January 23/2007

Bible Reading of the day
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 3,22-30. The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said, "He is possessed by Beelzebul," and "By the prince of demons he drives out demons."Summoning them, he began to speak to them in parables, "How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand; that is the end of him. But no one can enter a strong man's house to plunder his property unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can plunder his house. Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them.  But whoever blasphemes against the holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin."For they had said, "He has an unclean spirit." -Naharnet

Latest News Reports miscellaneous sources For 23/01/07
Hizbullah Escalates Strike to Possible Rioting-Naharnet
Geagea: Opposition Leaders Lost Their Nerves, Strike Would Fail -Naharnet
Jumblat: No to Strike Called by Syrian-Controlled 'Kids' of the Opposition -Naharnet
Saniora Accuses Opposition of Trying to Terrorize Lebanese -Naharnet
More Malaysian Troops to Arrive in Lebanon
Lebanon's Demagogue Incognito-Ya Libnan
'Escalation' and The Opposition Makeup-Dar Al-Hayat
Siniora blasts Lebanon strike

Hirsch to testify Monday before Lebanon war probe panel-Ha'aretz
Israel chooses new army chief - reports-Reuters
Israel chooses new army chief: media reports-Washington Post
press upbeat on Abbas Syria trip-BBC News
Chirac's last gaffes-International Herald Tribune
Jumblatt decries opposition & calls its leaders ' kids'-Ya Libnan
PM Siniora defiant as Lebanon braces for strike-Reuters
DEBKAfile Exclusive: Tens of thousands of Hizballah and pro-Syrian ...DEBKA file
Pressure builds for Lebanon reform-BBC News

Hizbullah Escalates Strike to Possible Rioting
Hizbullah on Monday escalated the opposition's general strike call, urging its followers to take to the streets and block roads by blazing tires to "achieve victory" by toppling Premier Fouad Saniora's majority government. Hizbullah, in a statement issued by its command in the eastern Bekaa valley, said five key roads would be blocked Tuesday in an apparent effort to interrupt businesses and facilitate the general strike that the opposition has called for.
Cars raising Hizbullah flags and posters of its leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah also toured several villages in south Lebanon blaring from loudspeakers calls to "the most honorable people to take to the streets to achieve victory that has been pledged by the sayyed," witnesses told Naharnet. "Men, women, the elderly and the children are urged to take to the streets tomorrow," yelled a bearded Hizbullah operative through a loudspeaker as he drove his car across the predominantly Shiite Haret Saida district, near the southern provincial capital of Sidon.
Meanwhile, an unidentified assailant hurled a sound grenade in downtown Sidon, the explosion of which caused no casualties but further escalated the already tense situation in the city, a police officer told Naharnet. Security sources said pro-Syrian Palestinian guerrillas from Ahmed Jibril's Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General command and the Islamic Jihad Movement in the refugee camp of Burj el-Barajneh have brought in thousands of rubber tires that could be used to block key roads surrounding the capital on Tuesday.
The camp and the district of Burj el-Barajneh are part of Beirut's southern suburb, a Hizbullah stronghold that abuts the highway leading to the Rafik Hariri International Airport. One source told Naharnet the development was "an indication that the opposition would try to block the airport road by blazing rubber tires tomorrow." He stressed, however, that the army and police have strict orders to prevent any activities that would destabilize the situation.
"They called for a general strike, so let them observe a general strike. If they try to block streets and set up fires that wouldn't be a strike. It will be a riot," added the source who spoke on condition of anonymity. Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, a member of the March 14 majority that backs the Saniora government, said earlier the opposition has realized that its strike would fail due to the rejection of the move by the majority of the Lebanese.
However, he said that it was specifically because they realize that the strike is going to fail they would intimidate the Lebanese and block roads to prevent them from moving freely. Geagea said that in addition to setting rubber tires on fire to block streets, opposition factions were planning to spread nails and litter roads with diesel oil to cause accidents. Nevertheless, Geagea and other leaders of the March 14 coalition urged their followers to stay calm, avoid provocation and be determined to maintain a normal day of life because the army and security forces would enforce law and order. Beirut, 22 Jan 07, 21:07

