February 28/2007

Bible Reading of the day
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 6,7-15. In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. This is how you are to pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one. If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions. -Naharnet

Free Opinions
Report: Hizbullah Buying Land from Druze, Christians-Naharnet 28.02.07
Here's what the Syrians must do for a deal with Israel.By Alon Liel 28.02.07

Latest News Reports From miscellaneous sources For 28/02/07
Report: Hizbullah Buying Land from Druze, Christians-Naharnet
Liquid Explosives Hunted Across the Atlantic Busted in Lebanon
Hizbullah Ready for Israel Action
Police Defuse Explosive Charge in Residential Building
sraeli Violations of Lebanese Airspace Concern U.N
Report: Hizbullah Buying Land from Druze, Christian
Lebanon's Most Recent Wanted
Lebanon will "burn" if winner emerges - Moussa-Reuters
Shia mufti challenges
Jumblat Seeking U.S. Aid Against Syria-Naharnet
Lebanon's Most Recent Wanted-Naharnet
Saniora Denies Covert Cooperation with U.S.-Naharnet
Hoss Sounds Lebanon's Alarm in Iran-Naharnet
Israel to Sell Armored Vehicles to U.S. Troops in Iraq-Naharnet

Will Saniora Attend Arab Summit Together with Lahoud?Naharnet
Saudi Arabia Attempting To Persuade Syria Over Lebanon Rift-All Headline News
Israel: Arms flow to Hizbullah must stop-Jerusalem Post
Lebanese President Asked To Arab Summit-Guardian Unlimited
Life Sentences For 20 Turkish Hezbollah
Peretz: Likud to blame for Hezbollah gaining strength over the years-Ha'aretz
7000 tons of Israeli apples sold to Syria-Ynetnews
Israeli premier orders army to prepare for war with Syria --Kuwait News Agency
Israeli Official: "Syria, Hizbullah Will Attack if Iran is Hit"-Arutz Sheva
US Agrees to Meet with Iran and Syria-Washington Post

Iran, Syria and US to attend Baghdad talks: Iraq-Washington Post

Latest News Reports From the Daily Star For 27/02/07
Police put out sketch of suspect in Murr hit
Lahoud officially invited to Arab League summit
Mottaki denies Tehran-Riyadh plan to end standoff in Beirut
Siniora denies arming Sunni extremist groups
Japan grants $50,350 to Baalbek health facility
March 11 urges Siniora to alleviate tensions
Sfeir meets with Democratic Gathering MP
Third Force delegation courts Phalange
UN agrees to extend work with newest displaced
Army, UNIFIL 'replace 18 markers' along Blue Line
Ghanem touts decentralization as cure for crisis
Panel finds 'no evidence' Israel used depleted uranium in 2006 war
Increased US covert operations in Iran help Sunni militants, risk confrontation'

Dignitaries pay respects to late journalist Joseph Samaha
Family accuses teacher of assaulting student, 14
Whatever way you slice it, Lent means giving something up
In e-mail age, some still swear by pigeons

Police Defuse Explosive Charge in Residential Building
Police defused Tuesday an explosive charge attached to a timer in east Beirut's district of Mkaless.
Security sources told Naharnet the charge is made up of nine sticks of dynamite attached to a timing device and a detonator, but lacking a nine-volt battery to set it on. One source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that "had the battery been installed, the charge was set to explode in exactly five minutes."The explosive charge was discovered in the first floor of a residential building in Mkaless. The apartment had not been let. Beirut, 27 Feb 07, 18:49 Liquid Explosives Hunted Across the Atlantic Busted in Lebanon. Nearly six months after feverish search by U.S. and European intelligence agencies for lethal "liquid explosives" Lebanese police confiscated the first batch of such deadly weapons, sources told Naharnet Tuesday.
One source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said each of the 31 confiscated explosive devices is made up of two tubes filled with blue liquid, fitted on a board and connected to a timer-detonator. A police communiqué said a squad of its intelligence branch carried out a "swift operation during which it confiscated 31 explosive sets."The communiqué said the confiscated sets included "sophisticated electro-chemical timers-detonators that can be timed to explode after as late as 124 days."The sets were confiscated in an area "in the vicinity" of the Ain el-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp, near the southern port city of Sidon, 45 kilometers from Beirut, the communiqué said.
The sets were to be "smuggled and used in terrorist acts," the communiqué added. The source, however, told Naharnet the sets were busted nearly 12 days ago in the Sikkeh district of ain el-Hilweh in a "daring, swift and clean raid."The sets, according to the source, were "assembled and awaiting a squad to smuggle them to another location. Police, apparently, postponed issuing a communiqué on the bust in an effort to tail members of what is believed to be a major network of terrorists operating between various sectors of Lebanon". He said material used in the sets is of an "eastern European origin." He refused to elaborate. British, U.S. and European Union intelligence agencies have been searching since August for the lethal liquid explosives after London said in unveiled a scheme to blow up passenger aircraft on flights across the Atlantic. Stringent security measures have been applied at almost all western airports, banning air passengers from carrying any liquids, even food for infants.The Lebanese police operation was the first ever reported bust of liquid explosives in the world. Beirut, 27 Feb 07, 16:21

