut Assistant Secretary of State
David Welch and deputy National Security Adviser Elliot Abrams.
The Lebanese know the American officials well. The first barely left Beirut at
times of crises. The second participated in the planning for the "Cedar
Revolution" with a number of them in the year 2000. They issued a document
entitled "The Role of the United States in Ending the Syrian Occupation of
Lebanon." With him were Ziad Abdelnur, Samir Bustani, Nabil el-Hajj, Habib Malek,
Daniel Nassif, Charles Sahyoun, and others. The document called upon Washington
to remove the weapons of mass destruction from Syria, and to remove Syria from
Lebanon by force. His interest in this question matured at that advanced stage,
and perhaps before it. At that time, the division between the Lebanese was not
as clear. The Syrian army was still firmly established in Lebanon. Rafiq
al-Hariri was prime minister and Walid Jumblatt was still a friend of Ghazi
Kanaan and then Rustum Ghazaleh. Samir Gaegea was in prison, Hizbullah was
getting ready to liberate the South (the document was written before May 2000).
It is the man's biography that he believes in achieving peace only by force. His
star began to rise in the era of former President Ronald Reagan. His name was
connected with the "Contra" scandal and the arming of it in Nicaragua. He only
sees in the Middle East the interest of Israel. He stood with the hawks of
Likud, such as Sharon and Netanyahu. He was against Oslo. He criticized Bill
Clinton sharply because he became engaged in the negotiations between the
Palestinians and the Israelis. In 1997 he signed with many Likudists "the
Project for the American Century, which calls upon Washington to increase
military spending and to bear its responsibilities in spreading democracy by
force in the world. He also participated in the signing of a letter that was
sent to Clinton (1998) that calls on him to get rid of the Iraqi regime because
it was no longer possible to ascertain the extent of its armament, and it had
become a danger for the United Sates and Israel. He has worked toward and is
still working toward strengthening the relationship between Zionism and
In January 2006, Abrams visited Beirut. He came to examine his accomplishments
and they had been realized. He came to witness the realization of his dream with
the transformation of Lebanon from a country that supported Palestinian rights,
united around the resistance, to a country where anarchy reigned. He came with
Welch to visit and support his friends. He justifies the Israeli aggression and
emphasizes that the Hebrew State was not defeated in the July 2006 War. He
listens for a long time to "the arms of treachery." He loved to hear this
expression, which means that Israeli was right.
After one year exactly, Abrams returns , with Welch, taking on themselves the
same mission: to strengthen the determination of friends, and to stand by their
side, since their alliance was almost coming to an end, after Walid Jumblatt
discovered the secret, during his trip to Washington. He returned to Beirut to
announce his retreat from all of his previous positions, for fear of an
American-Syrian deal at the expense of March 14, and "to preserve the gains that
have been realized by the alliance, as long as the defeat occurred and so that
we do not relinquish more and to protect the resistance."
Abrams returned to Beirut to celebrate his victory once more, and to verify that
Lebanon was on the edge of the abyss. His presence among sincere friends is
sufficient so that this conclusion is correct. How if we joined that with the
exhaustion of Bush's patience with al-Assad