Geagea: Opposition Leaders Lost Their Nerves, Strike Would Fail

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea on Monday told the Lebanese that observing a general strike called by the opposition is tantamount to losing the independent-democratic state they hope to establish. Geagea said the general strike, scheduled for Tuesday by the Hizbullah-led opposition, has "failed in advance," predicting that the majority of the Lebanese citizens would not abide by it despite intimidation by some opposition factions.
Observing the strike, Geagea explained, means sacrificing the "state that the people aspired for in March 2005." He was referring to the mass demonstrations that swept Beirut on March 14, 2005, a month after the assassination of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri to demand withdrawal of Syria's army from Lebanon. A month later, the Damascus regime of President Bashar al-Assad pulled its troops ending nearly three decades of dominance over Lebanon's decision-making. Geagea told a news conference broadcast live by local television stations that the strike aims at blocking the implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended a 34-day war between Hizbullah and Israel on Aug. 14.
The resolution banned the smuggling of weapons to Lebanon to prevent the re-arming of Hizbullah and called for disbanding all private armies.
Hizbullah refuses to give up its weapons, maintaining its fighters need them to defend the nation against a possible Israeli attack. The summer war broke out on July 12 when Hizbullah operatives carried out a cross-border raid and kidnapped two Israeli soldiers. The Jewish state retaliated by a demolishing wave of air-naval-artillery bombardment that killed 1.200 people and inflicted direct damage estimated at 6.3 billion dollars. "Tomorrow," Geagea said, "the Lebanese people will determine their future and that of their children."
He accused some opposition factions of "intimidating" the Lebanese by calling schools and urging them to observe the strike so that they would not be held responsible for the pupils' safety "in case something wrong goes wrong." "It is the free choice of every citizen to express his opinion, either by observing the strike or disregarding it. So why are they intimidating the people?" Geagea asked. Some opposition factions, according to Geagea, distributed leaflets advising the population to "remain at home. Don't leave your homes unless there was an urgent need."
"Why? Are we in a state of war? During the Israeli aggression last summer citizens were advised to remain indoors, but why now?" he asked. "Because they (opposition) realized that their strike call would fail, or has actually failed," he replied. Geagea accused the opposition of planning to block traffic Tuesday either by "starting fire to rubber tires on the main roads, parking trucks in streets to block traffic, throwing nails on the roads to cause flat tires and, most dangerously, littering certain roads with diesel oil" which would lead cars to skid off the roads and cause accidents.
"Tomorrow we'll go to work. No one can threaten us. Foreign armies have tried that" and failed, Geagea said in reference to the Syrian army which deployed in Lebanon from 1976 to 2005. "Tomorrow, with God's blessings, we'll go to work, to schools, to fields We should face evil with good, calm and determination," he added. "If roads were blocked, don't return home. The army and security forces would reopen them Be determined, but avoid provocation," Geagea advised the Lebanese. However, he held leaders of the opposition "responsible for any security problem Our foes have lost their nerves." Beirut, 22 Jan 07, 18:37