Hizbullah Ready for Israel Action
Hizbullah's deputy chief Sheik Naim Qassem warned Tuesday that any "military adventure" by the United States and Israel against Iran would have dangerous consequences across the Mideast. Qassem suggested Hizbullah would not get involved if the U.S. attacks Iran, but he raised the possibility that Israel might attack Lebanon as part of such an assault — in which case, he said, Hizbullah would "definitely" respond.
He said Hizbullah fighters were making plans in case Israel, like last summer, attacks Lebanon again. "The resistance is taking all the necessary measures to be ready and prepared," Qassem said in an interview with the Associated Press. He would not elaborate but said Hizbullah is constantly changing its fighting tactics so the Israelis would not know its capabilities. "We've evaluated the experience of the war and learned lessons from it and are taking steps to accommodate them with new realities," he said. "We are making sure the enemy will be in the dark in the future. This is the strength of the resistance and the secret of its success."The United States insists it is not planning to attack Iran and is trying to persuade Tehran to suspend uranium enrichment, as demanded by the United Nations. But fear of a strike is growing throughout the Middle East.
Qassem warned that an assault on Iran could expand across the region."It remains to be seen what the level of an American aggression on Iran would be," he said. "Is it going to be limited or an all-out war? Will other countries become involved? Will it spread to the entire region?"
Asked if the U.S. attacked Iran, Hizbullah would retaliate by striking Israel, Qassem said Iran is capable of defending itself because it "possesses the means, a tenacious populace and a wise leadership."Iran has threatened to attack the hundreds of thousands of U.S. forces based in the Persian Gulf and in Iraq if America launches a strike. Qassem warned, "we will definitely respond and defend ourselves" if Israel attacks Lebanon.
Qassem's comments aimed to counter speculation that Hizbullah may stir up trouble in the region — including attacking Israel — if Iran is attacked: "They have to know that any military adventure, if widened and involves several countries in the region, would have dangerous consequences for everyone."
Hizbullah has been locked in a power-struggle for months with Prime Minister Fouad Saniora's government. Hizbullah and its allies are demanding a new government in which they would have greater power. Washington has dramatically beefed up support for Saniora, who has rejected the opposition's demands. Qassem blamed the United States for the deadlock, saying it is pressuring Saniora to refuse a compromise. Washington's goal is to undermine Hizbullah's resistance against Israel, he said.
Qassem dismissed Lebanese and American government charges that Hizbullah was a tool of Iran and Syria. In contrast, he said, "the (Saniora) government is directly dictated by the Americans."(AP-Naharnet) Beirut, 27 Feb 07, 23:43