Jumblat: No to Strike Called by Syrian-Controlled 'Kids' of the Opposition

Druze leader Walid Jumblat on Monday launched a vehement verbal attack on the opposition, terming its leaders "kids" controlled by Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime that seeks to topple the majority government. "Tomorrow is a normal day of work," Jumblat said, urging the Lebanese to disregard the opposition's call for a general strike on Tuesday. He stressed that the army would "prevent sabotage. The state would not permit the blocking of roads" by protestors.
"We had enough from last summer's war," Jumblat said in reference to the 34-day confrontation between Hizbullah and Israel which resulted in killing more than 1,200 people and inflicted direct damage estimated at 6.3 billion dollars.
He criticized the sit-in organized by the opposition in downtown Beirut since Dec. 1 in an effort to topple the majority government of Premier Fouad Saniora.
The ongoing sit-in across the street from Saniora's offices, in Jumblat's words, was a mere "carnival" by the Hizbullah-led opposition. The summer war, according to Jumblat, was staged by Hizbullah when it kidnapped two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid on July 12 upon instructions from the Assad regime which was negotiating the prospects of a peace settlement with the Israelis. "Hizbullah was used by Iran and Syria to buttress Bashar's Assad bargaining with Dan Halutz," the retired Israeli chief of staff, according to Jumblat. "Isn't it shameful to use the resistance (Hizbullah's armed wing) as a card at the expense of south Lebanon residents, at the expense of Lebanon?" Jumblat asked.
He described the opposition as "the union of opposition tribes," that is carrying out a Syrian agenda to block the creation of an international tribunal to try suspects in the 2005 assassination of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri and related crimes. "They want to defend Assad's subordinates," Jumblat charged.
The March 14 parliamentary majority, of which Jumblat is a prominent member, blamed Syria for the Hariri assassination and related serial crimes that have jolted Lebanon since the attempt to kill Telecommunications Minister Marwan Hamadeh on Oct. 1, 2004. He survived with serious wounds.
Jumblat, addressing Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, said "I advise you to accelerate your party's approval of the international tribunal because in three weeks we have a major event. The third anniversary of the Hariri assassination." "We wish it would be a binding occasion for all the Lebanese. We don't want it to be an occasion for discord when the masses head to downtown Beirut to declare their opposition to (Syrian) hegemony," Jumblat added.
In outlining his opposition to Hizbullah's Islamist agenda which, like that of Iran, calls for the destruction of the state of Israel, Jumblat said: "We do not support the elimination of Israel. We support the two state solution" by which a viable Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital can live in peace near Israel.
"We are against the elimination of Lebanon. We support the 'Lebanon first' option," the outspoken Druze leader concluded.
Beirut, 22 Jan 07, 14:54

Saniora Accuses Opposition of Trying to Terrorize Lebanese
Premier Fouad Saniora blasted the Hizbullah-led opposition for trying to "terrorize" the Lebanese and urged all citizens to observe a normal working day Tuesday despite a call by the anti-government camp for a general strike. "We call on all the Lebanese to disregard intimidation campaigns," Saniora told a news conference at the Grand Serail on Monday. "It appears as if the opposition is trying to interrupt people's lives, intimidate and terrorize them," he said.
Saniora urged the Lebanese to report to work and promised freedom of travel amid warnings that the opposition was seeking to block major roads on Tuesday.
"We call on the citizens to work and they (the opposition) call for sabotage," Saniora said at the press conference to announce a long-term social reform program.
He accused the opposition of trying to hamper the international aid conference, insisting the meeting to be held in Paris on January 25 is for all the Lebanese.
"There are those who want to sabotage the conference that we are in dire need for," Saniora said. "The Paris III conference is for all the Lebanese who want a better future for themselves and their children," he added. Beirut, 22 Jan 07, 13:15

More Malaysian Troops to Arrive in Lebanon
Malaysia sent more than 250 troops Monday to Lebanon to take part in the United Nations peacekeeping force.
They are the final contingent from the Muslim-majority country to join the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) after 108 personnel were deployed earlier this month. Defense Minister Najib Razak said the six-month mission would also involve Malaysia contributing 17 armored personnel carriers, the state Bernama news agency reported. "Our willingness to send these assets is in line with the country's commitment to the United Nations to send Malaysian forces all over the world to ensure that peace at the international level is maintained," he said. The U.N. last October approved the deployment of Malaysian peacekeepers to UNIFIL.(AFP) Beirut, 22 Jan 07, 08:54