Lebanon will "burn" if winner emerges - Moussa
27 Feb 2007 -Source: Reuters
Background-Lebanon crisis
More JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa warned on Tuesday that Lebanon would "burn" if one party wins out over the other in a power struggle that has threatened civil war. "Lebanon will burn if a winner emerges," he said on the sidelines of an economic forum in the Saudi city of Jeddah. "There should be no winner, and for a long time the Lebanese have lived in such a situation. "
Moussa, who heads the 22-member League, has been trying to mediate between opposition forces led by Shi'ite Muslim group Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran and Syria, and the United States and Saudi-backed government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.
The standoff over nearly three months has led to clashes between supporters of both camps in which 10 people have been killed and more than 400 injured. Opposition followers have been camped outside Siniora's offices in central Beirut since Dec. 1.The confrontation quickly took on sectarian tones between supporters of Hezbollah and the Sunni Muslim-led government. The government has no Shi'ite representatives after all Shi'ite ministers quit last November.The trouble in Lebanon and bloody Sunni-Shi'ite fighting in Iraq has led to fears of Islamic sectarian divides deepening in the region.
"Sectarian violence is the biggest threat of all that faces us. We cannot afford to fall into the quagmire of sectarian violence," Moussa said.
U.S.-allied Arab governments fear that Shi'ite power Iran is gaining in influence in Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. Washington accuses Tehran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Iran denies.But some Arab commentators say the sectarian strife will make it easier for Washington to attack Iran.

Shia mufti challenges Hezbollah
According to Sheikh Ali el-Amin, Hezbollah and Amal represent only a minority of Shiites, most of whom are moderates and in favour of the country’s multi-confessional and democratic system. He criticises their subordination to Tehran. “To tell you the truth, we have nothing to do with Iran’s political strategies,” he says.Beirut (AsiaNews) – Hezbollah represents only a minority of Lebanese Shiites. In turning itself from a cultural-religious movement into an armed group it serves Iranian interests rather than those of most Shiites who are “moderate” and respectful of the country’s multi-religious tradition.
Sheikh Ali el-Amin, the Shiite mufti of South Lebanon, has become a strong critic of Hezbollah—he once was a teacher to some of the group’s leaders when they were students at his school. But he has not confirmed rumours suggesting he might sponsor a moderate Shia political movement ahead of the next elections.
In an interview with the al-Arabiya TV network, Sheikh Amin said he parted ways with Hezbollah in protest against the party’s kidnappings of foreign nationals in the mid 1980s and that he had asked Shia marjaa (grand ulemas) to take a strong stand against such operations. When none took a stand, Amin said he put an end to his teaching functions and left Beirut for the South, in what is now called “Hezbollahland”.
According to Mufti Amin, the group that founded Hezbollah came from the teachers and students at the Nedjaf Hawza (religious school) where he taught. He also confirmed that he had been very close to the group’s three successive leaders: Abbas al-Musawi (assassinated by Israel), Subhi al-Tufayli and Hassan Nasrallah.
Sheikh Amin did not however confirm rumours about his intention to promote a liberal Shiite current in Lebanon. He did though firmly condemn Hezbollah’s transformation from a “cultural” to a “military” movement owing its allegiance to Iran.
Middle East Transparent reports that a few days before the al-Arabiya interview, Sheikh Amin challenged Hezbollah when he spoke at the rally commemorating the death of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, murdered two years earlier. His speech was an additional sign of his firm commitment against Hezbollah’s attempts to seize power in Lebanon.
According to Amin, most Lebanese Shiites are “moderates.” Altogether Hezbollah and its Amal ally represent about 40 per cent of the Shia community. This means that a large majority remains committed to political moderation and Lebanon’s independence and multi confessional democratic system.
On Iran’s attempts to mobilise Arab Shiites to support Tehran’s policies, Sheikh el-Amin had this to say: “We would like to see Iran victorious in its war on ignorance, poverty, aggression and underdevelopment. But, in every country, confessional allegiances should not be at the expense of national loyalties. To tell you the truth, we have nothing to do with Iran’s political strategies.”

Jumblat Seeking U.S. Aid Against Syria
Druze leader Walid Jumblat said he was in Washington seeking U.S. aid to fight Syria's "indirect occupation" of Lebanon.
"It is not a secret. Yes I am seeking assistance," said Jumblat, a prominent lawmaker from the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority.
"I need more assistance politically, militarily against indirect Syrian occupation because the direct Syrian occupation is no more."
Jumblat, who is scheduled to meet Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday, said in an American Enterprise Institute conference that Syria still holds sway in an "indirect" occupation, working through Hizbullah and other allies.
"I will do everything to liberate my country from indirect Syrian occupation," said Jumblat, the leader of the Progressive Socialist Party of Lebanon.
Lebanon has been in turmoil since the Feb. 2005 murder of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri, which has been widely blamed on Syria.
The assassination forced an end to 29 years of Syrian military domination in Lebanon.
Since then, Lebanon has been shaken by other attacks, which many also blame on Syria, a war between Israel and Hizbullah that left 1,200 mostly civilian Lebanese dead, and a Hizbullah-led opposition campaign to oust the government of Premier Fouad Saniora.
Jumblat also met with U.S. President George Bush on Monday, An Nahar newspaper said.
It said Bush reiterated his government's support for the creation of a Special International Tribunal for Lebanon to prosecute suspects in ex-Premier Rafik Hariri's murder and related crimes. An Nahar said the U.S. president also reiterated his commitment in backing the Saniora government politically, economically and militarily.(AFP-Naharnet) Beirut, 27 Feb 07, 07:56

Israeli Violations of Lebanese Airspace Concern U.N.
A U.N. envoy told Lebanese leaders Tuesday that he had "forcefully" raised Israel's persistent violations of Lebanese airspace with officials in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. "I briefed the prime minister (Fouad Saniora) on my visit to Israel in the last few days," Michael Williams, special advisor to the U.N. secretary general for the Middle East, told reporters after meeting Saniora. "The question of Israeli overflights has been raised forcefully in our meetings in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem," said Williams, who arrived in Beirut on Monday after a visit to the Jewish state. Culture Minister Tareq Mitri, who joined the prime minister's talks with the U.N. envoy, said the Israeli overflights "which are violations of Lebanese sovereignty ... have increased". "We have expressed our discontent and our insistence that the international community should take up its responsibilities," he said. Israel has drawn intense international criticism by continuing the overflights after the August 14 ceasefire that ended its devastating 34-day war with Hizbullah. Israel says the flights are necessary to monitor what it charges is rampant arms smuggling to Hizbullah from neighboring Syria. The U.N. envoy's visits to Lebanon and Israel came ahead of a report U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is to give to the Security Council on March 16 on compliance with the August truce resolution. "We discussed Security Council Resolution 1701," said Williams, who was also due to meet Interior Minister Hasan Sabaa and Defense Minister Elias Murr. It is the envoy's third visit to Lebanon since the truce resolution went into effect.(AFP) Beirut, 27 Feb 07, 18:24

Report: Hizbullah Buying Land from Druze, Christians
Hizbullah is building a new line of defense just north of the Litani river in south Lebanon ahead of a potential resumption of war with Israel, Britain's The Times reported. "The military build-up ... is being conducted in valleys and hillsides guarded by uniformed Hizbullah fighters in the rugged mountains north of the Litani river — the limit of the 12,000 strong U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon," the newspaper said Monday. It said Hizbullah fighters are preparing a new system of fortifications and expanding old positions in the mountains on the northern bank of the river. "Residents say that the activity has increased lately, and peacekeepers confirm this," The Times said. "We can see them building new positions. There's a lot of trucks coming into the area as well," a UNIFIL officer told the newspaper. It said Ali Tajeddine, a Shiite businessman who traded in diamonds in West Africa, has been buying swaths of land from Christians and Druze. "Two thirds of Sraireh, a Druze village, has been bought along with more than 2 million square yards of land in the nearby Christian hamlet of Qotrani, where 30 houses under construction have been sold to Shiite owners, according to residents," the newspaper said.
It said Tajeddine's interest in the land has puzzled residents and raised the suspicions of Druze leader Walid Jumblat.
"He (Jumblat) suspects that Iranian funds are being used to buy the land, which will be turned into a Hizbullah military zone," The Times said.
It also quoted a Western diplomat as saying "we have evidence to support their presence there. It seems to be an expansion of what was there before the war."However Hizbullah's deputy secretary general Sheikh Naim Qassem, told The Times that Jumblat's allegations were unfounded.
He reportedly said that the Druze leader "likes to stir calm waters."Tajeddine also denied the claims, according to The Times. "He said that he was buying land in the area because it was rich in quarrying opportunities." Beirut, 27 Feb 07, 11:22